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Vivo Barefoot Evo: Minimalist Shoe Review

This shoe is crazy! The strange name may give away the company’s “euro” roots but this shoe is, to say the very least, UNIQUE….in a good way.

Terra Plana is a company that focuses on footwear without the traditional built up heel and support structure that is said to be screwing up the human gait.

The Evo was created with the help of podiatrists, biomechanists, physical therapists, and ecologically friendly consultants. This shoe is constructed on a 3mm puncture resistant rubber sole. It’s not the lightest shoe in the world but it IS the closest to the ground. Just 3mm from the earth—that’s pretty cool.

Terra Plana claims that the Vivo Barefoot shoes will improve the strength of your feet as well as helping to re-align your posture to make you more efficient and lessen the harsh impact of each footfall.  They are also said to increase the stimulation of the 200,000 nerve endings of your feet to help with enhancing sensory perception and improve circulation.

This sounds all fine and dandy but so far their argument is very similar to all the other minimalist shoes that are hitting the market these days. I feel that the Evo sets themselves apart in two areas:

The Vivo Barefoot Evo looks super rad.
I feel like some sort of sleek green lizard in the jungles of the Amazon when I put this shoe on. I see myself running through the branches, my feet blending in with the leaves, sucking in the warm humid air. It’s an experience! This look makes it fun to put the shoe on.

The Vivo Barefoot is very GREEN.
Not just in color but in their practices. They use natural leather uppers, there is a strict ‘no sweat shop’ production policy that is independently monitored, they use a recycled sweat absorbing antibacterial shoe liner, and they even have vegan options available. This may be a little extreme, but for those of you out there who care, I think Terra Plana is at the forefront of this movement.

So that was a little about the company, design, and ethics; now onto the feel of the shoe and how I think it should be used.

General Remarks:

First off, very nice packaging!

This shoe is surprisingly comfortable. My size 12 foot fits perfectly into a Euro size 44. The first thing I noticed was the feel of the 3mm sole. It really does mold to your foot to create a highly sensitive feeling. The outsole fashions a raised honeycomb mold that acts as both cushioning and traction.

The shoe does come with a removable insole to provide just enough cushioning to feel safe. The upper is made up of a meshy synthetic material; its origins seem to be celestial, maybe mars? Venus? Unknown life breathing planet in a far off galaxy with little martians screaming around in Evos?

The tongue of the shoe is nice and plump through the body so the laces don’t cut into your feet. I’ve been wearing these without socks. I think it almost defeats the purpose to go minimal but then throw on a synthetic or cotton sock. But that’s just me.

The one and only issue I have with this shoe is that it seems to fit feet that are moderate in volume the best. Having a narrow foot myself, the upper in the forefoot gets ever so slightly creased and I get a little rubbing action going on around the knuckles of my toes. Not a major issue, the shoe fits moderate feet which is the largest market segment, so it makes sense. The outliers never get the perfect shoe.

The Evo runs around 8.2oz. which, within the world of minimalist shoes, is not all that light. The “impenetrable” sole makes up most the weight but I am happy to sacrifice an ounce or two to guarantee I don’t get a glass shard through my foot.

After running in this shoe for awhile, I have now transitioned it to a casual shoe. I feel I get the foot strengthening and postural benefits of the shoe while just out and about. I also enjoy acting like a lizard from another planet when people ask me what the heck is on my foot.

So whether you are going to run full-time with the Evo, only use the shoe as a tool for strengthening on soft surfaces, or just wear it as a casual shoe, this shoe can fit your specific need. I will add that the shoe is a little pricey (around $150) but just think; it’s a great shoe AND you are encouraging a green-conscious world by supporting a company that cares.

I think they look cool with jeans too…just for kicks. If this is a major fashion “foe-paw” I’d rather remain in the dark; ignorance is bliss.

So there you have it~get yourself a pair of Evos today. The cool factor alone makes them worth it.

Read more about the VIVOBAREFOOT Men’s EVO here!


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