Barefoot Shoes

Vivo Barefoot Evo Barefoot Running Shoe Review

A review and first look at the new barefoot running shoe from Terra Plana, the Vivo Barefoot Evo, which provides a minimalist shoe with no arch support that fosters a natural running form.

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

Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 1 of 6 Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 2 of 6 Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 3 of 6
Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 4 of 6 Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 5 of 6 Vivo Barefoot running shoe Evo in yellow 6 of 6

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.

Pricing, Availability

The Achilles are available for $140 at retailers that carry Vivo Barefoot footwear or you can grab them online from

About the authorHarry 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.

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36 replies on “Vivo Barefoot Evo Barefoot Running Shoe Review”

Did you wear socks while wearing these shoes? I am not sure if you mentioned it or not. Maybe I missed it. Great review however. Sucks you had to put a bandaid on. I have had to do that on many many shoes to prevent rubbing (not the vff though).

Great review! I have been waiting for a review since I first heard about the EVOs last November. They seem very well thought out and constructed. they definitely did their homework. My only grip is the price. I could never justify paying $160 for shoes, especially minimalist shoes that approximate barefoot running. It is counter-intuitive. I’m sure this complaint will be echoed numerous times no matter how good the shoes are. Despite that, I’m glad to hear you liked the shoes.

Here’s where I admittedly get a bit hypocritical: I can’t wait to get my feet into the Bikilas, even with the expected $100 price tag.

These look very cool and I would love to get a pair, but $160. Seems a little pricey. We’ll see. Right now they don’t have my size in the colors I want anyway.

I actually like this shoe and hope that other manufactures follow with similar offerings, but I am offended at the price. I love vff’s too but I find the upward rising trend of cost to be off putting and elitist. I did not learn better running form to pay more money and join some country club.

great review on the evos. i imagine i’ll find myself choosing between the evos and the bikilas later this year once both products are out and substantial information/reviews has been released. as i’m sure many are, i’m on a budget though and can’t go buying expensive minimalist shoes willy nilly. price tag is definitely high on the evos. i’d highly recommend taking a look at the New Balance 100’s for those out there looking for a minimalist trail racing flat. while not as ultra-minimalist as the vibrams/evo, it’s incredibly light and great on tough trail conditions. best part? you can find them for as low as $50 on discontinued colors.

While the shoes look great, I will be sticking to aqua socks and water shoes until these companies can figure out how to sell their shoes for less than $70+ per pair. Minimalist footwear shouldn’t be maximally priced. I realize most of these companies except Vibram are new and don’t have a lot of capital to work with. Hopefully they will learn to create a lower price point as their business grows.

@Andrea: Yes, I did wear thin socks on the first couple runs. But, now I will also try removing the insole.

Yes, $160 is pricey but of course the shoe business, is a business, whether minimalist or not. And, like the iPhone, if you are first to market with a unique product, you can charge top dollar. So far, it’s worked as Terra sold out of the first allotment of Evo’s. With that said, there will be competition in the marketplace in the next 3-6 months that may drive down the price on the high end.

I give Terra credit for developing a shoe specifically designed for running and this may open the flood gates to a new minimalist line of running shoes.

Returned them immediately after wearing them for one day. Size length was proper but the upper forefoot crinkled and caused irritating discomfort on my upper feet, just aft of the toes. If you are a double EE or wider, the fit is too snug. The toes feel compressed.The uppers around both inner ankles had rubbing issues that were also irritating. Terra Plana would do better using uppers that ZOOT uses. The sole was great, flexible on all planes and puncture resistant. The color and style were also trendy and good looking. But when it comes to running shoes, I go for comfort and minimalism. I’m sticking to my Five Finger Vibrams, which I run half-marathons in. Much more affordable, without the problems the 1st Generation EVO’s have, at least for my feet and requirements. Perhaps the 2nd Generations EVO’s will have the bugs worked out. Nice Try but not there yet, in my opinion.

A double EE or wider foot could be a problem with the Evos. I’m a medium “D,” so I have no problems. The rubbing has been an issue for several people I correspond with that use the Evo although I found a cheap $5 solution to that which is placing Moleskin inside the toe box of the shoe (on the shoe and not the foot) and adding Moleskin to the arch of the shoe. All rubbing has stopped for me.

