Saturday, October 8, 2011


Welcome to my VIVOBAREFOOT Neo review.  This review has been a long time in the making after doing extensive testing over several months. With both everyday wear as well as running on grass, dirt, pavement, and the treadmill I feel I have a firm grasp of what these shoes are all about.  I don't think that many famous celebrities like Justin Bieber (The Bieb), or Steve Jobs would write a review for this wonderful company so I have taken it upon myself to do so.

As an update to this review I can now post on longevity of the shoe.  After wearing these as my go-to shoe since I got them I have developed a hole in the sole of the shoe on 2015-08-21.  That places these shoes at about 4 years old as the shoes were ordered 2011-08-05.  I feel that I have gotten a bargain on the shoes for that long of a life.  And my only regret is that they are no longer making this particular shoe so I will have to pick a different one to replace them.


Let me start with a little more information about the company behind VivoBarefoot Terra Plana.  This company has a wonderful eco-friendly mission to use recycled locally sourced materials to make all of their shoes.  My shoes were even shipped eco-friendly using carbon credits.  Additional details about Terra Plana's eco policy are available on their website.  Well, I suppose we should probably move along to what you have all been waiting for Justin Bieber.  No, you haven't been waiting for that?  Ok heres the review after the break.

These shoes are very comfortable to wear. They are also fairly light weight at 9.25 oz per shoe.
The shoe runs a little large compared to my Vibram Five Finger KSO's I would estimate maybe a quarter size larger.  For me this is good because it means I can fit my foot in them with socks when its really cold this winter.  That was actually my primary reason for purchasing these as my KSO's were incredibly cold during the one snowfall that I wore them in.

These shoes come with a removable foam shoe bed.  This extra little piece of foam does a couple things.  It gives your feet a warm pad between the ground (good for the winter, not so good during the summer).  This foam also has the downside of blocking some of the proprioceptors (feeling of the ground) function.  What this means is that I smash my foot into the ground a little harder when I wear these vs barefoot or in my KSO's.  I will gladly take this tradeoff to have these warmer shoes.

They have a solid sole with a hexagon shaped lug pattern to provide extra traction.  This extra traction doesn't do much for running on roads however off road it provides extra traction especially going uphill.  I hope this will also provide a more firm footing on snow and ice this winter.  If not maybe I can talk to Terra Plana about designing a shoe for Minnesota's 6 months of winter.   These lugs also block some of the proprioception of running on roads for some reason.  The soles are 4 mm thick vs the KSO's 3.5 mm thick so not much of a difference but that difference is noticeable.

The uppers are made of a nylon breathable mesh layer that allow the shoes to breath to some degree.  On an 80+ degree day that I wore these to renfest they were a bit warm but otherwise they have been fine.  The mesh seems thicker than on my KSO's as well which make the shoes warmer than those.  This is again a benefit as these will be my normal winter go to shoes.

Cleaning of this shoes so far has just involved taking the insoles out and washing them in the sink following my How to get rid of that funky minimalist shoe smell article.  I also wiped the uppers down with a wet rag after renfest to get all of that fine chalky dirt off of them.  You may notice in the photo below that the shoes changed from a nice dark black to more of a sandy brown.  To the left of them is my Bedrock Sandals which I will also be writing a review of soon.

Overall these shoes are really comfortable for general wear and for running off road and biking.  For running on roads and the treadmill I prefer to wear my KSO's or go barefoot because of the reduced ground feel and feet-back.  More good reviews to come so stay tuned.

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