Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Review – Iconic Barefoot Winter Boot

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The Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Top is an iconic barefoot winter boot. It’s known for being super durable, waterproof, and easy to wear in a modern lifestyle. This is exactly what drew me to it a few years back when I purchased my first barefoot boots.

But the Gobi Hi been through a few design tweaks over the years, so I wanted to get up to date on the current iteration, the Gobi Hi IV, and see if it was still a boot I could highly recommend.

Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi IV Review

Aesthetically, the newest Gobi Hi IV boots are consistent with previous years. They’re low profile and sleek, so you’ll be able to dress them up as well as use them to play in the snow. This year they come in three colors – black, grey, and brown. The black version can be styled like a combat boot, and even dressed up!

They come with Vivobarefoot’s thermal insole and are lined with a soft faux-fur. This year, thinner laces are used, which helps to make them even dressier, but the thin laces are harder to handle and I prefer the grippiness of the thicker laces from previous years. Speed hooks make them easy to get on and off, and they just look awesome!

Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi IV Sizing

The lining in Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi fills up some space inside the shoe, making these run small. I sized up to an EU 38/US 7.5 (I wear an EU 37/US 7 in most of my other Vivobarefoot shoes), and they fit perfectly snug. I know from experience that these boots break in really well, so I was happy to have a snug but comfortable fit in these.

One thing to note is that the boots feel somewhat stiff to start and they are super creaky when brand new. You can solve this really quickly by rubbing leather balm on the tongue where the leather rubs together – this immediately solved the creaking problem. You can also take the shoe in your hands and flex and twist it back and forth for a while to loosen everything up if they feel a little snug or stiff. Having to break in shoes is annoying, I know. But if you like everything else about the Gobi Hi, it’s worth it to put the time in! They can last you for years.

Barefoot Qualities of the Gobi Hi IV

When it comes to barefoot qualities, Vivobarefoot usually gets a gold star (see my other Vivobarefoot reviews here). They are thin (5mm +3.5mm with thermal insole), flexible, and spacious. The toe box width is average for a barefoot shoe, so that means people with extra wide feet likely won’t fit. If you need an EXTRA wide winter boots, you can use the Barefoot Shoe Finder to see your options!

Can You Wear the Gobi Hi In Cold Weather?

One of the things I love about Vivobarefoot shoes is that they are really durable. The Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi is a boot I have worn in all types of weather of many seasons and can attest that they take a beating and come out still looking great. They don’t advertise them as being waterproof, but I have stood in puddles and gotten my shoes completely doused on many occasions and the only time water has come through is when it’s high enough to come in above the gussetted (or attached) tongue.

Two thumbs up for attached tongues!

The rubber wall and seams are very well done and have held up well for me and my family (my husband wears the Tracker as his winter boot, and my son wears the Primus). If you are going to be in a lot of standing water, the Fulham might be a better option option, but the Hi Top is a warmer boot overall.

The shoe upper is thick and cushioned and keep my feet warm even in strong wind and cold temps. The sole, however, I find to get cold quickly, even with the VB Thermal Insole. I have started swapping it out for a sheepskin insole instead and find that it keeps my feet a lot warmer. I always have a hard time with my toes in the winter, so it is definitely worth it for me to have some extra insoles on hand so I’m not miserable outside.

I find the outsoles have good traction, I primarily have used mine in snow and ice without issue. If you’re looking for a really rugged boot you might want to choose something with lugs.

P.S. If you need REALLY warm barefoot winter boots, check out this list of the all-time warmest options for extreme cold and snow.

Styling the Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi

One of the biggest draws of the Gobi Hi top boots is that they have a mainstream look that is easy to wear both casually and dressy. There are a lot of super warm, good barefoot winter boots out there, but it’s not often you find a good winter boot that you can also wear to the office. I almost always go for black when looking for a shoe that can be dressed up, and my favorite way to wear my black boots is with black pants and leggings to get a monochromatic look. Of course, depending on your wardrobe, brown is an excellent choice too and I would have no problem styling the brown ones a million ways too.

Visible socks left, cuffed jeans right.

You can wear them with visible socks, cuffed jeans, or directly over leggings and tights.

Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi IV Review Conclusion

There is a good reason the Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi top boot comes back every year, and I am glad to see Vivobarefoot responding to customer feedback to improve the shoe. As more barefoot shoe brands are coming to the market we are getting an increase in options, and these are far from the only good boot available to us. But if you want a tried and true shoe that you know will function great and look great too, Vivobarefoot has got you covered this season.

