VIVOBAREFOOT Review: Ultra (M)
As far as a shoe conquering multiple types of environments, the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra is the way to go. I’ve sampled this shoe in multiple environments and the shoe provides a new level of proprioception for the wearer. I’ve got to admit, the shoe took a little getting used to, especially on the putting on and off part but it was comfortable to move and run in and especially effective at conforming to one’s foot size.
The shoes actually come apart into two separate parts, a removable sock layer and a caged outer liner. This system allows for the wearer to avoid actual socks and not have to deal with slipping inside the shoe, a small issue with some of the last VIVOBAREFOOT shoes I’ve sampled. The shoes can be split apart fairly easily and come with a plug-in, antibacterial, stretch mesh tongue for comfort.
An elastic cord has replaced the laces which makes the shoe nicely adjustable and easy to get on and off. Simply sliding the locking mechanism allows one to firmly lock the shoes and sock around one’s foot which in turn eliminates any slipping or sliding within the shoe, almost giving one the feeling that shoes were custom made.
Actually running in the barefoot shoe was a step above the majority of the shoes VIVOBAREFOOT has produced in the past. Although one has issued changing direction rapidly as the shoe provide minimal ankle support and a ton of flexion, the actual running experience feels light and airy. The shoes bend and conform to one’s movement and running becomes more more organic and natural. The thin sole accompanied by the sock protects your foot but also allows for a strong sensory feedback.
I did have some issues taking the shoes on and off, but nothing that one couldn’t get used to. These aren’t shoes that you’re just going to slip on and go. The elimination of laces saves some times, but slipping into a sock and then tightening the shoe ensures that your foot is entirely prepped to go. The on and off process reminded me somewhat of putting on snowboard boots in the sense that you’re really readying your feet to engage in activity.
Overall I’d rate the shoes at a 4.5/5 stars. They’re comfortable, unique looking and can cover all sorts of terrain. What stops them from getting a prefect rating is that for quick turns or movement, the foot in the sock tends to slip a bit. Intense sports player who needs to turn on a dime may have a slight issue adjusting to the shoes. However it’s this flexibility that allows the Ultras to really give the wearer an even deeper barefoot feel. If you’re planning on going trail running this season or are looking for an excellent road running shoes, the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra is highly recommended!
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