I've been looking for casual and dress minimalist shoes after I fully transitioned to minimalist running shoes since 2010. It was only in the past year that you have more choices available from VIVOBAREFOOT, LEMs Shoes, and The Primal Professional. And I have wear tested many casual and dress shoes but have not seen anything fully hand made until now.
In the barefoot luxury casual shoe category, two hand cut 'Made in Portugal' models are making their debut from VIVOBAREFOOT for Spring 2014: LISBON and BANNISTER. These are hand cut, hand stitched, and handcrafted using premium leather components. The finest traditional shoe making techniques are resurrected to create these shoes that have a wide anatomic toe box and super thin puncture-resistant sole for your feet barefoot luxury.
Previously, VIVOBAREFOOT had launched the VIVOBAREFOOT PORTO, their first hand-cut luxury shoe. This classic desert boot, designed in England by Head Designer Asher Clark and Made in Portugal, effortlessly marries ancient wisdom with modern technology. The PORTO gives you premium luxury with all the hallmarks of a classic; the clean lines, unfussy tie-up lacing, unlined leather as well as our revolutionary patented ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole.
The LISBON, VIVOBAREFOOT's formal barefoot dress shoe, lets your feet perform while you look the part. The hand finished, polished leather is suitable for the most formal occasions and will allow your brain to engage with the ground. The leather footbed is durable yet comfortable and will form around your foot giving true barefoot experience.
The VIVOBAREFOOT LISBON redefines formal shoes and is a genuine goodyear welt, incorporating VB's barefoot technology. This hand-cut welt has the VB anatomic shape, total flexibility, shank-less construction and barefoot sole. Made with natural cork filler and a natural leather foot bed, the LISBON shapes to your foot for timeless fit and feel. MSRP about $400.
The BANNISTER is a tennis inspired premium lifestyle shoe exhibiting the traditional and high quality shoe making techniques of Portugal. The hand finished, polished leather and leather foxing looks the part while the leather footbed will feel great and get better with age.
My sample shoe sizes are all US Size 9 so a little too small for me to do a full wear test but after touching and walking around with it for a few minutes, you can easily feel the quality craftsmanship that went into the production of the BANNISTER and LISBON. The LISBON runs a little wider as I was able to wear the sample size for a longer duration. I can honestly say that it's about time VIVOBAREFOOT came up with a premium leather shoe as the VIVOBAREFOOT RA does not truly cut it with a suit for a business or formal occasion.
For the younger crowd, the BANNISTER can complement your casual or business casual wardrobe and supplement your VIVOBAREFOOT GOBI, RA, or FREUD. The sporty Bannister-era look with premium leather will make you stand out in the crowd or office!
With all VIVOBAREFOOT Hand Cut collection, you'll get total flexibility from the unlined leather as your feet behave as if they are barefoot in style. The 4mm sole is stiffer than other VIVOBAREFOOT shoes but is still allows your big toe to engage rapidly with the ground as well as independent rear and forefoot movement. For the LISBON, over a period of three to four weeks, the sole will soften and adapt specifically to your foot offering you a true barefoot experience.
Being barefoot has never looked this smart. Designed in England by Head Designer Asher Clark and Made in Portugal, the Lisbon effortlessly marries ancient wisdom with modern technology. The LISBON and BANNISTER gives you barefoot premium luxury with all the hallmarks of a classic dress shoe; the clean lines, unfussy tie-up lacing, unlined leather as well as VIVOBAREFOOT's revolutionary patented ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole.