My quest to find my perfect minimalist running shoe has led me to the Vivobarefoot Breezy Lite. I choose my words carefully and stress that I am looking for my perfect shoe rather than the perfect shoe. We are all slightly different and what works for one person may not work for another.
In my quest, I had been looking for the thinnest sole that I could find and Vivobarefoot were kind enough to send my a pair of Breezy Lites to test out. My first impression of the shoe with its 3mm sole were excellent. The shoe is light, responsive and looks good. I have lived with them for around a month now and feel that it is about the right time to share my thoughts further.
I have always been a UK8 when choosing running shoes but he UK7 Breezy Lite was a perfect fit. This seems contrary to some reports on the Vivobarefoot coming up small. The UK7 was comfortable with a toe box wide enough to accommodate my feet even when wearing a pair of ‘Correct Toes’ to run in.
The area around the ankle is elasticated and although it makes it slightly more tricky to slide wet feet into them, it was worth it. The elasticated ankle lends an overall feeling of security and the shoes are snug.
I have worn the Breezy Lite both with and without socks and had no problem in either case.
The ability to wear them without socks helped them pass an important test for me in choosing my perfect shoe. I need to be able to take them with me when out barefoot. They are easy to carry and slip on when out barefooting and I could pull them on and off when I came to a section of my route that was too rough to handle.
The Breezy Lite is light enough to tuck into the waistband of my shorts and I have found that I can even run with the pair held in one hand and hardly notice that they are there. The lack of an insole is also a benefit as it makes it easier to get on and off when wet. I have found that the insoles bunch up and are a bit of a pain in my other Vivobarefoot shoes.
Over the past month, I have run on both road and some hardcore trails in some pretty adverse weather conditions. They handle both well. The sole is grippy enough even when completely submerged in water and thin enough to feel the ground extremely well. I have not been up on the fells in them but I would expect them to perform in the same way as the Evo in that respect.
My overall impression of the feel when running is that they are very light and at the more extreme end of minimalist shoes. I have been searching for that and now that I have found it, I am not as sure that it was what I need after all.
I run barefoot regularly and am used to feeling the ground but the Breezy Lites may be too thin for me. Strange but it may be true. I found myself yearning after a little cushioning. I considered trying them with a Vivobarefoot insole from another shoe but I thought that it would defeat the object. The bottom line is that I started to get niggles and running in them just didn’t feel quite right.
That is not the fault of the Breezy Lite, it does exactly what it is designed for. I know that it is down to my form and it seems that I found running with good form more difficult in the Breezy Lite than in the Vivobarefoot Evo. That was a surprise, I was expecting it to be the other way round. In my quest to find the perfect shoe for me, it looks like my obsession with the thinnest sole may to be rethought. I was convinced that the thinner the sole, the easier it would be to run with good form and injury free but it may not be the case.
So…..Given that there a lot of shoes to choose from, will I wear the Breezy Lite out of choice?
The answer is a definite yes. I have developed an affection for them. Over the past month, I have found myself in them all the time when just out and about with the kids. They are a good looking shoe at a good price and I will be buying a pair of lighter coloured ones for wearing out and about, next summer. They will continue to be my choice of shoe when running barefoot as they are so easy to carry and I will continue to run in them and work on my form.
They may not be the perfect shoe for me but if you are looking for a running shoe at the extreme end of minimal, the Breezy Lite may suit you down to the ground (which will only be 3mm away).
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