Vivobarefoot Gobi

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by kozz, Dec 6, 2014.

  1. kozz

    kozz
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    These are my initial impressions of the Vivo Gobi which I bought as an everyday street shoe and have used a couple days. As they break in I will update this review.

    Ground Feel: 1 out of 5.

    Fails the wet pavement test - when I walk on wet pavement, it doesn't feel wet, which to me is the gold standard of ground feel. I can feel big rocks and heavily textured concrete. I can't tell the difference between the road and the sidewalk. There is a lot of stuff on top of the advertised "3mm outsole." They're equivalent to my Vans boat shoes.

    Fit: 0

    Apparently Vivo's idea of a roomy toebox is to use an extra-wide last and sell it as a standard D width. This is especially bad in the heel which is over 1cm too wide for me. The leather in the toe is low-cut so that there is no "room" other than the resulting floppiness of the shoe. Overall it feels like a sandal, it is clumsy and unstable.

    Like most "minimal" shoes they include a cushy insole. While they encourage the owner to eventually dispose of this, the fit is designed around it and so the floppiness is even worse without it.

    Toe box: 1

    It's not too tight in the horizontal plane, for all the wrong reasons as stated above.

    Flexibility: 2

    They're about as flexible as a bicycle tire. Tire, not tube. You can bend them with your hands is the best I can say for them.

    Appearance: 3

    The leather upper is textured to look like canvas. This is the one instance where they took something expensive and tried to make it look cheap instead of vice versa. The leather is poorly cut, leaving huge folds where the tongue connects to the sides. This is unsightly and amateurish.

    Durability: expected 3 or 4

    But only because they are too thick.

    Performance: 1

    Loose, clumsy, and stiff.
     
  2. migangelo

    migangelo
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    what do you mean exactly with "fails the wet pavement test"? do they slip on wet pavement or anything wet? i just bought some ultras. i hope they don't slip on anything wet. i don't plan to run with them but wear them in the clinic. not exactly dressy but athletic and breathable.
     

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  3. kozz

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    Edited to explain. No, they don't slip, the treads provide plenty of traction, part of the reason the sole is so stiff.
     
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  4. kozz

    kozz
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    These shoes are now fully broken in.

    I am upgrading their durability to 5 - the treads are all mostly intact and the rubber is wearing very slowly. Unfortunately it has not softened much so the flexibility is as bad as my initial impression, as is the ground feel. The closest thing I can compare Vivo rubber to is a shower mat. The last is probably the most poorly designed I've ever worn. Marketed as standard width, it is really size E in front and even wider in the back. It gives the impression of a casual sandal that someone attached an upper to try to make it into a shoe.
     
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  5. Christian Lemburg

    Christian Lemburg
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    I don't really get this. I have a pair of these in Kudu leather, and the sole is quite flexible and good, similar to the Xero Connect, I would say. Maybe it is the new model (the "Gobi 2" thing)? I saw these in a shop, and was wondering about the sole, which seemed much thicker than the one on the model I have.

    I really like my Gobi shoes, they are my "dress" shoes for business, and they are not bad at all. Sort of like a leather glove for feet, plus a water resistant sole.

    Well, what can you say, you have to try shoes before buying.
     
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  6. Christian Lemburg

    Christian Lemburg
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    Ah, wait.

    My Gobi shoes had some kind of removable insole. I don't really know since that was the first thing I took out, right there in the shop. Maybe you can remove that insole in your shoes, too?
     
  7. Sid

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    Due to my bunions, I also have specific requirements for footwear. (I prefer barefoot, but I will wear shoes to avoid discrimination from the shoe police.) :(
    For walking, I love my DIY 2mm Vibram sandals.
    For to/from the gym, I just use flip-flops, since I use them at the pool/shower.
    At work, I wear the Runamocs, which are tolerable, as I'm sitting all day.
    I also have a pair of Rockports, that I wear for a few hours a few times yearly when I need something more formal.
    I'm glad that I live in FL, because that pretty much covers it. I feel bad for those stuck up North.

    Good luck, kozz! Hope you find something that works. Have you explored shoemaking? (serious question)

    Update: For running, no shoes of course. This is BRS! :D
     
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  8. Spiderweb62

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    I had some issues initially (toe box too narrow) but with time it stretched nicely. I love my Gobi, to me they are the closest thing to barefoot and I can wear them with a suit !
     
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  9. migangelo

    migangelo
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    i'm almost happy with my ultras. people at school like them. i'm wearing them in the adjusting labs to condition my feet to wearing them in the clinic. i have a gripe with the, is it "toe up"? since they entirely urethane or whatever they curl up right at my two outer little toes. a little distracting since i tend to wear them without socks. they are wide enough for me and i'm going to see if they have more available. i bought some Ra's since and i like those too. a little narrow but they look better than sandals when i go out to eat or drink.
     

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  10. Sid

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  11. kozz

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    After more than 10 months I must grudgingly upgrade the durability score to 5. Regular heavy use on all kinds of abrasive surfaces including pavement and wildlands has barely even dented the treads. They are probably going to last another year at least.

    If all shoes were made with this rubber, people wouldn't buy shoes as often, sales would plummet and they'd go out of business. But not before I found a pair with normal width. The poor fit of these Vivo's has not abated at all - they are like sandals for hippies. The heel is a full centimeter too wide which alone makes this a terrible shoe.

    The longevity combined with a full leather, non-breathing upper creates stink issues but those are easily fixed by pouring diluted bleach in them and letting the sun evaporate it.
     
  12. mokaman

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    I agree the Vivo rubber they use is long lasting. I have a pair of Gobi's in my work shoe rotation and they are one of my favorites...the leather was stiff at first but broke in nicely after a few months. Vivo's foot shape is 2nd best brand for me and the width is just enough but i wouldn't buy them if they were any narrower. The space volume in the forefoot would be biggest knock on them to me. I expect them to last many years as work shoes in the low wear and tear work environment I have.

    kozz...some of the things you dis-like about the Gogi's are actually good things I look for...example loose fit is a good thing to me for work shoes. Mine also look great with jeans in the smooth non-textured leather. They are pricey but if you can get them with a big money discount they are worth checking out.
     
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  13. kozz

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    Well these made it a little over a year of everyday use before a puncture created a small crack in the heel. They took quite a bit of punishment and the treads barely wore down. The crack has not extended but it appears irreparable as shoe goo would not take to the vivo rubber and simply peeled off. Covered with gorilla tape it doesn't leak too much but they will have to be replaced.

    to those who keep arguing that extra width is good, nope. Not for me. Floppy is for hippies, if I'm scrambling around on rocks in the wilderness I can't afford to be slipping around inside my shoes. They have to fit. The heels were especially bad, a full centimeter too wide at least.

    There is a new model walking shoe similar to the gobi called the 301-something, some long number. But I'm not going to buy it unless it's narrower.

    Vivo rubber is extremely resistant to abrasion, but puncture can ruin it quickly.
     

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