There are few truly minimalist women’s sandals on the market with decent ground feel if you’re looking for more than a piece of rubber underfoot and the Achilles delivers with plenty of proprioception. Although I don’t find them that comfortable for my feet for long periods, that doesn’t mean they won’t be my go-to, slip-on sandals for short trips this spring and summer. They’re more than comfortable enough for quick trips to the store, lunch with a friend, or other places you wouldn’t want to go barefoot and want to wear a light, airy sandal. They are well worth their price in versatility and durability. If you love their unique style, which reminds me of a futuristic flip flop, they’re well worth a try. I do, however, highly recommend trying them on before you buy them so you know they work for you and your feet.
The VIVOBAREFOOT Legacy is an excellent all-purpose leather shoe with fantastic minimalist qualities and great grip. They are an exceptionally high-quality product that will last a long time. For a narrow or average width foot, they are just about perfect. For an extra wide foot, they may be a bit restrictive in the toe box. The Legacy is stylish enough for office wear while comfortable enough for urban adventures and equally suited for running on the road or light trails. The high-quality leather softens with minimal wear making them even more comfortable the more you use them.
VIVOBAREFOOT has grown over the past two years from an innovative company producing great footwear to an innovative company producing some of the best minimalist footwear available. The Aqua has evolved into a refined, stylish, versatile, and comfortable shoe. Another winner from VIVOBAREFOOT!
Overall the Fivefingers LS is a great looking, functional, fun, breathable, and comfortable Fivefingers option. It’s difficult to judge if the leather between the toes is an issue that is unique to our sample pair, or if the issue is more widespread. In an online search, I was unable to find anyone else who had the same complaint, but I must review the product as I experience it. As with all Fivefingers shoes, the best way to purchase them is to try them on first, or buy from a retailer who offers a good return option.
Comfort is a primary feature of shoes for me; if it’s not comfortable and functional, I’m not going to wear them. The Outdoor 10 is not a shoe I consider comfortable and I don’t intend on wearing them again. If the shoe were wider from top to bottom and there wasn’t a constricting band across the top length-wise and width-wise, I think this shoe would be much more comfortable. If you have a narrow foot and you find the shoe comfortable, this might be a footwear option if you’re looking for a water-resistant transition shoe for light trail or road running. The Outdoor 10 was built on the same foundation as the Minimus Trail, and as a first foray into minimalist shoes, it could have used some improvement. Thankfully, New Balance listened to consumer feedback and made significant improvements in their Minimus Zero line of shoes. For more information about this and other models, take a look at the New Balance website.
The Minimus Trail Zero is the best minimalist shoe NB has made to date and the best model so far of the big brand shoe companies’ forays into minimalist shoe design. I doubt this level of greatness could have been reached without the lessons learned from their original Minimus models released in previous seasons. The Minimus Trail Zero is beyond lightweight, exceptionally wide, fantastically flexible with great ground feel. The futuristic style and materials make for an eye-catching shoe. Although perhaps not well suited for extreme trail terrain, they work well on light trail and incredibly well on road. NB has reset the bar for minimalist running shoes and I can only hope the other big brand shoe companies take note and follow suit. Congratulations New Balance!
The Minimus Road Zero is far superior to its predecessor the Minimus Road but there is still some room for improvement in the width department. I would love to see this model offered in different widths as many New Balance models are and, if this becomes available in the future, I think this would be a very different review. If you have a narrow foot and are looking for a zero drop running shoe with a small amount of cushioning, compared to a conventional shoe, for those longer runs this may be the shoe for you. I don’t recommend them for those with wide feet.
