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Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 - Women's Review

The Stealth 2 is a handsome urban minimalist shoe that handles casual use better than anything else.
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Price:  $150 List | $134.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Stylish, lightweight, breathable
Cons:  Stiff overall feel, less nimble
Manufacturer:   Vivobarefoot
By Lyra Pierotti ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 17, 2018
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Our Verdict

The Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 is a stylish, lightweight, minimalist shoe. It is well-suited to urban activities and casual use but can handle some athletic pursuits. The materials and sole design make it feel a little stiffer than many of the other shoes in this review, particularly if you like to flex and raise your toes when you run. But the thin sole ensures excellent ground feel and the wide toe box allows decent toe splay.

Overall, this is a good casual shoe that is less optimized for athletic activities like running. If you like the look and feel of this one, but want a little more athleticism out of your shoe, check out the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Stealth 2 is an urban-use geared minimalist shoe that performs well in a variety of activities but is not optimized for any in particular.

Performance Comparison


The stylish  breathable  and lightweight Stealth 2.
The stylish, breathable, and lightweight Stealth 2.

Performance


The Stealth 2 is very cool looking, designed for everyday wear but also for road running. It is lightweight and breathable, and performs adequately across a broad range of activities, but it does not excel as an athletic shoe.

The fit is roomy and secure at the heel, a plus for toe splay. However, the shoe feels rigid, stiff, and imprecise compared to many of the shoes in this review. After spending a lot of time purely barefoot and then testing a bunch of minimalist and barefoot style shoes, we came to appreciate a very soft and supple shoe. While the sole is thin and relatively supple underfoot, we found there to be too much resistance when we wanted to raise our toes. Other shoes made this much more manageable with softer materials or a scored forefoot sole.

We were surprised and delighted to discover how reflective these shoes are when we shone a light on them at night.
We were surprised and delighted to discover how reflective these shoes are when we shone a light on them at night.

The Stealth also has a slightly pointed toe. This does not detract from the wide toe box, but it makes pushing off when running feel less fluid than a more rounded toe. It does look better for casual wear, however. The thin 3mm sole allows for excellent ground feel, and enough protection to make walking on gravel stimulating but not painful.

Barefoot Accuracy


The Stealth 2 is a lightweight, zero-drop minimalist shoe that can be used for many activities but is not optimized for running or intense activity. It has a wide toe box and is very breathable, so we liked it a lot for commuting and all-day wear. These shoes allow for excellent freedom of toe splay, but more limited ability to lift your toes. The thin 3 mm sole ensures you feel some stimulation from the ground even in a smoother urban setting.

Looking at the forefoot flex of the Stealth 2.
Checking the torsional resistance of the Stealth 2.

Weight


These shoes are slightly heavier than average in this review. On our scale, they weigh 14.5 ounces for a size 41 European, which is hardly heavy for a pair of shoes.

Weather Adaptability


The Stealth 2 shoes are highly breathable with a mesh upper similar to the New Balance Minimus. This makes them a great option for summer bike commutes and times when it's warm, but you have to wear shoes. They are much less suited for cooler temperatures as they get quite drafty, and won't keep your feet dry in wet climates.

Traction


The honeycomb-like pattern on the sole ensures a consistent flex along the length of the sole and good traction on smooth surfaces. These are designed for urban use and optimized for daily casual wear. These are not ideal for off-road use, but the sole will allow your feet to grip the ground underfoot for added security, so hiking on moderate trails is not out of the question.

The honeycomb pattern on the soles gives good traction in most urban environments.
The honeycomb pattern on the soles gives good traction in most urban environments.

Durability


These shoes have an excellent toe rand that helps improve durability. They are made of lightweight mesh materials, but in our testing did not show any signs of wear or snagging, which we had expected.

Best Applications


The Stealth is an excellent casual shoe for those who like to feel light and nimble on a rest day around town. They look stylish and are breathable for those warm city days when you have to wear shoes, but you really don't want to.

Value


At $150 these shoes are on the pricier end of this review. The materials are vegan, so if that's important to you, these are likely worth the cost. They also proved to be impressively durable in this review despite feature very lightweight materials.

These shoes have the look  but the materials can feel stiff.
These shoes have the look, but the materials can feel stiff.

Conclusion


The Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 is a very attractive minimalist shoe best suited to urban and casual use. They will keep your feet happy and cool on a warm day around town, as they allow your toes to splay, but the upward movement of our toes felt restricted. If you are seeking a pair for more athletic use like running or hiking, look elsewhere, as there are better models for these uses at lower prices. Overall this is a durable pair of shoes that is pleasing to wear and to look at.


Lyra Pierotti