A while back, I had a pair of Vivobarefoot trail running shoes which I got from The Clymb. I ended up wearing those shoes during my travels from New York City to Iceland to Russia and on to China. Long story short, I wore them to the ground.
Now, I have the Vivobarefoot Gobi II Hopewell boots. They’re a lot more stylish than my old beat up trail running shoes, but still maintain that barefoot feel. These shoes have a 3mm thick sole, which is super thin but is puncture resistant and durable.
Why would anyone wear shoes with such thin soles? You’ll have to read about the benefits of barefoot shoes. According to Vivobarefoot:
Your foot has all the technology you need
Our shoes let your feet do their thing.
The overall design of the shoes is quite simple, with a leather upper, thin synthetic sole and a thin removable insole. I’ve been testing the Gobi IIs in size 9 (Europe size 42) in the Tobacco color, although the boots also come in black and a tan suede.
Here are my thoughts on the shoes:
Unlike most other shoes, the Vivobarefoot Gobi IIs allow you to feel what you’re stepping on – in a good way. With its thin sole, zero heel to toe drop, you’re able to feel the terrain.
This is some more information Vivobarefoot says about barefoot shoes and your feet:
Your body has all the technology you need; muscles and tendons provide natural shock absorption, the skeletal system provides natural motion control and the nervous system provides natural sensory feedback
The boots are very lightweight, allowing you to easily travel with them. The leather upper is also treated for water resistance.
You can pair the Gobi IIs with jeans or any pants and look presentable while feeling comfortable. The Gobi II Hopewell boots have a simplistic and minimal look and feel.
The boots are true to size, as I’m a size 9 in Keen, Nike, Timberland and Vivobarefoot. The Gobi IIs have a pretty wide fit, allowing your toes to splay naturally. Pair these with the Injinji toe socks, and your toes will have unparalleled mobility. The shoes also have a removable insole, which has minimal cushioning.
The Gobi II Hopewell boots have a zero heel to toe drop.
Since these shoes have a barefoot feel, there’s little to no arch support or cushion. It’s a feeling that you may need some time to get used to, but it is a cool feeling to actually feel what you’re stepping on.
- The barefoot feel isn’t for everyone
A 3mm sole is radically thin. If you’re moving from normal chunky shoes, the Gobi IIs are a big jump.
From my experience, my feet have gotten uncomfortable after standing with barefoot shoes for long time periods, such as when traveling and visiting museums. I like barefoot shoes, but I’m not a die-hard barefoot shoe advocate. I’ll admit, not everyone will like the barefoot feel or find them comfortable because they can take a while to get used to.
Overall, the Vivobarefoot Gobi II Hopewell boots are exactly what you’d expect from Vivobarefoot: lightweight, comfortable and barefoot. I’m a big fan of the style of these boots, which is casual but refined, perfect for traveling. The Gobi IIs have a comfortable fit, although barefoot feel might take a while to get used to for some.
The Vivobarefoot Gobi II Hopewells cost retail $150, which is reasonable, especially since they’re leather.
Where to Get These Shoes:
Have any questions about the Vivobarefoot Gobi II Hopewells? Leave your comment below.
The Vivobarefoot Gobi II Hopewell shoes were provided for this review. As always, this Vivobarefoot Gobi II review contains only my honest views and opinions. Some links found in this review are affiliate links, meaning that we get commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. This helps to fund the site. 🙂