We love learning about new barefoot shoe offerings on the marketplace, and technically while, Kigo Footwear, is not a brand new company they were new to us . We learned about them when we stumbled upon them in a Runner’s World forum thread. Intrigued by these shoes we had to learn more since we hadn’t heard about them before. So we contacted them and were delighted they were willing to send us a pair of their Kigo Star and Kigo Shel shoes to review and test out for ourselves.
So first a little about Kigo Footwear. Kigo Footwear is dedicated to making minimalist shoes which not only promote a barefoot lifestyle, but are also eco-friendly. They accomplish the first part (the barefoot part) by using a very thin and flexible shoe sole which flexes naturally while your foot moves and they accomplish the second part (the eco-friendly) by using materials like recycled nylon linings and water based glues.
Showing just how dedicated they are to eco-friendliness Kigo sent us:
…factory seconds as samples and comps as a way of keeping all of our shoes on feet and out of landfills. They may have a small cosmetic marring, but nothing technical…
We’re all for the environment. Anyway onto the shoes…
The Kigo Shel is unisex shoe for men and women with active lifestyles. Designed to be a daily walking shoe or a running shoe.
A woman’s Mary Jane styled shoe that offers a little more fashion for those who don’t want to sacrifice barefoot comfort.
First Impressions of Kigo Shel and Kigo Star
So rather than give a comprehensive review of the shoes before we’ve had enough time them instead we’ll just give you some of our initial thoughts on them:
- Style: I kind of liked it, it looked like something that I could get away with wearing to work (disclaimer my work does have a relaxed dress code)…without people staring at my feet (unlike my Vibram Classics)
- The padding is minimal but you don’t feel as much of the ground as you would with a pair of Vibrams, however it is still a very flexible shoe especially when compared to a Nike Free 5.0… if you take out the removable insole you’ll definitely feel even more
- Slipping into the Shel is kind of difficult…It looks like it would go in easy, but you still need to kind of ram your foot in. I was worried that this would make it uncomfortable to walk around in, but this wasn’t the case. My girlfriend who tried the Star had no problems (the opening is larger). The good thing about this is when you run you don’t have to worry about tying shoelaces or having your shoe hang lose. It’s a good snug fit
- Traction seems pretty good (based on just walking around my apartment)
- The loop and hook that allow you to fold the shoe down while novel, not sure how useful this will be in daily usage…
Anyway, keep an eye out for our full review of these shoes once we’ve had some more time to get a good feel for them.