I also like the VFFs but they don’t work in cold weather (I live in Colorado) and the EVO keeps my feet warm in cold weather. With a traditional toe box, the toes can generate heat and you can add a toe warmer when it’s really cold.

Still the best footwear I’ve ever used. It would be a tie with the KSO other than the fact that the EVO works in cold weather. Plus, I like the fact that other folks just think the EVOs are regular running shoes.

I’m sure Evo will make some tweaks in the next version.


I love these, but seriously…PRICE? I do believe $150 a pop is a tad much. I think I will continue to run my VFFs and continue to buy cross country shoes and rip out the padding (and there isn’t much) at 1/3 of the cost. Love what you are doing Vivo, but can’t justify price. I’d love to own a pair but not willing to try at that price – they better be pretty amazing.

Harry, thank you for your review of the EVOs.

Do you happen to have any experience with the EVOs outside of the running tests you have already conducted? I also use my VFFs at the gym during weight/cross training. I was wondering if you though the EVOs would also perform well in this role.

I’m also in the too expensive boat. At a 20% reduction I would jump on these, but $160 is a bit steep.

(Vibram Foot Fred) 🙂

Vibram Foot Fred, sorry for the late response. I have over 300 miles on my Evo’s and they barely show any wear and tear but I’ve only used them for running. In fact, I don’t like walking in them. They are great for running but I don’t see doing anything else in them. From my point of view, they are purely running shoes. For what it’s worth, I’m setting PRs in the Evo’s.


The EVO’s are really interesting and I’m seriously think I’m gonna buy myself a pair.

What about size?

Normally (with “ordinary” running shoes) I step up 1-2 sizes since feet tend to get bigger after a couple of hours of running.

With VFF I heard you should step down one size to make them tight on your feet.

But what are you rexperience with the EVO’s and other Terra Plana shoes?

I doubt I can find EVO’s in a store in Sweden and if I order them online I’d prefer if I was able to find the right size on my first try without needing to return them.

I just bought a pair of the (just-released) SoftStar Run-a-Mocs, their running specific moc. Looking forward to see how this stacks up against the Evo.

Hi Guys,
I wanted to give a head’s up to anyone who is considering ordering a set of EVO’s…I am in the middle of a bad experience and I wish someone would have given me the ‘head’s up’, so I wanted to do so for you.

I ordered a pair of EVO’s. It turns out they are sized big, so I needed a smaller size than my normal shoe. I returned the shoe for the correct size and they are so popular that they are out of stock in most sizes. The new ones are not to be delivered to them until the middle of July at the earliest.

The biggest bummer, however, is that the store will not refund the order and does not have any in stock. They only offer a store credit. Here’s the deal, the ‘web’ store lists their return policy as eligible for refunds if the shoes are not worn. (Check. I didn’t wear them.)

I knew these shoes were popular, so when I ordered, I called the phone number provided on the Terra Plana webstore to make sure they were in stock when I ordered. Phil was happy to take the order.

Here’s where it gets tricky, the phone number on the website calls the New York Store directly (without making any kind of distinction between the “web” store and the “New York” store). When Terra Plana shipped the shoes to me they were marked as from the “New York” store, and not the “Web” store, and they stamped on the receipt that they were not eligible for a return, only credit.

Then it got really complicated. They cannot exchange my shoes for the correct size because they don’t have any. They will not refund the purchase because it is against store policy. End result…I have to wait another 10 weeks minimum to get a pair of these (and I’ve already waits 3 weeks trying to get this worked out)

So I am out of my new running shoes and shipping both to me and back to Terra Plana (an extra $22), and then I have to pay shipping a third time for the Correct shoes (another $12) after they arrive sometime in July.

If you are like me and don’t have $175 (and another $30 or so in shipping) sitting around to be held up most of the running season, try to order a smaller size/or at lease ask if they have they next smaller size available. If not, you may get into a bind where you will have to wait a few months just like me.

This sucks because I have heard so many good things about the company. I just cannot believe they are being zoo stubborn. I’ve even emailed (and received responses from) Sabra, the US Director, and they just don’t seem to care.

Like I said at the beginning, I wish someone would have tipped me off about this so that I would not be in this position. Order carefully!

