It took me a while to decide on getting the Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Tops, as although I was desperate for a pair of barefoot ankle boots I was concerned that they were a bit too casual for everyday.
Saying that, I’ve practically lived in them the last four months, especially as it’s been quite a mild winter. Any time it has dropped below zero, I’ve brought out the big guns, (aka the Kula boots) but otherwise I’ve pretty much worn my Gobi Hi Tops on a daily basis.
Although at first I wasn’t sure if the Gobi Hi Tops were my thing, as soon as I tried them on I was sold. They are just so incredibly comfortable, which is down to the roomy design (with plenty of toe wiggle room) paired with their soft faux shearling inner.
And in terms of the actual style, with the rise in popularity of more traditionally masculine boots this season – including chukka, desert and hiking styles – I decided to join the trend of the more casual, practical-looking ankle boot and I’ve received a lot of compliments on them.
I’ve found the Vivobarefoot Gobis surprisingly versatile in terms of different ways of styling…
My favourite way to wear them is paired with rolled up blue jeans (just so the bottom of the jeans meets the top of the boot). I actually think this would look particularly good with the new Chestnut colourway.
Other than wearing them as a full high top, you also have the option of rolling them down to reveal the shearling inner.
For extra cosy toes, pair with some woollen socks rouched up above the top of the boots.
One thing I’ve been meaning to try is swapping out the laces for longer versions with a contrasting colour and wrapping them around the top of the boot before tying. If I get round to it sometime I’ll be sure to post a pic on Instagram.
Although this doesn’t work with the hi top, the original Gobi is inspired by a classic desert boot (these are still available from Vivobarefoot in both leather and suede variations) and look particularly good with rolled up jeans and a flash of bare ankle.
Other than how they look, here’s a bit of info on how they actually perform as a barefoot winter boot…
Currently the Gobi Hi Top is available in three colours – black, dark brown and chestnut. I decided on the dark brown as I felt these went best with both black and blue jeans (essentially what I live in during the winter). I love the new Chestnut colour also but am slightly relieved they weren’t available at the time as it was difficult enough just choosing between the black and dark brown.
The leather of the boots comes with a waterproof coating but I also protected mine with some wax just to be on the safe side. After four months of continual use I’m happy to say that the leather is still in great shape and has hardly any scuffs or signs of wear – even though they have been both wet and a bit muddy at times.
The inside of the boot is lined with a faux shearling inner, which makes them extremely cosy. And the addition of the removable insole provides extra warmth when needed, although this does affect the barefoot feel you get with the ground.
In terms of how they score overall on that front…
HEEL (5/5) with a zero drop, as with all Vivobarefoot shoes.
TOE (5/5) a wide toe box allows for plenty of wiggle room for toes, especially without the removable insole.
SOLE (4/5) with a 4.5mm outsole they’re not the thinnest (and most flexible) of the Vivobarefoot soles, but the extra mm does provide a bit more protection against the cold ground.
UPPER (5/5) the lacing system right up the length of the boot means they stay very well attached to your feet while still allowing your ankle the full range of motion.
If you’re after some other ideas on different styles of barefoot boots, see my post on the best barefoot boots for autumn.
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