Barefoot Shoes

Vivo Barefoot One Review

Vivobarefoot released several new models in 2013, and being the owner of several Vivo shoes, I was excited to have the opportunity to test out the new One. I was curious to see how the Ones would stack up against my existing lineup of Vivobarefoot shoe…

Vivo Barefoot released several new models in 2013 and being the owner of many Vivo shoes, I was excited to have the opportunity to test out the new “One,” and thanks to Vivo Barefoot sending me a pair to test, that’s what I’ll be doing today. I was curious to see how the Ones would stack up against my existing lineup of Vivo Barefoot shoes, and having worn them everyday for a few weeks now, I can safely say these might be my new favorite style from Vivo Barefoot. Read on for more details, photos, and my thoughts on the One.

Vivo Barefoot!

I am a big fan of Vivo Barefoot shoes, so I must mention that bias right away. But you’d be wrong if you think this bias won’t keep me from writing a fair critique of their shoes. It almost makes me even more critical. They’re almost all I wear anymore, so I’ve come to expect certain things from the brand, and I’ve returned a few models that I was very disappointed with (and their website moderator never posted my critiques). Of all the non-toed barefoot shoes, I’ve found Vivo Barefoot shoes to be the thinnest, widest, and most comfortable barefoot feeling shoes for my feet. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I own 10 pairs in a mix of casual and athletic styles. The EVO II has been one of my main everyday casual shoes for the past few years (mixing in my VFF’s and huaraches of course), so I found myself often comparing the features of the One against the EVO. I own the EVO in 4 different colors, and as a couple of my EVOs aren’t looking so fresh anymore, I wondered if the One could replace them in my everyday rotation. To be honest, I can usually always find things to nitpick, but I really had a tough time complaining with these.


The pair I received were red with blue soles and blue/red laces. I received several comments at work about my “bright” shoes, but everyone seemed to like them. I personally think the layout of the mesh and paneling gives it a nice “sneaker” look. I might actually prefer this more traditional sneaker look over the EVO style. The walls are thin but soft, and it cuts well below the ankle. The style itself looks great and can be worn well with shorts or pants.


I generally wear my laced Vivos a little loose to allow easy slip on and off. The way the One upper wraps the foot, it definitely feels narrower than my other Vivos (but it might just be a feeling with the upper). The same slightly loose feeling in the EVO has the eyelets less than an inch apart, whereas the One laces are stretched really wide (almost 2 inches apart). I don’t think I’d have the lace length to use the uppermost eyelets. That said, it still feels like there’s room for a slightly wide foot, and it fits my foot comfortably. The upper is very flexible and collapsible. It is almost entirely a breathable mesh material with TPU laminate strips strategically placed for structural support of the upper. I’ve had no problems with this design, but the laminate strips near the big toe do wrinkle up a bit during plantar flexion (when you roll up onto your toes). A friend of mine picked up a pair and had some painful rubbing issues there as the “wrinkle” pushed down painfully on her big toe. I’ve had other shoes that do this at the flexpoint, and I can feel where it happens here but have no issue with it. So, it may just depend on how your foot sits in the shoe and where it decides to flex. I also wear my barefoot shoes with socks, but the upper does have a soft lining on the inside which feels nice against a bare foot. As with most Vivo Barefoot shoes, the toe box is wide and gives my toes plenty of room to spread out. The depth of the toe box is similar to the aqua lite, but feels much less constricting due to the mesh upper. The mesh, as well as the flexible sole, allows the toes to easily extend upward and move more freely than my feet did in the aqua lite. The “heel cup” (if you can call it a cup) of the shoe is also mesh but is slightly reinforced and has a soft crinkly sound when you push it. I really like how they did this, because it feels structured and supportive on the heel, but is still flexible and can completely collapse down to where it connects with the rubber. I did notice one problem right away with the insoles (thankfully it was only temporary). Generally, the insoles have always meshed perfectly with the shoes. This time, they were bubbled up in the middle as if they weren’t sized right. Interestingly, this also happened with two different sizes of the Synth Hiker boots recently, but I thought it was an issue with the boots themselves as they were very poorly sized (but that’s for a different review). I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that this same insole problem has happend on the last 3 pairs of Vivo Barefoots I’ve tried, but I’m definitely beginning to think something’s up. Thankfully the insoles flattened down under foot just fine, but for the first several days it felt like they wanted to ride out with my foot as they lifted up. Eventually the insoles started staying down and now lie flat in the shoe just like normal.
The insoles initially "bubbled" up in the middle.  It felt fine underfoot and stayed flat after a few days.
The insoles initially “bubbled” up in the middle. It felt fine underfoot and stayed flat after a few days.
One of my favorite aspects of Vivo Barefoot shoes is how well they are designed to be worn with or without the insoles. The materials and stitching are perfected in a way that the insole is not needed, and going this way gives you an extremely barefoot feel. The inserts themselves generally mesh so well with the shoe that it doesn’t feel like an insole. And when removing the insole, it almost looks like the shoe was never meant to have one. It works perfect with or without, which isn’t always the case with removable insoles.
Designed to be worn with or without insoles.
Designed to be worn with or without insoles.


