Six weeks have gone by since I received my pair of VIVOBAREFOOT Venus shoes, courtesy of the VIVOBAREFOOT marketing team. I’ve worn them with no insoles all day, five days out of the week. And without sounding too sycophantic, let me say it’s been six weeks of absolute comfort. I love these shoes.
These shoes are mary-jane style ballet flats. They are cute. They are comfortable — like running around barefoot, but more socially acceptable. They are easy to put on and take off, and in the rain it takes at least a little while for your foot to become completely soaked. They must have some sort of coating or lining to the canvas upper which does that.
When Lily and I go for walks at lunchtime, these shoes come with. They traverse grassy land and concrete with ease, and I have never once felt out of place wearing these shoes at a work function. This is why I wanted these Venus shoes and what these shoes are all about.
The Middle Ground
They have, however, a few peculiarities. For one, the toe box is too short for my toes. To be fair, just about every toe box is too short for my toes. I have long toes. However, the length of my toes is a problem in that I ordered a shoe one size too large. There is a clear half-inch of space at my heel when I keep my toes touching the very front of the shoe.
I tried to remedy this fit issue by keeping the insole in the shoe. It worked in that my heel wasn’t loose in the shoe, but with the insole in, the tops of my toes pressed against the underside of the top of the shoe rather uncomfortably. So that didn’t work.
If I were to have ordered a size down, my toes would have been crunched against the front of the shoe. There’s not a whole lot of room for foot comfort when your toes are crunched. And the slightly shaped toe box ensures that my toes wouldn’t have been able to spread out. So in the end, I’m happy to have bought a size up, even though my heel pops up occasionally out of the back of the shoe.
I admit, I was a little concerned about the strength of the elastics when I first tried on these shoes. Those criss-crossed elastics in the front are super cute, but they are now perpetually twisted on one foot. I take my shoes on an off so often that I don’t bother to correct the elastic and make it lie flat every time. It’s not a real problem, just a minor annoyance. Perhaps I can chalk this one up to user error.
As well, I can attribute the general dinginess of the white stripe around the bottom of the shoe to my lack of inclination to scrub my shoes. This is one of those things that could go either way in that the shoe looks really sharp when the stripe is clean. However, I think I’d prefer my shoes without the white stripe and not have to worry about it.
And now for the durability: The inside stitching between the upper and the sole is showing a little wear. Nothing’s coming unglued, and it may be a loose thread — I’ll keep an eye on it. Six weeks is a little too early to tell if this is just one of those things or if this is a manufacturing issue, but I felt it was worth mentioning.
In addition, the dye on the front of the toes is fading slightly. It’s barely noticeable unless you’re right up close — but again, at six weeks? Hm…
And finally, you can see where my feet are wearing down the soles, particularly in the heel and the ball of the foot. Not normally a problem, but with such a thin sole and only six weeks on the ground, I’m a little concerned.
Let’s go back to the caveat that I am hard on shoes. I take them walking in the rain and tall grass and over rocky patches, I run around outside with the dog, and I wear them to work too. I want them to do double duty, both work and play, and I’ve been wearing these shoes like they are the only pair of shoes I own.
So far, the Venus are falling slightly short BUT ONLY (and it is a big but) because my toes are so long which affects the fit. If the fit was better for those of us with monkey toes, I don’t think I’d have a problem. I could deal with the potential durability issues by treating my shoes nicer, by alternating out other shoes. But fit is kind of a big deal, you know?
All in all, I like these shoes. I like that they’re cute and minimalist, and I like that VIVOBAREFOOT offers sales every two months or so if you sign up for their email newsletter. Their customer service has been phenomenal, and if you’re looking for an introduction into minimalist shoes, you could hardly look for a better company.
©2011 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where if you look closely at the soles of my shoes, you can see I’ve been walking with more of a heel strike than a toe strike. Whoops!