Home ˃ Reviews ˃ VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi HI III – Review


Gobi HI boots are one of the VIVOBAREFOOT’s most popular and best-selling models. Each winter they come back in improved and updated versions, but they remain their classic and timeless design, which makes them look fashionable for many years.

I tried the Gobi HI model two years ago already, but they were not the optimal fit for me. The toebox was too tapered for my taste and they were baggy around my ankles. But as I know that VIVO always tries to impove their shoes after customer’s feedback, I decided to give them one more chance this year.

And I must say that this year they feel like a totally different shoe. VIVO really improved the fit and the toebox to make them a lot more foot-shaped than it was in the past.

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1. General

  • Model: Gobi HI III Womens
  • Colour: Black
  • Tested on: woman, medium-wide feet, 26.3 cm long and 10 cm wide (10.3 cm between metatarsal heads), low instep, skinny ankles with narrow heel, fin-shaped foot – see my how to measure guide and foot type

|Made in Vietnam|Women’s|Leather|Ship worldwide|

2. Material characteristics

2.1 Upper

VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi HI III winter boots are made from Wide Hide African leather tanned by Pittards®. The leather is smooth and the boots are available in black or brown colour.

They are also available in nubuck leather in the colour called ‘drift wood’.

Wide hide leather means that the leather comes from hides of free-roaming animals, which means that the leather is naturally scarred and it is not ‘perfect’. So, some lines are visible on the boots.

But it comes from the animals who move freely in nature and the leather is perfectly imperfect, which I love.

At the top of the boot the last two rows of eyelets are changed with the speed hooks to put the shoe on easier.

Black laces are thin and round. At the top of the tongue there is a small VIVOBAREFOOT logo.

The tongue is gusseted to keep the water out of the shoe.

Heel part is reinforced with an extra layer of leather with added significant VIVO V logo at the top.

2.2 Lining

Boots are lined with faux fur in light beige colour. At the heel part and at the top of the boot around the shaft they are lined with leather.

Gobi HI III boots have added 3 mm Thermal insole to keep your feet warm in winter. The insole is 3.5 mm thick and it is made from reflective foil and insulating foam.

2.2 Sole

Gobi HI III is equipped with VIVOBAREFOOT everyday multi terrain sole which has a concave, hexagonal design. The sole is made from sticky rubber and it has a thickness of 5 mm, which is quite normal thickness for a winter shoe.

Gobi HI III boots are flexible in both directions, but the leather and the sole feels slightly stiffer at the beginning. Boots soften with wear and I could easily roll them after some time of wearing them.

The ground feeling in them is less intense than in their Opanka model which I reviewed here, because of the thicker sole and thermal insole, which give you some cushion too. But still decent for a winter boot.

The sole is stitched and glued to the upper to make them more durable. Also as the sole is curved up at the sides they are less sensitive about the salt on the roads during the winter season.

Also check my video for the close-up and to see how they look on my feet.

3. Sizing information

3.1 Length

VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi HI III model for women is available in sizes 35-43.
For my foot length of 26.3 cm I chose size 42 with internal length 27.5 cm.

Inside the boot I have 12 mm space for my toes which is the optimal space for toe movement recommended by different studies.

See my post How much space do we need in shoes if you want to know more about that.

When choosing the right size I recommend you to check VIVOBAREFOOT size chart. Take in mind that the centimeters in their table are internal lengths of the shoe.

3.2. Toebox shape & width

In comparison to the Gobi HI model which I tried 2 years ago, this toebox shape is much better and it is not tapered at all. The line at the big toe side is perfectly straight all the way to the end.

VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi HI III boots are the most suitable for feet with the longest first toe as they have a stronger slope towards the little toe. They still work for my foot shape with the longest second toe, but they wouldn’t work for me if I would choose less space inside the shoe.

They are not the best fit for square-shaped feet.

More about different foot types you can read in my post What is my Foot Type?

Regarding the width I find them suitable for narrow and medium wide feet. Wide feet will find them too narrow. For my 10 cm wide, low volume feet they just work. Also take in mind that the insole width is smaller than the width inside the shoe.

I have enough space inside the shoe to move when I wear tights or thinner socks, but when I wear them with thick toesocks, my pinky toe wishes for slightly more space there.

If I compare them to Geo Courts which I reviewed here, Geo Courts feel wider and also the outsole is visibly wider than the outsole of Gobi HI III model.

In comparison to VIVOBAREFOOT Ryder boots, Gobi HI feels wider, although they look completely the same width from the outside. But I don’t have enough space in Ryder boots even with bare feet.

3.3. Fit around the instep, heel and ankle

I can adjust my Gobi HI III boots perfectly around my ankles with no bagginess anywhere.

I also like how snug they fit at the top of the boots, which means no dirt or snow inside the shoe.

Top two quick hooks make them much easier to put on.

Boots are suitable for feet with low and regular height instep. Those with high instep won’t probably get a perfect fit in those.

4. Comfort

At the beginning I didn’t find Gobi HI III boots as comfortable as I would like too. The leather at the shaft part around the opening was a little bit stiff for me.

It hurt me when I wore them only with tights. At the beginning I needed more material between my leg and the boot, so I wore them with jeans and mid-calf socks and I also added some leg warmers to make it softer.

Now, the leather soften a lot and is comfortable for wearing only with a skirt and tights too.

5. Waterproofness and warmth

So far, Gobi HI III boots are holding well in the rain. They are not waterproof, but in combination with gusseted tongue I’m satisfied with their performance in wet conditions.

Regarding the warmth, so far I only tested them up to zero degrees Celsius and my feet were fine in them. I’ll update that part, when I’ll have the chance to test them in a show and even lower temperatures.

6. How and when to wear them?

Gobi HI III can be your only winter boot for everything. They work well with anything casual like jeans and jumpers. You can also add some leg warmers to that outfit.

But they can also be dressed up for a smarter, semi-formal outfit with a leather skirt and fine knit jumper for example.

7. Price & where to buy

Gobi HI III boots can be bought at VIVOBAREFOOT official website. The price is 180€.

You can buy them with 10% discount with using my affiliate code BUVIVO20.

8. Shipping info

VIVOBAREFOOT ships worldwide. The shipping costs depend on the shipping country and the amount you order. They offer free returns.

9. Where are they made?

Shoes are made in VIVOBAREFOOT factory in Vietnam.

10. To sum up

VIVOBAREFOOT Gobi HI III boots are well-made winter boots with sleek design. Yes, they needed some time to soften before the leather became soft enough for me for comfortable wear, but it didn’t take long to get to this point.

They can easily be your only pair of winter shoes as they are so easy to style with different clothes. Even when you need a smarter look. Just take in mind that they are not one of the widest shoes on the market, so those with wide feet won’t fit in them.

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