KIGO FLIT SHOES
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
March 14, 2012
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: kigo footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://kigofootwear.com
MSRP: US $87.00
Available Sizes: US Women's 6-11 (even sizes)
Reviewed Size: Women's 8
Available Colors: Black with light grey stitching or Grey with blue stitching
Reviewed Color: Grey with blue stitching
Listed Weight: 4 oz (113 g) +/- (per shoe)
Measured Weight: 5 oz (142 g) (per shoe)
Other details: (from manufacturer's website)
|Picture Courtesy of kigo footwear
• Zero drop outsole
• 2mm flexible outsole
• Anatomical footprint
• Zero toe spring
• Adjustability via elastic panels
• Low carbon output production via PLUS Compound Technologies
• Post-consumer and recycled construction via CYCLEPET uppers and HD PLUS insoles and outsoles
• Certified non-toxic dyes, glues and water/stain resistance
|The kigo flit is a barefoot-style modified (no T-strap) Mary Jane shoe. It's almost more like a ballerina slipper, except it has a semi-rigid sole. The soft upper of the flit is constructed from CYCLEPET materials and feels like a soft cotton canvas. CYCLEPET is created from recycled plastic such as plastic water bottles. There is a diagonal cross strap which is connected to the flit body via an elastic piece for stretch-ability. Contrasting stitching adds a decorative touch in various places such as a double hem over the cross strap and the zigzag seam around the top border. There is a small pull tag at the top of the back heel.
Inside the flit, the bright blue insole is approximately 0.08 in (2 mm) thick and is removable. Without the insole, the flit weighs even less - 4 oz (113 g) - and is even more flexible. I can roll the shoe, rubber-band it into a small compact package and stuff it into a random corner of my pack. (see image below in Field Use and Performance)
AND the flit is still just as comfortable without the insole as with it!
A black, flexible rubber-like material - HD Plus, which is also manufactured with recycled materials, makes up the sole which wraps up, ever so slightly, at the toe as a toe guard and at the heel as a bumper with a slight bit of an overlap in the heel cup as well. An interesting pattern on the soles - almost like a fingerprint - is etched into the material for traction.
|Two "fingerprints for the CSI guys to ponder!
|A big part of the kigo company is their commitment to "green". Through the PLUS Recycle Program, both the kigo drive and flit models can be recycled. Worn shoes are broken down, then fed through a grinder to be remanufactured into another useful product. Also, every kigo shoe can be sent to and reused by Soles4Souls. And to reward consumers who are also "green", kigo "will provide a 25% discount to everyone who recycles or donates their shoes through the PLUS Recycle Program or Soles4Souls."
I like that!
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
I've worn the kigo flit shoes all over Colorado on various nights (and days) in weather ranging from 70 F (21 C) down to 20 F (-7 C). I've worn them walking on dusty, sandy surfaces, gravelly broken shale and wet granite. I've even worn them tippy-toeing over some snow when absolutely necessary. Mostly though, I've worn them while comfortably resting at night after a long day outdoors!
| First off, when deciding on the value of a camp shoe and whether or not it is going into my backpack, I consider the size/weight-to-usability ratio. I rarely take items because I "may" need them and when it comes to clothing, I would rather spend the entire trip in the same clothes than use up valuable pack space for a clean pair of pants or a shirt. Prior to my purchase of the kigo flit, I would either wear my boots at night in camp until I went to bed or sit around with often-cold, damp feet in just my socks. I just couldn't bear to clutter up my pack with camp shoes. However, as can be seen in the picture to the left, the flits really don't take up much room and they are so worth having one less bottle of water. (That's what water filters are for!)
When I ordered my kigo flit shoes on the kigo website, I read that the flits "run true to size". I normally wear a women's 7.5 shoe and an 8 boot. Since I knew I wanted the flits to be a camp shoe, I decided that most of the time when I would be wearing the flits, I would be wearing the heavier weight socks I prefer for backpacking, hiking and snowshoeing. So I ordered a size 8 and the flits fit perfectly! Because of the stretch panels and the cross strap of the flit, even when I do wear a lighter sock, I can still comfortably wear them off-trail and in town.
Except for casual wear, for all of my "camp shoe time", I wear the flits without the insole. The outsole alone offers plenty of supportive and sufficient cushioning to render the flit very comfy without the minimal extra padding and weight of the insoles. I also like having the ability to roll the flits up and securing them with a rubber band for packing.
Rough terrain, wet campsite, even snow (albeit not-more-than-couple-inches snow) are no match for the kigo flit shoes! I have been extremely pleased with the way the flit shrug off dirt and precipitation and with how they protect my feet from whatever is underfoot. Normal camp site hazards such as sticks and stones, pine needles, etc. have been turned aside by the HD Plus soles of the flit and as of yet (fingers crossed here) not even those nasty cactus spines have penetrated. I have no illusions that the uppers of the flit would deflect the cactus, but so far, so good there too! I can safely leave the tent at night knowing my tootsies are protected. Traction is adequate for a camp shoe, actually, more than adequate, but I, personally, would not feel comfortable using them as a trail shoe.
While snow does not penetrate and/or melt through the soles of the flit shoes, there is very little insulation provided by the shoes. There have been a few times when I missed my down booties in camp even though I had on heavy hiking socks. But the flits are great during 3-seasons, so, to be sure, they've earned a firm place in my gear closet!
According to kigo the flits are "H2O & stain resistant, thanks to an EPA approved treatment that is washed into the fabric (rather than sprayed on." It's suggested that "If they need more than a wipe-off, wash them in a gentle washer (water only) and allow them to dry in the sunshine." So far, I have not had to do anything more that wipe-off the dust as they have withstood even my clumsiness and spilled drinks. But in the interest of this review, I did recently throw them into the washing machine with some clean towels (since it was "water only") on a cold water, gentle cycle and then let the flits dry overnight. They turned out just fine!
1.) Slipper-like, comfortable feeling.
2.) Durable enough to walk around campsite, through dirt and debris; is stain and water resistant.
3.) Can pack up small for stuffing into my backpack and weighs next-to-nothing.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1.) A bit pricey, for me, for a camp shoe.
I really am a fan of the kigo flit shoes for casual wear as well as base camp/overnight wear! For backpacking purposes, since they are light-weight and flexible, I can (and do) stuff them into my pack with little thought as to any extra weight. They are just great to slip into when pulling off my boots after a long day on a hard trail. The flit shoes are super comfy as a camp shoe with enough support to safely wander around the campsite without fear of bruising my feet on sticks and stones or getting wet socks. Yet, they are cute and non-technical enough to wear casually around the house or in town. I, personally, would never attempt to wear them on the trail (not enough traction) and definitely not while wearing a backpack (not enough support) but highly recommend them as camp shoes.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
I will definitely be wearing these kigo flits into the ground and then sending them back to kigo for recycling when I order another pair!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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