Monday, November 7, 2011

VIVOBAREFOOT Lucy Lite review. Road shoe love.


A little background about my experience with VIVOBAREFOOT.  
I fist tried the Evo IIs by VIVOBAREFOOT and I thought they were fantastic.  I also tried on the Evo originals in the store in NYC but didn't like the fit for my feet.  I chose to try the Neo's after my coaching certification course and tested them out by running a 50k in them and fell in love.  It seems to be the trend with VIVOBAREFOOT that they just keep getting better with each model I try.  I am not paid to endorse the company or to write positive reviews and all shoes have been given to me for free.  I was invited by them to take the coaching certification course.  I think that there should be many companies making minimal shoes so there is competition to drive the market to keep getting better.  So far though I have not found anything to rival VIVOBAREFOOT in design.  

 

The Lucy Lite is the best road running shoe I have come across yet.  
I do most of my running, shod or barefoot, on the roads and sidewalks near my home.  
 I still love the other styles and of course with shoes it is something ultimately you have to decide what fits best on your feet but my experience has been that their shoes meet and exceed my expectations of the criteria I have for what makes a minimal shoe.  Here is my post about what makes a great minimal shoe so you can read the list of criteria that I apply when I review shoes.


  Ground feel is excellent in these!!   They are the original TPU puncture resistant sole.  This is not like a squishy EVA sole that is just padding. Padding gives mixed signals to the feet and a false sense of security.  The TPU is dense yet flexible and allows you to feel the ground without the confusion of padding.


   The sole is made on an extra wide last.   These give plenty of room for natural foot splay and yet I don't have any problems with them swimming around on my feet.   The sole is 3mm and there is also a removable 3mm  press EVA insole.  I like running with or without the insole.  Both are comfortable.  For maximum proprioception, take out the insole!


  Proprioception is our body's sense of its own position, balance, and movement.  Proprioception provides us with "body awareness".   About 70% of our body awareness comes from our feet.   So if you can't feel with your feet, your body will be left to guess what shapes it is supposed to make in order to deal with the forces placed on us when running.  A thin soled shoe that protects the foot is what will give your body the best chance at maintaining barefoot form and run in a way that is less likely to lead to injury.


  Recently  I have since started using a locking lace by Yankz.  I loathe having to stop and tie my shoes.  After barefoot running for so long I am rather smug about a couple things and not ever having to stop to tie shoes in the middle of a run is a big one!
  So even without the lace locking of the Yankz the tying of these is great in that it gives the option for tightening up higher on the top of the foot.  The lacing system allows for custom tightening which is very important considering these are wide in the toebox.


The heel tab area is soft and lightly padded.  The heel seat is also comfortable with no rubbing and nice soft seams.
I also found the sizing to be true.  I always go up a half size so that I have plenty of room between my big toe and the end of the shoe.  Online shopping is brilliant but the major downfall is not being able to try on the shoes before purchasing.  It was a relief to use the size chart and have the shoe fit when they arrived!


  If you can roll the shoe up in a ball then it will move with your foot however your foot wants to move.  
  You should dictate the movement, not the shoe!
Flexible is key.   These, as you can see, are very flexible throughout the length of the shoe.


I really like to be able to run without socks.  In the winter of course I do wear wool socks but when I want to wear shoes I want to maximize proprioception and one way to do that is to wear shoes without socks.
The Lucy Lites have a sockless liner that is soft and I didn't find that any of the seams rubbed my feet wrong.
The only thing I would improve on with this model of shoe is to give a mesh option for better breath-ability. 

These are going to rock in the winter as my feet will stay nice and warm.  The upper is made of a hydrophobic mesh that although is not water proof it is water resistant and my feet did stay dry although they get downright hot in these shoes and I am not a sweaty foot kind of person.  My husband and boys on the other hand always have sweaty feet but even in these shoes my feet get hot.   
The benefits outweigh this negative in my opinion though.



No issues with the crease across the top of the toes when the shoe flexes.

The Lucy Lites weigh in at 6 ounces.
This is half an ounces lighter than the Neos 
that are my second favorite VIVOBAREFOOT running shoe.  
See they just keep getting better!

The Lucy Lites are also Zero Drop.  
This means that there is no differential between the height of the heel and the toe area of the foot.
This is ideal for a minimal shoe.


The VIVOBAREFOOT Lucy Lites are 100% Vegan!  In 2003 Terra Plana pioneered the barefoot/minimal shoe movement by introducing VIVOBAREFOOT.
The footwear is produced sustainably using recycled, locally sourced materials, with efficient and eco-friendly production techniques in independently monitored ethical facilities.

 The construction is sound and I am thinking they will last many years.  I have not seen any wear yet on my pair and I have been testing them out for a couple of months.  This is true for the other models I have tried including the kids Neos and casual shoes I have reviewed.

They come in blue, crimson, and black with a price of $115.   This is pretty typical for running shoes these days minimal or otherwise and considering how well made they are.





Just like the transition to barefoot running takes patience and time while the body adapts, strengthens, and gets used to the new way of running, the same applies with wearing minimal shoes.   
You will want to change your landing to a forefoot landing.  Also land under your center of mass with upright posture and work towards upping your cadence to 180.
Again this all takes time and patience.  Barefoot and minimal shoes are not a quick fix but a new way of thinking.
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