Although not a true minimalist shoe, the NB 110 is a good transition trail running shoe, which can be used for those occasions where you might not want to feel all the rockiness of a rugged trail. They have a 4 mm heel rise for those not quite ready for a completely flat shoe. They are a little too inflexible and narrow in the midfoot for my liking but I can see how someone with a narrower foot needing a shoe for trail running might appreciate the design of the 110. They are definitely more stylish than your average running shoe and definitely built to last
Review of the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS – The Evolution of Toe Shoes By Al Gauthier No other shoe company has developed such a loyal following or developed such an iconic brand as Vibram FiveFingers. They started with a few employees years ago and have turned into an incredible success with a large team [...]
VIVOBAREFOOT has brought us some amazing shoes this year. Anyone looking to fill every niche with a VIVOBAREFOOT product, the Off Road Mid boots come close to being a great fit. There is, disappointingly, some room for additional improvements to make these boots great. A wider last would be first on my list of improvements, especially given the width of the typical VIVOBAREFOOT shoe. A repeat VIVOBAREFOOT customer might be surprised to find such a narrow fit. A slightly more flexible upper would allow a more natural fit and more comfortable movement.
The new VIVOBAREFOOT Lucy Lite has arrived and we wanted to share our first impressions with you. Here’s a shoe that looks and works great for both urban adventures and road running. The 3 mm sole transmits excellent ground feel while providing VIVOBAREFOOT’s safety inspiring puncture-resistant protection. And they [...]
Made from ultra-light materials, the Ultra feels as though it is barely there – a great feature for a true minimalist product. The included insert, combined with the hole-filled upper allows the wearer to use the ultra in situations that range from the wettest river crossing to the hottest desert day. You have complete control over the warmth and protection you need – all in one shoe. They wide, flat, and ultra flexible. They even have fantastic ground feel.
The holidays have come early at Living Barefoot! New Balance has sent a collection of shoes from their upcoming Minimus line for review and we are happy to report that the company listened to feedback provided by their customers and worked hard to make improvements to their existing Minimus models—and it paid off! Here is a sneak peek of our first impressions of the new models.
There is no other shoe in the minimalist footwear industry as truly minimalist as the huarache. It just doesn’t get simpler than a piece of sole material cut to the size of your foot and a lace to tie it on. The Invisible Shoe huarache running sandals were great when all there was was a do-it-yourself kit. The new 4 mm Connect and 6 mm Contact blow all other huarache running sandals out of the water. Their attention to detail, comfort, durability, and especially price, are second to none. They are as close to being barefoot as you can possibly get with a shoe with only the slightest width of rubber protection on the soles of your feet. The choice between 4 mm and 6 mm allows you to customize your ground feel as well. Your feet are free to move in the most natural way with no fabric upper to impede or constrict foot movement in any way. Invisible Shoes has clearly done their homework in the development of these two new fantastic products and it shows!
Sometimes, a good deal is just too good to pass up. The Deep See Beachwalker is one of those deals if you’re looking for a cheap yet comfortable, flexible, warm, water resistant, lightweight minimalist shoe with no heel rise and excellent ground feel. Again, what more could you ask for in a shoe that costs $20? They are more than durable enough to outlast some of their competition that costs 4–5 times as much. And I have no doubt that the company did not intend these shoes to be used as minimalist footwear, they just happen to fit the bill, and quite nicely at that. Deep See has a number of aqua shoes to choose from as well, which you can see from their catalogue. You can find the Beachwalker at Atmosphere, online, or probably at any diving shop near you.
The Jaya is another excellent product by Vibram FiveFingers. Although this particular model doesn’t have the outstanding ground feel of some of the original VFF models, they are considerably more stylish than some with well-thought out details in colours and accents. They are incredibly lightweight and comfortable against the skin. They have some distracting qualities in the design of the sole, which are probably sacrificed due to increased durability and grip with the use of the TC1 rubber pads. If you like the toe pocket design of VFFs, you’ll probably like the improved esthetics and casual look of the Jaya.
Merrell’s Pace Glove shortcomings were not improved in the release of the Lithe Glove. As a minimalist shoe, the Lithe Gloves are too narrow to allow the foot to function naturally and the sole has a myriad of issues that make them uncomfortable to walk or run in. The upper isn’t even comfortable as the heel seat digs painfully in the back of my heel. The only things going for this shoe are its added warmth for cooler temperatures and excellent grip.
