For some reason the Vivo Barefoot’s went off my radar. I’m not sure why, but maybe i was a little sidetracked by the Hi-Tec Zuuk’s. Like lots of other folk i was pleased to get a pair and i thought i had a pretty good backpacking camp/bothy shoe.
TGO magazine even gave the Zuuk's an award at the annual ceremony as the best bit of kit for 2013.
Names such as Andrew Denton, Andy Howell, Chris Townsend, Emily Rodway, Daniel Nielson gave them the thumbs up, and i also did a review back in July 2013 here.
But without going back through old stories, the problem with the Zuuk’s is that when you get them wet doing river crossings or in camp walking through wet grass they take ages to dry. And i mean ages.
Wet feet are not what you want in camp during the evening, especially when you have just spent 1/2hr drying them, repairing the blisters, taping up sore areas etc etc.
Like lots of gear reviews, it’s very subjective, giving them a score out of ten depends on the environment you use them in and there would be a big difference in the score if you used them say on the PCT in the USA rather than the TGO Challenge in Scotland.
Many, many challengers used the Zuuk’s on this years challenge (2014) and only for the reason i mention, they take ages to dry, i can understand why. But we learn so much with hindsight.
Then one evening in the Sheilin of Mark bothy i noticed that fellow blogger John Sanderson had bucked the trend and gone for the Vivo Barefoot Ultra Pure. We had a chat about them and they are much better than the Zuuk’s for our purposes in wet Scotland or the UK for that matter.
The easiest way to describe them is that they are made from a similar feeling material to Crocs (EVA) but are lighter, more compressible, and are more of a shoe/slipper than a sandal. They are also 100% waterproof.
They are classed as a barefoot running shoe and are also available with a removable sock on the Vivo Ultra model if required.
Vivo Barefoot Ultra Pure
I won’t go through the specification on this post because Vivo do a more comprehensive job on their site here.
They are available in a number of colours and in a ladies version.
For the weight conscious backpacker. My size 7 shoe weighs 95 grams each.
If you buy the model with the removable sock then the sock weighs 49 grams each.
The inner sock is quite robust and has its own footbed. It can be worn separately and would be ok for bothy or hostel wear. The sock is not waterproof.
Buying the Pure, less sock model, i would suggest buying a size down from normal as they are generous and sized to take the inner sock. With the sock i suggest normal size is fine.
I think these will be the shoe of the 2015 Challenge.