Episode 17 : Leguano Aktiv Black
Updated: Oct 2
Introduction: Quality made in Germany, and a multi-purpose shoe, fit for a variety of occasions - I regard the 'Aktiv' range as the flagship model of Leguano. Released in 2015, and comprising of a range of colours, and materials, they've become a serious competitor to be reckoned with. The Aktiv Range retails for 139.99 Euro, $229 AUD, and $159.95 USD. Available in sizes EU 34-49, and in the following colours:
Aktiv Lava Black/Black Sole (Shoe in Review)
Aktiv Lava Black/Silver sole
Aktiv Sun Yellow
Aktiv Magma Orange
Aktiv Ocean Blue
Aktiv Germany (Flag Colours)
*Aktiv Plus (Hi-Top), and Aktiv Winter (Wool Lining), are also available.
Click here to access the website.
(Disclaimer: These shoes were given to me to review, however my opinion is my own).
Company Overview: "It all began in 2004 when Ohlhoff founded Leguano Ltd. in Sankt Augustin, Germany and began developing the concept of Barefoot shoe, with the idea of offering maximum freedom of movement and protection at the same time, thanks to its wrap-around and anti-perforation sole." In 2009, Desma machines were used to produce these cutting-edge shoes. The popularity of Barefoot shoes grew in parallel with the increasing tendency of consumers to adopt of a more natural lifestyle. In 2013, the activity of the company experienced a significant upswing following the sharp rise in demand by the market. Thus, Leguano began to create a network of branches and directly-owned production facilities in Germany. Once again, it sought out Desma as its partner: since Leguano was already extremely pleased with Desma’s machines, now it wanted its German partner to develop moulds for the production of its soles that needed to fit perfectly, as if they were a second skin. 2013 was also the beginning of the Leguano retail project with the opening of its first Barefoot shoes store in Bad Zwischenahn. 90 other store openings followed throughout Germany, with 13 outlets opened in 2018 alone. Even the international business of Leguano began to bloom and “barefoot” shoes could be found in stores in China, Singapore, Canada, and Spain… Today, Barefoot shoes can be found on the feet of runners, athletes coming from different disciplines, and lovers of the great outdoors. The annual production of Leguano is estimated at around 300 thousand pairs in 16 different models."
Upon opening the shoe itself to slide my foot into it, I could instantly sense the quality of the material of the product.
Flexible, stretchy mesh material, with a nice amount of cushioning on the sole.
Most of the weight was positioned on the sole
The upper was very light, and almost a glove like fit, with minimal seams.
They looked great!
Sizing and Fit: My foot measures approx. 295mm, and I usually wear a size EU 47 in most VivoBarefoot models, and am also a size EU 47 in Leguano. However, the Aktiv seems to cater more to people with a longer first toe, therefore I advise people to consider leaving a bit more room if they also have a longer second toe. The width is very much on par with VivoBarefoot, and their volume is mid range. I sense however, it could be a problem for people with wider, high volume feet.
You can sense with your touch, that the shoe is made using the finest materials, and manufacturing procedures - A similar feeling to when holding a top quality camera.
The materials are anti-bacterial, breathable, and flexible.
The upper is a mesh, and the internal lining, and footbed is microfibre.
There is no removable insole, instead they use a microfibre footbed.
There are almost no seams that cause discomfort.
Outsole has a good amount of meat, and is also anti-slip and non-marking.
I have grown accustomed to wearing these mostly with shorts during the Australian summer, and have only worn socks whilst wearing them with pants - Therefore the breathability and anti-bacterial properties have held up superbly thus far. Furthermore, they're completely machine washable, in the case that they do get a bit funky.
It took about 4 months of regular wear (usually without socks), before the odour became an issue. I washed them, drying time was about 45 minutes, and they were back to new!
You could say they have the perfect amount of cushioning, and barefoot feel in the sole. (A sweet spot). They've held up for the odd run, or for exercising. However, I prefer to use them in casual settings, as they look amazing, and I have no intention of using them for that reason at the moment.
The flexibility, and width throughout was on par with most other shoes, and they have a distinctly individual feel in general.
There was no break in period, except the seams near my pinky toe were a touch stiff, and this took about a week to loosen up.
Outsole: 100% Lifolit®
Upper: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Lining: 100% microfiber
Insole: 100% microfiber
Insole carrier material: 50% viscose, 50% microfiber
Drop: Zero Drop
Stack Height: Approx 5-8mm
Weight: Approx 200g per shoe
Lacing: Traditional lacing with steel eyelets
Conclusion: With so many new barefoot shoe brands on the horizon, Leguano definitely has what it takes to become an industry leader. With its quality, style and features, the Leguano Aktiv should be considered as a staple/ mainstream barefoot shoe model - a worthy competitor to the Lems Primal, Merrell or Vivo Stealth and Primus range. The only issue could be for people with a wider than average toe splay.