Hey guys! Today we’ve got a duo review time from Jarvis and Kim. We’re reviewing the Unshoes Forager, a women’s closed toe minimalist shoe) and Unshoes Gallivant, a yet-to-be-released men’s closed toe shoe (Unshoes was kind enough to send these shoes to…
Hey guys! Today we’ve got a duo review time from Jarvis and Kim. We’re reviewing the Unshoes Forager, a women’s closed toe minimalist shoe) and Unshoes Gallivant, a yet-to-be-released men’s closed toe shoe (Unshoes was kind enough to send these shoes to us for review). Unshoes is known for their minimalist sandals (the Pah Tempe and the Wokova), so these shoes make for an intriguing extension of the Unshoes line-up.
Will they maintain the same quality and eye for design as their sandals? Check out our review to find out!
What Unshoes Says
Here’s what Unshoes says about the Forager (At the time of review, the Gallivant is not available for sale, but stay tuned from Unshoes for a release date!):
Like our original sandal design, the Unshoes Forager is based on ancient footwear with contemporary design elements. This moccasin inspired shoe is designed as a highly versatile shoe that can perform in a wide variety of situations. It is made of suede and is very flexible and molds to the unique shape of each foot. These shoes are extremely soft, supple, and lightweight which make them some of the most comfortable and minimal shoes out there!
As always, our shoes are flexible, zero drop, and have a foot shaped toe box, and made in the USA. The leather has a break in period and will form to your feet after some wear.
Total Stack Height: 4mm Star Sole + Insole = 8mm Stack Height (Men’s Gallivant) | 5mm Suction Cup Sole + Insole = 10mm Stack Height (Women’s Forager)
Barefoot scale: A good mix of minimalist and comfort for everyday wear. Star sole strikes a nice balance, while the suction cup sole is a good choice for a little extra lift.
Ideal Uses: Everyday wear, urban exploration, kicking around the cabin, a weekend getaway
Comfortable walk cycle
Laces feel a bit fragile
Adjustments are made throughout the shoe, rather than in a specific place
Price: $80-$85 at the time of review for the Forager
You can take a spin around the shoes below.
The Unshoes Forager
The Unshoes Gallivant
Unshoes asked us both—Jarvis and Kim—to review the Forager and Gallivant from the perspective of women and men.
Obviously, folks around here are already very familiar with Jarvis and his wide feet, but we’re going to give a little background on Kim so everyone can get an idea of her feet and what she looks for in a shoe.
I got into minimalist shoes and running two years ago thanks to Jarvis and his constant shoving of “Born to Run” in my face. I prefer to keep my runs on the shorter side—around 5-6 miles—and some of my favorite minimalist footwear include the Vivobarefoot Jing and Unshoes Sandals. I primarily am looking for minimalist shoes to strengthen my feet and allow me to ride my hipster fixie bike around town without any sacrifice in dexterity or comfort. My feet are more of an average shape and with medium arch.
Without any further chit chat, let’s talk about these cute moccasins!
The Forager and Gallivant are Unshoes newest closed toe designs that are aimed to be versatile, comfortable, and zero drop. Here, we will chat about the sole and how it works well with this design, things we would change, and how it feels to walk around with them.
The Forager uses the same sole options as most of Unshoes’ sandals. The rubber used in both the 4mm “Star” and 6mm “Suction cup” soles offer good slip resistance and durability. In our testing of multiple sandals over the years, this compound is very similar to Vibram Newflex in terms of feel, density, weight, and function.
The star sole was excellent for road running and hiking with their sandals and this translates well to this closed toe design. It is a “do-it-all” sole, while the suction cup is slightly more substantial, thicker, and gives a bit more traction.
Between the two, the Star Sole is smoother and this makes for easy heel to toe movements and a comfortable walking cycle. The sole is the same shape as a standard template from Unshoes and has a nice, wide toebox to accommodate many foot shapes. Unlike their sandals, however, the Forager comes in a single template, while the sandals have myriad of shapes for many different types of feet.
In terms of traction, both the Star and Suction Cup soles will be able to tackle anything that a casual wearer can throw at it and then some. A little rain does not stop the enjoyment of these shoes, but I would be careful not to get them wet as the suede and leather materials might not fair to well after too many puddles.
