Vivobarefoot Scott – Cosy Thinsulate Boots
Continuing with the winter themed reviews, we’ve got our hands on a pair of the new cold-weather boot from Vivobarefoot – The Scott. They come devoid of thick soles and a fluffy, heat-holding interior, favouring instead a cosy Thinsulate lining. They maintain everything that’s good about a barefoot shoe while implementing something that takes the edge off the biting cold.
The Scott slots nicely into Vivo’s range of lifestyle footwear – let’s be clear, they’re not a shoe you’d want to take on a muddy adventure or a last-minute run; though for the latter they would at least come out the other side un-scathed. You’ll want to look after your Scott’s, keep them clean and looking their best. The aesthetics here are as important as the performance. They’re made from what Vivobarefoot class as ‘premium’ thick pull-up leather and organic waxed canvas. They’re also Ion masked (what Vivobarefoot have called ‘V-Shield’) which gives the boot a protective layer that is ‘one-thousand times thinner than a human hair’ – to put that into perspective, that means the layer is around 0.0001mm (or 100 nanometers) thick. This invisible layer gives the boots better protection from liquids while allowing the same level of breathability.
The waxed canvas is single, double and triple stitched – depending on the area of the boot – beautifully to the leather that surrounds it and the sole is glued all the way around. So far, I’ve had no problems with gaps or splits in the glue line, but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on. The bonding between sole and upper has been the only constant weak-spot through a selection of Vivo’s shoes. There are a couple of small areas where the glue line also isn’t particularly neat – we’re talking 1.5mm of spill here, but For £125 I’d expect that to be a little tighter.
At the back of the boot, there’s a section of leather that runs from bottom to top that then forms the pull-up tab. With high boots, it’s always a little more tricky to get them on and you’ll almost always use the tab at the back to aid this process. With this one piece design, it feels much more secure and less likely to break when pulled hard. The laces run smoothly through the high-quality metal eyelets, which allows your foot to slip out more quickly and easily.
The Scott takes the ‘old’ and brilliant ‘V-Multi 1’ sole from my beloved Kariba’s – this has a concave and hexagonal grip pattern for additional adherence. They still perform well, biting into the ground even when stopping quickly and pick-up from muddy areas is minimal and incredibly easy to clear. The sole maintains the 4mm thickness which gives slightly less ground feel, more comfort and additional warmth to the thinner variants in the range. You’ll still feel each and every deviation in the surface you’re walking on and you’ll certainly still know about it if you tread awkwardly on a sharp stone which tells me there haven’t been too many compromises made.
At 300 grams, they aren’t in any way a heavy boot, despite the plush interior and extra comfort. The toe-box on the Scott is huge. Huge in a good way – it, from my estimations at least, appears to have taken another queue from the Kariba. Wearing a thick sock – even a liner sock too – there was still plenty of room for my toes to splay. Comfort is at its best here.
Now, for the important bit – the inside. The Thinsulate lining extends only through part of the boot – the toes have warmth from the 5mm insole below and merely the leather above and around. It’s easy to see from the outside where the Thinsulate is placed – the area covered by canvas is the portion that’s lined inside. Presumably, the lack of Thinsulate across the leather areas of the boot is due to the fact it’s too difficult or not very successful to attach. In places, the Thinsulate is stitched directly through the canvas in one go, as far as I can tell. To me, the part of my foot that’d get cold is my toes and yet this is the only area along with the tongue that’s not lined. Along with that, the area that is lined is where your trousers will fit over.
Despite that, I haven’t yet had cold feet – though the temperature hasn’t dropped into the minus’ more than once while I’ve been wearing the Scott’s. I’m also aware that I’ve been wearing non-winter lined barefoot shoes for the past three and a half years and not had an issue with very cold feet. The lack of mesh, or specific cooling vents on the Scott means the elements are kept firmly out and with a thicker sock, they’d still be plenty warm enough even without the Thinsulate lining – so anything extra is a bonus.
The Vivobarefoot Scott comes in both black and brown. The brown model maintains the colour throughout whereas the black version incorporates a contrasting white sole. Personally, I like the look of the stark difference but there are people that would prefer a black sole, which would make it usable as a work shoe too. The thing I like best is how well they work with nearly all of my clothes. They’re simply a stylish, well-made, everyday boot with added warmth. Barefoot shoes will never be at the peak of warmth – if you want to maintain the primary aspect of a barefoot shoe, the sole, then you’re already at a disadvantage in this area. But the point is, you do want a barefoot shoe and for what’s on offer, the Scott is the best there is.
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