Another Vivobarefoot boot I love is the Fulham chelsea boot!

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39 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Review – Iconic Barefoot Winter Boot”

  1. How much did you find these stretched? I just got a pair, and they feel a bit tight on top of the toes, and I’m wondering if I should size up.

    1. They loosen up a lot over the top with wear, but I wouldn’t expect them to get wider because of the rubber outsole. If they are wide enough, but just a little tight over the toes you should be good. I guess it depends on how thick of socks you want also.

      1. Hi Anya,
        I find myself often reading 1 of your reviews simply because you just seem to have the most detailed PRACTICAL information on whatever shoe I might be researching.
        Do you think you could do a comparison between the Gobi Hi and the Lems Boulder boot? I’m looking for things like how waterproof? what’s the grip performance like? durability? comfort? warmth? looks?
        I know you cover all these factors in your individual reviews but I want to hear your opinion on how they stack up against each other.
        Again, thanks for your information – now I’m going to read your Lisbeth Joe review.

        1. Hi Susie! Thanks so much for the kind words. To be honest, it’s not likely I’ll write a full article on that, but I can tell you right now that the grip on the Gobi Hi is a lot better than the Boulder. For warmth, the Gobi has a slight edge but both need a warm insole for me to be comfortable in freezing temps. Comfortwise, I prefer the Gobi as well because they’re more flexible in the sole and around the ankle. The Boulders have a wider toe box which I love, I wish I could take the toe box from the Boulders and add it to the Gobi Hi. Durability I’d say is about even, both are high quality and built to last. Waterproof, I have never had trouble with either but I also haven’t used them tons of times in very wet conditions. I usually wear other boots when it’s pouring rain or there are big puddles.

  2. Thanks for your review, Anya! I just picked up a pair of these on sale, can’t wait to try them on!

    You don’t happen to have tried the Vivobarefoot Ryder yet? I didn’t see a review but would love to hear your thoughts on them.

    1. Unfortunately I’ve never seen the Ryder in person! Maybe next year I’ll try to get my hands on a pair so I can compare them to the other Vivo boots.

  3. I’ve been anxiously awaiting for these to be back in stock and it appears that they finally are. I tried using your discount code, but was told that it wouldn’t work because it has reached its “maximum limit of use.” That’s disappointing news for me, but exciting news for you!

      1. Awesome! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll contact their customer service again tomorrow and see if they can’t apply the code retroactively. 🙂

  4. Katherine O’Hara

    Hi I just received my pair with your discount thank you!! I love them they beautiful feel wide enough but over the tops of my toys where it bends when I walk it feels like it is pushing. Will this give do you think? I’m happy with the length. I own the Addis that don’t do this. Thank you

    1. Hi! Yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about. They do soften up a lot over time, and if they fit you right everywhere else I think you can expect them to break in well.

        1. I’ve been waiting for these since I read your review of the previous model and can’t wait to get them! I just tried ordering with your discount code but I get the message ‘The coupon code “ANYAVB” is not valid’. Any ideas why?

  5. Do you recommend additional waterproofing of these with SnoSeal? I do live in a place with snowy winters (though we’ve had a lot of dry weather lately) and want to make sure I can preserve the quality of the leather as I take it through the season. These are actually my first pair of real leather shoes and I am terrified I’ll destroy them through negligence haha.

    1. Applying waterproofer or conditioners will help keep the leather nice, so if you want them to look in tip top shape for years it’d be a good idea. Personally I would use a lighter waterproof-er on it like Chamberlains or Nikwax since Sno Seal will change the appearance.

  6. I’ve had my pair since 2016 (or 17 or 18!) and in the first year or two I somehow put a hole in the sole! Though disappointing, my local cobbler was able to replace with a vibram sole and it was significantly less expensive than buying a new pair. I love shoes that can be repaired instead of replaced! I need to try your tip to add a sheepskin insole, the first few years I lived in Chicago I definitely could have used a bit more warmth since I often walked for transportation even in the winter. It gets cold in northern Missouri too but not always cold enough for my Manitoba Boots.

  7. Hi, thank you for all of your thoughtful reviews. How do you find these fit compared to other Vivobarefoot boots, like the Tracker? I am trying to determine which one will give the most width in the toe box, especially the outside edge of the pinky toes. I’ve scoured the internet for a fit comparison of the various Vivo boots to no avail.

