Vivobarefoot Review: Evo (M)
The shoes themselves look very modern and are extremely flexible. They come in five different colours, the white/red model is displayed here. For a long time the Evo has been one of the most popular VIVOBAREFOOT models and is developed with cutting edge innovation. The foot sole is removable and uses rapid dry moisture control technology for sweat absorption as well as bamboo-charcoal cell foam to neutralize odour.
The first thing I noticed putting the shoes on were that the tongue was much more flexible compared to the Miles shoe which had a waxy and stiff tongue that is still taking some breaking in. The next thing that stood out was the fact that the shoes have a translucent portion to them which besides looking pretty cool, also acts as a sweat absorbing, antibacterial lining that allows for both breath-ability and durability.
When walking in the shoes that one of the first things that captures your attention is that you have a lot more toe room than usual, in fact your toes are fairly free to move however they like. The shoes are very comfortable and extremely light. Perhaps due to their appearance I felt like I had just stepped into a pair of traditional running shoes but as soon as I began walking outdoors the difference became apparent as I could feel the ground and the terrain very clearly beneath my feet. The wide toe space allows for noticeable tactile orproprioceptive feedback beneath each foot which made a noticeable difference even just walking on my lawn.
It wasn’t until I tested the shoes at a volleyball game that I found some flaws, namely one of my own fault which was that I had chosen a pair that were too big. The size 44 in the Miles shoes fit me quite well, but the 43 would have been better for the Evo. As I mentioned before, I’m Canadian with a size 10.5 foot and after testing both casual and running shoes I’d recommend a 43 for minimalist running shoes from VIVOBAREFOOT and a 44 for casual minimalist shoes.
I did find I was able to solve this problem by adding the lace into the extra eyelet at the top of the shoe. This allowed me to tighten the shoe enough to make it fairly snug despite it being slightly too large.
I found that stopping and starting on the court was slightly more difficult. Traditional runners give your foot a rigid structure to push of off when changing direction, but minimalist shoes are flexible and don’t provide that support. I had a higher tendency of my foot slipping around within the shoe then I would wearing cushioned court shoes. The extra flex limited the amount of push I could get off one area of floor and didn’t provide the same ankle support I was used to.
On the other hand I did find I was able to jump just the same if not higher. Although the flexibility gave me less support for stopping and starting, jumping became more natural as your foot was permitted to curl and bend more than it normally would. The extra flex will likely just take some getting used to but I might avoid activities that require a lot of back and forth movement.
Later on in the week I went on a run taking turns using both the Vibram TrekSports and the VIVOBAREFOOT Evos to compare which one I liked more. The Vibrams provided a more barefoot feel in my opinion. The individualized toes and close fit allows you to truly feel like you’re running barefoot with only the thinnest layer of protection between your sole and the ground. However I did find that the Evos had an advantage owing to the fact that you can often get gravel, dirt or shrubbery caught between the toes of the Vibrams. The Evos are flexible enough to provide a barefoot feeling and don’t have the individual toes for miscellaneous objects to accumulate in. They were also more well suited for a court or sports setting as the Vibrams provide even less ankle support for sudden moves or changes in direction.
Originally I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wear socks or not with the shoes but later found that either option would work. I preferred to wear them as they helped reduce the amount my foot shifted within the shoe. I would give these shoes a 4.5/5; they are comfortable, lightweight and provide a very realistic barefoot feel, not to mention they look very cool. I’ve taken the shoe hiking, running, on the court and around the house and it’s very resilient despite it’s minimal materials. The white colour has gotten a bit dirty, but that’s simply the result of use.
I want to reiterate that choosing a smaller size (in this case a 43 for me), would be preferred than going larger. The flexibility and toe room permitted by the Evos allows your foot a lot of room: go for the size down when buying.
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