Kigo Footwear Review

Kigo Footwear Edge for outdoor adventurers.

A month or so ago, Kigo Footwear sent me a pair of shoes to test. Since they arrived, I’ve used them for paddling, wading up rivers, rock-hoping, hiking, around town, traveling and for just about every activity that I do. Although, I’m not sold on the style, which looks sort-of like an aqua-sock — I end up wearing these shoes more than any others I own. Why? Because they’re easy to put on and comfy!

Kigo bills the Edge as:

With unisex slip-on styling, the kigo edge is designed for active men and women. The shoes provide complete foot coverage for a fully protected barefoot stride. Full coverage keeps dirt and debris out of your shoe, and thin, high-grip rubber outsoles and toe bumpers make the kigo edge an ideal minimalist footwear option for active wear.

I have no reason to disagree with that assessment. They’re relatively light at 7.5 oz. a shoe. They sort of feel like a cross between walking barefoot and walking with a light running shoe, but they’re surprisingly stiff and make a solid dress-shoe-like sound when walking across the floor. The outsoles are extremely sticky, probably as sticky as any other water shoe on the market. I’d even say that the rubber is sticky enough to work well on easy rock climbs. I like the wrap around toe bumper, because it actually works to protect my toes and it allows toeing-in when scrambling over rocks next to a river.

Around town these seem like a perfect shoe style for casual khakis and jeans. I get tons of questions from friends about what kind of shoe I’m wearing. In the past, I hadn’t realized that people look at your feet that often. I don’t think I’d wear them around town in shorts.

In the woods, I have mixed feeling. They don’t work for kayaking. The first time I tried them in a kayak, it was blowing like crazy and the waves were building just enough to make the rocks at a nearby area fun to play in and around. I paddled out and after the first few minutes of playing, the heels slipped off. There was nothing I could do, except reach into the cockpit and put them back on, and then they came off again and again and again. The only reason I kept them on is because I wanted to protect my drysuit’s socks. After long days of hiking over rocky trails, I can feel the lack of thicker-sole protection of hiking boots or even my Teva’s. And once wet, like after wadding up the Devil Track River, they don’t dry quickly — mine were still damp after more than 24 hours. On the positive side, they stick to rocks! When moving along the shore, I don’t ever feel like I could slip — even when the rocks are wet. They’re adequate for short hikes and kicking around camp. And they’re fine for canoeing.

When trying to figure out the best use, I finally decided that they would make a great camp shoe for kayaking. At 15 oz. a pair they’re 3. 5 oz. lighter than my Teva’s. They’re comfy. They’re easy to pull on — perfect when duty calls in the middle of the night. They’re water-resistant, which will keep your socks dry in camp. They fold in half for storage in the hatches. They work for the types of short hikes that I’m likely to take after setting up camp or during a wind day.

The big question is “How have they held up?” For a $70 pair of shoes, I have big expectations. The Kigos meet that expectation. The shoes are slightly stained in places. The threads on highly abraded area are showing wear. In some places the threads are hanging free. The rubber, which I thought would wear quickly, show limited wear. One odd piece of wear-and-tear is in the heel; the fabric has formed a crease right above the outsole. I think this occurs because the heel cup isn’t shaped right for my heel.

If you’re planning on ordering a pair, order one size larger than you usually wear. I’m usually a 11 or 11.5, and 12.5 Kigo fits snuggly, like a slipper.

Kigo Edge | Price: $70 | More Info

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  • Bryan, thank you for an honest review.
    Instead of praising the product like some reviewers without probably even using it (not necessarily Kigo footwear) you actually say that is good for walking but lousy for kayaking.
    I was keen on getting a pair for paddling but after reading your review I will reconsider.
    Probably nice around camp but at $70 it’s a bit steep…

  • Thanks. I can see them used for canoeing, but for kayaking if you shift your feet around and apply pressure to your footbraces, then they’re going to come off. I find this pretty common with most low-cut paddling shoes. If the cut was slightly higher, it’d probably work okay.

    Great for camp, light hiking and around town.

  • Any idea who the contact person is at kigo? I’d like to try a pair as well… My old Teva camp shoes are all worn out and these look like a good replacement.

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