Terra Plana Vivo barefoot Lucy
Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot's "Lucy" shoe is a woman's shoe designed to be
an alternative to being barefoot. Yes, I am a male. No, I did not
actually test the shoe... my wife
Shelly did. She is
a recent barefoot running convert that was suffering for a problem that
plagues many barefoot runners: what to wear when shoes are required.
Shelly, like me, is
a teacher. We have the freedom to kick off our shoes during class, but
still need something to wear when walking through the hallways and
outside. This is especially true during out harsh Michigan winters
Shelly experienced a common issue. Once she went barefoot, traditional
shoes were forever ruined. She wasn't able to comfortably wear any of
her old work or dress shoes. Now if only I can convince her to donate
them to Goodwill...
Needless to say, Shelly was eager to test these shoes. I had
tested and reviewed Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot's "Aqua" a few weeks
ago and fell in love with the shoe. There have been very few products
that rank so far above the other available options. The Aquas were one
such product. They were simply the best minimalist casual shoe I have
ever used. Based on my new-found affinity for my Aquas, Shelly had very
high expectations for the Lucy.
Shelly's first impressions when taking them out of the box was not
positive. She said they looked bulky and kind of clunky. Her
particular model was black with red accents. She would have preferred
an all-black color scheme as it would go with more wardrobes. What?!?
Your shoes are supposed to match the rest of your clothing? Hmmm...
news to me! She also commented that this particular shoe would be
best-suited for casual dress as it would not pass for business or
I discussed the styling
issue with Terra Plana. Almost all of their models have somewhat funky
color combinations. Those crazy young European shoe designers! They
assured me their new spring/summer 2010 line includes models and color
combinations that will be more appropriate for a business atmosphere. I
was thoroughly impressed with the pictures they shared... they
definitely listened to customer demand.
After bending and twisting the shoes, she concluded they were much more
pliable than they appeared. The construction, including an
approximately 4mm totally flat sole, allowed for unexpected
flexibility. As an added measure of security, the sole contains a layer
of Kevlar-like material that makes it puncture resistant. The true test
would come after trying them on. She slipped left shoe on without
untying the laces, then the right. She had some problems with the right
shoe which is puzzling because it is a half-size larger than the left.
reported that they felt very comfortable; she didn't have the urge to
immediately rip them off like her other flats. Her feet had plenty of
room to move within the shoe. Like the Aquas, the toe box is wider than
most other shoes. This critically-important feature was retained on the
Lucy. This is the feature that allows your toes to splay within the
shoe. This greatly contributes to the shoe allowing your feet to
operate naturally. Shelly has slightly wider-than-average feet and
still had plenty of room.
Walking, the first test of a quality shoe, was reported as being
pleasant and comfortable. Shelly wore these for several days at school
which requires significant walking. She said these were among the most
comfortable walking shoes she's worn. Walking in these shoes was
somewhat similar to walking barefoot.
Shelly did take the shoes for several runs. Similar to my opinion about
the Aquas, they felt good but were not a close approximation to running
barefoot. For running purposes, this shoe would be better suited for a
runner moving from a traditional trainer versus a barefoot runner.
Traction was reported as being good on all surfaces except snow and
ice. The sole material is very slippery on this particular surface.
Both Shelly and I agreed that this is one area that could definitely be
improved upon for future models.
Ventilation was very good. Shelly tested the shoes in a variety of
temperatures and found the shoes to be comfortable in both warm and cold
conditions. She found a thin pair of socks provided ample warmth when
outside and did not interfere with the function of the shoe.
me, a true test of a shoe is comfort over time. Is it possible to wear
a shoe all day and retain a high level of comfort? After several days
of wearing these shoes all day, Shelly was thoroughly impressed. This
was the first shoe she found that she could wear all day. Shelly agreed
that the comfort factor is highly correlated to the fact that the shoes
allow your feet to function as if you were barefoot. While they allow
only limited "ground feel", they allow your foot to move and flex
Eventually we got around to discussing value. The Lucy retails for $125
(EDIT- see paragraph below for 30% off discount code). For a typical
pair of shoes I may buy, this is somewhat expensive. For the shoes
Shelly typically buys, it moderate. Based on her experiences with the
shoe, she rated the value as being excellent based solely on
functionality and comfort. At this point, she also commented on the
construction. Terra Plana appears to have superb quality control.
Quality construction and minimalist design is rare indeed. The only
other shoe she found that was remotely close as far as minimalist
function was a pair of boots that cost $20. They fell apart after about
three months of use throughout the winter. The Lucys are obviously
designed and built to last.
the month of March (2010), Terra Plana is offering a 30% off discount.
Go to this address:
and type in BAREFOOTU30 at checkout. This will work for other
models besides the Lucy (except the new EVO running shoe).
sum up Shelly's experiences, the shoes are extremely comfortable.
Breathability and a sense of foot "freedom" make these shoes stand out
among minimalist shoe options for women. Shelly wasn't happy about the
color combination or the other combinations available online. She
believes this shoe would have a much larger potential market if they
were offered in more muted color combinations. Based on the pictures
Terra Plana shared, they have addressed this concern with their new
lineup. Also, as a barefoot runners, she found these shoes to be a bit
too heavy for running. Despite the minor drawbacks, she would highly
recommend these shoes as a minimalist shoe for casual use. Though she
hasn't tried them, she believes the "Odetta" or "Yukam" would be a
better business or business/casual option.
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