While you might buy Kizik shoes because they are so easy to take off and put on, you’ll want to wear them often because they fit really well and they are so comfortable all day long!
- Easy to put on and take off — it’s hands-free once you correctly set your laces
- Five styles to choose from in multiple colors with an extended range of sizes and even EE widths
- Contemporary styles that don’t have a lot of obvious branding
- Incredibly comfortable when you’re doing a lot of walking
- Good traction on the soles
- The heels just pop right back up when you slide your feet in — they never crush, and there is no need for a shoehorn!
Before CES, Zek and I got offered the chance to try Kizik Shoes. As you can imagine, wearing the right shoes is critical when you’re going to be on your feet all day. Thinking that we would be doing our usual 15K+ steps per day while walking to meetings and attending events around Vegas, we were eager to see if Kizik styles could possibly be as comfortable as promised. We didn’t make it to Vegas for CES, but Zek and I still managed to put the shoes to the test; here’s how it went.
Judie: When the offer was made, Zek and I perused the Kizik Shoe’s site. We found that they offer five footwear styles for both men and women that are available in multiple colors depending on the style. The shoes come in men’s sizes 4.5 through 15 with standard and EE widths, and women’s sizes 4.5 through 13 with standard and EE widths.
The five Kizik Shoe styles tout these features:
- $99 Lima – HandsFree Labs Technology, Rabbit Foam outsole, rubber traction pods, removable & washable insoles, breathable knit upper, and a roomy toe box
- $119 Athens – HandsFree Labs Technology, Rabbit Foam outsole, rubber traction pods, removable & washable insoles, and a breathable knit upper
- $99 Prague – HandsFree Labs Technology, Rabbit Foam outsole, rubber traction pods, removable & washable insoles, and breathable canvas uppers
- $129 Vegas – HandsFree Labs Technology, Rabbit Foam outsole, rubber traction pods, removable & washable, insoles, and premium leather uppers
- $99 Eco-Knit – HandsFree Labs Technology, Durable to last, Breathable 4-way Knit uppers
What is this HandsFree technology that they keep mentioning? Kizik describes it this way: “putting your shoes on without having to touch them. No tying, no pulling, no heel crushing, no hands.”
Zek: I will admit, I was very skeptical about the Kiziks. It seemed like such a weird idea to build an entire shoe brand around making them easier to slide on and off. But they looked stylish, and I figured it would be fun to test them out. What I did not expect was to fall in love with the concept and wear them almost daily!
Judie: Zek requested a pair of the Athens in Cobalt Blue, and I selected the Vegas in Black.
The packaging was nicely minimal; they ship in a box that can be reused if you need to return them, and the box is recyclable.
I have to admit that I was surprised that the Kiziks came with regular laces! Most of the photos on their site show laced shoes without ties, so I thought they were relying on some kind of elastic laces that you couldn’t necessarily adjust yourself. That assumption was incorrect. If you wanted to, you could tie and untie the Kiziks every time you put them on, but that would defeat the hands-free purpose of the shoes!
I thought that the Athens style I ordered looked really cute; besides the kizik logo embossed on the heel tab and tongue, there is no other obvious branding.
Zek: Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of wearing shoes unless I’m outside and don’t have a choice. So as soon as I walk in the door, my shoes come off. The Kiziks slide off and on so easily, but the real witchcraft is how well they fit while you’re wearing them. I have very narrow feet, and I have only had to tighten the laces on the Kiziks when I first put them on. Ever since then, I’ve just slipped them on and off hands-free, and it’s like magic!
Judie: I wanted the sleek “no tied laces” look that I had seen in the product photos, but I had never actually worn a pair of shoes before that I would have felt comfortable doing that with; I wasn’t sure how to make them look like that!
Youtube to the rescue, it turns out that all you have to do is make sure that on the last eyelet hole, you bring the laces over rather than under. Once you have the shoes laced so that you can comfortably put them on and pull them off hands-free, you just slip the lace ends under the removable insole.
I had to snicker because the video mentioned that if you tuck your laces in this manner, you need to use a shoehorn to get your feet into the sneakers without crushing the heel. That is absolutely never a worry with the Kizik Shoe styles!
Zek: By far, the best part of wearing Kizik Shoes happened at the airport. Even regular slip-on shoes (like, say, Toms) require stopping and sitting or bending over to fully fit your foot into the shoe. But the Kiziks made it so simple to slip them off, go through the TSA scanner thing, grab my stuff, and slip them back on.
