In Praise of Kigos

I’m relaxing in post–long run happiness. (Remember: recovery is key!) While it was too hot to keep on my compression socks (we had an early taste of summer today in North Carolina), my feet feel great in these Kigo Star shoes. Elevating them on the ottoman helps, too.

One of the three women who runs Kigo Footwear is a fellow Wake Forest alumna, and she graciously sent me this sample pair to try out. They’re minimal shoes, and while I wouldn’t run in them, I certainly plan to wear them a lot for everything else. They’re ideal for keeping your feet healthy and strong—once you get them healthy and strong. And healthy, strong feet will be less susceptible to injury, as I pointed out in my post containing thoughts on plantar fasciitis.

Sidenote: another minimalist shoe that’s good for foot strength, believe it or not, are Ugg boots. Whatever you think about their aesthetics (and they are certainly not vegan), they are little more than a platform and a cozy upper, which means your feet can move however they like inside the boots. This is preferable, I’d say, to something like flip-flops or clogs, where your foot must actually work, sometimes pretty hard, to keep the shoe on. Working too hard can lead to foot problems, just as not working enough can. This ties back to one of my central teachings in the yoga classes I teach to athletes: where can we work less and accomplish the same amount?

But back to the Kigos. My samples are seconds, which means they wouldn’t ever have hit the virtual shelves. What a great way for the company to enact their principle of minimalism, by reducing waste! The shoes have a sole that’s simultaneously thick and thin. I feel comfortable riding my Vespa in them, as they really grip the ground when I stop, yet they weigh very little at all and you can certainly feel the ground through the soles. The uppers are made of recycled plastic (wow!) and are soft with a slight give.

If you order some—and I hope you will—be advised that they run quite small. My pair are a size 10 while I usually wear an 8.5 dress shoe and a 9.5 running shoe. Guys, they have men’s versions, too.

Thanks, Kigo, for the treat for my feet.