Vivobarefoot Bannister Shoes Review Follow Up After 6 Weeks Of Solid Use

By Artur Ciesielski | Review

The Vivobarefoot Bannister shoes were my second pair of shoes from this company. I got them just before a 6 week trip to Europe where I wore them about 50% of the time in various conditions – normal use.

So after 6 weeks of use through several countries, over cobbled stone streets in dry and wet, how did these unique barefoot premium hand made leather shoe hold up?

Fit and Break in.

Unlike other Vivobarefoot shoes made of canvas these took a bit longer to break in: a few hours of walking did it.

What they went through.

I believe I wore them and put them through normal use. I did not seek any special activity for them. When on the town it rained, they got wet, when I had to cross a field it was pebbles and rocks, sand and mud. But mostly it was sidewalks, asphalt and cobble stone streets.

The condition after 6 weeks.

As you can see by the first photo: they look well used. I just did a basic water wipe before taking photos. Excuse, please, the dog hair. It’s all over. I believe my dogs make sure some comes with me everywhere. They must have little cameras in them – a tool, by which the dogs keep tabs on our activities.

vivobarefoot bannister shoes review

The separation of the rubber sole from the small piece of leather sold happened quickly. You can easily stick a finger in there. I did not get moisture from this gap, but pebbles had a knack of finding this hole from which it was not alway easy to remove them. This was a bit annoying having to find balance on some random building and shaking my foot while I held the gap open with finger.

I don’t know why it’s not all rubber sold instead of this configuration. Must be a reason.

vivobarefoot bannister shoes review

The sold closer to the toe box. Check out those gashes in and the wear: normal more or less for bare-footers, but for the amount of use the sole should probably be in better condition.

vivobarefoot bannister shoes review

vivobarefoot bannister shoes review


They are very comfortable, but it depends on where you’re coming from. If your current shoes have a raised heel you’ll have a different experience than those who wear barefoot style shoes now.

I notice many companies adding additions padding to the soles while still retaining the zero drop. It’s not the same as limiting the thickness. My first pair of barefoot shoes were from Merrell. Then they added padding and I lost interest after the pair I got just did not feel as good to me: they felt mushy, soft and left me desiring the control and feel of a thinner sole.

Final Thoughts.

I paid $275.00 for the pair. At one point I saw them for $350.00 then down again to $275.00. That’s a bunch of money for shoes.

I don’t feel any buyers removes from buying them despite the accelerated deterioration. I may be wrong, but that seems like a good trade off for the great feel of barefoot shoes.

And, as far as I know, there is no competition for lifestyle type barefoot shoes. Most of them are geared toward sports and bright red just does not always look good with dress slacks.

Unlike other shoes, my small concern is being able to resole the shoes. I have other beautiful shoes that I’ve had for 10+ years that have had the sole replaced as many as three times and they look great.

I’m pretty sure the leather will wear well on these Bannisters, but what about the sole. With regular wear and tear they may last 6 months, maybe a year at most: not very long indeed and I would like to be able to replace them.

I’m rather happy with all my Vivobarefoot shoes. In fact I’ve purchased two more in different colors.

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(3) comments

Thomas 4 years ago

Have you considered getting an outsole replacement? The shop told me vivo offered those for all shoes in the handcut series. It would be quite interesting to hear how well that works in practise.
Maybe it is even possible to have the soles replaced by any independent shoemaker?

    Artur Ciesielski 4 years ago

    Thanks for pointing this out. I have not considered having the soles replaced on these shoes. I did think it’s possible since they are not very standard, but I’ll look into it. I’ve done it on other shoes.

Carsten Hütter a couple of years ago

I had the same problem with the soles of my Bannisters. Additionally, they cracked in the front third. This happended after about 9 months of daily use. One email and one phone call later, they were sent back to Vivobarefoot, and returned a couple of weeks later with new outsoles. I had to pay the shipping, but not the repair. Vivobarefoot is aware of the poor sole quality. The new soles are more flexible, and fully rubber (or polyurethane) – no leather inlay. Feel a lot more like barefoot shoes. Sadly, the Bannister shoes have been discontinued in the meantime, they disappeared in the shop. Would like to have a second pair.

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