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GOLF APPAREL REVIEW! – Vivo Barefoot Hybrid Golf Shoe

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MYGOLFSPY SPECIAL OFFER!

The Vivo Barefoot Company is offering an exclusive limited-time deal for our readers.  Order today and get 20% OFF your order! Offer expires on May 9th, 2012.

COUPON CODE: GOLFSPY20

Introduction - Vivo Barefoot Hybrid Golf Shoe

(Written By: GolfSpy Matt) Over the last few years, golf has gotten on board with the trend of more minimalistic footwear. However, up until now, we’ve been given barefoot shoes made by golf shoe companies. The shoe that I’ll be reviewing today, the Hybrid by Vivo Barefoot, is a golf shoe made by a barefoot shoe company. So is the Hybrid the best kept secret in golf footwear, or just another shoe? Read on to find out, fellow spies…

Vivo barefoot hybrid shoe review

Style

The Vivo Barefoot Hybrid is like that country bar in The Blues Brothers. You want colors? They’ve got both kinds: black and white (ladies also get the choice of grey).  Beyond the lack of color choices, the Hybrid is a fairly plain looking shoe. There’s very limited branding or logos, and not even much in the way of contrast stitching or other remarkable details. That said, there’s something a little different about them that makes people notice (more on that later).  Overall, I don’t think anyone is going to buy the Hybrid based on their looks, but the looks probably won’t drive people away either.

Score: 15/20

Comfort

Of late, all I wear are barefoot-style shoes, so putting on the Vivo Barefoot Hybrid was not the shocking experience for me that it might be for others. If you’re not familiar with barefoot shoes, the first thing you will notice is how low your heel feels. At first, it feels as if your heels are lower than your toes, but this is not the case. Other shoes have simply conditioned you to expect your heels to be much higher than your toes.

The most distinct feature to me, compared to other barefoot shoes, is the rigidity or stiffness in the arch of the shoe. This is not uncomfortable in any way; it’s just that most other barefoot shoes’ soles are more flexible. The Hybrid, on the other hand, seems to provide a bit more support or structure. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing is just a matter of individual taste.

Overall, if you like barefoot shoes, you will find that the Hybrid is a very comfortable shoe.

Score: 24/25

Performance

As always, I’ll start with traction: the Vivo Barefoot Hybrid offers superior traction. I would rate the traction of the Hybrid as being as good as or better than any other spike-less shoe that I’ve tried. Additionally, the spikes are longer and thicker than those on most other spike-less shoes, which leads me to believe that they will last longer.

The Hybrid is billed as a “water resistant” shoe, but not water proof. While I haven’t had them out in a downpour, I did play in some dew and light rain, and my feet stayed dry. That said, if I was planning to play in the rain often, I might look elsewhere.

The final aspect of Performance that I want to mention is the weight of the shoe. The Hybrid weighs in at a mere 12.4 ounces per shoe (they advertise them as being 10 ounces, which I’m sure is true if you don’t wear size 14), while other barefoot shoes weigh 14.5 ounces or more. I also weighed a “traditional” pair of golf shoes, and they came in at a whopping 23 ounces. You can turn up your nose at those weight discrepancies, but when you consider how many times you have to pick up your feet during a round of golf, light weight shoes are a distinct competitive advantage.

Score: 19/20

Value

At $170, the Vivo Barefoot Hybrid stretches the wallet more than your average golf shoe. For purposes of these reviews, I consider the average price of a golf shoe to be $100, so to earn a good Value score, a high priced shoe has to offer something really special.

While I really like the Hybrid, and I do believe that its “spikes” perform better and will last longer than those of other spike-less shoes, I can’t say that a price of almost double the average is justified. If you’re a committed fan of Vivo Barefoot, you might see your way to paying the $170. If you’re just looking to dip your toe into the barefoot shoe concept, there are better values out there.

