I am very pleased to review the Star from Kigo Footwear. Kigo shoes are advertised as eco-friendly, lightweight, strong, breathable, and totally portable minimalist shoes with a special fold-up design to take them anywhere easily. I agree that the fold-up design is pretty cool when it comes to their portability, and packability, for that matter. They make great traveling shoes. I found them to be incredibly comfortable on every terrain I took them on, from flat marble to rocky trails. They also have great grip on slippery surfaces. I was definitely impressed by the Kigos and look forward to wearing them more in the future.
I was absolutely surprised at how comfortable these shoes are. I wore them every day for a solid week (while on vacation in a warmer climate) and found them a relief to wear on concrete, stone, asphalt, and trail. My feet and toes have plenty of wiggle room. The seams along the inside are just okay as there is one sharp area where the stitching meets along the inside of the shoe where the strap joins the upper. The insole, where the foot rests is slightly textured and very comfortable against my bare soles.
Each size W8 Star weighs 5 ½ ounces or 150 grams. I think any shoe under 6 ounces can be considered lightweight and the Stars definitely fall into that category. They are practically weightless on your feet.
Flex / Sole
The rubber sole is very flexible if bending the shoes in half as they are designed to clip closed this way. The front of the sole is also very flexible but the heel is not as flexible as the forefoot area of shoe. The sole does have a slightly positive heel, probably 1–2 mm. I have an incredibly sensitive back to shoes with higher heels and I did not notice the raised heel in these shoes (and I haven’t walked in shoes with a raised heel in over a year).
Support / Insole
The insole is completely removable although I did not walk around with the shoes without it. The insole is a thin, black material with slightly more padding on the arch and the toes. It is very thin at the ball of the foot and the heel, which may be why I did not notice the rise in the heel. It is not supportive in any way and there is no arch support designed into it. The insole is very comfortable to walk on with only a slight cushion to it, which I only really felt under my toes and not under my arch.
The Kigos do not have a comparable barefoot feel to other minimalist footwear brands with thinner soles. The sole is definitely thicker than most minimalist footwear, reducing their barefoot feel. You can, however, feel some rocks underfoot. Although they don’t compare to most other minimalist footwear brands in this department (including Vibram and Vivo Barefoot), they are far better than the conventional shoe.
The barefoot feel can be improved by removing the insole from the shoe. I found that the shoe was much too loose on my foot and that the stitching on the footbed was too uncomfortable for me to walk around without the insole. I have no doubt that it can be done and that it would improve the barefoot feel but I can’t comment on this directly as I didn’t like the feeling and chose not to wear them as such.
I was pleasantly surprised at the grip these shoes have, even on wet surfaces. The bottom of the sole is patterned in a fingerprint design with deep grooves. I had no trouble on smooth, wet, marble surfaces, nor on any other slippery surface.
The climate that I was in while testing these shoes was around 30C or 86F in high humidity and these shoes, where they cover the foot, did not breathe well. My feet did get hot in these shoes under these conditions. I am happy to report, though, that even without the breathability, my shoes still don’t smell at all (and my feet were quite sweaty at times).
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The manufacturing and materials could probably use some improvement. There are visible glue marks along the top of the upper where the sole meets the material in many places. The stitching is okay, but as mentioned, there are some sharp areas where the strap along the top is sewn to the sides of the shoe. After a week of constant wear, the shoe has held its shape pretty well, however.
The sizing of the Kigo Star definitely runs short. I am usually a size US 8 or EUR 38 but I found the W8 Star too tight. Fortunately, the W9 is quite comfortable with plenty of room both along the length and width.
The Star is sold on the Kigo footwear website for $49.99 USD. For a versatile and comfortable shoe, that’s an acceptable price.
If you can get over the hook on the top of the shoe and the Velcro-attached strap on the back, the Star is a pretty stylish shoe. The contrast stitching and simple design really appeals to me and they come in six different color combinations on the Kigo website.
The upper material of the Star does stretch a little with wear as well as become softer and more pliable; because of this, they became easier to put on, but other than that, I did not notice any other aspects of a break-in period.
The material comes stain resistant (although I don’t know with what technique) and the sole is rubber, therefore, the shoes do not require any kind of shoe protector treatment before wear.
Kigo Stars can be used from anything to errands, shopping, commuting, driving, or just about any activity you would wear a casual, Mary Jane-style shoe. They are probably not an appropriate shoe for running or hiking, but for any activity that includes walking, the Star is an incredibly comfortable shoe to wear. In addition, if you are the type of barefooter who carries around a pair of shoes in a bag for occasions where bare feet are not appropriate, the fold-up design makes the Star convenient and small to pack around.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I like the Kigo Star shoes. The comfort of these shoes is what truly makes them excellent shoes for any type of walking activity. I love the contrast stitching design and, besides the hook on the toe, find the upper design stylish as well. The fold-up design makes portability easy and convenient. I truly appreciate the grippiness of the flexible sole, too, especially on wet or slippery surfaces. Although they do not have the best barefoot feel for a minimalist shoe, their other qualities more than make up for the thickness of the sole.
To purchase these shoes, visit the Kigo footwear website at http://kigofootwear.com.
Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info