Today we have another special barefoot shoe treat: the ZEMgear Split Toe Lo (aka Ninja Lo). If you are looking at the picture above and thinking “is that a sock?” Let me assure you while it is very sock-like it’s not a sock. With Sockwa and ZEMgear we are noticing a trend of more sock/hybrid barefoot shoes coming onto the market. Is it better or worse than more well known barefoot shoes like Vibram FiveFingers or Nike Free shoes? I think it depends on who you are and what you plan to do in the shoes. But for sure they are definitely unique looking shoes. Here’s our first impression and quick tour.
Some quick background on ZEMgear. On the ZEMgear’s website, you’ll find the ZEM philosophy
A leader in the minimal footwear industry, ZEMgear creates Performance Protection for Bare Feet. We deliver minimal footwear with maximum protection to men, women and children. ZEMs allow your feet to do what they were designed to do best in their natural, barefoot state: While wearing ZEMs you can spread, flex and articulate all parts of your foot – getting everything you need and nothing you don’t. Our 4-way stretch Lycra uppers & soft molded rubber bottoms allow the foot to move with complete freedom. Six unique high-frequency tech bands are welded across the top of the foot to keep the ZEMs securely in place around the foot.
This description is actually pretty nice. Since when I first took a look at the Split Toe Lo shoe they sent me I was a little puzzled as to what the shoe was made out of and what if anything did the color striping along the outside do. Now I know it actually is what holds the shoe together and also helps keep your foot snug inside.
The most striking thing about the Split Toe Lo is not only the sock-like look, but the one toe that sticks out from the rest of the shoe in the front. While the official name of the shoe is the Split Toe Lo on the the package that they sent me was a sticker that read “Ninja Toe Lo”. Of course looking at the shoe the first thing I thought of was “hey these are Ninja shoes!” That means I liked them right away.
Anyway, putting on the shoes is really easy. The Lycra material the shoes are made of reminds me of a wet suit, but more breathable and not as tight. Once the ZEMgear Split Toe is on your foot it’s securely on there and doesn’t hang loose or have as much free space as you might get with a Soft Star Run Amoc.
It’s probably not a shoe I could wear to the office (unless it was Ninja day), but looks and feels initially comfortable to wear around the home or when out doing activities. You can take a look at what they look like on my foot by checking out the video below.
Once we’ve had some more time with the shoe we’ll post up a more extensive review.
Until then we are starting something new. We are inviting our readers to share their own experiences with barefoot shoes (either positive or negative) by publishing their posts right here on our blog. For posts that meet our criteria, not only will we publish their review, but we’ll also throw in a 10 dollar bonus for taking the time to jot down and share their thoughts with us and our readers. Learn more about writing and sharing your own barefoot shoe reviews.