Review of the Stem Footwear Survival Origins – A Comfortable, Casual Lace up for Any Woman By Tina Dubois We had the opportunity of getting a sneak peek at Stem footwear during their pre-production development. Now that their development is complete and the first pairs of production shoes are rolling out, we’ve been given the [...]
There’s a fine line between minimalism and adequate cold protection when it comes to footwear. Often you sacrifice great ground feel for sufficient insulation from the cold ground, not to mention style. In the Oetzi Troop Leather, you get the best of all these features in a comfortable, warm, water resistant, and stylish package. I love these boots and look forward to many winter walks with warm feet
It is very difficult to know where to place any shoe that falls into the transitional category. The New Balance Minimus is a high quality shoe that is on the right path towards a minimalist product but with key features missing all together. There is significant debate among manufacturers, researchers, and bloggers about the need or usefulness of a transitional product. Some feel they are an important step and may help to avoid injury; others believe they are a pointless product designed to pull more money out of the pockets of trend followers.
The GoLites Tara Lite is a shoe we have been asked to review by a number of our readers and so, while this is not a minimalist product to our definition, we are reviewing it specifically for our readers. The Tara Lites is a fascinating product whose purpose is one that we don’t understand. It is a performance product with some unique features, one in particular that has never been seen in an enclosed shoe to our knowledge. The shoe’s concept is that of a sandal with a “second skin stretch upper”. In other words, the shoe is based around a thong sandal, one that has an upper and a protective toe guard. A strapping system provides more refined fit. Is this a viable design? Read on…
The Minimus Trail is a good all-round shoe designed for light trail activity and everyday use. Designed for narrow to mid-width feet, the fit is snug yet the toes have ample room for natural movement. The strapping system desperately needs adjustment points for versatility, but so long as your foot feels snug and comfortable inside the Trail, these seem to be a good choice.
VIVOBAREFOOT has grown over the past two years from an innovative company producing great footwear to an innovative company producing some of the best minimalist footwear available. The quality, style, and comfort of these shoes is top-notch and indicative of the exciting things to come from VIVOBAREFOOT. These stylish business appropriate shoes not only tick all the boxes but do so with the refined quality of a company who really knows what they are doing and where they are going. If you suffer at work, don’t waste any time and get your feet into a pair of these great shoes! They are, after all, the only truly minimalist business appropriate men’s oxford. Finally someone has filled this niche, and filled it well. READ MORE…
Barefoot or Minimalist Running: Not as Simple as Ditching your Cushioned Shoes by Tina Dubois Barefoot and minimalist shoe running is gaining increasing attention from the media and runners alike but is it as simple as ditching your shoes completely or switching to a minimalist shoe with no [...]
Merrell Sonic Glove Shoe Review By Al Gauthier Interestingly, this shoe is almost identical to the Trail Glove except for a switch of the upper material and some small adjustments to the last. With a side-by-side comparison, and thorough testing, we could find few difference in the performance of the Sonic other than the waterproof nature of the Sonic’s upper [...]
Minimalist / barefoot shoes are now being made by most of the major performance brands. How do you know what is really a minimalist shoe and what is just marketing? There are 6 key features to look for. If the shoe you are looking at doesn’t have all 6, then it’s not a minimalist shoe.
Kigo has done a magnificent job of listening to customers and reinventing an already good product into an excellent product. These are excellent every day shoes with a wide last and a loose fit. They are well made and look great too. They provide good grip while providing good ground feel and natural movement with a thin and flexible sole. Rather than providing another technical performance product, Kigo has managed to make a shoe that is perfect for the everyday. Put on a pair of stylish Kigos. READ MORE
Damien was our first guest on The Living Barefoot Show in 2009! We welcome Damien back to see what he’s been up to – and he has been busy. Damien has started a review site called ToeSalad.com and continues to share his experiences on his personal blog. Damien loves the outdoors and joins us today to give us his perspective on proper barefoot technique while Hiking.
