Episode 15 : VivoBarefoot Ultra 3
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
The Ultra III is the third instalment of the amphibious Ultra Series, which was originally launched over 7 years ago. It's a 100% Vegan one piece EVA injection molded shoe, which has since been discontinued for the Ultra III Bloom. Essentially, the shoe is identical, except that the materials used within the Bloom is 'Bloom Foam', which is created by harvesting algal biomass from freshwater sources at high risk of algal bloom.
I saw the Ultra III on sale on Zulily for $50 AUD, and felt like it was a small risk to take for a VivoBarefoot shoe, especially considering I was initially aiming on using it for the beach. I have since worn it for more casual situations, and it did need a break-in stage for the area on the upper - where the toes meet the forefoot, as it was pinching during my gait cycle.
The Ultra III is discontinued, however the Ultra III bloom retails for approximately $139.95 AUD, unisex, and is available in:
White w/ Grey sole
Black w/ White sole
Red w/ Black sole
Navy w/ White sole
Vivobarefoot Limited manufactures and sells shoes for men, women, and kids. The company offers casual wear, court sports, golf, gym, hiking, indoor sports, lifestyle, road running, trail running, walking, winterproof, and work shoes for men, as well as watersports shoes for women; and play, school, and watersports for kids. Its shoes are available online and through stores in the United Kingdom and internationally. Vivobarefoot Limited was formerly known as Terra Plana international Ltd. and changed its name to Vivobarefoot Limited in December 2015. The company was founded in 1997 and is based in London, United Kingdom.
Galahad Clark, a 7th generation descendant of the Clark Shoes Company founded VIVOBAREFOOT with his cousin Asher Clark. Their mission is to change the footwear industry based on one simple insight—shoes should let your feet do their natural thing. Every shoe features a patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole that protects the foot and allows maximum sensory feedback.
They have a similar aesthetic to Crocs shoes, and initially I thought I'd only wear them for certain outdoor activities, however they're actually quite appealing in my opinion, and I now wear them in casual situations.
I thought the laces would be inadequate. However, when sliding your foot in the shoe, the tongue and elastic laces moulded the shoe to your foot, and gave it a skin like fit.
The sole is thicker than other VivoBarefoot models.
Less flexible compared to other VivoBarefoot models.
The shoe is larger than other VivoBarefoot models.
Sizing and Fit:
I'm usually a size 47 in most VivoBarefoot models, however this was the first model i found that sizing wasn't consistent. The sizes run big, and I recommend getting a size smaller. In my case a size 46 would've been perfect.
The width throughout is like other VivoBarefoot shoes, quite generous for my foot.
The hexagonally shaped foam upper gave me an issue with pinching the top of my foot where the toes meet the forefoot. This was lessened once broken in.
The sole is similar to the Vivobarefoot Motus, is thicker (7mm) and less flexible than other models, and needs time to break in.
Elastic lacing system is good for easy adjustments.
With it's amphibious properties, the Ultra 3 excels in activities that are water based. It feels as though it's a second skin, has an elastic lace up system to allow for easier use and has the best drainage/breathability/cleaning properties I've seen in a shoe.
The sole can be a tad stiff, and very comparable to the Vivo Motus, and my only issue is that the upper would pinch on my toes, causing pain with each step (until it was broken in).
I've used them for running, and have had no problems.
I don't think the Ultra 3 would be suitable for high mobility activities that require cutting angles etc.
Technical Specifications: Outsole: PRO5 Patented, ultra-thin, puncture resistant layer. 5x more puncture resistant than a standard sole of the same thickness (100% Vegan)
Upper: Honeycomb shaped pattern in EVA Plusfoam material (100% Vegan)
Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 7mm (no insole available in the Ultra)
Weight: 150g per shoe (size 37)
Lacing: Elastic lacing and toggle
Apart from the painful pinching i endured with each step until they were broken in, the Ultra III is worth considering for such a reasonable price. If you're an outdoorsy person, and in the market for a barefoot shoe with excellent drainage and breathability properties, then the Ultra III is the one for you, and to my knowledge - the only shoe like this available on the market.
*Note, if you're impatient, and don't want to endure the break-in process (Doesn't happen to everyone), then you should return these shoes ASAP, or refrain from buying them at all.