Shoe Classification: Traditional Minimalist Shoe
Weight: 7.1 ounces (size 12.5)
Review Date: October 2nd, 2010
Kigo is a small company that produces minimalist beach and recreational shoes. I reviewed the “Shel” last year. Kigo contacted me this year asking if I would be interested in reviewing their new model, the Edge. I was generally pleased with the Shel, so I jumped at the opportunity.
The Edge shares many qualities with the Shel in regards to materials and function. Both are made of a non-stretchy fabric upper attached to a thin, flexible sole. The shoes could best be described as very high quality aqua socks.
The moment my test pair arrived, I immediately ripped open the box and tried them on. They felt very similar to the Shels with one notable exception- the heel was lower. The Shels has a slightly raised heel that was noticeable. The Edge have a very slight heel lift, but it is difficult to detect.
I wore the Edges around the house for the entire evening. The shoes were very comfortable. The interior seams are very smooth and are not noticeable. The fit was good toward the ankle, but the shoe is much too narrow at the toe box. This is not a problem when lounging or even walking, but would prove to be a major issue when running.
When I tested the Shel, the market for true minimalist shoes was quite barren. Vibram had the Classics, Sprints, KSOs, and Flows, along with the newly-released Treks. Terra Plana was releasing the EVO and also had the Aqua. After those models, the market thinned considerably. Some XC flats were adequate, as were some aqua socks. The other “minimalist” offerings from other companies were merely lightweight versions of their bigger, more substantial foot coffins. Huaraches were also an option, but had not really caught on. The Shel fit nicely between the running-oriented offerings of Terra Plana and Vibram and the less-than-ideal other options.
The Edge, in regards to its use as a running shoe, faces a much more competition from a growing market. Vibram as released the Bikila and Treksport. Terra Plana has refined the EVO. Major manufacturers like New Balance, Inov-8, GoLite, etc. have released or will be releasing true minimalist shoes. Even Nike seems to have shown interest in a zero-drop Free. Smaller companies like Skora are producing some exciting options. Barefoot Ted McDonald is expanding his huarache line to include the Luna and Leadville models, and Invisibleshoe is also producing huaraches.
In this ever-growing market, the Edge would not be among my first choices as a running shoe. The primary culprit is the very narrow toe box. If Kigo were to produce the exact same shoe with a wider toe box, it would immediately gain several spots in my ranking. The smooth material is designed for sockless wear. The flexible nearly-flat sole is very good. This shoe could be an excellent option for road or light trail running… if it had a wider toe box.
Based on my testing, the Edge does rank high as a casual shoe and a water/beach shoe. It is designed to get wet. Since it is nearing our cooler fall season here in Michigan, I use my Edges for casual wear. The shoe can be easily compacted to fit in small compartments. I keep my pair in the door panel pocket of my car in the event I have to run errands in a store that requires shoes.
Even though the minimalist running shoe market is becoming more competitive, I hope Kigo continues to work toward developing a minimalist shoe specifically for running. The design and materials are unique, and a running-specific shoe would be a popular model among the barefoot and minimalist shoe crowd. I suspect they will be producing a more runner-friendly shoe in the near future. The company has a stellar reputation for soliciting feedback from customers, and the basic design elements are functional, aesthetically-pleasing, and effective.