The Neo Trail is another phenomenal product by VIVOBAREFOOT. They are extremely comfortable (with or without socks), have fantastic ground feel, and incredible traction on all wet or dry trail conditions including mud, roots, dirt, and gravel. It’s obvious to me that extra thought went into the design of these shoes in the angles of the lugs, the choice of materials, and the added protection for the arch and toes. The hydrophobic properties of the upper are really going to be handy in wet, snowy winter conditions. They are durably made and comparably priced. If you’ve been craving a truly minimalist trail shoe with excellent grip, the Neo Trail delivers.
There are many wonderful minimalist products that are comfortable and functional that I would recommend above these shoes. It should be noted that when The Shu contacted us, we were very clear that we did not guarantee that we would provide a positive review. We gave them every opportunity to read our reviews to determine whether this product fit well in terms of the type of footwear we tend to recommend. We do not go looking for product to review poorly, but we are happy to review products at the request of a company that fit into the minimalist category. These shoes could be a great idea with a serious redesign. They would need to be shaped like a foot and have a better fit overall. A comfortable, ultra light and compact shoe would be great if function followed form.
The Moc3s have been one of those pleasantly surprising new discoveries and fun to wear and test footwear products. I’m blown away at the comfort and barefoot feel of these shoes. Not only are they a great option for casual outings but an incredible road or not-too-rough natural surface running shoe. I don’t know how it’s done but they have phenomenal breathability and yet your feet stay dry in wet conditions. They are not the best choice for heavy wet conditions or stream crossings but through wet grass, they keep feet dry. They have a competitive price for a running shoe and are a great value in the hand-made moccasin department. Soft Star has exceeded all my expectations with the new Moc3 design. For more information, take a look at the Soft Star Shoes website.
Kigo has made significant changes to the Flit design and continues to improve the product in terms of minimalist footwear function and fit. The new zero drop, thinner outsole, improved barefoot feel, wider toe box design, and improved strapping system make this shoe a superior product to their previous models and a superior product in the minimalist industry. My only suggestion for improvement for this shoe would be a different thread choice for the zig zag pattern along the edge to improve their comfort against the skin.
Although these aren’t the most minimalist shoes, considering the insole and the sole inflexibility, they are wonderfully comfortable and I have already enjoyed much use out of them. The insole is easily removed giving the shoe a zero differential between heel and toe. The style is the definition of simplistic and easily works casually with either pants or shorts.
The Jambu Barefoot Vegan is an exciting new arrival to the casual women’s minimalist shoe market. It has incredibly unique styling with the criss-cross lacing and contrast stitching. When you remove the unnecessary and non-minimalistically designed insole, it has a slight positive heel but probably no more than 3 mm. It should fit a narrow or average width foot well but may be snug on a wide foot. They are tremendously breathable and perfectly suited for hot spring or summer urban adventures.
VIVOBAREFOOT has done it again. Minimalist shoes have been with us for a couple of years now, and yet in the last year VIVOBAREFOOT has put out some of the most innovative shoes I have ever seen. I could hardly be more impressed. The Ultra is yet another winner in a long line of innovations this year. Because of the unique insert, consider the width of your feet and how you plan on using the Ultra before buying. If the fit is right, the Ultra may become your go-to shoes. This is truly a shoe that can work in almost any situation.
Injinji Performance Lightweight Toesock Review By Tina Dubois Review of the Injinji Performance Lighweight Toesocks – The softest, thinnest second skin yet! Some time ago, Living Barefoot released a comparison Toe Sock Review including some from the Performance series from Injinji, which proved to be the best quality of toe socks that were tested. [...]
