Ever since I have started this blog in May 2012, I have been interested in barefoot walking. Unless I could walk on beach sand all day long, real barefoot walking is far from practical given our urban lifestyle. That’s why I have looked into barefoot shoes with very flat shoes which provide most of the benefits of walking barefoot while keeping the feet injury-free.
My Previous Barefoot Shoes
So far, I have owned two different pairs of barefoot shoes: Leguano Premium and Merrell Vapor Glove. The Leguanos were like socks but they would slip off my feet during running and after a few months I stopped wearing them. I have written about them HERE. The Merrells provided a better alternative as they fit my feet very well. However, they have an ineherent design problem where the big toes produce a hole in the outer material over time. Just like the Leguanos, the Merrells have a very thin outer material and are definitely not made for wet and cold weather.
Therefore, with the autumn season bringing in chill winds and temperatures, I had to find a barefoot shoe alternative. This time I didn’t want to go for the sporty barefoot shoe look but wanted more stylish shoes that would still keep my feet relatively warm. With these criteria in mind, I decided to get the Vivobarefoot Gobi II Leather.
Extra Space for Your Toes
The first thing I noticed about them is that they offer an unusual amount of space for your toes. Normal shoes are usually cut too narrow, thereby constricting the toes to move around freely. The extra space feels funny at first but it makes perfect sense if you think about how our toes have all the space they need when we walk barefoot.
Obviously, the underlying philsophy of a barefoot shoe is to have as thin a sole as possible with no heel drop. The Vivobarefoot are uniformly 3 mm thin across the whole sole. From a sensory viewpoint, your feet muscles get much more engaged in the act of walking. The soles are thin enough for the feet to better feel the ground but not thin enough to experience discomfort when walking on a trail with small stones and pebbles.
Anyhow, what I actually like the most about these shoes is that they don’t catch the kind of attention other barefoot shoes do (such as the ridiculous looking Vibram Five Fingers). You can wear them to work, to social parties and events, and people simply won’t notice that your shoes are fundamentally different from theirs.
They Look Discreet
Even though I eat a Paleo/Primal-like diet, I would never run around with a slogan on a T-shirt that says „I love Paleo!“. Similarly, I don’t have to run around and let people know around me: „Look at me, I am wearing barefoot shoes (i.e. Vibram Five Fingers)!“. I value the discreet look of the Vivobarefoot shoes because I have stopped convincing people of my beliefs.
So far, I have had my new shoes for 5 days or so. I have completed a dancing marathon of 16 consecutive hours with people stepping on my feet multiple times. Nevertheless, even though the leather still needs some more weeks to optimally adjust to my feet, I have never danced more comfortably.