My Vivobarefoot Kula boots were a brave Christmas present. Brave because I would never dare buy someone a pair of boots for Christmas without knowing beforehand that they definitely liked them but my boyfriend took the gamble and turns out there were my favourite present this year (nice one boyfriend ;)).
I hadn’t seen them before actually opening my present but had seen the Sorel boots which I love the style of (although sadly not barefoot) and which the Kula share a lot of similarities in their appearance.
Although the Kula could, and probably are, classed by many people as a winter/outdoors performance boot, I live in Berlin (which is freezing in the winter), always suffer from cold feet and there is a trend of a more activity-style boots becoming popular lifestyle choices – think Hunter wellies or LL Bean duck boots.
So why am I only writing about my Kula boot now? Well, I’m just back from my first ever ‘winter holiday’ (the thought of going on holiday somewhere cold hasn’t really appealed to me in the past) and although I’ve worn my Kula boots nearly everyday since Christmas, I felt like I should try them out on some of the activities I imagine they’ve been designed for, other than just keeping my toes toasty while out and about in the city.
So last week I took my Kulas sledging, snowshoe walking, hiking and Schnapps drinking on top of a mountain in Austria and although in the past I’ve been pretty anti the look of ‘outdoor’ apparel I didn’t feel like I had to compromise on performance vs style with my boots.
Back in December The Independent named the Vivobarefoot Kula boots as their no.1 snow boot for adults and I am with them on that. Not once have my feet been cold in the Kulas and being produced by Vivobarefoot means you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a very minimalist shoe.
So how do they fare…
Heel (5/5) – zero drop, just as they should be
Toebox (5/5) – very wide but doesn’t appear that way from an aesthetic point of view because of the style of the boot (I actually think this is one of the reasons why my toes stay so warm – other than the Thinsulate lining – as my toes can move as they are supposed to and therefore get the blood pumping to them)
Sole (4/5) – although I’m not sure how they could be thinner without risking cold feet (and are thin enough so you still get a bit of a foot massage when walking over stones, or tree roots, or Berlin cobblestones) they’re not the most flexible of soles in the Vivo range
Upper (4/5) – well attached but I found that due to the nature of the roomy fit if you’re going down a steep hill then there is the risk of your foot not being held tight enough to stop slipping forwards onto your toes
Detail images via Vivobarefoot.com
The only two (minor) complaints I have about them are 1) unless I’m wearing pretty tight socks they often fall down (the socks, not the boots that is) and 2) as mentioned above, when walking on a steep downhill slope I did find that my feet slid forwards and my toes got a bit of a bashing. I did only experience this once, however, and was wearing snowshoes and walking down a pretty steep hill at the time, but might be something to consider if you happen to live on the side of a mountain(!)
Otherwise I haven’t got a bad word to say against them, nice job Vivo.