Opening up a package from VIVOBAREFOOT is like getting a present on Christmas morning. I’m always pleasantly surprised to discover how much thought and attention to detail that they put into the presentation of their product. I suppose since you primarily have to buy their shoes through online retail and then have them shipped to your home, the product packaging is the only real way VB can make the purchase feel special.
Their higher quality and specialized footwear don’t come cheap, so it’s nice to have a company recognize this exchange in value, and put noticeable effort in something that only really cuts into their profits, since the sale has already been made at this point.
Well, enough of the packaging already – what are my initial thoughts of the shoes?
In short: slick, impressive, modern.
Compared to some of the other minimalist footwear items I’ve reviewed, the Evo is downright futuristic. What we have here is one of the first shoe models designed from the ground up for minimalist and barefoot style running.
But instead of just focusing on function, VIVOBAREFOOT obviously put a lot of thought into the design and styling as well.
Probably the most common complaint regarding Vibram Five Fingers has nothing to do with their thin mesh upper (on many models, not all) or the potential to get heel blisters – no, it’s that they look weird. Some people who’ve never even worn them swear that they never will just because they look so odd.
Despite the fact that such an attitude is incredibly thick-headed, I do recognize that Vibram Five Fingers look a little crazy. However, I accept that many of the things I do in the name of evolutionary health and fitness probably seem crazy to people of a more conventional mindset.
VIVOBAREFOOT has aparently taken cues from this cultural backlash and designed a piece of footwear which at first glance is rather striking, and during the first run feels quite remarkable. I was a little skeptical before the shoes came in, because obviously I tend to focus on more traditional footwear like sandals and moccasins (five finger toe shoes excluded). I didn’t know how much I’d like wearing again something that seemed to resemble “real” shoes.
After all, I haven’t worn what I consider to be real shoes for going on several years now. By “real shoes” I mean footwear with thick and rigid soles, and very restrictive uppers – like 90% of running shoes.
Thankfully, my first jog around the neighborhood in these thoroughbred minimalist running shoes allayed my fears. Actually, it was pretty fun.
Check out the second part of my review to get an in-depth look into my experiences with these shoes, and to learn what you can expect if you try them out.