I don’t remember exactly how I first heard of Kigo. I think it was on twitter. What caught my attention was their talk about barefoot running and the virtues of a minimalist shoe. The fact that I hadn’t heard of them made me even more curious. I contacted Kigo and heard back from one of the company’s co-founders, Rachelle Kuramoto, asking me if I’d like to test a pair. As you may know, I only accept product offerings that match with my values – quality product from a company that values sustainability. After talking via email with Rachelle and further studying the company online I heartily agreed to test a pair and write a review (note: Kigo sent me a pair for free, but with no stipulation other than giving them a try and writing about my experience on Running Quest).
Specs of Tested Pair
Brand: Kigo Footwear
Size: 12.5 (they run small!)
Color: Grey on grey
Weight: 6 ounces each
Using the online sizing chart on Kigo’s website I got the biggest size they made (not something I usually have to do), size 12.5. This is usually the size shoe I get. When I received them in the mail I eagerly tried them on. They were too small. Rachelle said there are plans in the works to create more sizes, but that they didn’t have anything larger right now. I was bummed. My guess is that the largest pair they have in men’s would fit a size US11.5 foot. The rest of us are just out of luck for now.
Given that the shoes don’t fit me properly, and I’ll have to wait at least a few months before there are any that do fit me, this is only a partial review, at best. I do want to talk about the look and initial feel of the shoes, and the company’s philosophy, though.
The shoes arrived in a recycled cardboard box with the Cyclepet logo on it. Inside the box, the shoes were wrapped in brown paper and sealed with a clear label that read: Thank you for accepting seconds as samples. This is one way Kigo Footwear works toward zero waste. I plan on either returning the shoes after this review is finished or handing them on to a friend who will fit in them, in the spirit of zero waste.
Kigo appears to be quite focused on sustainability. The shoes are made with recycled PET (what most plastic bottles are made of). Here’s a visual description of what CyclePET is all about.
Kigo explains their sustainability philosophy of Avoid, Reuse, and Reduce on their website. In addition to using recycled materials, Kigo endorses working from home as a way to reduce our footprints.
Fit and Feel
The Kigo Edge I received look like water shoes, with a more substantial sole. I took out the insole, knowing I don’t like to wear them, and slipped the shoes on. They were fairly easy to get on, but as I mentioned above, they were too small. My toes ended up crunched at the front. Given this, anything I share about the fit and feel of the shoe has to be taken with grain of salt. They felt nice and smooth on my skin. I walked around the house in them for a bit. I noticed that my forefoot felt a little tight. This could have been due to wearing a size too small, but it could also be more pervasive an issue, as the shoes did look a little narrow up front. I like to have enough room for my whole forefoot to stretch out comfortably.
The way the shoes look is not a high point. While the colors are nice – grey combined with pastels (or another grey in my case) – they are pretty basic. I think the simple look of the shoes is actually a good match for a minimal shoe such as the Kigo Edge. But some folks who are used to brighter colors of traditional running shoes might find the design of the Kigo Edge too plain.
Without wearing a pair that fit my feet, it’s hard to say whether Kigo Footwear is a viable option for running. I imaging they would be ok, but whether they’re great or not, well, I’ll have to wait for larger sizes to be produced. I do think that the shoes will provide enough puncture protection with plenty of flexibility to be a viable option for many activities. And weighing in at 6 ounces each, the Kigo Edge certainly won’t weigh you down. The fact that the company has built goals of sustainable practices into the design of their shoes and manufacturing process is an added incentive to give them a try.
What do you think?
Have you worn Kigo shoes? If so, what did you think?
Would you be more likely to purchase from a company focused on sustainability in their practices?