Score: 14/20

The Peanut Gallery

While I mentioned at the start that the Vivo Barefoot is a somewhat plain-looking shoe, there is something about it that gets people to notice it. I still haven’t figured out what it is, perhaps the shoe is so plain that it’s unique, but, in any case, I have yet to wear them and not have someone comment on them.

Most of the comments that I’ve received have been along the lines of, “Those are interesting.” As I guessed, no one wanted to buy them based on the looks, but no one was turned away based on looks either.

Since the barefoot concept has become more mainstream, I did get quite a bit of curiosity about that aspect of the shoe. More people seemed interested in trying them, and those that tried mine enjoyed the light weight and minimalist feel.

As expected, when it came time to ask The Peanut Gallery whether or not they would consider purchasing a pair of Hybrids, the response was quite consistent. That response can be summed up as, “It’s a nice shoe, but not for $170.”

Score: 11/15

Final Thoughts

The Vivo Barefoot Hybrid is the second product this year that, in my opinion, outperforms its overall score. I really like the shoe: it’s light, it’s comfortable, and it has traction that is on par with any traditional plastic spike. The problem is the price: $170 is, in my opinion, too high for a shoe that isn’t head and shoulders above every shoe at the lower price points. Moreover, given that Vivo’s are hard to find in stores, consumers are being asked to take a leap of faith on a shoe that they haven’t tried on. I do hope to see Vivo Barefoot continue producing golf shoes because I think they make a really good product. I just hope the next one is more affordable.

Score: 83/100

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COUPON CODE: GOLFSPY20

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Review Summary

B
83.00

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Yohanan April 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Purchased the ecco biom hybrid that boom boom and now kuch wears. If these are as comfortable as those 170 is 20 cheaper than the eccos and probably who they are gunning for. The new addidas will deserve a look when it comes out. Etonic needs to get into this segment. They had the best kept secret in the g sok spikeless for half the price and all the comfort and it would appear gave up? Damn shame you quiters etonic! I have had 4PING pairs of the g sok. That goodyear – yeah thats right- goodyear sole is indesteuctable. The footbed was like butter. Anyway good luck to this company. I dont buy shoes unless i can put them on. Yeah i know – a unique concept in the shoe world.

Check out last yeara footjoy contour for $60. Its a nice fitting shoe but not spikeless.

Later

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R. P. Jacobs II April 25, 2012 at 9:50 am

Wow, am I behind the times..I’ve always looked @ my golf shoes as an accessory, ie. belt, shirt, pants, etc. & not in the same class as my clubs, balls, sun glasses, etc..Maybe I’m lookin @ it all wrong..Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent a few bucks on shoes, as I have 3 pair of Ecco WC GTXs & 2 pair of the Nike Zoom TWs, along with a couple pair of FJ..Don’t say anything, cuz I’m worse, much worse with my clubs..lol..Anyway, Matt, if you were gonna buy one pair of “barefoot” shoes, who’s would it be & what model?..I’m clueless on this segment, as I’m guessing most of the guys that I play with are also…Thanx much..Good review, I learned somethin from it…Fairways & Greens 4ever…

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Golfspy Matt April 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

Richard,

Tons of good choices out there. At 20% off, these Vivos become a bit more reasonable. As a “starter” pair, I would also recommend the TRUE Linkswear PHX. They’re going to be around $100, and you won’t have much trouble finding a pair to try on (Golfsmith carries them). TRUE’s other models are better shoes, IMO, but the PHX is a nice way to try the barefoot concept without spending a ton. Also Kikkors, while not truly “barefoot” shoes, are much thinner-soled and lighter than a traditional golf shoe. They’re also in the $100 neighborhood and they offer tons of great looking styles.

