Review: Vivo Barefoot Ulysses sandals

Laugh in the face of flimsy flipflops with Vivo Barefoot‘s beaut new sandal, the Ulysses (£75), inspired by the ancient Tarahumara running tribe. Well if it’s all right for them…

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Product Description: “Taking inspiration from a design used for thousands of years we’ve utilised our shoe-making heritage, our patented technology and modern manufacturing experience to create the Ulysses. The upper construction is finely tuned to allow your foot to provide all the natural shock absorption you need when walking and running. The anatomically designed footbed made from dense Compression EVA leaves plenty of room for your tendons and fascia in your foot to load, splay and recoil as if barefoot. Our all new sensory outsole design with our signature puncture resistant layer will give you incredible underfoot traction and deliver all the sensory feedback your brain needs for natural, skilful movement.”

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Summer slicking: The Ulysses is a go-anywhere sandal, made of handworking and seemingly indestructible rubber and flexible elastic straps. These babies will let you run, swim, jump up and down a lot, practise headstands in the park – whatever floats your boat. Just like their barefoot running big brothers, the Stealth road shoes, the Ulysses are designed to keep your feet in contact with the ground, making walking long distances in them feel pretty great. They look rather beautiful, too – mine are the teal version, which are a shiny swimming-pool aqua blue. The only issue I’ve had with the sandals is that mud and dust shows up pretty quickly, but they’re easy to scrub clean. If you’re as likely to run around in muddy places as me you might be more presentable wearing the black version.

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Beach running: I was slightly dubious about running sandals, despite my love of barefoot running shoes. I tried a tentative 4k in the Ulysses along the beach and they were suprisingly comfortable – the rubber soles flex with your feet, allowing a natural gait, and the elastic straps keep them in pace, so you don’t end up with blisters. I’m not sure I’m converted to summer sandal running, though – I prefer my lightweight Trailfreak trainers for trails and simply going barefoot on the beach.

Vivo Barefoot Ulysses Sandals Review – Verdict: Comfortable, versatile running sandals that’ll go anywhere from the office to poolside and let you spontaneously do cartwheels whilst doing so.