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The most comfortable and simplistically stylish ballet flat
VIVOBAREFOOT has made some of the most comfortable shoes that I’ve had the pleasure to review and I can now count the Jing Jing casual, ballet flat among them. I’ve had extreme difficulty finding a simple, stylish, truly minimalist shoe that I can wear with fancier outfits that does not rub holes in the tops of my tender toes. Until now. And for once, I’m not the only one that feels that way. At a recent wedding, where I was test-wearing my review pair of Jing Jings, the bridesmaids were both wearing them as well and for long into the night when even the bride had ditched her heels!

Quick Details
Price: $75 USD
Width: Average to Extra Wide
Sole Thickness: 3 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 3 3/8 ounces or 96 grams
Insole: None
Sizing: 6–10.5; Check website for new sizing
Category: Women’s Casual

Comfort & Fit
Absolutely every aspect that I qualify in the comfort department is surpassed by the Jing Jing. All the edges are soft with just enough and not too enough flex, including the all important heel, which can be difficult to get just right. The material lining the inside of the shoe against the skin is wonderful and not at all abrasive. With extremely sensitive skin, it is difficult to find sockless casual shoes that have not rubbed blisters on the tops of my feet and toes and after all-day wear, my skin was blissfully happy and whole. The footbed is also soft and with just the right amount of cushioning (i.e., very little but enough to not feel any edges from the outsole) and the interface between the footbed and the upper is completely unobtrusive. Despite there being no attachments, the Jing Jing stays in place well without binding the top of my feet or slipping off my heel.

VIVOBAREFOOT seems to be changing their sizing from European to a U.S. number system on their website. The review pair is a EUR size 39 and U.S. size 8.5, and it fits me perfect in terms of length and width. I am extremely pleased with the width of the toe box as there is plenty of room for my wide feet. I believe this shoe would fit an average to extra wide women’s foot well but a narrow foot might feel a little sloppy and might not stay on quite as well.

Barefoot Feel & Function
The ground feel of the Jing Jing is amazing. Despite being able to feel very small rocks, walking on gravel was not a problem as sharp edges were muted enough to maintain a comfortable walking speed. The outsole is extremely flexible and easily bends to conform to ground contours; my feet are free to move naturally.

As a casual shoe, there is more than enough traction for dry man-made and natural surfaces. I did find smooth, wet surfaces a little slippery and took more care stepping on these.

Weighing under 100 grams, they feel more like slippers than a shoe.

Upper Qualities
The upper is made of faux leather or suede vegan material with an elasticized topline. The material itself is not breathable but because of the open design, plenty of air circulation dries sweat away from the toes. As this is a faux leather product, no leather treatment is required and a wipe with a damp cloth should clean them of dirt. For the suede models, cleaning may be more difficult if you want to maintain the brush suede look. Unlike most casual flats I’ve tried, there is no break-in period required for the Jing Jings as they were comfortable right out of the box.

Sole Qualities
The outsole is a 3 mm, non-marking, hexagonal rubber with excellent flexibility and VIVOBAREFOOT’s patented puncture resistance. Although it appears while not wearing the shoe that there is a lot of toe spring, while wearing them, I am not the least bit aware of any because the outsole is so flexible. As with all VIVOBAREFOOT products, there is no arch support designed into the shoe and has a completely flat footbed.

Overall Quality
Although I have no doubt that the sole is high quality material, the upper material seems a bit thin to say they will last a long time. In addition, this thinness also allows creases produced during the manufacturing process to be visible from the inside of the shoe to show on the outside of the material. Albeit, these are only visible upon very close inspection, it is still noteworthy.

I adore the simple yet fashionable styling of the Jing Jing. As mentioned above, I wore them all day to a recent wedding as did the bridesmaids (had there been an all-white model, I’m sure the bride would have worn them, too). Their elegant style makes them an ideal casual flat for just about any casual or office-appropriate outfit for those of us who prefer minimalist design. They are currently available in five colours including black, dark brown, yellow, and pink leather as well as a taupe suede.

At a wedding, at the office or walking errands around town, the Jing Jing is perfectly styled and exceptionally comfortable for all-day wear. If you’re the type of barefooter looking for a simple and packable shoe, these also foot that bill as they are easily stowed in a handbag or purse. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of a summer occasion that these would not be a fantastic casual shoe choice.

At $75 USD, they are priced at the low end of the minimalist market and competitively for a quality, casual, ballet-type flat. Considering their stylish versatility for around town, summer function or office wear, they are well worth their price in value.

VIVOBAREFOOT has created another fantastically comfortable, functionally fabulous, and beautifully styled product in a niche that is sorely lacking in minimalist options. The Jing Jing is one of those casual shoes that goes with just about any outfit and can be used for almost any casual—and even not-so-casual—occasion. It was awesome for me to see two bridesmaids wearing the same shoe as me and they both attested to their comfort, packability, and style as well.

For more information or to purchase the Jing Jing online, you can check out the VIVOBAREFOOT website.

Welcome to Natural Runner!

Welcome to my new blog site! This blog used to be called ‘Toe Girl’ Tina’s Barefoot Alternative Adventures but has evolved since starting that endeavour back in 2009. I still run barefoot (and spend as much time without shoes as I can) but I spend so much more time wearing minimal footwear. I do live in Canada after all where winter can feel like six months long.

I wanted a place where I could post my minimal shoe reviews along with my adventures while wearing them. I wanted a place where I could share my coaching news and developments. And I wanted a place where I could write about running. Thus, was born!

Other than the new URL, new developments for the site include a new WordPress platform, as opposed to the old Blogger platform, with a minimalist theme (there’s just something about ‘minimalist’ that appeals to me ;) ). There’s also a Facebook page for the new site! You can check it out HERE and the link is also included in the website footer. You can subscribe to the site with RSS as well.

Happy New Year everyone! I wish you all a safe and healthy new year and that all your goals (running or not) be achieved in 2013.

Link Updates

I’ve been kind of lax lately in updating my review links but I’ve finally caught up. I’ve updated the ‘Products & Reviews’ page with all the latest product reviews I’ve written and their links. I’ve updated the ‘Barefoot Resources’ page with new videos of Lee Saxby and Dr. Daniel Lieberman. And I’ve updated the ‘Barefoot Blogroll’ page with one of my new favourite bloggers: Caity McCardell who writes

Check out the new link updates via the page links above!

Terra Plana Photo Competition

Terra Plana has posted the pictures submitted for their Photo Competition. There are some wonderful pictures in there and many pages (over 100 submissions).

Mine is called ‘Love Story’ and here’s the picture (click on it to view it larger):

If you have time and want to see some funny/interesting/creative pictures of Terra Plana products (my personal favourite being the Vivo Barefoot models, of course), check it out at:

And if you like it, you could vote for mine. :) The pictures change positions periodically so they’re not always on the same page.

Barefoot Resources

Barefoot Websites

Barefoot Forums

Just my favourites, there are many, many more.