VivoBarefoot Stealth II

When your lifestyle doesn’t permit you to be barefoot all the time, you can compromise slightly with the VivoBarefoot Stealth II. There’s a reason this shoe made our top ten list in the VivoBarefoot brand. It lives up to its descriptive name by providing a thin, lightweight layer of protection between you and the earth beneath your feet. Not for the tender-footed, this shoe won’t let you ignore large gravel or glass shards, but it will give you an ultra-thin surface on which to run or walk, and allow for significant ground feel. Barefoot runners will throw them on and go, but first-timers will need to set up a transition schedule to avoid a painful breaking-in period. Natural runners might also be naturalists, and VivoBarefoot has keyed in on this trend in its customer base. These shoes are a great fit for vegans because they are made without any animal products or processes.  But along with the socially-minded leanings, the company did not forget aesthetics. Even when it comes to shoes, maybe even especially when it comes to shoes, looks do count. Reviewers were pleased that these shoes look like shoes, not a slipper or thick sock, like some other options on the market. Runners looking for a barefoot option that’s low in weight, high in feel and still has that “running shoe” look should give the VivoBarefoot Stealth II serious consideration.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Superior ground feel
  • Wide toe box
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
  • Cons
    • Minimal debris protection
    • Color bleeds when wet
    • Key Features
      Although the thin sole is not built for any rough surface, it does provide a protective layer for the runner. The company claims the sole is five times more puncture-resistant than a standard sole of the same thickness, and reviewers agreed that the shoe did its job on the pavement and other flat surfaces. That said, runners who plan to hit a rocky trail will need to choose a shoe that is good for uneven surfaces and unexpected obstacles.
      This shoe has a removable footbed, so the runner can customize it to his or her preference. If you need the warmth and extra comfort, leave it in. But if you want a bigger breeze and the absolute highest level of ground feel, remove the inlay and you’ll get up close and personal with the pavement. Reviewers also complimented the fact that these shoes hold their shape. If you remove the insole, the shoe still looks like a shoe, not a piece of rubber the public wasn’t meant to see. When it comes to materials, the company is proud of the fact that the VivoBarefoot Stealth it is 100% vegan. This shoe is made without any animal products or processes.
      The upper part of the VivoBarefoot Stealth II is made with hexagonal webbing, a breathable mesh. The company designed it to work seamlessly with your foot. Some reviewers said they felt the shoe creased just across the top of the foot, and that it was uncomfortable until the shoe was broken in. Others warn the color on the shoes will bleed if you get them wet. One woman reported spilling water on her foot, and another ran on a wet day. Both were disappointed that the colors bled on the other parts of the shoe and on their socks. Laces are always a big topic for runners, and the reviews on these are mixed. Some said they were no problem, while others claimed they needed to be retied often, but the majority of reviewers mysteriously didn’t give them a mention at all. Lastly, the toe box gets a thumbs up from most reviewers for being wide and natural without being too roomy.
      This is a barefoot and lightweight shoe, so it’s made with concessions to give it minimum weight. One of those is the way the upper and midsole are put together, with the fusing done by heat rather than extra materials. The VivoBarefoot Stealth II for men weighs 9 ounces and the women’s version is 7.4 ounces. Reviewers who are used to running on a heavier, more cushioned shoe said even just a few ounces was quite noticeable. They felt their legs could last longer without fatiguing. And athletes who travel often say it’s convenient to have shoes that don’t take up much weight or space in their luggage.
      This shoe breathes, so if you live in a warmer climate, your feet will thank you. But if you get out when there’s a chill in the air, you’re going to feel it on your feet also. The mesh design on the upper, shaped like a honeycomb, allows air to whiz right through it. If you do have a habit of sweating through your shoes, make sure you clean them right after your run. VivoBarefoot recommends using natural products whenever possible.
      Because this is a barefoot shoe, there is more priority given to the light weight, flexibility, and breathability, than comfort. But the shoe didn’t fail the comfort test. Athletes said they walked in them, worked in them, and participated in CrossFit in them, all with positive results. Most reviewers found the key to staying comfortable in the VivoBarefoot Stealth II was to limit your time in them initially and work up to longer segments of time and longer runs. This is a shoe that requires a transition period for anyone who isn’t already accustomed to the barefoot lifestyle.

      As far as size, the VivoBarefoot Stealth II is not far off of being true to size. Most reviewers said they either selected their usual size or went for one just a half size larger than they normally wear.
      For VivoBarefoot Stealth II, black is the new black. The designers have taken your basic black running shoe and thrown in a few red accents. The black and red combination is an option for both men and women. The company also created a coral option for women, but runners jumped on it and now reviewers are having a hard time tracking those down. A grey and lime green option, which the company calls “grey and lemon” was also created and is available in limited size options on Amazon. All colors have the same logo on the sides and the hexagonal pattern on the mesh.
