Freet Footwear are a UK company manufacturing a range of vegan friendly barefoot or minimal footwear. There footwear is designed for two categories being sports or everyday. I chose the Freet Tanga as a casual, everyday shoe ideal for multiple occasions. These shoes are equally suited to a days hiking in the bush to a casual restaurant setting worn with a pair of jeans.
In Australia Freet Footwear is available through online retailer Bprimal. Bprimal specialise is minimal and functional footwear, shipping throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Over the past 4-6 weeks I’ve given the Freet Tanga a good test in multiple settings and been very impressed. My very first impression when wearing the Tanga was how generously wide they are. Even for an exclusive wearer of barefoot shoes, the Tanga feels wide. The other first impression was just how comfortable they are. The Tanga is amazingly comfortable, in fact possibly the most comfortable shoe I’ve worn. Big claims on first impression.
The Tanga is certainly a minimal shoe. With a stack height of just 6.5mm which can be reduced to 4 mm by eliminating the insole. It features a ‘CoffeeFlyMesh’ upper with the upper made from 100% recycled coffee grounds. The upper is durable, breathable and very comfortable when wearing with or without socks. It has an elasticated lacing system as shown in the picture below, however comes with traditional laces in the box which is a nice touch from Freet. It also features a MultiGrip performance outsole for grip on light trails and pavement. At just 410 grams they are on the light side which only adds to their comfort.
After a week or so of wearing the Tanga in everyday settings I really wanted to test them in the wild. I was certainly impressed when i took them on a 3 hour family hike. This hike was mostly over loose packed dirt single trail with both steep down and uphill sections and the Freet tanga was most definitely up to the task. They were responsive and stable yet they had impressive grip on the trail. This hike again highlighted the comfort levels of the Tanga and after three hours walking my feet felt brand new.
Even by barefoot footwear standards the Tanga feels wide. However they don’t look overly wide on the foot. What this means is the feet are given more than ample room to splay every step you take. This only adds to the comfort the Tanga provides. The other reason for the comfort is the light material of the CoffeeFly Mesh upper. This material is light and breathable meaning your feet stay cool over long periods in the shoe.
At just 6.5mm including in sole they are quite minimal. There is very little between you and the ground meaning you feel a lot of what is underneath you. The MulitiGrip outsole provides very good protection from the sharper objects below you. The mix of ground feel and protection from the Tanga is perfect. They can be worn for long periods over harsh surfaces with little issue or discomfort.
One of the greatest things you can do in the early stages of your barefoot journey is spend a lot of time barefoot. This will strengthen your feet and help absorb the different impact that changing from a life of cushioned shoes has had on your body. For someone in the early stages of their barefoot transition wearing the Tanga in everyday situations is a great way to strengthen and splay your feet. Obviously we can’t be barefoot all the time, although Covid-19 and working from home for many has changed this to some degree. For most situations the Tanga will be a suitable footwear.
For those further down the path in their barefoot journey the Tanga could just become your everyday go to shoe. It’s a shoe you could wear in most situations and be on your feet for long periods with little to no discomfort. Over the course of my time in the Tanga I’ve used them for many hours at a time with my feet always feeling fresh afterwards.
The Tanga has all the attributes of great minimal footwear. As previously discussed they are wide in the forefoot toe box. They are flexible and allow the foot to move naturally, this is further enhanced by the wide toe box. They are also flat and thin yet provide enough the protection required.
Most barefoot runners put a lot of thought and intention into the footwear we run in. Just as important and possibly more difficult to find is the footwear we live in. Finding suitable barefoot/ minimal footwear for everyday casual , work and formal situations is difficult. Minimal footwear is usually more expensive then the traditional alternative making them a more considered purchase. At AUD $159 the Freet Tanga is more than good value for money it is priced at a similarly to typical shoes in the non minimal category. This makes them a great option for those committed to spending their time in better shoes through to even the casual observer of minimal footwear.
I’ll go out of this review by repeating what I said at the start. After wearing extensively for 4-6 weeks The Freet Footwear Tanga is the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn! I put that statement in bold because it deserves to be. These shoes are a delight to wear. Whether this be in everyday situations in our concrete world. Out in the trails hiking, spending time at parks or beach. Or equally fashionable dressed in jeans for a meal at a restaurant. The Tanga is a great shoe that I will be wearing for many years to come.
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review I was provided with a discount through bprimal.com.au.
BPrimal based in Brisbane sell a range of minimal and functional footwear through Australia and New Zealand online. they have Australia wide shipping for AUD $9.95 on entire range.