When I started venturing into minimalist waters last year, one of the most intriguing companies out there was kigo. They had a great back story: three fun-loving ladies - one of whom is an e.e. cummings fan, thus the lack of capitalization anywhere (seriously) - who needed simple, functional footwear and committed themselves to environmentally responsible manufacturing, eventually introducing a product that was a promising example of minimalist footwear that doesn’t compromise either performance or style.
My review of that shoe, the shel, was generally very favorable, with one significant exception: the toe box was rather narrow, and therefore uncomfortable for long-distance running. So when I heard that kigo had plans in the works for a more athletic shoe that would better support natural running, I was eager to try the new pair.
|kigo edge on left, shel on right|
The good news is that all of the things I liked about the shel remain unchanged: the super light weight of 5 oz per shoe, the breathable low-profile uppers, and the eco-friendly construction are all present with the edge as well.
|Outstanding kigo outsole|
Most of those fit concerns were addressed with the edge: the upper material has a four-way stretch component along with stretch stitching to improve its flexibility. There is more flexibility built into the foot hole for an easier on/off transition, and the vertical volume of the toe box is noticeably increased. In other words, they made almost all the changes I would have liked to improve the fit …
|kigo edge at left and center, kigo shel on right; no discernible difference in toebox width|
Considering how close this is to being a fantastic shoe, and considering that I thought the toebox issue was going to be addressed with this revision, it’s a bit frustrating to see that kigo hasn’t quite nailed the running shoe design yet. My contact person (one of the owners) assures me that they are working hard on new lasts and molds for a wider toe box, but by the time they finally arrive, kigo is bound to find the market far more congested with minimalist running shoe makers than there were one year ago, or even today. I believe the company was an early arriver who had an ideal opportunity to make its mark with this shoe – but I fear the window on that chance might be closing.
I hope not, because the company really does have a lot of very admirable traits, and they seem honestly committed to promoting natural foot function with a wide range of athletic activities. In the meantime, the edge is a comfortable shoe for those with somewhat narrow feet – the shoes are officially unisex, but I suspect they are much better suited for women than for men - or for a general minimalist walking around shoe.
If you fit into either of those categories, kigo is making it easier to give its unique footwear a try. They’re offering free shipping (a $12 value) if you purchase a pair of kigos from now through October 26. Enter coupon code RAMBLE at the end of your checkout, and the deduction will apply. The kigo edge retails for $70 from the company website.
*Product provided by kigo
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