    Relatedly, do you find that when sizing up in Vivo you get more width, or just more length?

    Thanks so much!

    1. I sized up to a 38 in the Gobi Hi and the Tracker, and the Gobi Hi’s fit me like a 37 but the Trackers are more like a true 38 once broken in. It’s ok because I wear thick socks in them, but I would say that the Gobi Hi runs smaller. Definitely smaller than the Fulham too – I have a 37 in the Fulhams and can wear thick socks with them. Vivo’s are already on the long side, so I size up carefully. You do get some width though. The Gobi Hi’s and the Trackers are the only ones that work for me in a size up.

  8. Do you know if the IV is any wider than the III? I have the III’s in black and they’ve become my favorite! I’m considering getting them in brown too, but – the width of my III’s is just barely perfect and I’m nervous that they may end up too narrow if my feet expand more…(I’ve already sized up for width – if I sized up any more they’d be too long.)

    1. Anita, I have one pair of III and one pair of IV in the same size and the IV is wider than the III. So getting the IV in the same size should give you a little more space.

  9. Hi Anya, I read somewhere the Gobis are wider around toes than other vivo’s or barefoot in general. I have vivo knits in 37 and they are kind of tight for the width of my foot. I am hesitant to go to 38 because the 37 already give me extra length. Would you recommend trying Gobi IV or other models for extra wide fit? Thank you.

    1. That is true for the regular Gobi (desert boot style) but not for the Gobi Hi. The Gobi Hi is consistent in width compared to other Vivo shoes, and they have a thicker lining so feel a bit snug. For extra wide fit from Vivo I would try the Fulham, the regular Gobi, or the Ababa

  10. Hi! Just read your other review in your husband’s Scotts…
    Wondering what the difference is between the Gobi and the Scott? They seem to be the same?
    Thanks so much!

    1. The Scott is just the men’s version, otherwise they are very similar. A few different details in the seams, and men’s shoes are made on a wider last.

  11. Hello, no reply needed as can see the comment section on your website keeps you very busy, but just wanted to say thanks so much for the effort you put into your reviews, but also for showing how boots can be worn in a smart/style context. I have an office job but want to wear barefoot shoes more often (currently have one pair of muki shoes sneakers, as am building up strength slowly and don’t want to overdo it) and have used your site as a reference a LOT the last nine months or so.

  12. Hello, thank you very much for all your reviews. At the moment I am deciding between the Leguano Chester and the Vivobarefoot Gobi. Unfortunately, I can’t find any reviews or experience with the Leguanos. Do you have any experience with the Chester model?

    1. I don’t have the Chester model, I only have one pair of Leguano Beats. I have heard some reviews of the Chester from readers, they seem like good boots. They will be much softer and more flexible than Vivobarefoot. I personally find the outsole on Leguano shoes a bit odd, it’s very bumpy. And they are not as weatherproof as the Vivobarefoot Gobi. So if you don’t need that and just want something really soft and moderately warm the Chester is probably great.

  13. Hi! Thank you very much for the review!
    Do you know, should I wax my pair of Gobi right away after store? Or it’s already pre-treated somehow and I should wait for several weeks?

    1. I think it can’t hurt to wax them right away because it will keep the leather looking nice for longer. Also, the leather is a bit creaky at first, so waxing or conditioning the spot where leather rubs against leather at the tongue of the shoe helps to solve that.

  14. Thank you so much for your detailed review! I actually bought this pair during boxing day sale. I wanted to return it because of a few thing until I came across your page. I wish I found your page sooner! I have some questions I hope you can help to answer. When I tried them on, the top of the shoes feels slightly tight but around mid foot towards the heel is quite loose. Is this because of the stiffness issue? Do you think it will get better once they are broken into? Also, I am going to New Zealand in April. Do you think this shoes are good for hiking/ trekking? I don’t want to have to purchase another shoes for hiking :(. Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi Erin! If they have a removable insole you can try taking it out for some more space in that area. That will also make the midfoot and heel area even larger, however. That can be remedied by adding some leg warmers or yoga socks. Check out my fit hacks here. It sounds like Vivo just might not be the best fit for your foot type. They will absolutely get more flexible once broken in so if you plan on taking them on your trip – wear them a bunch beforehand! I think they’ll be fine for hiking around in. Have a fun trip!

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Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

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