The kind folks over at Terra Plana sent us a pair of Vivo Barefoot Aqua shoes to review and take a look at. For those of you who don’t know, Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot shoes are a line of fashionable/casual shoes that in addition to “looking good” also incorporate a minimalist material support philosophy to provide a “barefoot” walking experience without actually having to take off your shoes and go barefoot.
Terra Plana’s Vivo Barefoot explanation is more dramatic than ours:
Vivo Barefoot is a revolutionary, back-to-basics design based on the simple principle that being barefoot is the healthiest way for you and your feet to be. An ultra thin puncture resistant sole allows your feet to be as millions of years of evolutionary design intended – Barefoot!
Either way we were really excited to get our first look at these cool looking shoes and see if they can live up to the hype. While today we’ll just be covering some first impressions on the shoe and what they come with in the box in an upcoming post we’ll take a more in-depth look at the Vivo Barefoot Aqua shoes.
What’s in a Box of Vivo Barefoot Aqua Shoes
To start rather than tell you exactly what you get when you order a pair of Aqua shoes we’ll show you instead.
Part 1: Taking the Aqua shoes out of the Terra Plana Box:
Part 2: Up close and personal with the Aqua (look how flexible it is!)
The Vivo Barefoot Aqua shoes come in an unassuming box. One of the key company philosophies of Terra Plana is being green and eco-friendly. You probably can’t see it as clearly but you might have noticed in the video that on the inside of the box there are a bunch of icon graphics with text underneath them. These just describe the different ways Terra Plana is achieving their green ways (like using as little glue as possible and recycled materials when possible).
First Impressions of the Actual Shoe
A few things strike you when you first look at the shoe. The first is that the toe box of the shoe (the area in your shoe that your forefoot and toes resdie) is larger than most shoes. At first this struck me as a little more “clownish” (ie something proportionally would look more suited on a clown than on a normal person), but Terra Plana does not do this to make you look like Bobo the clown. The point of the larger toe box is to create more space for your toes to spread out inside your shoe. In this way you are simulating the barefoot experience without leaving the comfort and protection of your shoe. A good way to thinking of Vivo Barefoot shoes is to compare them to Vibram FiveFinger shoes. Vivo Barefoot shoes are more like foot mittens whereas FiveFingers are more like foot gloves.
The second thing that strikes you about the shoe is the very low profile heel. The heel, unlike most shoes, is not very padded at all. On the contrary when you look at the profile view of the shoe it almost looks as if the heel is lower than the front of the shoe. This almost gives it the impression of raising up as you go towards the front of the shoe.
So How Do Vivo Barefoot Shoes Feel?
While I haven’t had that much time in the Aqua shoes I did have a chance to put them on and walk around in them a little. The moment you put them on you feel an immediate difference compared to “normal” shoes. The minimal heel and padding on the bottom creates a very comfortable and natural walking experience. So far it’s been quite a joy to wear these. However, until I spend some more time in these shoes I’m going to hold off doing a longer more formal review. But for now I’m definitely been impressed.