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

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

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