The TUNEfootwear Penny V2 is the latest shoe in TUNE’s line of lifestyle minimalist shoes. It features a wide toebox, flexible lightweight sole, and preppy looks. It replaces the original Penny (Reviewed here about two years back) with an updated and refined styling. If you are looking for the benefits of minimalist shoes for wear at the office then check out the Penny V2!

About the TUNE Penny

What TUNEfootwear Says:
These casual loafers blend the classic style of traditional men’s footwear with the comfort and gait-humanizing benefits of a barefoot shoe. All styles of TUNEfootwear focus on three essential features needed to make for a truly healthy barefoot loafer. Each pair has a wide FIT in the toe box, a FLAT sole, and a FLEXIBLE base in an effort to help promote a natural gait and allow your foot to function, flex and feel the ground as if it were bare. Gentlemen, we invite you to step in-TUNE with the TUNE’s second edition of it’s most popular style.
Weight — 7.5 oz (6.9 oz without the removable insole) in a Mens size 9.5 Stack Height — 13mm (8mm outsole + 5mm removable insole) Sizing — According to TUNEfootwear, they run small in size. It is suggested that you order their “V2″ products a half size larger than your traditional loafers to ensure a healthy fit. I normally wear a US 9 and Euro 41, so a 9.5 was a great fit for me. Barefoot Rating — The Penny V2 is great for all casual minimalist wearers for everyday wear between runs. Good flexibility and ground feel with and without the removable insole. Comfortable, even when worn barefoot. Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Very flexible
  • Nice combination of full grain, pebbled, and new buck leather
  • Wide toebox
  • Removable insole allows for adjustment in size and groundfeel
  • Elastic loafer strap provides comfort and security
  • You can actually run with these!
Cons
  • A little too much foot volume with the insole removed
Here’s a look at the Tune Penny:

Sole

The Penny V2 from TUNEfootwear has a multi-textured, anatomically-inspired sole that has circle pods where your toes would land, an swirl around the ball of the foot, and some traction bits in between. Overall, the sole has a very expressive and organic look to the treading. If you are used to normal loafers, you will be amazed at how light and flexible a casual shoe can be! You can easily roll the shoe into a ball and they are as light as standard minimalist running shoes. Compared to other minimalist lifestyle shoes (more on that later), this sole is actually more flexible than comparable shoes in the market and will allow for your foot to flex and move naturally throughout the day. Small details of your daily life can be felt through the sole, especially when you take out the 5mm insole. Textures on the floor of the subway, small changes in office carpet material, the ground feel is on par with a pair of Bikila’s or similar minimalist shoes. The Penny V2 does not have the thinnest sole among lifestyle minimalist shoes, but its sole is a good compromise between flexibility, ground feel, and comfort. The rubber has a whisper of softness to the touch and provides a fair amount of grip in wintery conditions. The sole also has the slightest hint of a toe spring to keep small puddles out at the point around the toes where the sole is at its thinnest.

Fit and Materials

The Penny V2 has a preppy look and nice full grain leather throughout its construction. It’s a very nice looking shoe and the leather is soft straight out of the box and will soften up as you wear them more. In the leather world, full grain leather refers to hides that have not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed (as opposed to top-grain or “corrected” leather) to remove imperfections on the surface of the hide. The natural grain of the hide remains, allowing the maximum fiber strength, breathability, and durability. Among all leather types, full-grain is considered the best and most durable. New buck (or Nubuck) leather has been sanded or buffed on the grain side to create a more velvety surface. This leather is very soft to the touch and scratches more easily than full grain leather. Full grain is used in the outside of the Penny V2 and the new buck leather is used for the interior, maximizing durability and comfort. The stitching on the Penny V2 is very well done—including some hand-stitching around the toe box. I could not find any loose threads out of the box and after wearing the V2 for a couple of months, all of the stitching has held up very nicely. The entire shoe is comfortable to wear all day long for roughly three seasons out of the year in New England. There isn’t any extra material for insulation, so they may not be best for winter wear. However, I did wear them for a handful of snowy days in Boston and had zero issues with them (thick socks help!). The leather will keep rain and snow out, provided you aren’t submerging the shoe in puddles or anything of that nature. The top strap (penny strap?) of the V2 is a little different from your typical penny loafer. The strap features a hidden elastic strap, which provides some extra comfort if you have wide feet or high arches and provides roughly an extra ¾ inch of stretch along the top of the foot. The removable insole is constructed of flexible foam and has the dual purpose of changing the ground feel and fit. You can remove it to either enhance the ground feel, flexibility, and the interior volume of the shoe or keep it in for more cushioning, or to help fill in the shoe if you have lower arches or smaller feet. For me, the Penny V2 fits best with the insole taken out. If I wear them with the insole in place, the shoe is a little tight for me. Overall, it’s an easy adjustment for a wide range of foot types.