The Ones size similarly to my other Vivo Barefoots. For reference, I wear a size 44 in all Vivo Barefoots and 43 in all Vibram FiveFingers. My feet are very flat, 10.625 Inches (27 cm) long, and size halfway between a D and EE. Vivo Barefoot recently changed their website’s sizing information from EU to US sizing. The website tells me that for a EU 44, I need a US 10.5. Oddly, the shoes still show up with only the EU size 44 labeled. I guess this is helpful for expanding the brand to new U.S. customers, but existing customers might be confused.


Rolling up (with insole inside) to show the flexibility of the shoe!
Rolling up (with insole inside) to show the flexibility of the shoe!
The One has the Vivo Barefoot “Road” sole, which has a “two-toned” hexagonal pattern. It is designed for road and treadmill running, but I’ve primarily worn it as a casual everyday shoe. The 3 mm sole is very thin and noticeably different than the Multi-Terrain sole. The short jaunts I have taken in them have been comfortable, and if you’re looking for an extremely thin running shoe, this might be perfect. I’ve primarily worn them with the insoles to provide just a tiny bit more cushion under foot, but it doesn’t feel like it adds much more than 0.5-1 mm. The shoes are extremely flexible and comfortable. You can see how tightly they can roll up (with insert still in). The Ones are flexible enough to roll up easily and on par with the most flexible FiveFingers.
The Vivo Barefoot "On-Road' sole is 3mm thick and features hexagonal dimples for traction.
The Vivo Barefoot “On-Road’ sole is 3mm thick and features hexagonal dimples for traction.
The rubber sole has pretty good grip and seems like it will wear pretty well. The soles of my other Vivos have been extremely long lived, and only one has shown slight separation of the upper and sole materials. How well the Ones will hold up over time remains to be seen, but I don’t foresee any problems. Again, really searching for things to nitpick here, I noticed the tied laces had a habit of loosening up. Initially, I would have to give a tug on the lace loops every day or two to keep them snug. The laces are a flat padded oval lace, which is similar to other Vivo laces although I’ve never noticed an issue before. Two weeks in now and it’s no longer a noticeable problem.


The Ones cost $115 (Zappos also has them), and I personally think they are worth that price as they feel like they will hold up really well. If red and navy aren’t your thing, it looks like you can buy the black or white “clinic” versions, which I think were originally only given to people who completed the Vivo Barefoot training clinics. I did see one colorway recently in a flash sale on The Clymb and LeftLaneSports sale sites, so if you’re already a free member, be sure to check the emails to know when Vivo Barefoots pop up on sale (if you need to sign up, you can use my invite link for the clymb here: and/or leftlane sports here). They tend to go quickly on the flash sales, so you have to act fast when you see them.


All shoe brands have a distinct feel to them and Vivo Barefoot is no different. If you already own a pair, the One will bring that same friendly and familiar barefoot feel in a slightly jazzed up package. The sole is very thin and the look and structure of the shoe really allows it to pass as both a running and/or casual shoe. If you’ve never tried Vivo Barefoot shoes, these would be one of a few I’d definitely recommend to make a great intro pair. And, if you’re at all hesitant about the thin sole, the slightly thicker EVO line might be a great way to get you going. I still love my EVO II, but honestly, I’ve enjoyed the One so much that I continue to grab them every day as I head out the door. I usually find myself generally ending reviews with a recommendation to check out the shoe if you’re looking for some specific characteristic. For these, I have to just say that if you consider yourself at all a barefoot minimalist, you should put these on your feet right away. For those looking for a flat, wide, thin shoe that looks great and can pass for more occasions than your huraches or VFF’s, I don’t know if it gets much better than this. Anyone out there have the Ones? Let us know how they’re working for you in the comments!