Best,

Matt

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R. P. Jacobs II April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Matt, I went with the True Stealth Black/Muds..I don’t know if they qualify as a a “starter” pair, but damn, they look good..lol..I can’t wait to wear ‘em..I’m pretty sure I’ll be the first guy in the Swat to go “barefoot”..Damn, it’s great to be a trailblazer..LOL..Thanx for pointin me in the right direction…The Best…Fairways & Greens 4ever…

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Golfspy Matt April 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

You jumped right to the top shelf! The Stealths are amazing shoes, I wear them every day to work.

Let me know how long it takes before the rest of your group is wearing them.

Best,

Matt

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Brian April 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

Are the patterns on the laces really neccessary?

$170.00?

I’ll stick with Foot Joy/Addidas steals on ebay.

No chance.

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Steve April 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

My podiatrist would shoot me for even thinking of wearing something without strong arch support. I’d be out $170 plus the bill to remedy the plantar faciitis (again). No thanks.

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R. P. Jacobs II April 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Steve, FWIW, my wife’s a podiatrist..I just don’t dicuss anything golf with her & I’m definitely keepin the Trues in my locker..LOL..On a more serious note, I may have to slide my orthotics into ‘em..Fairways & Greens 4ever…

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Steve April 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I was wondering how well these ‘barefoot’ designs accept orthotics. Do your True’s have room for orthotics?

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Richard P. Jacobs II April 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I just ordered mine today, so I’m clueless….Matt might know better…I’m really hoping that I can go with out the orthotics, though if not, I’m probably gonna have to inlude my wife, which aint gonna be pretty cuz along with the lecture on “non-supportive shoegear,” she’s gonna go thru the roof cuz this is my 8th pair of shoes…Man, I hope I don’t need her to do any adjustments….Fairways & Greens 4ever….

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Golfspy Matt April 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Steve & Richard,

I can’t comment as to whether or not the TRUEs or any other shoes will accept orthotics. I’m a true believer in the barefoot model/philosophy/hoopla/whatever. I have fairly flat feet, but I’ve been doing everything barefoot for a number of years now without any pain. I run faster barefoot, run farther, have less fatigue, etc. Like I said, true believer.

***DISCLAIMER*** I will say that it is important to ease your way into the barefoot lifestyle. Jumping in with both feet (haha, foot puns), is a good way to hurt yourself. Start out by just walking around the house or around the neighborhood in your new barefoot shoes. Let your body adjust and build strength, then take them to the course.

DogBreath April 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Steve: This is a concern of mine as well. I have an original pair of True Linkswear with fairly aggressive orthotics in them and they work fine.

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Steve April 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm

That answers my question! Thanks guys! I have been lusting after the Trues, but worried about arch support……

Richard P. Jacobs II April 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

DogBreath & Matt..Thanx for the info, much appreciated..Fairways & Greens 4ever…

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Hunter April 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I have owned my fair share of Vivo’s. They look good new but you will very quickly notice that the black trim that separates the soles from the top is painted on and the paint peels. So that sucks. Second their customer service is the worst I have ever seen. I will never buy another pair with the way I was treated. They sent me blemished shoes and told me I had to pay for return shipping to them and had the audacity to act if I was being unreasonable despite me sending them pictures.

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R. P. Jacobs II April 26, 2012 at 8:28 am

Thanx for the heads up Hunter..I was actually gonna get a pair of these hybrids based on Matt’s review…Obviously the initial review shows these as a good, quality pair of shoes & only someone who owns a pair could relate the experience of owning as you have..Still, good review, though the customer service(or lack of) is a show stopper, along with the apparent shoddiness in design..Oh well, I didn’t really need ‘em..lol…Fairways & Greens 4ever…

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RT April 26, 2012 at 4:57 am

why not just buy a good trail running shoe,alot cheaper and last longer and Colors abound

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Golfspy Matt April 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

Would the traction be as good? That would be my only concern. Otherwise, it seems like a good suggestion to me.

-Matt

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George April 26, 2012 at 7:08 am

170? seriously?
They are F..ing shoes… that are probably made by little Chinese hands and they are trying to makes over 1000% on their money just like Nike does.