Comparisons

For comparison, I took walked around a couple of miles with the Penny V2 and the following other shoes:

Vivobarefoot Jay

6.6 oz without the insole. Flexible for its weight—The best looking of the bunch.

Vivobarefoot Dharma

6.6 oz without the insole. Flexible for its weight—Comfortable, but clownlike.

Patagonia Advocate Stitch

4 oz without the insole. Very flexible and lightweight—Best ground feel.

Soft Star Shoes RunAmoc Dash (Bullhide version)

5.5 oz. Very flexible and lightweight—Best ground feel. Reviewed here.

TUNEfootwear Penny V2

6.9 oz without the insole. Very flexible for its weight—“All-Arounder.”
All of these lifestyle shoes are very comfortable to this die-hard minimalist runner. The Dharma, Jay, and Penny V2 have the widest toe box, with plenty of room for my wide feet, while the Advocate was the most cramped, but lightest, of the bunch. The RunAmoc bullhide and Advocate provided the most ground feel and were the most flexible in the group, but neither is waterproof in the slightest (including the soles), so be careful of wet concrete! The Vivobarefoot shoes had the densest soles, which were not quite as flexible as the Penny V2, despite having only a 3mm outsole compared to the 8mm outsole of the Penny V2. Overall, the Penny V2 splits the difference in this comparison, with a good compromise of ground feel, weight, and durability. In terms of looks, they all are good looking, if a bit quirky. The Advocate somewhat resembles booties, the RunAmoc has an interesting elf-like look to them, the Penny V2 is the preppiest of the bunch, the Dharma is somewhat clownshoe-like, and the Jay is probably my favorite in terms of looks. The raised toebox of the Penny V2 and Jay provides the illusion of a narrower shoe (though the toeboxes on the inside are all the same) and they are the most “normal” looking of the bunch. In terms of durability, the Penny V2 has held up the best among the shoes in this comparison. The Bullhide leather of the RunAmoc has started to show the slightest bit of wear around the ball of my foot, the soft “armadillo” sole in the Advocate Stitch has almost worn away around the toes and the ball of the shoe, and the Vivobarefoot “V-Life” soles have started to let water in. The Penny V2 by comparison has shown very little wear. Obviously, this is the newest shoe in my collection, but the rubber appears to be quite durable and the extra mm of rubber in the outsole will allow the shoes to last a little longer than its thinner brethren. Regardless, its flexibility is on par with the 3mm soles of the Vivobarefoot shoes, but falls short of the RunAmoc and Advocate Stitch.

Summary

The Penny V2 is an excellent option for minimalist lovers looking to take their barefoot love to a formal, office, or dress setting. It’s preppy, yet comfortable; flexible, yet durable; and an all around fantastic shoe for everyday wear that can double as dress wear. Its has quality materials and its looks can easily fly under the radar as a barefoot dress shoe: it does not scream “barefoot”, but provides barefoot benefits. You can find the Tune Penny on their website [MSRP $99].