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Hands-on Gear Review
Vibram FiveFingers Alitza Review
Cons: Not warm, least amount of protection
The Alitzas are the FiveFingers to pick if you are heading to the office or for a casual night out and want to have a barefoot experience with a bit of style. They are charming slippers that have the thinnest tread of any of the shoes we tested, giving you the closest feeling to actually being barefoot. At one of the lowest price points of the FiveFingers we tested, they received our Best Buy award.
RELATED: Our complete review of barefoot shoes - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Alitza is a casual FiveFinger shoe. They are one of the most minimal of all of the FiveFingers we tested, and they are meant to be stylish, dressier, and fun for casual every day wear around town. While their purpose is supposed to be casual, we like to compare them to functional sport sandals like Chacos® or Tevas®. The Alitza can be used in similar situations but will give you a remarkable barefoot experience.
These shoes were the barest feeling of all the shoes we tested. They have the lowest-cut uppers and the thinnest outsoles. They also have much less rubber around the toes compared to the other models we tested, which gives the toes less restriction. We like to compare the feeling of wearing these shoes around to walking barefoot on the beach – maximum freedom for your toes and your feet.
The Alitzas are not meant for cold weather environments. They received our lowest score for warmth out of the other shoes tested. They are more of a "sandal weather" type of shoe.
These shoes have the lowest traction compared to the others we tested. However, with the exception of the simple Vibram FiveFingers See Ya - Women's, many of the other shoes we tested are designed to deal with rugged trail conditions. The tread on the Alitzas is a thin and low-profile serrated blade lug design. It's meant to help wick away water if you are in wet and rainy conditions and would provide ample traction for low-impact uses. The reason they received a lower score is that beyond casual use, they just aren't designed to grip well with higher forces or rough conditions. That being said, the outsole rubber is still the classic Vibram TC-1 rubber, which is just as sticky and durable as the other shoes we tested. Although we only directly tested them compared to the other FiveFingers in this category, our general feeling is that they would have much better traction when compared to other casual shoes or sport sandals.
These shoes offer the least amount of protection for your feet compared to the other barefoot shoes we tested. They have the lowest cut uppers, which are also a bit loose around the edges, and which more easily allow debris to get inside the shoes. They also have the thinnest soles, so they provide little protection from sharp objects you might walk on. Yet, again, this is compared to the other shoes we tested, of which many are meant to perform in rugged conditions and while doing activities like running that demand more protection. So while they scored the lowest rating in our protection category, they are plenty sufficient for their casual, around-town purpose, as well as light hiking or walking.
These shoes are highly breathable – the most breathable of the shoes we tested. When we wore them in hot or indoor conditions for long time periods, we did notice that the bottoms of our feet would get a little sweaty even in these shoes. Nonetheless, the Drilex sockliners keep your feet comfortable and prevent the shoes from sliding around on your feet in casual situations. And they are easily washable if they get smelly.
While the stretchy straps allow for adjustment to different foot shapes, you cannot tighten or loosen them. Also, the straps would easily get twisted, which became bothersome. However, the straps are really soft and stretchy, so they're not likely to cause any rubbing or hot spots regardless of twists or lack of perfect fit. These shoes were the most comfortable of all the shoes we tested and it seems that is mostly due to the fact that they really allow your feet maximum freedom. They are the easiest of all shoes tested to put on. These are shoes that you just might forget you are wearing.
The Alitzas come in several colors. You can get girly with the purple and pink version, or go basic with the full black version. They are a little like dainty ballet slippers. The multiple straps on the top of the foot are functional by adjusting the fit to each person's foot shape, but they also add some fun and a feminine stylish embellishment.
These shoes are meant for casual use and are best worn to the office, walking the dogs, or to grab lunch or dinner on the town. They would also work for walks on paved roads, well-groomed trails, or for light fitness such as pilates. We find this everyday use to be quite versatile, and for a shoe that provides the most barefoot feeling of all, we think you will want to live in these strappy shoes.
You'll only need to fork over around $85 for the Alitzas. This makes them one of the least expensive of all the shoes we tested. We find this to be an excellent deal for such a comfortable, bare feeling shoe.
The Alitzas are a fun shoe to pair up with a cute skirt for a night out on the town or for a day at work, and they also give you one of the best barefoot experiences. Unlike most other casual shoes, they could also withstand a light trail hike. This versatile use coupled with the excellent barefoot feel and affordable price wins them our Best Buy award.
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— Sarah Hegg
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Most recent review: April 17, 2015
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