Quite possibly one of the best ways to invest in your personal health is with DaVinci Footwear. Bold statement? Yes, it is. But in the 12 years that I have been running this site, I have learned a lot about footwear. And besides quality socks, there is no better gear than a really good pair of shoes. Regardless of the activity, if you don’t take care of your feet, you cannot perform 100%. This applies to everyday life too, not just hiking and biking, or running. Taking care of your feet pays dividends.
There are plenty of zero drop, flexible, roomy toe-box shoes out there. And most are dedicated to a single activity, usually running. Which is great. But are you going to wear your running shoes to work? If you can, I’m a bit jealous. But they may not look so good with dress pants, or even casual business wear. And certainly not with a suit. DaVinci Footwear looks right at home with faded jeans, new jeans, khakis (Well, I guess. I’m not sure anyone still wears them, unless they work at Best Buy), or a nicely fitting suit. So from a fashion viewpoint, they’re a win. But certainly, that’s not enough reason.
If you think about it, shoes are actually bad for our feet. Yes, they protect our feet from hot pavement, sharp objects, and dog turds. But stiff soles and a heel higher than the ball of the foot are not natural. The ideal shoe would have a flat, flexible sole, room for toes to splay out a bit, and still provide some protection. And yeah, they should be fashionable too. Mostly, we want to maintain that connection with the ground, and strengthen our feet at the same time. That’s the key to being able to be on our feet all day, regardless of the activity. This isn’t rocket science, it’s kinesiology – the study of human or non-human body movement. So I’m telling you to buy your footwear based on science, not some marketing campaign based around an overpaid celebrity.
What makes them special?
DaVinci employs expert tradespeople in Mexico to craft each pair of shoes the old fashioned way. With pride, skill, and leather. They use recycled coconut husk for the soles, and waxed cotton laces. Their stitchdown construction is one of the oldest methods for footwear, but assures good looks, great durability, and an easily replaceable sole. Yes, these are not inexpensive shoes, as they are made by artisans. But they’re not disposable like so many other shoes. If you wear out the sole, any decent cobbler can replace them for you. And you’ll love them so much, you will wear them out.
What are they like to wear and walk in?
When I first tried mine on (DaVinci Mohawk in natural black), I thought that the lack of structure might be an issue. It was almost like trying to put a sweater on a cat. But once they’re on, that brief struggle is worth it. There are no hot spots, no sliding contact points. After three days, they felt like they were made specifically for my feet. Walking in them was equally nice, thanks to the KineticFLEX insoles. They are super flexible, and not at all restrictive. Yes, I felt pebbles and small ground imperfections. Not to the point of discomfort though. It’s more of that connection to the ground I mentioned earlier.
Over the years, I have damaged my knees quite a bit. And some bad footwear choices contributed to plantar fasciitis. Minimalist footwear has helped with both. My plantar fasciitis is a distant memory. Knee alignment is better, and there is less pain through my knees and hips. I can stand and walk much longer in these DaVinci boots than I can in good Italian hiking boots. And those are good boots. For everyday wear, these are hard to beat.
For some people, $252 might seem a bit much. I can’t argue with that. There are people who can wear cheap Chinese-made disposable footwear, and they’re perfectly content. And I can’t argue with that either. Well, except for the environmental concern of contributing to the billions of shoes that end up thrown away each year. But if you understand that proper design and construction is better for your feet, the price is reasonable. For anyone already wearing minimalist footwear, and looking for something dressier than their workout/running shoes, it’s an easy purchase. Especially when you consider that they can be re-soled. I’ve had a good pair of shoes last for ten or more years. That’s less than $3/month. Compare that to $100+ shoes from some of the big names, that by design, aren’t meant to last more than a single season.
I almost didn’t do this review. But when I did my research on DaVinci, I realized I had to share. Yes, they sent a pair for me to try out. But even if they hadn’t, this is a company I can totally endorse. The founder used to live not far from my old home in SoCal. He’s based DaVinci out of Los Angeles, and has the shoes made in Mexico. He’s put quality and comfort before price. There are plenty of places you can compromise, but footwear should not be one of them. And he gets that. Check them out at DaVinciFootwear. com.