VIVOBAREFOOT Achilles Review By Al Gauthier Review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Achilles Sandal – A split toe minimalist running sandal that will blow your socks off! We have always respected VIVOBAREFOOT not only for the high quality shoes they produce, but for the innovative, fashionable, and truly minimalist approach. [...]
Inov-8 Bare-Grip 200 Review By Tina Dubois Review of the inov-8 Bare-Grip 200 – A Light-weight, Grip-galore, Minimal Off Trail Shoe This is the first Living Barefoot footwear review for the UK-based shoe company inov-8. The Bare-Grip 200 is designed as an off trail shoe, meaning across hills and [...]
VIVOBAREFOOT Alexander Review By Al Gauthier Review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Alexander Sandal – A great every day minimalist sandal for the fashionable man. Ok, let’s face it: men’s sandals are typically hideous. They are big, they are bulky, they are ugly. I imagine this is probably a result of [...]
VIVOBAREFOOT Hind Review By Al Gauthier Review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Hind – A Stylish Minimalist Shoe for Every Man Writing minimalist shoe reviews has always been exciting. When we started, no matter what the product was it was exciting to add one more product to the list of [...]
Teva Zilch Sandal Review By Al Gauthier Review of the Teva Zilch – A Minimal Minimalist Sandal One of the biggest ironies of most minimalist shoes is that it’s almost impossible to find a comfortable shoe your foot can stay cool in. While there are numerous home-made style sandals, there are very few that offer [...]
Merrell Trail Glove Shoe Review By Al Gauthier Merrell has been making shoes for 30 years now. The most difficult part of writing reviews is when we have to write a review on a product that we have been excitedly anticipating only to find they fall short. In the case of Merrell, the review process [...]
Review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra A Comfortable, Light-weight Amphibious Running Shoe By Tina Dubois The Ultra is truly the first of its kind in the minimalist shoe market: it’s an incredibly light-weight running shoe made to go in and out of water easily and can be worn in three different ways. You can wear the [...]
Review of the Merrell Women’s Barefoot Pace Glove By Tina Dubois Merrell has been a maker of high performance footwear since 1981. The company recently developed a barefoot line of shoes to satisfy the needs of the consumer-driven minimalist footwear market. The Barefoot Pace Glove is Merrell’s natural adventure shoe specifically designed for women. Although [...]
Review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Jazz—A Comfortable, Casual Lace up for Any Woman VIVOBAREFOOT has truly outdone themselves with this year’s spring/summer collection. This season’s offerings fill desperately needed niches in the minimalist market. The Jazz is one of those shoes. This is a high quality, comfortable, casual, every day, truly minimalist shoe for women with [...]
Book Review: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall In honour of the paperback release of Christopher McDougall’s inspirational Born to Run A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen and launch of the current Naked Tour promoting the book and sharing Christopher’s love of [...]
The Best Barefoot Treadmill Performance Living Barefoot recently released the results of a three-month project to reveal the best treadmill for barefoot running. We shared these findings in the Special Review: Treadmills for Barefoot Running, A Review of 20 Popular Treadmill Models. We determined three specific factors important to keep in mind when [...]
Luna Equus Review By Tina Dubois The Luna Equus is the second sandal model reviewed from Luna Sandals. This huarache running sandal is stylish and easy to tie with the new elasticized lace. The Shell Cordovan leather is pleasurably soft against the soles of the feet. With custom [...]
Stem Footwear Shoe Review By Nicole Gauthier Stem footwear is a recent entry into what is becoming an ever more competitive arena of minimalist product. Stem footwear has come out of the gate strong however—perhaps stronger than any other company’s initial offering. They have produced a sporty, ultra-light, [...]
Fila Skele-toes Shoe Review Is this a law-suit waiting to happen? By Al Gauthier It is impossible to review Fila Skele-toes without the inevitable comparison between Vibram FiveFingers. The Skele-toes are, after all, a modified FiveFingers look-alike product. I have no doubt that the intent of this shoe was to cash in on Vibram’s [...]