The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vivo Barefoot Ultra Pure shoes

In March 2012 fellow blogger Laura asked me if i had any knowledge of the Vivo Barefoot shoes as i was then doing a post on the O1M’s here. At the time i had only seen the Barefoot's on review sites in the US and had never seen them in the UK. So i replied that i hadn’t any info.

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.


Unknown said...

I can certainly recommend these shoes, without any hesitation. I actually wore them for two stretches of 6-10 km on a couple of the early wet days. I'd popped them on to cross a stream in a particularly boggy area, and they were so comfortable that I just left them on. So much easier just wading through the wet area than picking your way through it in the vein hope of keeping boots dry. And when you're done, a quick flick dries them off instantly. They grip extremely well on rock too for river crossings.

AlanR said...

Hi John, thanks for your comment and it's good to know you walked quite a way in them through wet areas. Both Sheila and I have now purchased a pair. eBay new, £30 and £25 respectively. So well chuffed.

Dawn said...

Looks interesting Alan. Next week I am slightly departing from the norm. A spot of coastal walking and doing it in a pair of Merrill sandals. It may prove interesting??

AlanR said...

That sounds great Dawn. Sandals will be great for coastal walking. Have fun.

markswalkingblog said...

Good stuff Alan, they look the business

Phreerunner said...

Very interesting Alan, and well done John for spotting and using these on the Challenge. They look like strong completion for the Saucony Hattori shoes I've been using for the last couple of years. The 246 gm Hattoris suffer slightly from the wet footbed issue - I found a rub with a hand towel got rid of any dampness. But Saucony seem to have discontinued that range, so when the remarkably robust Hattoris wear out I'll be visiting the nearest Vivo stockist and shaving 50 grammes off my load.

AlanR said...

Definitely Mark.

AlanR said...

Hold on a minute. Are you becoming a gram counter! They are good all the same.

markswalkingblog said...

A pair arrived in the post today Alan. I will let you know how I get on with them on my trip to Scotland later in the month.

AlanR said...

I look forward to it.

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