When we saw the Evoskin at the Outdoor Expo we were totally stoked. The first impression was – a concept similar to the Vibram Fivefingers but with less protection and therefore most likely an even more natural feel to it. Another think that got us excited was the fact that the Evoskin is made of silicon – easy washing, no more bad smell after a ‘sweaty foot day’.
Well, we were lucky again and got our fingers on a pair sent right over from the Inov-8 headquarters.
The Evoskin comes with an optional ‘activity strap’ that keeps the skin in place even during rough activities. The skin has the expected feel of rubber on your feet thanks to the silicon and it fits really nice and snug. When putting the Evoskin on it helps if you are used to five finger shoes or socks already – otherwise estimate 2-3 weeks until your feet automatically know how to spread out those toes for easy access.
Another thing that bothered us a little at the beginning that 2 toe boxes on one of the shoes felt kind of narrow and put a little pressure on the toes from the side – an issue we were easily able to resolve by stretching the toe box a little with our hands.
The first run was confirmation – due to the 0mm drop and of course the fact of having no more than one layer of silicon between your feet and the ground – makes for a near barefoot feeling. Definitely closer to barefoot than anything we have experienced before and still it offers needed protection from stones and sharp objects.
We did not take the Evoskin out on the trails yet – but a review on Runnersworld.com suggest that they might not survive a rough trail session (the reviewer did not actual run the skin on trails – it is just a guess of his). What can we say – YOU’RE ON MATE! We will take the Evoskin on the trails the next couple of days cause we doubt they will rip!
As for the street and fire roads – the Evoskin offers plenty of protection from stuff laying on the ground – however, take it easy when getting used to them. It is not only your joints, muscles and bones that need to get used to the stronger impact in comparison to ordinary running shoes but also your feet need to get used to work around sharp objects.
– For those of you not familiar with the concept of minimalist and barefoot running – one of the key points is that your foot’s sensor feel uneven terrain, objects you are stepping on and so on – the less cushion / shoe is between the object and your feet, the more accurate is the feedback your nerves are sending to the brain and the likely is an economic response sent back down to your feet. This is how you avoid injuries, twisted ankles and so on in the long run – but after years in cushion shoes you need to train your feet and sensors slowly.
In the Evoskin you can literally feel exactly this sensation – your nervous system reacts and responds way faster and your feet work way more economically.
The silicon also offers great grip and therefore makes for a great shoe on wet surfaces – not only when running but also for water sports, yoga and many other activities.
The Evoskin comes in several different colors – some brighter as you can see in the pictures, some less but get used to the idea that not only your feet need to get used to your new footwear but also your neighbors.
One last great feature to mention – you can easily roll the skin up and fit them in a small pocket – the easiest way to have your running skins with you at all times!
Natural running and rock on!