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Terra Plana VivoBarefoot Dharma Review

Posted by on Nov 23, 2010 | 3 Comments

Terra Plana is legendary for their casual and business-casual minimalist work shoes.  In the running arena, their EVO II has some significant competition this year.  In the non-athletic arena, there is no contest.

The Dharma upholds this tradition of great shoes designed for the office.  This shoe is a solid workhorse capable of meeting the needs of anyone searching for a shoe that eliminates the raised heel of the modern dress shoe.

Being a long-term barefoot and minimalist shoe runner, any raised heel shoe creates problems.  I haven’t been able to wear a traditional dress shoe for about four years.  At first, I tried a driving moccasin.  It had a flat, flexible sole, but the segmented sole irritated me.

Next, I tried Terra Plana’s Aqua.  This shoe was a dream come true.  I had used it last school year without any issues.  The shoe withstood the daily wear and tear of the high school classroom.  I still wear the shoe today when a brown shoe matches my wardrobe… despite the fact that my wardrobe itself rarely matches.

I was excited when Terra Plana asked me to review the Dharma.  It was a chance to add another shoe to my work rotation, and I could officially retire my annoying driving moccasins.

The shoe itself is very basic.  It is constructed of a recycled fabric and leather upper and a very thin rubber and TPU sole.  The shoe itself is designed like all other VivoBarefoot shoes- it has a zero-drop heel (no lift) and a wide toe box.

The lack of a raised heel prevents an artificial shortening of the Achilles tendon and promotes good posture.  When standing in class, this is important as it reduces the stress on my knees and back.

The wide toe box allows your toes to splay with each step.  I don’t think this is as important when walking as it is when running, but it is nice to not have your toes crammed in a thin shoe.

The 3mm sole also allows for great ground feel.  Again, this isn’t terribly important when working, but it does give some sense of being barefoot.  I like that.

The shoe is also surprisingly light.  Weighing in at around 8-9 ounces (size 12), it is FAR lighter than my previous work shoes.  Over the course of a long day, this weight-savings is noticeable in the form of reduced fatigue.

I have been using the Dharma shoe for months.  It has become my default work shoe.  Even after hundreds of hours on the job, this shoe looks brand-new.  Using the durability of the Aqua as a reference point, I fully expect the Dharma to last for several years.

If you are searching for a quality work shoe, your search should stop here.  This is the type of shoe that spoils all others.  Once you try it, you can’t go back to traditional work shoes.

The retail price is $140, but Terra Plana has provided my audience with a 25% off coupon code.  When you make a purchase on their website, type in BARERUNUNI in the coupon code box to receive the discount.  This code should work for the entire line, not just the Dhamras.  The coupon code is good until December 31st of 2010, so you can pick up a pair of these for a Christmas present.  Feel free to share this code with friends and family, post it on Facebook or Twitter, or have it tattooed across your lower back.  ;-)

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3 Comments

  1. StephenB
    November 24, 2010

    Apparently the shoe has a stitch running along its length holding the two sides together? It would be nice to see how it looks from the top so that people can see what they’re getting.

  2. Dan Hannig
    November 23, 2010

    Thanks for the review! I’m planning on getting a pair for Christmas, how is the size? Do they run big or small?

  3. Jeremy
    November 23, 2010

    More pics would be lovely :)