Iguaneye shoes from above on wood panels

[Travel Gear] Iguaneye shoes review #freemyfeet

It’s been about 2 years since I’ve worn flip flops, and much longer since I bought a pair. I find they usually don’t fit my feet that well, and they aren’t so good for my feet in general. Until now, I had’t found something to replace them. This is my Iguaneye shoes review for an alternative to flip flops or sandals.

Updated on 31 December 2016, 12 February 2017, and 22 March 2017 from my 3 month trip! See below.

Iguaneye shoes

Enjoying the ocean view on Kangaroo Island in Australia

I’ve worn these in London, Singapore and New York this summer (and now Australia too), and I’ve received comments from strangers in all of these places. These were a little bit of an impulse buy. I read this review on a fitness blog I follow, and thought they might be the shoes that I had been waiting for. And they are!

This video explains what are the major design points:

Here’s the Iguaneye overview video if you want to know more about the history of the product.

How I wear them

I’ve used them for:

  • everyday errands
  • lifting at the gym (deadlifts and squats)
  • commuting to and from campus
  • ultimate tournaments
  • walking around doing site seeing
  • going to the zoo with my nephew and niece
  • attending a relative’s celebration for 100 days of their baby in a somewhat fancy restaurant
  • light hiking

Basically, I’ve been wearing these nonstop since I got them!

I’m going to be sad soon as the weather gets cooler and it’s too cold to wear these everywhere. I think I will keep them on campus at my desk for wearing around the office and to the gym, but I’ll have to wear other shoes for commuting.
Iguaneye up close

Iguaneye shoes review

Iguaneye shoes from above on sand

On the beach in Kangaroo Island, Australia

The plus sides

1. Super comfortable

You might be skeptical about whether these are really comfortable. They look thin, so you might think you don’t get enough support. The cork insole molds to your feet. They give enough support so that your feet don’t hurt, but you still feel everything underneath the shoe.

They are so comfortable that a few times I had to remind myself that I was already wearing shoes! All 4 or 5 people who I have let try them on have all agreed that they are super comfortable. The only thing I’d be concerned about is if your two feet are very different in size (more than just half a size or so). My feet are different about just about less than half a size, so it’s alright.

2. Quick on and off

Once you get used to how to get them on and off, they are really quick to slip on and slip off. This was one of my major gripes about my Teva sandals. No straps, no tighting needed. Just slip your toes in and lower your heel in. Getting them off takes a little more practice. You have to arch your foot so that the suction is relieved and you can slip your heel out.

3. Minimalist

I like minimalist shoes, but haven’t gone so far as anything like Vibram Five Fingers. These are pretty minimalistic but still feels like a shoe shoe. You can feel the ground beneath your feet but have some cushion and toe protection.

4. Support and promotes good form

My toes have enough space and my feet have enough support. I feel like my walking form is probably a lot better than it would be in flip flops. If you tend to be a heavy walker, you might feel a lot of pressure on your heels. I have run short distances in them, not at full speed, but fast enough to catch a bus or something like that. If you are a heel runner, you may need to adjust how much pressure you put on your heels so you don’t hurt yourself.

5. Cooling

The air slits are pretty small but effective. There have only been 1 or 2 days in the last 2 months where I felt that my feet were hot and sweaty. One of my fellow PhD students tried them on a hot day in London and immediately said they were much cooler than her shoes. I put them back on and could feel all the residual heat that her feet had left!

6. A multitude of color combinations

There are lots of colors for the insoles and the outer, which you can choose separately. Some of the outers may be out of stock, such as the grey one when I ordered. They didn’t tell me though, so I messaged them and ended up changing my order. I ended up going for the blue and I really like it.

7. Great traction

I’ve never had a pair of flip flops that had good traction. Some sandals have pretty decent traction, like my thin soled Tevas that I wore before these. But because these stay much closer to your feet than any other sandal that I’ve ever tried, it feels like the traction is even better. This is especially true around the toes and front part of the foot.

Iguaneye shoes inner side

The down sides

1. Break in period

I did have a pretty brutal break in period of 3 or 4 days where the entire bottoms of my feet were hurting. If you have sensitive feet, it might be better to break it up across a week or longer instead of trying to break them in all at once. Also, my right foot is slightly bigger than my left. The shoe felt tight on that right foot for the first week or so but since then it’s been perfectly ok. I usually wear a size 6.5 US women’s, and I got the size 36.

2. Keeping them on

I find it tricky sometimes to go down stairs quickly. The suction that is created with the outer loses its power when you curl your feet when going down stairs. It’s not a big deal, but just something to be aware of if you tend to go fast! Similarly, when I’m at the gym and trying to foam roll or stretch, the shoes tend to slip off from the back. Not a big deal, but can feel a little awkward.