By Philip

In 2009, I switched to "barefoot" shoes after years of bunion and arch pain from my "normal" shoes. I wanted shoes that let my feet feel and move as they do barefoot. I have a master's degree in exercise physiology and love discussing the benefits of minimal footwear. I have also run tech clinics teaching retail associates and customers about Vibram FiveFingers shoes and transitioning to minimal footwear.

33 replies on “Vivo Barefoot One Review”

After years of reading how people will “loose” or are “loosing” (opposite of winning – should be lose/losing), it’s funny to see it now going the other way with “wear my laced Vivos a little lose”.

I found that the One pusehed down painfully on my big toe as well. Really wanted to give these a go, but had to return it.

@Run, Bich run,

Bummer that you ran into that issue with the big toe. It seems pretty variable on where it decides to fold and just might not sit well on some feet.

I haven’t had a chance to wear the stealths, but they look like they might fold better over the toes. I’ve never felt the “push in” with the Evo’s either.

Great to hear! Sounds like they might hold up well over time.

I really wanted to like the pair of Vivos I got, but after not much wear the soles got cracks and started falling apart. And I’m not hard on shoes either.

So as positive as your review sounds I can’t bring myself to pay over a hundred bucks for something I’m afraid will just fall apart again.

I’ve owned a pair of Vivobarefoot “The One” for 6 months now. I use them exclusively for road and treadmill running (I also have a pair of the Vivobarefoot Neo Trail which I use exclusively for running on trails, gravel, etc).

I really love them (they have supplanted my VFF Bikila LS as my main running shoes).

I have a question regarding different Vivobarefoot models with similar names…

Mine are named “The One” (Vivobarefoot model page here:;

The model reviewed herein is named “One” (Vivobarefoot model page here:;

And there is a third named “One Training Clinic” (Vivobarefoot model page here:

Any idea as to why three separate named models/products and what (if any) differences there are between the three? The specs listed on the Vivobarefoot pages for “One” and “One Training Clinic” models look identical and there are no such specs listed for “The One”. Could this be the result of conflict with Altra “The One” zero-drop shoe, and, thus, Vivobarefoot was compelled to change the name (but little or nothing else) from “The One” to “One”?


I totally understand that fear, but I’m surprised to hear that issue with the sole. I’m curious what model it was. I’ve almost worn through a couple of the soles from wearing them so much and never had issues with them cracking or falling apart.

From what I’ve seen that sounds pretty unusual. Did you contact them about it?


They’re the Lucy Lites. I didn’t contact Vivo because I bought them through Zappos. I’ve returned shoes to Zappos before, but it was such an ordeal having to contact the manufacturer and get emails saying they would reimburse Zappos, I didn’t want to deal with it again.
Picture of one of the cracks ->

Lesson learned.

Great review! Aside from the sole (like many of my other Vivobarefoot shoes) not staying glued on the edges, I do find the fit and feel of the One’s to be perfect for my “bulgy” feet. I just wish this type of last and width was something Vivobarefoot did with ALL their different soles. I fit the multi terrain sole of the Evo line okay, but it’s not as perfect for me as this new road sole of the One since it’s slightly narrower. Such a shame. Love the feel, breathability, & look…just wish they’d improve on build quality and diversity of widths with different soles.


They are the same shoes, but were released at different times (when companies make new colorways of the same model). If you look at the product codes, the first webpage was labeled as “The One” and has model’s 300008-2 and -3. These were the original colors released in the 2013 catalog.

I thought the clinic versions were originally to be given to people who completed the Vivobarefoot sponsored training clinics, but they seem to also be for sale now (I don’t think they were when the One’s were first released). They were also in the original catalog and you can see on the webpage they are model numbers 30000-4 and -5.

The colorway I reviewed is one of the newest color models (30000-6 and -7). I don’t know whether they had to change because of Altra’s shoe (I don’t know that “The” really changes it) or maybe perhaps someone just labeled the webpage for these colors differently. None of their other shoes are labeled “The…” Not really sure, but will report back if I find anything out.


I understand the issues dealing with Vivobarefoot customer service and the hassle that would have been.

Thanks for the photo. I’m really surprised at that. My only thought is that it was a fluke or might be specific to that sole. The only one I have with that sole is a “dressy” shoe so I don’t wear it very often and haven’t had a problem. I think the multi-terrain and the new road soles are better designed, although I haven’t heard of others having problems with the aqua/lucy lites.

I’d hate to see you give up a good barefoot experience due to one bad experience, although I totally understand the risk of future disappointment and money factor. If you ever want to try them again, I would say look on those sale sites to get them for $40-60 (leftlane has a couple models right now).

