The text below is from an interview with the lead designer at Terra Plana… I have to admit, I am loving this shoe and running in it a lot more than I thought I would. I figured it would be a summer casual shoe, for walking around, maybe hiking, boating, paddling, etc.
But in the few weeks I have had it, I have been running on roads, trails, and the track. I just completed a backpack weekend of 20 miles, that included an additional 8 miles of trail running. The backpacking miles included something like 9 river crossings, and the shoe performed amazingly.
I would not run fast (race or tempo speeds) on the trails in them — just too much chance of a bruise from a stray root or rock. But they were never meant for that. This is perhaps the most versatile shoe I have ever worn. I use them with the sock liner and without, and when without I have used it with and without the tongue insert.
MRS: Let me start with the newly released Ultra. Tell me a little more about the dual density EVA.
AC: The product uses a modern EVA injection molding technique which enables you to inject a soft density EVA in the uppers and a higher density EVA on the outsole. This product (Ultra) is only possible using this method which is the reason the Ultra was born and exists today. The upper part of the ultra is durable but very soft allowing the foot to flex and move naturally. The outsole section is injected second and is 6mm thick, a lot more firm than the upper which is vital for the ground feedback. It is also special high abrasion EVA which has increased durability for heavier running specific use.
MRS: How is it different than the Evo, Evo II, and Neo?
AC: Evo and Neo are high abrasion rubber outsole running shoes. Although of course they are everything VIVOBAREFOOT: thin sole, zero cushioning, puncture resistant, zero heel-to-toe differential, anatomic wide toe box. They are made like a traditional running shoe – strobel stitched with cemented outsole. And of course, they are not amphibious and quite as light weight.
MRS: Who is this shoe designed for?
AC: We saw an opportunity in this process that we can create a product that would span across a lot of activities but fundamentally, it is an impossibly lightweight running shoe and the feedback is that key buyers are using it as a pretty serious running shoe. You can run in and out of water without water lock and the very nature of it is like a functional Crocs-like product that can be used on the beach or kick around summer shoe or as a travel shoe. We hope that this product will transcend the current barefoot niche and perhaps help take barefoot to consumers that were just looking for an active functional water shoe.