The Suction Cup Sole will give you a bit more traction with the little lips the treads, while the Star Sole will be smoother. Our choice for most activities would be the Star Sole. Even with previous running sandal reviews, Jarvis would always pick the Star Sole for even the toughest hikes. We usually choose flexibility for rocky terrain and technical trails as we can place emphasis on different parts of the foot on, say, a rock and a thinner sandal will allow us to get grip in places that a stiffer sole would now allow.
Since these are casual shoes, it is up to you as to which stack height you would like to enjoy, but our recommendation is the Star Sole. It provides good protection, smoothness, and comfort for a variety of needs and activities.
Fit and Materials
The Forager comes in suede uppers and each is well stitched all around the toe area with string. The foragers have different color choices for the stitching. Kim chose the denim blue and it makes for a very eye-catching and fun combination. The Gallivant are all leather and use a dark string that is a near match for the color of the shoe itself. With the Foragers, you can use a sliding buckle or tie the shoes in your own way as shown in our photos. With the buckle, you can have your laces in the middle or on the sides as you can see on Kim’s feet.
You can also flip down the tongue for a slightly preppy appearance.
The Gallivant are simple ties and lack the fun little buckle. They have a more rustic and classic look, while the Foragers are a modern update to the moc for the more colorful customer.
The simplicity of the design makes both Forager and Gallivant very comfortable and airy.
The Forager lacing actually goes around the entire circumference of your ankle, while the Gallivant ties only above the tarsal area, like a traditional shoe. Because of this, the Forager allows for more customization between the two. However, we wish that we could tighten up the Forager a bit more around the ankle to be a snugger fit. Kim can easily slide a finger around her ankle, even when tightened up. This is not an issue for walking around, but if one needed to bust out a true run, a bit of slippage is expected.
The Forager has only one lacing point, while the Gallivant features two lacing points. So, while the Forager wraps around the ankle a bit, the Gallivant can be tightened up a bit or loosened up just by utilizing both eyelets or just one. In the end, both are more or less the same in terms of fit customization; great for casual wear and some light hiking or hanging out by the campfire, but do not expect to be too active with these casual shoes. If you are looking for casual shoes that can do a bit more, check out Vivobarefoot, Lems, or Soft Star Shoes.
The Forager and Gallivant are more about comfort and are quite fantastic in this regard. The Gallivant is nearly as quick to form around Jarvis’s foot and mold to his foot shape nearly as quickly as the entirely Bullhide Soft Star RunAmoc Dash and it has the same “cool in the heat, but warm in the cold” effect as the Dash because of its leather construction. The Foragers, on the other hand are a bit on the warm side, but will not be as cool as the leather uppers of the Gallivant can provide. In any case, both shoes are excellent for three season wear in New England. If you are looking for a snow shoe, you better check elsewhere.
This shape for the Forager and Gallivant strikes a nice balance and is one of the wider shapes in terms of Unshoes’ template. If you have narrow feet, this might be a bit too wide for you.
Both the Forager and Gallivant feature very well thought out designs and good looks. One thing that Jarvis would like to change in a future version are more substantial and thicker laces. Nothing too crazy, of course, but something that feels a bit more durable than the thin laces that he received with the Gallivant would inspire a bit more confidence in the long-time wear of the shoe.
Kim hopes that more colors will be available in the future to further add a splash of personality to the Forager. If it weren’t for the different lace colors, the Forager might be lost in a sea of casual shoes in terms of looks, but the color really makes them stand out; it would be great to see more colors to add to the fun personality of the shoe and it might convince buyers to mix and match different choices to create a statement.
Overall, we found both the Forager and Gallivant to be excellent casual shoes. Unshoes has always had great sandal designs and it is great to see their keen design philosophies translating to a wonderful pair of kicking around shoes. It is interesting to see Unshoes, which has been known to produce sandals that can do ANYTHING, design something that is more humble and specific to a lifestyle market. In the end, they were successful and we enjoy wearing these shoes for all kinds of weekend errands, shopping trips, and the occasional bike path and hike.
If you are in the market for something casual to wear everyday and hang out with friends, you can find the Forager and Gallivant at the Unshoes website.
Minimalist ultra-marathon runner with flat dinosaur feet.
50K Ultra-Marathon Runner
I hold a PhD in Political Science.
You can follow my photography adventures at jarvischen.zenfolio.com and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/chenjarvis