|Vivobarefoot Ryder Boot|
Wow.. can you believe it? Not only a review post about something other than a minimalist running shoe or sandal, but a review for the ladies!
Now... don't get worried... I'm not cross dressing or anything like that. Instead, I've asked Mrs. Barefoot Inclined to help me out by providing a review of the latest winter boot offering from Vivobarefoot. So, at the risk of losing my blogging gig, I'm going to turn it over to her... enjoy the review!
A few weeks ago, I jokingly told Jeff that he needed to find me some minimalist boots (it IS boot season, after all!) because my current collection of boots is less than ideal for my new norm in the footwear area.
Yes, it's true, Jeff has been quite successful at leading my conversion from a person with "good shoes" to a person with minimalist shoes. About 10 years ago, my doctor referred me to a "good" shoe store in Seattle to provide me with orthotics and shoes that were good for my feet. I proceeded to spend a lot of money, but really pared back my shoe selection to just shoes that were "good" for me. Fast forward to late spring, 2012, when Jeff bought me a pair of kigo curv's . I took them on vacation, walked all over San Francisco, and proceeded to really not want to wear any other shoes. I bought a second pair in a different style.
Then winter came and I went back to the "good" shoes and the boots, none of which were minimalist in any way. Yes, my feet hurt at the end of the day. Yes, I was wishing I was barefoot. But no, I wasn't going to wear my kigos in the snow, thank you very much. Last spring, I bought 2 more pairs of kigos, and at the end of the summer, I asked Jeff to find me some lace-up shoes that I could wear with socks as the weather turned colder. He found some Vivobarefoot Neo's for me that are perfect. Then I started thinking about boots again. Enter the request at the beginning of this post where I wanted Jeff to find me some minimalist boots. He found them!
Over the past couple weeks, I have been wearing these Vivobarefoot Ryder boots. They are comfortable AND they look good! Win-win! I was a little concerned at first, but once I got my feet in them and started breaking them in, I knew I had a good match. I really like the color, look and feel. The materials (leather, organic waxed canvas, and Thinsulate) are comfortable and are softening as I wear the boots more. The zippered opening is really helpful in allowing flexibility to get your foot in. In my job, I spend a fair amount of time on my feet, and I'm still in no hurry to get these boots off at the end of the day.
Down sides from my perspective: a little tight on my calves, the lining buckles in the heel when pulling them on, no loops to grasp for better leverage. I don't think I have especially large calves, but these boots are pretty snug. There is a band of furry material around the top of the boot on the inside that I think contributes to the snugness. However, in cold weather, I've noted this might serve a nice purpose, as below that, the boots are much looser. So, the tightness at the calves helps to keep the cold air from going down into the boot and freezing my nicely spacious toe box. One of the first times I put the boots on, the inner lining of the left boot buckled at the heel and it was impossible for me to get the boot on until I could get it pulled back up and hold it in place. This is easier said than done, which is why I try not to take the boots off if I know I'm going to have to get them on again in short order. In order to keep the heel from buckling, I've started holding the lining by way of the zippered opening.
This does make me nervous, because I'm not sure how much stress holding the lining in this way causes. I'm afraid it is going to rip one of these times. This leads to my final issue: there are no loops to assist when pulling the boots on. Like I said, the top part at the calves are snug, plus, with the furry lining, it is tough to get a grip on the top of the boot to pull them on. But aside from this, I love these boots!
These boots come in dark brown (like mine) or black. I wish they had gray, too! I'd totally put those on my Christmas list! Ok... handing this back over to Jeff for more of the nerdy stuff... :-)
Ok.. there you have it.. Thanks honey! I of course feel compelled to give you a little more of the "nerdy" info. Yes, these boots truly are minimalist... they pass the flexibility test as you can see.
As far as sizing goes, they run just slightly large, but not much. We ended up ordering the same size she would normally wear, and the little extra room allows for thicker socks etc.
Hopefully this review has been helpful, but as always, if you have questions/comments/feedback for me or Mrs. Barefoot Inclined, just leave a comment below, or shoot me an email.
Thanks and happy trails!