      Because the materials are fused together by heat, the company brags that the shoe has “stitchless durability”. Reviewers who had also purchased the VivoBarefoot Stealth I said this new version made improvements to how the shoe lasts. They didn’t suffer through broken laces or peeling soles as they had in the first of the series. Most reviewers said they’ve been wearing the shoes for 2-3 months and they look the same as when they came out of the box.
      VivoBarefoot recognizes that athletes train at all hours, and they’ve designed some protection for their customers right into the shoe. The reflective markings on the front and back of the Stealth II make the runner visible, for those times when being completely stealth isn’t the safest choice. Reviewers who enjoy early morning or evening runs appreciated this addition. When it comes to protecting the body from the impact of each foot strike, this shoe protects well for such a thin sole, but runners who are looking for extra cushion would probably be happier with a more substantial midsole.
      When you attempt to mimic a barefoot experience, you’re naturally going to increase the response you give runners as they strike the ground. VivoBarefoot advertises its customers will enjoy an “intense and free running sensation” when taking the Stealth II out for a test drive.
      Some reviewers gave the Stealth II low marks on support because they didn’t think it did enough for the ankle during runs. But because most understood they were buying a minimalist shoe, they weren’t expecting an extremely high level of support, neither for their arches nor their ankles.
      Reviewers reported these shoes worked well on all the surfaces they encountered: concrete, pavement, treadmills and dirty gym floors. But the VivoBarefoot Stealth II is meant for long runs on even surfaces. Runners who dare to take them off-roading may find them uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst. It’s best to select a shoe for the terrain you will be tackling, and if you’re prone to getting bored, keep a variety in your closet.
      The VivoBarefoot Stealth II is not the cheapest running shoe around, but it does offer a unique experience for those who love the natural feel. The fact that it’s a minimalist shoe that actually looks like a shoe, is worth a higher price point for most reviewers. The company does offer a deal if you buy two pairs of shoes at one time, so if you know you’ll want multiple pairs, or if you want to encourage a friend or family member to run with you, you could always go that route. They also have a loyalty program called the VivoBarefoot Tribe, which offers members additional discounts. Finally, economically-minded athletes can find also find deeply-discounted options on online sites such as Amazon.
      Runners who hit the streets with these barefoot shoes found they were “grippy” without feeling cumbersome. The sole has decent traction but won’t steady your foot on a very smooth, wet surface, since it doesn’t have extended lugs on the sole. Wet pavement seems to work just fine since it has some texture to it. A couple of reviewers were irritated by a flapping sound while walking in the Stealth II, especially on smooth indoor surfaces.
      Barefoot shoes are made to be flexible, and the VivoBarefoot Stealth II offers a good amount of stretch and flex for the foot. Reviewers were pleased with the way the shoe let their feet move in the same natural way they do without shoes. But some felt the sole of the shoe, while thin, was too stiff, and needed more flexibility.
      The thin sole and minimal heel offer a slight step up for stability over running barefoot, but runners should not expect a significantly stable feel. This is another reason why a transition period is recommended for these shoes so that the runner can make adjustments to ensure he or she is running safely.
      Welcome to zero drop. If you’re new to the barefoot style, this is going to feel weird. You might need to go for a few 2-4 mile runs just to get the feel of the thin sole. Don’t let your new shoe excitement get the better of you. Give this shoe some time to wear in, and get used to how to strike the ground safely and firmly in this flat footwear. Side note for those who like to lift heavy things – the barefoot style is great for weight training, as it encourages flat feet and grounded heels.
      Key Features
      – Pro5 Resistant layer
      – Mesh upper
      – 3mm sole
      – Zero Drop
      – 100% vegan
      – V-Web
      Bottom Line
      Why go barefoot? VivoBarefoot answers that question with a lesson in anatomy. The company cites the 200,000 nerve endings in the foot that they believe should be given the freedom to work together. VivoBarefoot says their shoes allow communication between the brain and the foot to happen naturally. Barefoot runners will love the look and will jump right into daily wear or runs in this shoe. But for the runner who hasn’t been introduced to the zero drop, there needs to be a healthy transition. Taking it slow, or even using a 4-6mm drop shoe as a transition into the Stealth II would be a wise choice. Athletes who are sensitive about buying items that use animal products will run easier with the knowledge that these shoes are vegan-friendly. Reviewers had good things to say about the shoe’s versatile look, for both inside a gym and out, and it scored well on breathability. More than anything, the VivoBarefoot brand is selling a lifestyle, and consumers who speak their language will fall in love with their products. The company promises their shoes to offer a connection many may have lost – to their feet, their childhood and their world.
      Where to Buy
      By Robyn Keeney
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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