VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II Review
In the summer, when I don’t have a pair of running shoes or bike shoes on, you will probably find me in a pair of flip flops. Unfortunately, when winter rolls around, I resort to putting on a pair of shoes. It’s not that I dislike shoes, I just love the freedom of sandals. I’ll be the first to admit that minimalist running is not my cup of tea, but when I heard about the VIVOBAREFOOT minimalist Gobi II lifestyle shoe, I was intrigued.
VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II Fit:
I got these shoes online. Luckily, VIVOBAREFOOT uses the Shofitr app to help you pick the correct shoe size. I used the La Sportiva Bushido size 10 as a comparison and Shofitr recommended a size 9 for the VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II. I trusted the app and had the size 9 VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II shipped to my house. To my surprise, the shoe fit almost perfectly. I generally wear a size 9.5 and found even the 9 to be a tad too big. My opinion is that these shoes run a little on the big side.
VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II Impressions:
I’ll admit when I first pulled these shoes out of the box and put them on I was a bit skeptical. From the top, they looked a little funny. But, when I stood in front of a mirror with a pair of jeans, I quickly changed my mind and concluded that the Gobi’s looked awesome.
The shoe is constructed using unlined 2.2mm thick suede leather. The suede is consistent from the toe box all the way to the upper. The entire shoe is supple and almost fits like a moccasin (i.e. really comfortable). I am a chronic “kicker offer” of shoes and quickly realized that these shoes cannot be “kicked off”. Due to their supple nature, they need to be laced up and unlaced every time you put them on and take them off. The pull tab on the heel of the shoe is clutch. So, if you are one who likes to slip shoes on/off this shoe may not be for you.
Since the shoe is so thin, I was worried about wearing them during a cold day in Boulder. I found that this shoe works well in cold when paired with a pair of mid-weight wool socks. What’s more impressive, is that I can wear the same combination to work and be equally as comfortable.
The sole of the shoe is made of V-sense TPU and is only 3mm thick. The uber thin sole allows the sole to meld to the surface you are walking on and create a “barefoot” like experience. Even though the sole is only 3mm thick, VIVOBAREFOOT has put technology in place to make it puncture resistant. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a lifestyle shoe and not a technical shoe. The tread on the VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II is minimal (like the shoe) and does not offer superior grip when conditions are slick. Additionally, this shoe is made of thin suede and will not provide waterproof protection. That being said, I’ve had these shoes for about three weeks now and love them. I find myself reaching for them everyday for work/play.
VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II Final Thoughts:
If you are sandal wearer who reluctantly puts shoes on in the Winter (like me), I highly recommend these shoes for you. The VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II’s are comfortable, super stylish, look GREAT with jeans and will turn a lot of heads. I like these shoes so much, that I just picked up a pair of the VIVOBAREFOOT “Ra Suede” for 40 bucks. I really don’t have any qualms with the shoe. This shoe is not intended for ice, rain or any other extreme weather. As long as you use the shoe for it’s intended purpose (lifestyle), you will love this shoe.
I think VIVOBAREFOOT’s website put its perfectly: “No heel, no midsole, no arch support, no gimmicks! VIVOBAREFOOT helps encourages us to move as million years of evolution intended – barefoot.”
The VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi II is offered in Oxblood and Navy and MSRP’s for $150. You can pick up a pair from their website.