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Jean April 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

I have 2 pairs of Kikkors & 2 pairs of Dawgs and still come in under the $170 mark. Do yourself a favor & get 4 pair for the less than the price of 1 ! By the way…you can’t beat the comfort of the Dawgs or the Kikkors !!!

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robmailman April 26, 2012 at 9:22 am

the adidas adizero is a great alternative to golf shoe’s, they have great traction, plus they’re superlight, and they come in a variety of color’s.

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Dr Bryan Roberts April 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have studied barefoot running for a number of years and although I am still not convinced, I do believe walking in more pliable shoes is a good thing, providing there is protection from the ground. There was a famous saying that golf shoes are a walking shoe that you play golf in and thats what I believe. None of my preliminary findings have shown a reduction in traction, power or anything else from the “barefoot” golf shoes. I am afraid it is the age old story that for amateurs it is your technique which is the most important thing in increasing distance, not the shoes! The Vivobarefoot Hybrids and True Linkswear are a great example, but would love to get my hand on the Nike Free golf shoes and Ecco’s to try them out.

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javier vigil April 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I like these they are minimalist but I think that is the appeal. The barefoot concept is an interesting one for the golf world because as golfers we need some support. That being said I also like to practice barefoot because it gives me more of an idea as to what my feet are doing in the golf swing and I don’t fell like I have to worry so much about swinging out of my shoes. I would love to see a review of the addidas shoes coming out those look interesting. The barefoot phenomenon isn’t going away, I think more and more manufacturers are going to offer some type of shoe that has this concept. Thanks guys for your hard work, love this site and its reviews

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Todd April 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

$170 for golf shoes!?? I would be afraid to get them dirty! 100.00 max on shoes! Crazy to think for that price they are not waterproof!!

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RT April 26, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I have used the trail running shoes and they work great.they are also water proof.You can pick from several brands with light weight and form fit ,I have had several to ask about my shoes all with positive comments.The soles and treads last,they are made to take it ! While I believe you would not have the barefoot type golf shoe sole lugs to last a season.

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TrailNinja April 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Have been using New Balance “Minimus” trail running shoes and they work great! Always have to answer questions about where I got my “golf” shoes. No plans to go back to regular golf shoes.

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Golfspy Matt April 27, 2012 at 5:01 am

I have a pair of Minimus for running, but I don’t think I’ve ever played in them. I may have to take them to the range and see what I think.

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Tyk May 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Can’t find the golf shoes on their site. As a True fan, I’m interested. Wish I could check them out somewhere though.

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RH June 13, 2012 at 6:25 am

If you buy a pair of the Vivo Barefoot NEO’s, they have the same sole as these hybrids. They are water resistant and can be had for somewhere around $90.00. The NEO’s are the trail/running shoe and they come in some neat color schemes. I have the Red/Gray and love them. I will take them out to the course today. I currently use True Stealths and Ecco Biom Hydromax(for the wet days). Looking forward to giving these a go. Much better traction than the True Stealths.

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Jay December 29, 2012 at 5:45 am

I do not play golf, but I do love myself some barefoot shoes! I had the Vivobarefoot Neo Trail and that was probably the best shoe I ever purchased (and for under $90 brand new too). I decided to get the Hybrid because I enjoyed the Neo Trail so much (and they are quite similar by the way, the Hybrid having more of a solid feel but without sacrificing the flexibility or feet sensitivity)
Just wearing these shoes as an everyday shoe, is an enjoyable experience for me. I had been using my other shoes for anything, running, climbing, biking, walking, chilling, etc. and plan on using these Hybrids for just the same. I am a fan of the Vivobarefoot shoes so I didn’t mind paying a little extra for some added luxury.
All in all if you can afford the price these are a nice higher end barefoot shoe that is water resistant and breathable, with all the comforts of a well protected and yet super flexible and durable shoe. I have yet to be disappointed

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