It’s also hard to keep them on if you are in a big thunderstorm. The shoe is super slippery if it is really wet, and will slide off your heel. My toes also would peek out up over the top of the shoes occasionally too.

3. Wardrobe malfunction

The bullseye piece that is at the back where your Achilles is pops out. So if someone steps on your heel from behind, it’s going to come out. I nearly lost it getting off the tube in London, but luckily it was on the floor of the tube car so I just picked it up and popped it back in. I eventually did lose that same one a few weeks later. The bullseye on the other shoe hasn’t popped out spontaneously yet. It doesn’t serve a purpose, so after I got over the fact I didn’t mind anymore.

It doesn’t really serve a purpose, so it’s not a big deal to lose one.

4. Water

If there is any amount of water on the ground that is deeper than a third of an inch or so (half a cm?), your feet are going to get wet. It’ll come in through the ventilation slits near the front and the back of the shoe. That said, they never felt sopping wet. Since there are the ventilation ridges under the insole, your feet won’t be squishing in water inside of the shoe. Your feet will pick up color from the insole if it is wet, though.

Also, the insole is made from mostly cork, so it could potentially grow mold. This happened to my Birkenstocks when I lived in Singapore, so if you aren’t in a tropical country you might be fine.

5. Price

The price is a little high at about 67 USD depending on taxes and shipping for your country, but they have been worth it for me. If you consider similar sandals, these are on par for quality and cost less. I’m looking forward to wearing this pair at least for the next few years (hopefully).

Iguaneye shoes outer side

Why I think these are great for travel

Durable

These will last quite a while! If the insoles get nasty, you can buy replacement ones separately for 20 euros (about 22.44 USD). I have noticed some wear on the outer where the balls of my feet are:
Iguaneye shoes after 2 months

Lightweight

Feels like you are practically barefoot. They can fit into small spaces and will definitely keep their shape. You can take the insoles out and pack them flat, and squish the outer in wherever they can fit. I stuffed them into the side pocket of my backpack when I came to New York this time.

Comfortable

See above. They lightly hug your feet and curve to fit you.

Versatile

Works for many situations and looks good pretty much anywhere.

 


I hope you enjoyed my Iguaneye shoes review! If you want to find out more, you can find them here. Do you have a pair or are you thinking of trying them?

Updates from road testing

Update on 31 December 2016

I thought I’d do a quick update now that I’m 1 month into my trip in the Southern Hemisphere!

I’ve worn my Iguaneyes nearly every single day that I’ve been in Australia, apart from when I’m flying. They have held up well, and I even did some light hiking and stair climbing in the Blue Mountains region near Sydney. Going down the big stairs was hard because I had to be careful not to lose my shoes, but going up was completely fine.

I do feel that the soles are slightly more worn than the previous photo above and one of my insoles is cracked and nearly split through (see photos). The treads are wearing down where the balls of my feet are, but not too badly yet. I think they will make it through the next 2 months on the road. I’ll update again after some time in Asia!

2016-12-24 Iguaneye2016-12-24 Iguaneye

 

Update on 12 February 2017

So the outsole started splitting towards about mid-January. It is the worst on my right foot, which is slightly bigger than my left. It’s spliting on the sides of my ankles, but I have heard from a friend that his split in the back where the heel is.

Broken, split Iguaneye shoe :(

Since the time of taking this photo, this split has made its way all the way down to the horizontal line and even started going towards the left a little. It’s a really huge split now! The other side and the other foot isn’t that bad. The outside of the left foot is looking like this size but started out slower than the split on this right foot.

I’ve been trying desperately to repair them with Sugru, but had to go through a few rounds of trial and error. Hopefully now they are fixed for at least until the end of my trip (end of Feb). I’ll add some photos of my repair job soon.

To be fair, I’ve really put these shoes through everything that it could possibly go through. I’ve been in dry, hot climates. I’ve been in very wet, humid climates. I’ve been in water, in sand, on pavement, on gravel. They’ve taken a nonstop beating these last few months. I think if I were to buy another pair, I may limit its usage to cities and kinder outdoor conditions.

 

Update on 22 March 2017

I’ve tried to repair these shoes with Sugru, but to no avail sadly. These are some photos of the full ripping that has happened on both my left and right shoes.

2017-03-22 Iguaneye damage left

My left shoe

 

2017-03-22 Iguaneye damage right

My right shoe

I’ve heard from someone in the comments (see below) that their shoes were replaced when they informed Iguaneye of the damage. I’ve emailed them, but haven’t received a response yet. First email I sent was on 14 March, and the second I sent today on 22 March.

