Monthly Archives: June 2010


Overall impression
The Kali is a brand new Mary Jane style pump for the Spring/Summer 2010 collection. It is the perfect footwear for women looking for a minimalist show in a professional environment.  It is an extremely well-made shoe with an elegant and attractive design yet has a thin, anatomically correct sole that allows for natural foot movement and excellent ground feel.

Once broken-in, meaning the leather softens to the shape of your foot and heel, the Kali is extremely comfortable. The toe box is wide allowing for plenty of room for the forefoot of wider feet. None of the upper edges rub against the top of the foot while walking. The elastic across the top is comfortable and does a superb job at keeping the shoe in place on your foot. The inside of the shoe is a grippy fabric that is soft to the touch but also helps to keep your feet from sliding around while wearing the shoe. The counter of the shoe is not made of fabric, however, but a soft suede that stretches to the shape of your heel. There are no noticeable seam edges on the inside of the shoe.

I was surprised at how comfortable the shoes were when I first put them on. There were no tight, binding, or pinching areas and they were instantly comfortable. The only problem I encountered with this shoe was with the shape of the heel seat. Upon first receiving my new Kalis, I wore them walking for an extended period of time with no socks and developed blisters from the heel seat rubbing against the back of my heel. After the shoes were broken-in, by wearing them around the house with socks for a few days, I no longer experienced this problem. This problem probably will not happen with everyone, it just depends on the shape of your foot and heel.

Each size 38 Kali shoe weighs 5 ½ ounces with the insole and 4 ¾ ounces without the insole. Even after walking for extended periods, the shoes feel practically weightless.

Flex / Sole
The sole is Vivo Barefoot’s patented 3 mm Duratex, puncture-resistant sole. It is incredibly flexible in every direction while still providing a strong structure for the base of the shoe.

Support / Insole
There is no arch support in this shoe and it comes with an approximately 3 mm insole. The shoe can be worn with or without the insole depending on personal preference. The shoe feels significantly different on the foot with the insole removed. Although the feeling to the touch is similar between the insole and the red liner built-in to the shoe, there is significantly more room in the shoe without the insole. I find that the shoe fits my foot better with the insole in so that is how I wear it; others may find that it is more comfortable without it. The shape of your foot will be a deciding factor in the fit and comfort of the shoe with or without the insole.

Barefoot Feel
Like other Vivo Barefoot shoes, the barefoot feel is phenomenal. If you wear the shoe without the insole, your feet are even closer to the ground with even more surface reception.

The Vivo Barefoot sole features a grip comprised of a hexagonal pattern with raised square knobs for traction. I found the grip to be quite secure on all terrains whether dry or wet.

The Kali has incredible air flow as there is very little material to the upper. I also found that breathability was excellent because there was enough room for air to enter under the vamp of the shoes, which helps to keep the toes from getting sweaty.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
As with all the Vivo Barefoot shoes I have tested, the quality of both the materials and the manufacturing is outstanding. The leather upper is a beautiful, high-quality leather. The materials used for the inside of the shoe also appear to be high-quality materials as opposed to thin or cheap fabrics. The elastic along the top is wide, stretchy and seems quite durable. The seams are all impeccable.

Water Resistance
As the Kali is a Mary Jane style pump, if you’re walking in the rain, your feet are going to get wet. If you are walking in shallow puddles or short wet grass, however, your feet are well protected by the sole and the high-quality leather upper.

The Kali appears to fit true to size. I generally wear a U.S. size 8 or European size 38 and that is the size of Kali that fit me best. For better reference compared to other Vivo Barefoot models, my Lucy shoes and Dundan boots are size 39.

The Kali is priced on the Terra Plana website at $110 USD. Considering this a professional-looking, extremely well-made leather pump, I think the price is a great value.

This shoe has a simple yet elegant design. There are many lovely details to embellish the shoe, like the shiny strip of black material sewn above the edge of the sole and the Vivo Barefoot logo decals that add flare. While at the Terra Plana store, I was also told that the shoe can be worn with or without the elastic strap on the top. I you prefer a simpler, slip-on pump, you can step on the elastic and it is completely hidden. This is an excellent idea that adds versatility to the style of the shoe. The Kali comes in dark brown, light brown, and all black leather.

Break-in Period
As mentioned above, this is the only problem I had with the Kalis: they needed to be broken in. The leather upper is a little stiff when they are brand new and need some wear to soften it and allow it to conform to the shape of your foot and heel. I wore them with socks on for a few hours for a couple of days to stretch them out a little and now they feel perfectly conformed to the shape of my feet.

Shoe care
As with all leather shoe products, these shoes should be treated with an all-purpose leather shoe protector before going out in wet conditions and to protect the durability of the shoe.

These are the perfect minimalist shoe for the professional environment. They are elegant, simple, and incredibly versatile as they can be worn with or without the elastic strap depending on the style that you choose.

The Kali is another excellent product by Vivo Barefoot. In an industry where there are few professional, work-appropriate shoes, they are the perfect minimalist shoe for a professional environment. They are extremely comfortable after a short break-in period that softens the leather and allows them to conform to the shape of your feet. They are a well-made, high-quality Mary Jane style shoe definitely worth the price.

For more information, take a look at the VIVOBAREFOOT website.

Originally posted on

The Living Barefoot Podcast Show – Episode 15 Released

The latest episode of the Living Barefoot Show was just released. Al and I interviewed Michael Sandler: runner, coach, author, and all-around great guy! We had a fabulous time talking with him during the interview and we chatted for quite a while afterwards as well. I would really like to catch one of his barefoot running clinics. I’ll have to keep an eye on his schedule. Or maybe, I’ll have to see about hosting one of his and his lovely fiancee’s clinics in Calgary….

You can check out the show at:


I have finally decided that I am a runner. I have changed programs recently. I’m doing the ‘Listen to Your Body’ program, which I learned from Dr. Lieberman at the Barefoot Running Clinic in Boston. I’ve been trying it for probably two months now.

I run with no tech: no heart rate monitor or GPS. It’s been working great and very freeing. I run when I want to or feel like running, I walk when my heart rate gets too high or my legs/feet need a break, I walk up hills if I feel like it, I occasionally sprint up hills if I feel like it. I’ve been making super progress too. I’ve been running longer and stronger. I think my progress has improving much faster than it ever was when I ran a more regimented program (like 4 minutes running, 30 seconds walking times however many intervals I thought I could do). My body tells me when I need to slow down or speed up, when my legs are tired, when my arches need more recovery. I’m learning to listen to the big messages and even the more subtle ones. So now, I AM a runner.

I also recently returned from Vancouver, B.C. where I had a short vacation(thanks Susi). I walked and ran A LOT on the trails of North Vancouver. It was fantastic! I spent almost every minute of the trip in my new Vivo Barefoot EVOs, which I absolutely adore (the long review of those will be up on Living Barefoot soon and I’ll post a link when it goes up). I took some pics while on one of my walks. This is Lynn Canyon. Enjoy!

Barefoot/Minimalist Running Advice

Jason Robillard, the author of the Barefoot Running Book, recently asked me if I had any ‘helpful tips’ for barefoot/minimalist runners. My best tip is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. It will tell you when you should slow down or when you’re ready to speed up. It will tell you when you need to step lighter or when you can plow through some terrain. It will tell you when you are ready to increase your cadence or when you need to slow it down. It will tell you when you can go out and run again or when you need a little more time to recover from the last run. Learning to listen to your body is crucial in barefoot/minimalist running and experience will help in interpreting the messages.

That’s my two cents. If you’re interested in reading Jason’s book, you can check out his blog where he has information on how to order it.