I didn’t have to hang out in the crunch of people who were all trying to get their stuff back together and crowding around the limited seating near security. Is it a compelling reason alone to buy the shoes if you aren’t a regular traveler? Not really, but it does highlight why they’ve become my go-to over and over again!
Judie: Thankfully, I have TSA PreCheck, so unless I am wearing shoes with a metal last, I can just leave them on. But I still thought it was amazing that I could slip my feet into the Kizik Shoes every day and, without fail, the Kizik’s heel would just pop right back into place, comfortably against my heel without feeling crinkly or crushed!
And when I wanted to take them off, they were very easy to remove.
Zek: The Kiziks’ Athens looks like athletic shoes, but they aren’t aimed specifically at working out. I do think the Kiziks fit just a touch too loosely to be great for running, but I have put in several miles of walking in these without any issues.
They are supremely comfortable, and I often have difficulty with traditional shoes. My usual shoes are Inov-8s that are zero-drop heel-to-toe, and the Kiziks aren’t quite that flat. It’s not that I’m militant about flat soles, but generally speaking, a higher heel — even in sneakers — makes my left knee get grumpy with me, but I could spend all day in the Kiziks and not have a problem. That’s how comfortable they are!
Judie: I liked the cushy support of the Kizik Shoes insole. It’s a little mushier than the thin foam or leather insoles I am used to, but that wasn’t a bad thing! They were so comfortable and springy on long walks, and my feet never felt achey or tired! There was plenty of wiggle room for my toes, and nothing pinched or felt painful after a day out!
Zek: They’re also very stylish in person, at least in my opinion. Cobalt Blue sneakers don’t necessarily go with everything, but I’ve worn these with jeans almost daily since they arrived. Even my mother, who is absolutely the toughest critic of anything I wear, commented that she really liked them.
Judie: I think they looked really good on you, and I was glad that you didn’t go for a “normal” color like me! But I was overly pragmatic about it all — I wear a lot of primary colors, and I knew that the Vegas in Black would look good with just about anything.
When Zek and I originally planned on wearing these in Vegas, I told them that we should bring one other pair of shoes that we knew would be comfortable because there was a chance these might let us down. Now I’m eying the Women’s Prague in Creme Brulee!
Zek: Anytime my bright blue Kiziks Athens have been complimented, I’ve impressed people by showing off how the reinforced heel means I can magically slide in and out of them hands-free, which never gets old for me and always surprises people.
I think the real trick is that the heel reinforcement in the Athens shoe looks like part of the style. Most athletic-style shoes have some sort of pattern or design around the upper part of the shoe, so no one is looking at it and going “well, clearly, that’s to make the shoes hands-free”.
It just looks like a stylistic choice, which is pretty fantastic as it lets the shoe stand on its own aesthetics as well as functionality.
Judie: My Kiziks Vegas shoes don’t have the obvious external cage that your Athens shoes do, but they react the exact same way, so there must be some kind of hidden internal structure in mine that keeps them from crushing. It’s just so unexpected and cool!
Zek: And have I emphasized enough that these are possibly the most comfortable sneakers I’ve owned in years???
Judie: Haha, you told me over and over — and how many times did I mention the same to you as we were walking around in Miami?
Zek: You did, repeatedly!
Judie: I especially appreciated that the soles of my shoes were so grippy. Even when we were walking on slippery surfaces, I never felt like I would slide or slip; the soles have excellent traction! And I realize that most sneakers do, but since I consider these more fashion than work-out, I was glad for it.
I think it’s safe to say that while you might buy Kizik shoes because they are so easy to take off and put on, you’ll want to wear them often because they fit really well and they are so comfortable all day long!
Kizik shoes are available in five styles for men and women with multiple colors to choose from, and they retail for $99 to $129; they are available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Easy to put on and take off — it’s hands-free once you correctly set your laces; Five styles to choose from in multiple colors with an extended range of sizes and even EE widths; Contemporary styles that don’t have a lot of obvious branding; Incredibly comfortable when you’re doing a lot of walking; Good traction on the soles; The heels just pop right back up when you slide your feet in — they never crush, and there is no need for a shoehorn!
What Needs Improvement: Nothing!