Kigo Drive -- Barefoot for beginners


The barefoot movement has been a growing industry in the past few years, and for some, it doesn't make sense. Barefoot style shoes aren't for everyone, but if you've ever been curious, the new Kigo Drive's are for you! A simplistic, minimilist design, they still offer a 'lace' system that allows your foot to easily be inserted and removed from the shoe -- none of that forcing it in business.

One of the benefits to this lacing system, is the foot doesn't get as hot as it may in a slipper style shoe. The increased airflow means more comfortable feet. The bungie laces offer the tight support for fast pursuits, or the loose comfort of walking around the house. The new foot mold for these shoes also means that they fit like a normal shoe! No need to go a size (or two) up to compensate for the tight fitting nature of barefoot style shoes.

For all those who are skeptical about the traction of these bad boys -- rest assured. I hiked the last 10 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in these guys! Through mud, snow, and water, they were great. I even had a 35 pound pack on. While I wouldn't suggest wearing a super heavy pack like that with any barefoot style shoe, they work great as an extra pair and campshoe. When fishing, they would be the only thing I would wear, giving my the traction I needed not to slip and fall.

The only word of caution I can give, is keep them clean! The PU that makes up the shoe begins to smell after a while if you don't keep them clean. An easy task to most, but when in the mountains for 6-months, it's a little difficult! It took about three months for them to get really smelly, so most of you should be fine.

The best part about these shoes? They are made from recycled material, and are recyclable. At the end of the shoes life, you are able to send them in to the company for reuse. The materials are melted down to its original chemical structure, and then remade into new shoes! Thats the beauty of synthetic material -- if you dispose of it properly, it'll last forever (for better or worse).

Kigo has done it again, with another awesome shoe that will fit in your pack, easy to use, and super lightweight. I wouldn't do a stream crossing without them.

Kigo Edge

As any lightweight backpacker knows, "camp shoes" are a debate. What is a lightweight camp shoe? And what purpose does it serve? Previously, the all too common Croc was it. While comfy, they are incredibly bulky, difficult to pack, and let's be honest -- hideous. When the Kigo Edge was found, it answered nearly all of my hopes for a camp shoe.

These unisex shoes are meant for the barefoot community which is growing these days. It's a minimalist shoe with the sole (pun intended) purpose of keeping your foot protected, without correcting any of the natural movement it makes. For me, that means keeping my foot clear of any pinecones, or pine needles lurking around our camp site, and with the sole rolling over the top of the toe, it prevents the ever painful stubbing of toes.

My favorite part about the show is how small they are. They pack down nearly flat, allowing me to stuff them in any crevice of my pack, and keep from having to dangle them off the back. The less dangling on the back of my pack, the happier I am (no noise or annoying banging). Weighing in at about 5 ounces a pair, they are super light without lacking protection.

One thing I didn't realize they would be used for as often as they have been, are stream crossings. Or should I say raging river crossings. These tight fitting shoes stay sturdy under my feet even when my legs and trekking poles are vibrating from the rushing water. Andy hasn't been as lucky, as his Crocs (unfortunately, Kigo doesn't make size 13 shoes!) slip and slide, preventing him from getting a stable step in the water.

While these guys aren't the fastest driers in the world, it's easy to twist and turn them to squeeze out most of the water. With the Edge, you have to go a size up as they are made to be tight, and I even when a size up from that so I could fit my socks in there (heavyweight merino wool socks with the Kigos makes for a comfy, soft, and cushiony way to end the day!).

I've hiked tons of miles in these on the trail and around towns in the past three months, and so far there's no sight of wear and tear. Will be perfect for Tenkara fishing too! With the superb traction, simple design, and protective sole, these have been the perfect camp shoe.

-- Ian