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REVIEW: Transition to Minimal with the Vivobarefoot Evo II

Category: Minimalist/Barefoot Running
Best For: Barefoot runners in need of a reliable road shoe
Stare Feature: Puncture-resistant rubber outsole
Weight: 9.2 ounces

Barefoot running isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re a firm believer of the whole “less is more” approach to running shoes, you’ll want to familiarize yourself (if you haven’t done so already) with the Vivobarfoot Evo II. 

On the outside looking in, the zero-drop Evo II has a very similar design to its predecessor. The main upgrade is below the shell: the added layer of lycra lining and PU cage that give the shoe thermal protection and a reliable support structure.

The shoe’s standard insoles hold up just fine on the road, but if you need to beef up the protection a little, the Evo II allows you to do so with the 3mm removable insoles. Though Vivo markets the Evo II as a multi-terrain shoe, it is much more efficient on the road. For what it is, the puncture-resistant outsole is surprisingly grippy on moderate terrain—if you’re just running the dirt trails in Central Park, no problem. But for more technical trails, perhaps you may want to go with the Neo Trail instead (more to come on the Neo soon).

Another plus to the Evo II is its flexibility. A hydrophobic mesh construction gives the shoe protection against the elements, as well as the flexibility to conform to the foot for a custom-like fit. The shoe’s hexagonal rubber overlay offers dynamic support and an added layer of durability (something that is oftentimes overlooked in barefoot shoes). Other notable highlights include a spacious toe box and a padded collar for comfort.

However there is something the Evo II leaves to be desired in the cushioning department. I mean, I get it. It’s a barefoot shoe; it’s not supposed to have the cushioning of a traditional sneaker. But for runners who have never tried a barefoot shoe before, it may take some time to adjust to the transition.

Bottom Line: If you’re a die-hard barefooter looking for a shoe that can handle the extra mileage, the Evo II is certainly a choice option. For more traditional running, these could work. I would just recommend swapping out the insoles for a slightly more impact-resistant pair—particularly if you’re headed to the off-road trail.

$130

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