There was a time in my adult life that I threatened to go back to Velcro shoes because tying shoes felt like a waste of effort that took too long. Personally, I prefer the ease of getting shoes on to their look. The comfort of a shoe is key, but so is its convenience. The most shocking part of this minor confession, however, is that I don’t think I’m alone. My primary, though anecdotal, evidence is seeing people of all ages wearing slip-on Vans. Secondly, I see people wearing those bubbly Crocs all the time. I’m plenty convinced that how easy shoes are to get on and off plays a critical role in their appeal, even over how they look.
This is where the Kizik shoes come in. Their foremost selling point is that they can be put on hands-free. They can be stepped into without needing to touch or adjust in any way. And they look good. They don’t look like they were designed for the lazy.
I have tried to step into my shoes and wiggle my way into them since I was young. The end results have been always the same, too. I can get most of my foot in, but the heel is always left crinkled and needs to be pulled up. Kizik has fixed that problem with a heel that pops up and doesn’t need to be touched. So is a shoe that ruins decades of parents’ pleas to “just untie the shoes and put them on correctly” actually worth buying?
- Hands-free on and off
- Various styles available for men and women
- As costly as other name-brand shoes
Buy at Kizik.
Stepping Into Kizik Lima Shoes
My first experience with Kizik shoes was viewing them on its website and watching the video clip of someone’s feet stepping into the shoes—hands-free. The visual is immediately compelling. The innovation the company touts is its spring-back heel. More specifically, it has a patented External Cage technology that enables the heel to be crushed and pop right back up into place, over and over again.
When my shoes arrived, it took a few practice attempts to step into them with the same skill as the faceless person doing it on repeat on the website.
I can feel the stiff material inside the heel when stepping down on it, though it doesn’t feel much harder than the heel of any other new shoe might. What I’m trusting is that, unlike other shoes that will quickly disfigure from this type of use, these Kizik shoes will stay intact. So far, after a couple of weeks of wear, they have. They don’t show that I’ve been stepping on the heel. The company states that it puts this hands-free technology through 100,000 compression tests to ensure they last a long time.
The Lima shoes have a flexible, stretchy knit upper. I found it to be breathable and comfortable. There’s no separate tongue—it’s all one sock-like piece, even though the laces and appearance give off the impression of a traditional tongue. This single piece helps make slipping on the shoes easy.
For the first few days, I wasn’t even sure if the laces could actually be untied or if they were permanently affixed. (They’re not.) I also didn’t care, because the shoes fit perfectly. I had no need to retie the laces.
While a lot can be said about hands-free shoes appealing to the lazy, it’s worth noting that these might also be more accessible for some people. Shoes from Kizik could solve real problems for a variety of circumstances for those with disabilities.
Comfort and Style
At first glance, I liked the look of the Lima model the most out of the available styles on Kizik’s website. To me, they have a modern, sporty appearance that isn’t flashy. Even the blue colorway option with neon on the outsole isn’t overly attention-grabbing.
If the design or color of the Lima shoes doesn’t fit your style, Kizik does have a variety of other choices available. There are ones more sporty than Lima and ones that are slightly more dressed up. There are shoes for men and women and material ranging from knit to leather.
On first impression, the Lima shoes felt roomy and comfortable. Then, after an immediate stroll around the house, they felt worn-in and familiar. This particular model doesn’t have a ton of padding or midsole support. They do feel a little bit thin under my feet, with less spring than other athletic shoes.
It only took a day or two before I was more than used to the feel of the Lima shoes and didn’t give them an unintentional thought. After a week with them, I played pickleball in the shoes and didn’t need to tighten them or adjust anything. They didn’t give me blisters or any kind of discomfort. My 10.5 size fit me accurately, with enough room in the toe box not to squeeze my toes. If width is generally a concern, Kizik does sell wide versions of its shoes.
The greatest compliment I can give any pair of shoes is that occasionally, without looking down, I’ll forget which pair I’m wearing. The Lima are one of those shoes.
Should You Buy the Lima Kizik Shoes?
Kizik claims its shoes are the easiest you’ll ever put on. They’re not wrong. It might take a few tries to get the technique down precisely, but they’re certainly hands-free shoes. But more than that, I think Kizik’s real success is being able to make hands-free shoes that look like nice, normal shoes.
There are plenty of easy to put on shoes available on the market, but few of them look like ordinary shoes. I think that’s the real appeal here. While most hands-free shoes announce that you’ve given up on appearances, these don’t.
Buy at Kizik from $99.
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