I hope to hear from them soon, even if they are unable to replace my pair it would be nice for them to acknowledge my situation.

Update on 22 June 2017
They sent me a new pair to replace the old ones. I chose new colors, and have been wearing them now for a few months. I’ll put up new photos soon from my next trip!!

I’m really happy with their customer service. They were a little slow to respond, but were very helpful.

 

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Iguaneye review

  • Funny enough I had also ordered a pair from Kickstarter when they first got released (same colour even). I had tried wearing them a few times and I always found the drawbacks (the same that you list) to make them not work for me… in addition to the problem that my cleats make me lose my big toe nail at times, which doesn’t bode well with the Iguaneyes.

    Since then I’ve also tried a pair of Xero sandals (https://xeroshoes.com/) but haven’5 been very happy with the complication of putting them on as the laces don’t just allow me to slip them on.

    So I’m still a big proponent of FiveFingers. Been wearing them for 6 years now, own 2 pairs and love them. Super comfy and none of the problems that you’be listed or that I’ve encountered except if there’s more than 5mm water puddles (so not really for the wet/grey season) and that they need a few seconds to put on. Have you ever tried those?

    • I’m losing my big toenail on my right foot really soon, which is the foot that is slightly bigger, so I’m a little worried if it will be a problem when the toenail is normal. I’m also wondering if the Iguaneyes may have contributed to the toenail coming off…It did seem to lead to some bruising at least.

      I haven’t tried Xero sandals! I’ve been thinking about trying FiveFingers for a long long time, but never made the leap. I do have a lot of friends who really like them. I’m just a little worried that I need a little more cushion on the bottom. The puddles might be a problem too because if I’m in New York, those puddles are nasty! haha

      • I can see why you are worried about the FiveFinger padding. I admit that it’s rather thin. I guess I just don’t mind because I’m so used to walking barefoot, so I enjoy it. I do think ones soles adjust and harden to it after a while and I also think that you’ll adjust your strike (not just when running) when using such thin soles.
        Here in Singapore you can get these Injinji trail running socks, which I love and use for Ultimate: http://www.injinji.com/shop/trail.html
        They are quite thick and provide you with the cushioning and warmth needed in colder seasons. At least that’s what I wore when I went back to Austria in winter with my FFs.

        And the toe-nail: well, I don’t know if the Iguaneye had anything to do with it. But what I can say is that FFs are the only shoes I’m comfortable wearing even when I have blisters on my feet as they usually sit so nicely and are soft enough…

        If only Vibram would finally launch a few models that are not so hideous to look at. 😛

        • Those socks look super nice!

          I like walking barefoot too. I prefer it especially when I’m at home, so I think I would be able to adjust my strike for outdoor walking too. So maybe I am worried about nothing! OK, you’ve convinced me I should really try a pair. 😛

          Haha, yes they are still a quite unique sight to see. I’ve also heard that FFs can stink up a storm…

          • Get an outdoor pair to start with, their soles are a little thicker. I’m looking forward to reading their product review in a few months then.

            FFs can stink up a bit, but then I just toss them into the laundry and wash them. Problem solved …unless you go for the leather models (I have one of those and love it). 😛

            When we’re on the topic, I guess I should also point you to these FYF socks (http://fyf.io), I had ordered them on Kickstarter and finally received them a few weeks ago. Their intended use is as sand socks for whenever the sand gets too hot to play Ultimate on it barefoot (as I hate the Vincere sand socks). Managed to use them once so far and I’m very happy with them. Technically speaking, they might be used as footwear as well. And as they are cheaper than FFs, you could try them instead… 😉

          • Oh ok, I didn’t realize they had outdoor styles. Sweet! I might get a pair before I go on my trip to Australia later this year.

            Love that they are machine washable!! That’s so convenient!!

            Thanks the FYF link! I haven’t played beach ultimate in a while, but might do some in the near future so this might be a good dual purpose purchase for me! 🙂

          • Yeah, that might be a good test run. When will you be in Oz? I’m planning to head to Melbourne Hat. Would be great to catch up. 🙂

          • December! I will be there for a conference, looks like right before Melbourne Hat. I should sign up!

  • PercyJ

    I have a pair that ripped in the same place. I wrote IGUANEYE a polite email explaining the situation and they quickly replaced them. If you still have the problem you may have some luck if you contact them

    • Hi Percy! I was wondering if they would do that! Thanks for the info and I’ll send them an email today! 🙂 I’ll update here afterwards.