Gustaf, I have to admit that the sizing is tricky. First of all, they don’t offer half sizes so that’s the beginning of the problem. I ordered true to size (Men’s 11, EU 45). My foot is exactly 10.7 so if I dropped down a full size to a 10, that may be too tight and then the problem is pushing the toes to far into the toe box, especially running downhill. I have a little room in the Size 11’s but I just wear a slightly thicker sock if I’m running downhill, otherwise, I’m fine and the extra room allows me toe to expand if they so desire. This is only if I remove the insole. If I leave the insole then the fit is perfect for me in the size 11, however, I don’t like the insole.

It really depends how close you are to the larger size or the smaller size. As a 10.7 foot, I was closer to the size 11. Maybe if I were a say size 10.3, I might go with the size 10.

Hope that helps.


Just had my first run in the Evo’s. I have been running exclusively in VFF for 7 months (KSO’s, and more recently, the Bikala’s). My first impression of the Evos – I love them! Very comfortable! No hot spots, no rubbing (as some previous reviewers have alluded to), no discomfort. I wore them with socks, which was a little bit odd for me (I don’t normally wear socks with the VFFs). Compared to the VFFs, the Evo’s allowed my toes to lay more natually in the shoe, rather than being forced to separate into individual slots. I ran on blacktop, gravel, grass, and sidewalks during my initial Evo run – I did not feel as much of the ground as I normally do in the VFFs. Since I typically do mostly trail runs, I think the Evos will prove to be more comfortable than the VFFs. Though the Bikalas are designed for running on all types of surfaces, the occassional sharp rock or gravel will cause a good amount of discomfor. My sense is that the Evo’s will provide more protection. Some bare footrunners may like this more, others will not. For me, I am mostly interested in proper form than in strictly running barefoot. The Evos weigh slightly more than the VFFs, but I did not notice. Again, they were very comfortable. I wear a size 10.5 street shoe, 43s in VFFs, and went with the 44 in the Evo. The size fit fine. Overall, my first run in the Evos was great – I am excited about the 12 mile trail run this Sunday. I will be happy to report back on how it goes.

My only issue with these shoes is the padded achilles support. I was going to make the switch from vff sprints but am having second thoughts about it now because the back of the shoes rub so badly and I’m nervous about taking the knife to shoes that cost $160 a pop…any ideas? There is no place for such a support in minimalist shoes as far as I am concerned.


You can 1 of 2 things to address the Achilles padding issue. First, you can add a strip of Moleskin to the back of the shoe which I did to eliminate any rubbing on the Achilles. If that doesn’t work, you can wear thin socks that cover the Achilles area as opposed to lower socks that only cover the heel area and expose the Achilles.

This is still an issue with the Evo. The blisters it causes on the toes due to a lack of any toe spring, and the rubbing on the Achilles. They still have work to do in improving the model.

However, I addressed both issues with toe caps and moleskin, however, I have over 700 miles on my first pair so they are extremely durable and while the moleskin and toe caps are a bit inconvenient it’s still the best running shoe I’ve ever used. I expect to get over 1,000 miles on a single pair so that makes the $160 price tag reasonable in my opinion.

The good news is they will have to improve the model because there will be a lot of competition in the minimalist running shoe market starting with the new models hitting the market from multiple shoe companies in March, 2011.


Just wanted to give everyone a heads up…Terra Plana is offering a generous coupon code for 25% off your order from their website. Just go to and enter “BARERUNUNI” at checkout. Feel free to share the coupon code!

Got this info from


Barefoot Gator

I’ve been running in the Evo’s for about a month now and really like them. Here are my comments:


– I really like this shoe. I will buy another pair when my current ones wear out.

– I had been running in VFF KSOs and liked them as well, but the toe layout on the KSOs didn’t match my feet which made my feet hurt. These are better for me because the toes can go where they want to go.

– They feel great on my feet and are lightweight


– They are expensive, especially for what you get. I got the black / red ones and the red color isn’t even consistent around the side of the shoe. This isn’t a big concern for me, but they look (don’t feel) cheaply made in my opinion.

