For the first time in nearly five years, I purchased a pair of shoes for work. It had been scoping out the deal sights like LeftLane Sports and The Clymb for months looking to land that deal, and on the rare occasion when VIVOBAREFOOT did go on sale, I was often too late; they sold out of popular sizes with a serious quickness because they were both great sales - up to 50% off! Fast forward to a few weeks ago - BAM! I was on my computer when the email came through for the new sales, and I pounced.
Anyhow, enough of the back story. On with the review!
|Clean and understated. I love this company.|
|Yessir! That little red "V" is a nice touch.|
|Sebastian, the bandanna dog, says, "These aren't treats!"|
The sole of the shoe is made of the neat amber, gum-rubber stuff that I really dig and which VIVO puts on all its brown leather wares. The treat pattern is quite flat, and I noticed that it has changed since I first began admiring it online. This review on Running and Rambling shows pictures of the older honey-comb style tread. I like the new one much better from a style standpoint.
The interior of the shoe is made up of a neoprene-like (it may very well be neoprene) sock liner: no tongue or folds to speak of. The shoe appears designed to hug your foot, but therein lies a minor issue. While the Oak has a gloriously roomy toe box, the rear of the shoe is a bit too loose on my heel. I have encountered this with more than one minimalist shoe manufacturer, but sufficient tightening of laces will will typically allow me to stabilize my foot pretty well.
You can probably see where I'm going with this: only having two lace loops prevents me from really locking the shoe down. I can sufficiently tighten the collar to keep the shoe from flopping, but if I were to take off in a sprint I would feel pretty unstable. If this were a running shoe, that is likely a deal breaker. However, I have worn theses shoes every week day since they arrived in the mail, and I have not thought about the fit once since my initial fit test.
|Can your Doc Martens do this?|
|Removable insole, of course. My feet were swimming without it inserted, though. Make sure you size up if you plan on taking it out.|
In conclusion, I don't like spending money unless I am meeting a definite need with exactly the item I am purchasing. The Oak fits that description perfectly. It is everything I want in a semi-dress shoe for daily wear. Keep your eyes peeled on LeftLane Sports and The Clymb for sweet deals. I have no idea when VIVOBAREFOOT shoes will go on sale again, but they have all kinds of great stuff for runners, bicyclists, climbers, and generally active people.