Monthly Archives: August 2011

VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic Site has Launched

The VIVOBAREFOOT Training Clinic site has launched and is THE location to learn how to ‘Master the Skill of Barefoot Running’.


The site includes a link to Lee Saxby’s ebook Proprioception: Making Sense of Barefoot Running, which explains why proprioception is so important for human locomotion, how to run barefoot correctly, and exercises to improve the skills of running.

The site also includes a vast Resources section with a huge library of Training Videos to help you with your exercise technique and a Research section for those who want to learn the science behind barefoot running.

And my personal favourite section: the Find a Coach page that can direct you to the nearest VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach, which includes yours truly.

There’s also a section where you can book a course to Become a VIVOBAREFOOT Certified Coach yourself and details on how the course and certification works.

Check out the new site to start your journey to mastering the skill of barefoot running!

Kigo Flit Review

It’s exciting to follow the growth and evolution of a shoe company, especially one as passionate as Kigo is about their products. We are very pleased to review the third generation of Kigo Footwear’s Mary Jane-style shoe: the Flit. There are a number of considerable improvements to the Flit compared to the first and second generations, the Star and the Curv. Kigo has really listened to the feedback solicited from barefooters and minimalist shoe enthusiasts and made some significant changes.

The Differences between the Flit and the Curv
There are significant differences between the Flit and the Curv in terms of fit and function. The Flit is now zero drop, meaning there is no height differential between the forefoot and the heel. Kigo has also changed the last (the mould that the shoe is shaped around) such that the new shoe is much more anatomically shaped with a wide toe box. The strapping system has been modified to include a small strip of elastic to make the Mary Jane-styled shoe easy to get on but still allows the strap to lay flat across the top of the foot. These changes have made the Flit a superior minimalist shoe compared to the Curv and it was pretty good product to start with.

Comfort
The new wider Flit design is a joy for my spreading toes and feet. There is plenty of wiggle room for all the bones of my feet to splay naturally while walking. There are significantly fewer seams on the inside of the shoe making a more simply designed shoe with fewer construction points. The shoe stays comfortably snug against my foot with the improved strapping system. The insole has just the right amount of cushioning which makes for an enjoyable padded feeling without being too hard or too squishy.

One aspect of the redesigned upper does somewhat affect the comfort of the shoe, the thread used in the Flit seems thicker and coarser than that used in previous models. The zig zag pattern along the edge of the shoe feels noticeably scratchy against the skin of my feet. That being said, this would be my only point of improvement for the new shoe and this may be less of an issue for those who have less sensitive skin.

Weight
Each size W8 Flit weighs 5 ¼ ounces or 146 grams. This is a whole ounce less than the Curv. Kigo has certainly worked hard to achieve to lowest weight possible for this shoe and it has paid off. The Flit feels practically weightless while wearing it and is well balanced.

Flex / Sole
The rubber sole much more flexible than previous models and can easily be bent in half anywhere along its length. It does not bend longitudinally but neither do our feet.

The 2 mm outsole is now zero drop with no raised heel differential whatsoever. Although the Curv didn’t have much of a raised heel, this is still a significant and welcome improvement in their minimalist footwear function and design and finally makes this product a true minimalist design.

Support / Insole
The insole is removable and the shoe can easily be worn with or without it. The comfort is not overly affected . There is significantly more room in the shoe without it so this choice depends on how big your feet are and how well the shoe fits with the added volume. The insole is uniform in thickness along its length and is very comfortable to walk on. It seems slightly thicker than the Curv insole but also a little more dense. The shoe and insole do not have any arch support.

Barefoot Feel
The 2 mm outsole of the new Flit has significantly improved barefoot feel over their previous models. The feeling of walking on small rocks is easily transmitted through the outsole and insole. The barefoot feel can be further improved by removing the insole from the shoe. Customers, therefore, have a choice as to how much ground feel they want to experience.

Grip
Kigo continues to provide exceptional grip with their fingerprint-designed outsole. There was considerable traction on all dry and wet surfaces that I have tested them on.

Breathability
The upper is made of post-consumer CYCLEPET, which does not breathe well as a material. However, the Mary-Jane style of the Flit allows for plenty of air to reach the toes because of the open upper design. My feet have never felt too hot in them and don’t become overly sweaty.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
The manufacturing and materials could probably still use some improvement, although the manufacturing is better than previous models. There are still visible glue marks along the bottom of the upper where the sole meets the material in many places, but it is quite minimal and only visible  upon close inspection.

When compared to last years’ model there are fewer seams in the construction of the shoe making them a simpler and more pleasing design. However, the thickness of the thread along the edge could be reduced, which would improve their comfort factor greatly. I continue to believe that the Flit, like the Curv and Star, will keep its shape and durability for quite some time.

