January 18, 2011

Building a Better VIVOBAREFOOT Brooklyn Boot

Dear VIVOBAREFOOT designers,

I live in Alberta, Canada and have to cope with a great many days that are colder than -20C here in the winter. I'm so grateful that you make the Brooklyn boot as they are the only minimalist footwear I've found that is warm enough in this extreme cold. I've spent this winter almost exclusively wearing the Brooklyn boot for walking outside.

There are many features of this boot that I love: The off-road sole is fantastic for gripping on snow and every other surface I've tried (except smooth ice, which is understandable). The smooth leather is easy to snow-seal and does not show salt stains like suede does. The upper is waterproof, which is a must for slushy snow. The depth of the sole and thickness of the insole prevent all cold from the ground from transmitting to the feet. The sole is flexible enough to feel the contours of the hard-packed snow trails. The faux shearling lining is incredibly warm and keeps my shins and calves warm in -30C (and I have been out when it's that cold, not including the windchill).

May I suggest two changes to make this boot even better?

1) It would be beneficial to the fit of the boot if it had laces and a zipper, similar to last year's Dundan boot. Because the Brooklyn slips on and there is no way of customizing the fit, I find that my foot slides around in the boot when walking either uphill or downhill. It is most noticeable walking downhill as my toes get squished against the end of the boot, and after long walks, can be uncomfortable for quite a while. Laces would allow one to customize the fit around the ankles and calves, and prevent slipping. To preserve the waterproof feature, the tongue could be continuous with the upper part of the boot, like a fold, which would keep snow and water out. The zipper would make the boot easy to get on and off without affecting the fit of the boot each time the boot was taken off, and would be much easier to do up. It could be a waterproof zipper, like those included on waterproof rain jackets, in order to preserve the boot's waterproof feature. It could also have a flap of material covering it on the inside of the boot to preserve the boot's incredible insulating feature and prevent the zipper from touching the skin.

2) It would be great if the toe box could be a little wider, again similar to the Dundan last. I find that the toe box is smaller in the Brooklyn than the Dundan and can wiggle my toes less. It might be because of the added insulation in the Brooklyn, but thick socks definitely do not fit in the boot with the insole inside. A wider toe box would allow for thick socks and more toe wiggle room while the addition of the laces would keep the foot from moving around inside the roomier forefoot.

This is the first winter I've been able to comfortably walk outside in the extreme cold of the Canadian winter. Again, I'm very grateful for the Brooklyn boot and thank you for designing the best minimalist boot on the market to date.

Yours sincerely,


January 11, 2011


The full-length review of the VIVOBAREFOOT Evo II went online on Living Barefoot last week (I've been a little busy and forgot to post the update). They are just like the original Evos but with a denser nylon mesh upper for increased water resistance and a microfiber lined interior for added warmth and comfort. They are fantastic cooler weather running shoes.

Here's the link: http://www.livingbarefoot.info/2011/01/review-vivobarefoot-evo-ii/

January 10, 2011

Barefoot Running at the Track

Today was another barefoot running day at the track. On days like today, meaning cold and windy, I wish I had a barefoot-appropriate treadmill but that hasn't happened yet. So, I ran at the track today.

It started out like any barefoot run, waiting for my feet to warm up. I thought I'd run for half an hour because I haven't run much in the last few weeks. But then something interesting happened: I saw a woman running passed me in VIVOBAREFOOT Evos! I was really impressed with a) her running form b) her running speed and c) her running shoes! I smiled a great big smile.

Then I saw another guy running in Evos!

Then I saw yet another guy running in Evos!

Three people all running in Evos at my small-town track! I was amazed.

The next time the last guy I saw in Evos came around the track, he stopped to talk with me on his walk break. He asked me why I ran barefoot and I replied, "Because running in running shoes hurts my back and running barefoot does not." He then asked if I'd read Born to Run and I replied with something like, "I had it preordered before it came out." We chatted about his Evos for a bit and he said his wife and son were both running in them (the other two people on the track at the time). He said he got the Evos from his daughter for Christmas because she runs a store in Calgary that sells them. He said he thinks they're great and likes running in them. And then he was off running again.

A little while later, his wife was on a walk break so I talked to her for a bit. She also loves her Evos and finds running in them very comfortable. She told me all about their daughter's store and about their son (who was running with them on the track). And then she was off running again.

It was so great to meet a family of Evo runners! And that they were curious about my barefoot running.

The store in Calgary, which I'm really interested in now, is called Riva's Eco Store and sells not only shoes, but all kinds of non-toxic, environmentally friendly products. The owners "strive to provide products that are both healthy for the planet, and healthy to those that use them". If you're interested, here's the link: http://rivasecostore.com. I think I'll go visit the store one of these days on an upcoming trip into the city.

And my run turned out to be over 40 minutes long. It felt much shorter due to the engaging conversations. :)