Barefoot Shoes

VivoBarefoot Rooty Kids Minimalist Shoe Review

A review of the Vivo Barefoot Rooty minimalist shoes for young kids. These are leather-upper, velcro-fastening shoes that seem to hold up well to three-to-four year old abuse (that exacted by my 4-year-old daughter!). If you’re after healthy shoe options for your kids, these are worth checking out!

As my oldest daughter’s feet grow, her options for kids minimalist/barefoot?healthy?shoes increase. Unfortunately, the number of not-so-healthy, heavy, and clunky shoes also increase (Avi’s four-year-old friends all have light up shoes, which generally are anything but light?and mommy and daddy recently cavedgranted her birthday wish and got her a pair). Today I’ll be reviewing my 4 year-old’s Vivo Barefoot Rootys. VivoBarefoot sent the BirthdayShoes household a pair of size 25 (US size 9) Rootys a few months back for Avi to try out and “review” (via me!). The short of it is that they are a great choice and have held up well to kid-sized wear and tear. Read on for photos and details!

The Shoes

The VivoBarefoot Rooty in a cranberry red.
The VivoBarefoot Rooty in a cranberry red.
The Vivo Barefoot description of the Rooty (here) is as follows:
Because most kids can?t sit still for too long nowadays, the ROOTY features double Velcro fastening that is quick and easy to slip on and secure for kids of any age. The ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole provides maximum proprioception with protection.
The Rooty is pretty standard Vivo fare, in other words. The shoe’s upper is leather and has two velcro straps. The sole is also typical if you’re familiar with Vivo soles in that it’s thin and flexible (sole photos here and flexi-photo here). They also have a removable insole that is also exactly what you’d expect if you wear adult Vivos. We left that insole in. The shoes can totally be worn without socks. That’s exactly how Avi wore them 100% of the time. Take a look over the shoes.

How the Vivo Rootys perform

Avi checking out the shoes on Day 1
Avi checking out the shoes on Day 1
It probably took a week or two before the Rootys became Aviana’s go-to footwear, but suffice to say they did in good time. These photos were taken back at the end of May and the Rootys were worn multiple times a week for about four months. The Rootys worked well as an all-around, do-anything shoe, and I’d certainly give them a stamp of approval for being suitably foot-minded. From what I can tell assessing my daughter’s feet, they’re like her mother’s–higher volume. On the downside, this meant that Avi couldn’t slide her feet into her Rooty shoes without undoing the velcro straps. That said, she had no problems with fit once her feet were “in” and the shoes never seemed uncomfortable or tight. The velcro straps are notable for a couple reasons. For one, they use a less gnarly velcro. Not sure what the technical term would be for this type of velcro, but it’s lower profile and less likely to snag on things. The hooks are shorter, I believe. For whatever reason, the velcro was a bit of a challenge for Avi in the early days of Rooty wear. I recall having to help her at least a few times in the beginning with getting the shoes on. As far as fit, I was a little concerned Avi’s feet would be too small for a size 9 (EUR 25) when we got these, but even if they were a little too big, she didn’t have any tripping issues and can still wear them today about four and a half months later.

How they’re holding up

Avi never wore her Rooty’s with socks. I guess I’ve influenced my kids to follow in my footsteps with preferentially passing on socks. The upside to this is faster out the door times. The downside has been stinky feet. That’s applied to most all of Avi’s footwear save for huaraches. Thankfully, in the case of the Rootys, they didn’t stink it up too bad. They managed to avoid acquiring a smell much longer than Avi’s old Merrells (My youngest ended up wearing her own Merrell Flux Gloves and they got the stink fast, too). That said, I did finally throw them in the washing machine because they were looking a little dirty and I figured they could use the wash. Happy to report they came out looking much better and importantly didn’t just fall apart in the washing machine (note: didn’t use the dryer and wouldn’t recommend it! Also, don’t use hot water). So below are some “after” shots that were taken recently. The primary wear points on Avi’s Rootys have been at the front of the shoes on the top (as in with this picture where the sole meets the upper at the front) and the front sole. I attribute this mostly just to them being sized to “grow into.” Really, after four months of heavy 3-to-4 year old (ab)use, the Rootys look really good to my eye. You be the judge:

Where to get’em

If you’re interested in the Vivo Rooty, you’ll probably have to head over to“> Be forewarned, they are $70, so not cheap. I’ve yet to ever see them on sale either, unfortunately. That said, they are durable and I actually think we’ll be able to get more use out of them from Raya when her feet get big enough. Anyone else have Vivo Rooty experiences? Let’s hear them!

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

4 replies on “VivoBarefoot Rooty Kids Minimalist Shoe Review”

My 4 year ol son has these too (in blue). The shoes are holding up fine, only downside is that the velcro fastening tears apart quite fast, i tried to glue it back but after a while it’s off again. Otherwise great kids shoe.

I have a love/hate relationship with vivobarefoot. Love because they are about the only minimal shoes that actually fit both my son’s and my high volume feet. Hate because they are overpriced, purchasing through the website is a trial (often out of stock and slow and expensive shipping), and quality is unpredictable. I wear through the sides of their adult shoes (Evos, Aqua Lites) in around 6 months. Ultra Pures are good for 3 or 4 months before I wear through the bottom, but that at least is understandable.

My son is on his 4th pair of Rootys. They also last around 6 months, but at least he’s growing fast enough that by the time they are worn out, he needs a new size anyway. I’ve also had quality issues with these. The velco strip on the upper strap tends to separate from the leather (vinyl?) part. I end up sewing and/or gluing it back together.

For my shoes, I keep an eye out for them at leftlane sports and theclymb and normally manage to snag my next pair at a discount before the current ones are gone. But I haven’t found a way to avoid buying the Rootys at full price except once I lucked into a sale at the company website when they were in stock.

The issue to me is that they have decided to market what is essentially a mid-price show in their home market as a premium shoe here. Still, they fit better than anything else and that trumps the rest for me.

I am a huge fan of Vivobarefoot shoes. I think they are worth the price for the quality and the fact that they have lasted a really long time. I want some for my daughter, but I just can’t imagine paying that much money for shoes that will be grown out of in such a short time.


I hope someone sees this. My 5 year old is a really bad “toe walker”, and he has also been issued shoe inserts from a foot doctor. He is always complaining that his feet hurt, and the shoes feel too tight. In my humble opinion, I feel that his issue is that his toes are cramped. We just bought him size 12 wide in the “traditional”, little kid’s heavy shoe with no toe box.

If I buy Vivobarefoot shoes for my son, do you think it’s safe to ditch the insoles that support his arch?

Thanks in advance for your time!

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