Sizing
Kigo has improved the sizing of the new Flit with a true-to-size system. I am usually a size US 8 or EUR 38 and the W8 Flit fits perfectly. This is in contrast to the Curv, where the W9 fit well previously.

Price
The Flit is sold on the Kigo Footwear website for $87.00 USD. For a versatile minimalist shoe, that’s still an acceptable price, although higher than previous models. However, the Curv is currently being sold on the Kigo website for $69.99 USD (although they will be phased out as stock is sold out).

Style
I find the simple design of the Flit attractive and versatile with casual pants, shorts, or skirts. The diagonal strap is a unique and neat idea for Mary Jane. They are currently available in grey with blue stitching or black with grey stitching.

Break-in Period
The upper material of the Flit will become more pliable over time but, I believe, will maintain its shape. After several walks over the past few weeks,  no change in shape was noticed.

Shoe care
The upper material  is water and stain resistant. I walked in wet grass after some rain and the water beaded on the top of the upper material, keeping my feet warm and dry inside. The Flit can be hand-washed in the sink or wiped with a damp cloth followed by air drying.

Uses
The Kigo Flit can be used for anything  from 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 because of their open top, but for any activity that includes walking, the Flit is a versatile shoe to wear.

Summary
Kigo has made significant changes to the Flit design and continues to improve the product in terms of minimalist footwear function and fit. The new zero drop, thinner outsole, improved barefoot feel, wider toe box design, and improved strapping system make this shoe a superior product to their previous models and a superior product in the minimalist industry. My only suggestion for improvement for this shoe would be a different thread choice for the zig zag pattern along the edge to improve their comfort against the skin.

Kigo Footwear is a company that truly listens to their customer’s feedback. The redesign of the Flit compared to the Curv proves that Kigo appreciates the opinions of their customers and are willing to go to great lengths to satisfy them.

Kigo Footwear is advertised as eco-friendly so if that appeals to you in a product, you can check out the Kigo website for more information on how their footwear and business practices are friendly to the environment.

To purchase these shoes, visit the Kigo footwear website at http://kigofootwear.com.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

Living Barefoot Coaching Clinics Coming Up in Alberta

Calling all Alberta Barefoot/Minimalist Runners!

I have a couple of Living Barefoot Coaching Introduction to Natural Running Clinics coming up this week in Calgary and Edmonton:

MEC in Calgary on August 23, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop in Edmonton on August 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Check out the Living Barefoot Coaching site for the details and to register!

Email me at: coaching[at]livingbarefoot.info for promo codes for significant savings from the regular-priced registration fees!

Trail Running/Hiking the Sibbald Ole Buck Loop Trail

I recently ran/hiked the Sibbald Ole Buck Loop Trail with a dear and lovely friend. She is just getting into trail running so I thought I’d take her on an easy trail near where we live. It was a lovely 1-hour run from the Sibbald Viewpoint parking lot and a lot of fun!

It had just finished raining so I decided to wear my Inov-8 Bare Grip 200s and it was a wise choice with all the mud. The way out was overcast and dry but on the way back it started to pour. In Alberta, we have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” It was an apt saying for the day. :)

The beginning of the trail was wide and a little rocky through the trees. There is a lovely view from the top of the cliff to the flats below. Then we crossed the road, ran back into some woods, and over a bridge. The creek below was flowing nicely from the recent rain. Then we came upon a meadow with chin-high grass (it was chin-high on me anyway, it was over my friend’s head). We both got covered in grass seed. Then we started uphill. There’s quite the little climb on this trail at the beginning of the loop on the Ole Buck Trail. We walked up the hill and stopped a few times to enjoy the view (because what’s trail running if you don’t stop to look around at the scenery?). Then it started to rain. We thought we’d missed it but another cloud came rolling in at our farthest point out. By then we were soaked from the wet grass and muddy trail so it wasn’t a big deal. We ran back down the hill over a lot of downed trees until we reached the grassy meadow again. We stopped at the creek on the way back to wash the second round of grass seed from our skin and clothes. The water was blissfully cool to stand in. Then we high-tailed it back to the car in the downpour that hit us.

After the run, I took some pics of the view and trail. It was a great day and made us both feel grateful for the laid back lifestyle we lead that allows us to go trail running in the middle of the day every once in a while. :)












Living Barefoot Coaching Clinic in Las Vegas

Earlier this week, I held my first ever international Living Barefoot Coaching Clinic in Las Vegas, USA. The staff at REI Las Vegas-Boca Park were fantastic: so friendly and helpful. The clinic was a small group of four VERY enthusiastic individuals. Audience participation is always welcome and these guys were incredible with their willingness to try the exercises. They asked great, well-thought out questions. I’ve even heard back from two of the attendees with additional comments and questions.

This clinic exemplified for me the saying, “You teach what you want to learn.” I hope I never stop learning new things about people, delivery, myself, and most importantly how to run naturally.

Thanks Las Vegas!