VivoBarefoot Evo Lite ReviewJune 16, 2013
- 100% flexibility throughout the shoe
- Low standing height
- Great ground feel
- Durable outsole for multi-purpose use
- Heavier than similarly minimal shoes
- Slightly slick traction on wet surfaces
- Relatively expensive
VivoBarefoot Evo Lite is best for dedicated minimalist runners who want a durable, all-purpose running shoe that can handle all but the most rugged or sloppy surfaces.
VivoBarefoot’s Evo Lite is the next generation of the company’s flagship running model, which debuted in 2010 as the Cadillac of minimalist running shoes. VivoBarefoot has introduced other models since then, but the Evo remains their top of the line model for pure running performance.
Here’s something odd: despite its name, 8.4-oz the Evo Lite is actually slightly heavier than the original Evo, which weighed in at 8.2 oz. Removing the insole drops about seven or eight tenths of an ounce. VivoBarefoot has lighter running shoes in its lineup, but it’s a bit disappointing that they haven’t carved any weight out of their premier model in the last three years.
Fit and Comfort
The interior comfort is fairly plush, with a soft microfiber collar around the ankle and microfiber insole. The thin nylon mesh upper is highly breathable and didn’t cause any irritation against bare skin. Skinny TPU overlays in VivoBarefoot’s trademark honeycomb pattern maintain shape of the upper without adding girth.
The fit through the midfoot is easily customized with traditional lacing, and the toe box is roomy enough to allow full toe splay on foot strike. VivoBarefoot’s toe boxes typically run wider than other minimalist brands, and removing the insole may make this area excessively roomy for some users.
You really can’t improve on this aspect of the Evo Lite; like virtually all VivoBarefoot models, the outsole is completely flexible in all directions, and the upper material is completely collapsible as well. Without a true midsole component, there’s nothing to get in the way of natural barefoot biomechanics.
With a 4mm outsole and 2mm insole, total stack height is a pleasantly low 6mm. There’s no rock plate or midsole component to absorb impact, and combined with the highly flexible outsole, ground feel is very strong in the Evo Lite.
The sole’s hexagonal rubber lugs are only about 1mm deep, but they are extensive enough to provide a steady grip on groomed trails, fire roads, and most unpaved surfaces. On asphalt or concrete, the rubber maintains good traction, although wet conditions on either road or trail will cause a bit of slipping.
After 100 miles of testing, outsole wear is minimal, and material construction of the upper shows no weaknesses or areas of concern.
Aside from highly technical trails, the Evo Lite is suitable for most types of terrain you might encounter; testing for this model included a road marathon and off-road 50K. It’s well suited for outings that involve equal parts road and trail. For general athletic purposes, there may be too much movement in the toe box area for activities that require a lot of lateral movement.