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Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure Shoes


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Recently I picked up a pair of superlight minimal shoes made by Vivobarefoot – The Ultra Pure. I’ve been into minimal footwear for a while now, but the Ultra Pure is definitely the simplest and lightest footwear I’ve had a chance to check out that still offers something close the feel of a real shoe. The entire shoe, including the sole, is made from EVA foam. They cut out a lot of material in the upper for ventilation and to save weight, and utilized a stretchy shock cord and cord lock lacing system to help with a customized and secure fit. Knobs on the inside of the shoe help to keep your feet in place.

Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure

The shoes are really light. They use EU sizing, and my size 46 (Equivalent to a U.S. men’s size 13) comes in at just 9.3 ounces for the pair. I also checked out the size 45 (U.S. men’s size 12) that weighed in at 8.6 ounces for the pair. This is about half the weight of some other minimalist shoes like the New Balance Minimus Series. Of course, with lighter weight comes less protection, and you’ll definitely feel what’s underfoot while wearing these shoes. For my purposes I was looking to try out an even more minimal side of the running shoe market for smooth trails, and perhaps find something really lightweight to double as a camp / water crossing backpacking shoe. Sizing runs on the large side, so if you’re in between sizes I’d suggest sizing down, especially if you plan to mainly wear the shoes without socks. The shoes aren’t offered in multiple widths, but the width of the shoe and volume is quite generous – Plenty of room for the toes here.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

As you might expect with a foam sole, traction isn’t amazing with these shoes, but is adequate if you take extra care on slippery surfaces. You’ll also want to walk around sharp rocks as opposed to over them, and while the ventilation is amazing, debris and sand will definitely easily enter the shoe on loose terrain. But for running on smooth packed trails the shoe offers a great experience – The Vivo shoes are really so light that you can barely feel they’re there.

Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure Foam Sole

If you’re the type of backpacker who doesn’t mind carrying the extra weight of a camp / river crossing shoe, the Ultra Pure is a great choice. While there are a few lighter options available, all the way down to taking no such option at all, the Vivo seems to offer a good compromise for trips where you can justify the weight – More underfoot protection, comfort, and durability than lighter options while definitely remaining lighter than the more usual mainstream solutions. While I can’t suggest the shoe for the current wintry weather we’re experiencing in Wyoming, during warmer months I’ll definitely be using the Vivo Ultra Pure shoes for running and for comfort-oriented backpacking trips where I won’t mind the extra half pound of pack weight.

I picked up my pair for $50 here at Amazon, and some sizes and colors can also currently be found on sale over at Backcountry.com.

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I recently picked up a pair of Saucony Hattori shoes on sale for $35. They are slightly lighter than these (8.8 oz in size 11). I beleive they use EVA material on the soles, but have some harder wear pads strategically located on the ball and heel. The upper is fine mesh with a velcro closure strap, and a second velcro strap on the heel to adjust the heel cup fit. They are rather colorful, but, if you are like me and enjoy something to wear around camp, they are the best thing I have found to date - cheaper and lighter. I have read other reviews of the Vivo shoes and people have complained that the foam uppers can cause hot spots / blisters etc. Never had this issue with the Hattoris.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

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Hey Steve, thanks for stopping by! Checked out the Hattori at REI and looks like a really interesting shoe as well. I'd be curious to check out the weights side by side in the same size as the Vivobarefoot Ultra Pures. No blister issues with the Vivos for me so far, but I almost always wear them with socks so that might help...

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mangus7175

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Thanks for this review. I'm thinking of getting a pair for the spring season when hopefully our local streams have water again. It's been dry here in So Cal and the need to get water shoes hasn't been on the top of my list.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

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No problem mangus! Not exactly barefoot shoe season most places right now...Soon though!

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Thanks for reviewing these. I've been looking for something like this for this spring/summer.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

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bkpackerb - Anytime, thanks for checking out the review!

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..."I also checked out the size 45 (U.S. men’s size 12) that weighed in at 8.6 ounces for the pair. This is about half the weight of some other minimalist shoes like the New Balance Minimus Series."

Not sure where you got the weight for NB Minimus but it is incorrect. I have a pair of size 47.5 ( US 13) New Balance Minimus right here that weigh 10.7 oz. and they have Vibram soles.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

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Hey Uncle Tom,

Thanks for checking out the review! Curious as to which model within the Minimus line you have? I have the MT10's that come in just under 18 ounces for a 12.5 2E and the MT1010's should be pretty close to my non-Minimus series 13 2E MT110's that hit the scale just over 18...Do you have the Zero Trails by chance? If so 10.7 ounces is definitely impressive!

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jeepingetowah

Posted

Awesome review. I totally want some of those now! So they are just like really nice fitting crocs, right?

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Aaron Zagrodnick

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Thanks! You could definitely say that...Similar material but since these lace up using elastic laces, you can cinch them down like normal shoes for running or for a river crossing, or just wear them loose in camp...And since the laces stretch you can tighten them to where you want and then just slip them on and off without messing with the cord lock if you want. They're also lighter than any Crocs or Croc knockoff that I've come across so far!

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