– As many others have reported the colors bleed A LOT. I ruined about 7 pairs of socks that now have black hexagons on them. Again, I’m not too worried about aesthetics, but if you have expensive white socks they will be patterned after you wear these shoes. I might try washing my next pair in a washing machine prior to wearing them, but you would think Terra Plana would use ink that doesn’t run on a $170 pair of shoes.

Regarding sizing, I wear an 11US Mens normal shoe, and a 11.5US Mens running shoe. I have wider feet and ordered a 44EU and they fit perfectly.


I tried these and was eager to like them.

However, I had the same problem that others have mentioned of the top of the shoe pressing down on the tops of my toes as it was bent.

The ‘outer’ material of the shoe above the toes is thick enough that this was ‘really’ uncomfortable. No way I could keep them.

Wish the same shoe had a much thinner, more supple material above the toe box.

I just got these shoes after trying out the Vibram Five Fingers at Sporteve in L.A.

I almost bought the Vibram Five Fingers, but was sold on these more expensive Vivo Barefoot Evo running shoes after trying them on at the Store and running a little bit.

The Evo, in my opinion is a better fit, really light and is just enough to protect your feet and get out of the way and let you do the job you bought them to do – effortless barefoot running.

I realize 160 is a little too much to say the least, but you should think of this as an investment in your feet and health, not in a running shoe. You are paying for the technology (patented) and possible health and performance benefits.

I met a 70 year old man at a running store in San Francisco when I was shopping for my marathon running shoes earlier this year. He had run 35 marathons and when I learned that, I asked him if he had any advice for me.

He said “Get the best running shoes you can afford. Don’t cut corners when buying running shoes. It is the most important thing you can do.”

I have been running in the terra plana vivo barefoot for the last month because it was getting too cold to wear the five fingers. I’ve been having a problem with the back putting a lot of pressure on my heel causing a weird dull pain there and on my achilles tendon. I was wondering if anyone’s experienced this and if I just have to break them in.

Sarah H

I’ve been putting these shoes through the ringer over the past month and I must say I am deeply impressed. While they don’t impress me much as a trail shoe, they are a wonderful substitute for everything I’d normally use my VFFs for, weekly 10 mile tempo runs on the road and track (speed) work. To me the feel like a slightly thicker VFF KSO but w/o the toe pockets and with substantially better grip. Plus it’s nice that I can chose from my deep arsenal of socks to customize depending on the weather (Goretex, thinner, or thicker…) The price is quite shocking, but I got them 50% off so pretty reasonable there. Will be looking forward to the Merrell Barefoot shoes to come out soon…

I am really thinking about buying them right now since is having a sale and they are only 97$. It’s a 2 days sale so I’m not sure if anyone on here gets later comments but if you make it, it’s a membership website that is free and sends you two day sales on outdoor, running, and biking equipment.

I loved my Evos for the first month. They have been the first shoe to fit well for me (I’ve had a pair of VFFs and tried the Merrell ones). Unfortunately, I developed tears in the upper material where the shoe bends while running or walking. This happened in less than 2 months. It was especially frustrating because I always avoid obstacles and snags, and don’t run on trails.
Vivo told me to e-mail them to fix the problem, but they have since contacted the US Postal Service to try to get them to replace it. Not too impressed with this, as the shoes arrived in good shape. I think it was design or material problems.

Update to my Evo complaint. I had misread their e-mail they were forwarding it to their US office, not the US Post Office. They were apologetic and are sending me a replacement.

Definitely had a good customer service experience!

I bought these for trail running after running in vibrams for 6 months. Once I solved the blister problem on the front toes with moleskin on the shoe I ran in them for 3 months. Hard to prove but I beleive the high back above the heel really irritated my achilles tendon leading to chronic swelling. I switched back to vibrams and bought a pair of new balance minimus and the problem went away. Since they are not cheap shoes I recently decided to operate and have cut the high back off. Suprisingly its not too noticeable wear a folded the clth over and glued it down. Now I just need to run in them to see if it helped.

@Omar Nerves – for the toes moleskin on the shoe at the offending spot plus socks though the material may also soften up with use. Its cold now so l am running in socks. I did get blisters at first but not since adding moleskin.

My aunt bought this shoe and had the same problem with the crease hurting her toes. Something that has worked for her is tying the shoe looser. It still stays on her foot, but the crease doesn’t hurt anymore.

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