Guest post by Harry Hollines
The first day I received my Vivo Barefoot Evo’s, I did a 35 minute workout consisting of 15 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes outside, which included running in snow and on trails, pavement and concrete. The next day, I completed a good hard 10 mile progressive tempo run, taking my pace down to 6:20 per mile. Overall, I’d have to say the experience both days was awesome. I had a tough time controlling my speed because the Evo allowed me to run effortlessly.
What makes the Evo so great? Well, it is the fact that the Evo doesn’t do much and that’s the beauty. The Evo simply protects the foot and does not interfere with the natural functioning of the foot. The Evo did not interfere or alter the form, technique, and mechanics that I developed through barefoot running. Barefoot running teaches you to land on the ball of your foot with your leg slightly bent to absorb the strain and pressure while allowing the foot to naturally roll from the outside in, taking shorter steps with a light stride while maintaining good posture alignment (I landed so softly in the Evo’s that you couldn’t hear me coming).
In other words, the Evo lets the foot do the work which should be the ultimate goal for any company that develops footwear. To achieve this desired goal, the Evo provides no stabilization support, no arch support and no heel build-up (this is a perfect “zero drop” shoe). The design allows the Arch to act as the stabilization device for the foot as nature intended without undue pressure or stress on the ankle, Plantar muscle or Achilles tendon (I’ve suffered from recent Plantar Fasciitis and I had no PF pain in the Evo).
Photos of the Vivo Barefoot Evo running shoe
Design & Performance of the Evo barefoot running shoe
The Evo has a sleek and cutting edge appearance, and is constructed well (even the lace outlets are durable). The Evo has a sleek mesh micro fiber upper constructed of TPU, with a 4mm of soft rubber cushioning on the sole providing enough protection for any surface including trail running. The design allows for breathability while also providing good warmth for colder temperatures (so far I used the Evo’s in 15F and my feet stayed toasty warm). The 4mm sole provides excellent ground feel and response time. The majority of the 8 oz. weight of the Evo rests in the sole with is very durable and puncture resistant.
The 8 oz. weight is a slight negative especially since I’m accustomed to running in 3.6 oz. racing shoes, so it took a few minutes to adjust to the extra weight but after 5 minutes, I completely forgot about the weight. Even at 8 oz., the Evo is still light enough to be categorized with racing shoes from the weight perspective. Overall, I describe the Evo as a very durable slipper to protect the feet, just as the legendary Gordon Pirie described as the perfect shoe:
The perfect running shoe should be something like a heavy-duty ballet slipper - simply an extra layer of protective material around the foot, like a glove. If you run correctly, you will be able to wear such a shoe and never be injured.
The Vivo Barefoot Evo Fit
The Evo provides a comfortable but not too tight fit. The toe box is sufficient for me with a medium “D” foot. My toes had enough room to move, breathe and grip as needed. The Evo is very flexible as you can bend the toe to the heel. However, one drawback due to the flexibility and micro fiber upper is that the upper pinched on one of my toes causing a small blister — nothing that major as a band-aid prevented any further issues with my run the next day.
Vivo Barefoot Evo Summary
Next to barefoot running, the Evo is the best footwear I’ve ever placed on my feet. The Evo, along with the Feelmax Osma and the soon-to-be-released Vibram Bikila, represent the first and only minimalist footwear specifically designed, from concept to design, for barefoot runners. Up until now, we barefoot runners would find footwear designed for other purposes and adopt them for running but now we have a few companies developing footwear specifically designed for us. Again, this is the beauty of the Evo as it is designed to not interfere with the natural functioning of the foot. This is a truly a case of “less is better.” I will be purchasing a 2nd pair shortly.
The Achilles are available for $140 at retailers that carry Vivo Barefoot footwear or you can grab them online from VivoBarefoot.com.
About the author — Harry Hollines is a barefoot runner and active member in Barefoot Ted's Minimalist Runner Group. I asked Harry to share his initial experiences with the Evo for the Birthday Shoes community as many have inquired about the Evo, particularly in light of my recent review of the Vivo Barefoot Aqua. Check out Harry's blog My Tree of Life or connect with him on twitter @thexgen.