Three years of proprioceptive research and development, and it shows
The One was a long time in the making. Extensive plantar pressure experimentation was conducted in order to maximize proprioceptive feedback for this model. Does the rest of the shoe compare to the excellence of the outsole’s properties? Read on to find out.
Price: $115.00 USD
Width: Narrow to Wide
Sole Thickness: 3.0 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 5 ¼ ounces or 144 grams
Insole: Removable; 5/8 ounces or 18 grams
Sizing: 5–13; Check VB website for sizing
Category: Road/Light Trail Running
Comfort & Fit
I really wanted to like the upper of The One but I just don’t because it is ultimately not comfortable for me. It fits in terms of length and width, stays in place on my foot and heel, and the material is plenty soft enough against my skin, but the upper is so thin that all the edges feel sharp. The collar and tongue have minimal padding, which is not really an issue as the collar is cut in such a way that my ankle doesn’t really feel the edges. The biggest problem is in the crease in the upper when I bend my toes. Every time I wear these shoes, I get at least a hot spot and at worst a blister on the top of one or both of my feet, even while wearing socks. I can understand a blister if not wearing socks but WITH socks? The overlay on the medial side of the top of my feet is simply in the wrong place for me and with every step, it creases too sharply and too deeply for the shape of my feet.
I can’t help but compare The One to the VB Lucy Lite (if you are not familiar with the Aqua/Lucy Lite, feel free to skip this paragraph). The only downsides of the Lucy Lite as a road running shoe are that it is not that breathable and it doesn’t have the best proprioception in the VB range, although still one of the best in the minimal market as a whole. However, it is the most comfortable minimal shoe that I have reviewed to date without question. I was hoping that The One would be just as comfortable as the Lucy Lite but with improved breathability and a new and improved outsole for even better proprioception. The One is about 1.5 cm narrower than the Lucy Lite, which for a person with wide feet, makes the Lucy Lite far more comfortable. If you have a narrower foot, The One is probably the better shoe for you in terms of fit. The One has next to no padding anywhere in the upper and feels sharp to the touch and where it bends, while the Lucy Lite has just the right balance of padding in the tongue and around the collar for all-day wear. Therefore, in terms of shape and upper comfort, the Lucy Lite is far superior to The One. Admittedly, The One does have better breathability and improved proprioception but with the potential of a blister every time I wear them, I doubt I’ll be wearing them that often.
Barefoot Feel & Function
VIVOBAREFOOT performs extensive research to maximize proprioception in their products and The One is the culmination of three years of experimentation and optimization. It has incredible ground feel and absolutely allows your feet to move naturally. It has one of the best barefoot feel of any running shoe I have reviewed to date (I’m torn between which ground feel is better between The One and the New Balance HI-REZ). With the removable insole, you can choose the maximum amount of proprioception or slightly more cushioning and insulation.
Weighing in at under 150 grams, they are some of the lightest on-road running shoes on the minimalist market.
The hex grip outsole provides more than enough traction for dry or wet road conditions. For light trail use, I would recommend keeping on the dry side.
The One upper is made with a V web lamination, some faux leather along the laces around some of the collar, and a soft-fit lining on the interior. One of the best features of this shoe is its breathability, soft breezes can easily be felt through the upper. Water will flow in but will also flow out just as quickly through the meshy upper material.
As there is a considerable amount of glue used in the construction of this shoe, I would not recommend machine washing but a scrub in the sink instead followed by an air dry.
Regarding a break-in period, I’m not sure whether one would be beneficial or not. I do get a hot spot on the top of my feet every time I wear them, whether with or without socks. I don’t know if the crease in the upper that causes this will ever soften enough to stop doing that or if this shoe shape just is not the one for me.
The One outsole is a 3 mm, TPU, hexagonal, on-road sole with VIVOBAREFOOT’s patented puncture resistance. It feels like one of the thinnest soles I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing yet. It has incredible flexibility and, like all VB products, no arch support.
The quality of the materials appears excellent but the quality of the manufacturing is somewhat lacking in the glue use with visible excess along the bottom edge where the outsole meets the upper and along some of the seams in the heel quarter or missed edges altogether in the same area. Granted, these are only visible with close examination but still noteworthy.
I have no doubt that the outsole will last a very long time. The upper will likely be the first to fail but I would guess will last at least two seasons of heavy use.
I love the minimal styling of The One and think that for a running shoe, they look fantastic, and for a casual shoe, they look sleek and stylish with quite a bit of character in the details. The hex design in the toe cap matching the larger hex pattern in the V web lamination is classy and understated but shows attention to detail and style. The clever use of colour accenting in the slightly crinkly, stay-tied lace is also a nice touch. The One is available in three colourways for women including black/teal (my personal favourite), grey/salmon (I can’t say that I’m a fan of this particular shade of pink), and grey/teal (for those who like their running shoes a little louder) as well as two colourways for men including grey/royal blue and grey/yellow.
The One is designed as an on-road running shoe but it is perfectly suited as a fitness shoe in the gym or a minimalist, casual, around-town shoe. I think they are appropriate as a light trail running shoe as well but during dry conditions only.
At $115 USD, they are priced in the mid-range of minimalist running shoes. With this shoe, you are purchasing the peace of mind of VB’s puncture resistant sole and the best proprioception in footwear that money can buy. If this shoe fits you comfortably—without the creasing on the top of the foot—this shoe is absolutely worth this price.
The One is VB’s ultimate on-road running performance shoe. It was in development for three years and is the result of extensive research and development in the proprioception department. The outsole has one of the best ground feel of any of the running shoes that I have reviewed to date. The upper, although stylish, soft and functional, is not the most comfortable in terms of fit. The creasing across the medial top of the foot (similar to issues described for VB’s Evo in the original models) is a huge hot spot creator for me with or without socks. I’m not sure that breaking them in will soften this issue as, frankly, I’m not willing to put in the time to get the hot spot/blister, heal, and then repeat only to potentially discover that it will not soften out. However, if you find that The One is the right shape for you and there are no creasing issues, it is an excellent on-road, in the gym, or around town shoe with the best ground feel you can get.
To find out more about The One, you can check out VIVOBAREFOOT’s website.