And, if it’s any consolation, none of my shoes have fallen apart like that with lots of wear and tear on them. Good luck!

Going to be sending my pair back too, not quite big enough for my massive feet. My foot is 9.5” long and width is EE, I bought these in size 45 in case anyone with massive feet like me is reading. Surprisingly it was quite close, and whilst my foot has been too tall to fit in shoes in the past, these didn’t have that problem.

With any luck I can get Vivo to pay return shipping as they sent the shoes in the wrong color. I’m also not too impressed with their email alert system, they say they email you up to two days after the order whether it has either been shipped or delayed. I was told they shipped today, a full 10 days after the order was placed(and they showed up today.) Unless they found a way to get a UPS Ground shipment to get from CA to CT in less than 6hrs they should have notified me sooner. I was considering cancelling and ordering elsewhere in fear they were on backorder.

I wish you guys would write an article on barefoot shoes for those with EE feet in the future, Zappos only lists NB shoes in that width and I’m sure there is more selection than that.


Sorry to hear they didn’t work out for you. These are definitely a little more snug around my foot than my EVO’s, but being a little under 2E I’m still okay.

The problem with reviewing “wides” is that I don’t know many minimal shoe companies that actually distinguish widths. Many of them seem to adopt a one size fits most approach (and unfortunately that doesn’t always inlcude 2E).

You mentioned New Balance, and that might be a good option, because my feet were swimming in the wides I’ve tried. Merrell wides might also be a good option (although I personally didn’t like the shape of outsole).

Perhaps Justin has more thoughts on “wides.” Good luck.

Thanks for another great review. The Evo II is my “go-to” shoe for road running and bumming around, with my VFFs mixed in there periodically – I also wear Breatho Trails for trail running and Gobi boots for work, so I guess I’m a Vivo Barefoot fan. I’ve been curious how the One compares to the Evo and this is exactly what I was looking for.

I guess my next purchase should be some of these — too bad the Evos are so resilient, though: I’ve got nearly 300 miles on each of my current pairs and they’re still going strong.

Good to hear some postive on this shoe,
I am a heavy user of the Ra and Gobi as casual and business shoes and thought I would give the one a go as a sneaker.
in my case it was a big disappointment.
The rubber bands across the mesh cut into my feet,and restricted my forefoot and toes from splaying properly, probably in part due to the much narrower in the toebox than my other vivos, and the constructioon quality lead to the sole and the upper starting to come apart within a few weeks.
The owner of the store told me that they had huge issues with the vivo one and advised me to get the stealth in stead, which by all accounts is a better shoe i think, above all it has wider toebox, or so it feels at least.

“The Ones size similarly to my other Vivo Barefoots. For reference, I wear a size 44 in all Vivo Barefoots and 43 in all Vibram FiveFingers. My feet are very flat, 10.625 Inches (27 cm) long, and size halfway between a D and EE. Vivo Barefoot recently changed their website’s sizing information from EU to US sizing. The website tells me that for a EU 44, I need a US 10.5.”

hmm, i really don’t get it, my 9 pairs of vivos are all 42/9(us), because my foot is 27cm long.. and regarding their german site, where a cross-reference sizing guide is present, these three values belong together, so i see here some odd confusion. 🙂

@Doug – Thanks, hope it helped. I get what you mean about the resiliency of the Evos. I get a bad look when I mentioned wanting a new style because despite alot of wear in the soles, my Evos are still perfectly good.

@Thomas – Sorry to hear the One’s didn’t work for you. They don’t restrict my foot, but they definitely feel more snug than my other vivos. I also love the Ra and Gobi, but I had my own disappointment with the Aqua Lites (just too shallow and constricting on the toes). Hope the stealths work for you!

@David – Not sure about the difference. My foot is 27cm and the shoes themselves are about 28.5cm or so (for size 44), so my toes are about a thumbs width from the end of the shoe. For me, I’ve found the 44’s the most comfortable for my foot width and toe freedom. I would say they size similarly to all my other vivos (actually being a tiny bit more snug), so I would think whatever you normally wear would be good.

On my first (and only so far) pair of Vivos, I immediately removed the insoles because, although they fit my Aqua Lites, they slid back after walking for a few minutes. However, the black fabric underneath wore out quite quickly. First the toes and heals, and eventually I just ripped it all the way out exposing the white puncture proof woven material. Have you experienced this with any of your Vivos? I have cotton, wool, and synthetic socks.

I really like the look of the Ones but I want them to last too. Thanks!

Jack – I’ve never had a problem with the issue you described, but I’ve also never had an issue with the insoles sliding around. I usually don’t remove them (primarily to increase the life of the shoes). I’ve taken the insoles out in only one pair to make them more roomy, but I don’t wear that pair very often. I have definitely worn through some insoles, but they kept the black fabric underneath in great condition. If you can keep the insoles in place, they should last really well. Perhaps some double sided tape or tacky light adhesive spray on the bottom of the insoles would help?

Good luck!

Thanks Philip. I found a store in LA that had some Vivo’s in stock. They didn’t have the Ones, but I noticed that there was a big improvement on the quality of the insoles over what came with my Aqua Lites. They were much more grippy and they were made out of a higher quality foam. Mine are just a low quality foam with a fabric cover on top. I already liked Vivos, and I’m happy to find that they have remedied my only complaint with my current pair.

I wonder if there is a new version on its way. I see quite a few sizes out of stock amongst several online retailers. Surely Christmas rush has been restocked where possible. Also many reductions in the ones on German sites, just as you’d expect with an outgoing line.


I personally haven’t had many issues with my shoes and I’ve got alot of them. I’ve worn down the soles of my 4 EvoII’s pretty well and only one pair has finally come unglued at the ball of the foot. The One’s I reviewed here have just recently seen the sole separate from the upper, but it’s only a small gap about 2 mm round where it flexes at the ball of the foot, and I’ve worn these things pretty hard. So I wouldn’t relate these to things to the overall quality, but I have heard from other’s who have had problems.

I have had some issues with bad construction and sizing, but more the cut and shape of things being off, not glue or stitching issues. One of the complaints in that reddit thread was about not enough toe room, which is weird considering Vivo used to have really wide and deep forefoots with lots of room to wiggle around. Now I’ve noticed that several of the newer styles have very shallow toeboxes, which is uncomfortable for me. That’s not really a quality issue but a design issue.

There is another thing in that thread that I agree with. Vivobarefoot USA is a pain to deal with. I’ve had many emails go unanswered and trying to talk to someone on the phone who knows anything about the shoes can be a hassle. And this is because it’s not actually Vivobarefoot. In the US, they are run through a distributor who also deals with other products/brands.

I would still recommend the brand, and I wear them most days of the week, but I’m at the point where I would say to avoid dealing with them directly. If you don’t like the fit of the shoe, you’ll have to pay for the cost of returning. Instead go through something like Zappos, where the shipping is free both ways, just in case you don’t like the fit or feel.

Also, if you’re new to minimalist running, be sure you want to go with this thin of a sole. The slightly thicker Brooks, New Balance, Merrell, etc. shoes might be a good first experience with the backing of a company you can actually get in touch with. But if you want to go with a 3-5mm sole, I would still recommend Vivo.

Hi Philip,
I’m thinking about buying stealth M model, and seeing you own multiple models you might be able to help me with the following question:

Should the shoes feel a little loose? If I push my foot forward I can stick a finger inside the shoe more-or-less without a problem. The seller is telling me that it’s supposed to be that way, but incidentally doesn’t have smaller size. What do you think? Thanks.

Hi Anon,

I wear most of my vivos with almost an extra inch space from my toes to the end of the shoe. I don’t know that they are supposed to be worn this way, but they are definitely supposed to have a roomy toe box with lots of wiggle room. The ideal option would be to try on the smaller size to know which feels most comfortable. Since you can’t, it’s whether they are too roomy to be comfortable. If the laces snug down and your foot doesn’t slide around, the extra toe room can be great!

If I jam my foot forward to where my toes touch the end of the shoe, I can also slide a finger behind my heel.

I think you might be too late for the red. Zappos has the green and black.
The evo pure is a very similar style with just a different upper. I’ve actually been alternating the pure with my Ones lately (still wearing my Ones almost two years later!).

Good luck!

What do you recommend to replace my Ones. They finally died and I can’t seem to find anything similar to them.

Rob –
If you want to stick with Vivobarefoot, the Evo Pure has a nearly identical feel as the Vivobarefoot One. Super thin sole, lightweight mesh upper, same last shape. I just put one on each foot and it was hard to tell which each was just standing in them. Still love my Ones but find myself wearing the pure more often.

Zappos has a few color options. Hope they work out!

I’m an Multiple Sclerosis patient and Vivobarefoot as close and lightweight to being barefoot as possible. Being disabled I’ll always research for the least expensive pair of golden slippers possible but from the first pair I tried on I have to purchase another. I may not walk but I require a lightweight shoe that wraps around my foot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *