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REVIEW: Whitin vs Hobibear (Amazon Brands)

I was in need of a casual sneaker as Fall weather approaches, but didn’t have a ton of money to spend, so I decided to give Amazon Brand “Whitin” a try. I love the look of the black upper with a gum sole, and was really pleased when I received them. (My feet are high volume, and I’m typically a women’s 8, and ordered an 8 - true to size.)



They look great, and are super roomy and comfy. They seem well made, but considering the price point, we’ll see how they hold up with use.


Shortly after I received these in the mail, I ran across an ad for Hobibear, advertising “the world’s largest toe box!” They are a bit less expensive than Whitin ($32 vs $42), so I thought I’d order them to compare, and return the shoes I liked less. (I was also curious to see how wide the toe box really is!)


To me, the Whitin’s look a little bit more sleek and less clown-shoe-ish. The toe box of the Hobibears is definitely more squarish looking.


Whitin shoes review, Hobibear shoes review, black gum sole
Whitins on left, Hobibear on right

The Hobibears have an actual tongue, while the tongue of the Whitins is a continuation of the fabric of the upper. This causes a little wrinkle by the bow of your laces if you like to cinch them tightly. But with the Hobibear’s laces cinched, it causes a more noticeable wrinkle down by the toe box.


Hobibear barefoot shoes review, Whitin barefoot shoes review, black with gum sole
Hobibear on left, Whitin on right

The heel of the Hobibears is quite a bit wider than the Whitins, although wearing them around I didn’t feel too much of a difference.



As for the toe box width, I was surprised to discover that they are actually identical!! They both measure at about 100mm wide. The height of the Hobibear’s toe box is taller, making them feel a bit more roomy, but as for width they are the same (So much for world’s widest toe box! Nope!)


(Image 1: Hobibear. Image 2: Whitin on left, Hobibear on right. Image 3. Whitin)


It’s also interesting to note that they seem to come from the same manufacturer. You can tell they are constructed similarly, the sole is the exact same color on each, and even the design of the sole is very close.


It was a tough choice, but in the end I decided to keep the Whitins and return the Hobibears. My main reason is the style. The Whitins just look a bit more sleek and slightly sporty, while the Hobibears are a more casual, clunky looking shoe. (In my opinion.) But either one would’ve worked fine.


Hobibear shoes review, Whitin shoes review, black with gum sole, feet together
Hobibear on left, Whitin on right

Pros:

  • Meet all barefoot shoe requirements (flat, flexible, wide toe box, zero drop)

  • Removable insole

  • Very comfy

  • Inexpensive

  • Stylish

Cons:

  • No separate tongue (bunches under laces)

  • Hot. Really no ventilation so my bare feet get sweaty pretty quickly. Definitely require socks.

  • Made in China

  • Durability? We'll see

Pros:

  • Meet all barefoot shoe requirements (flat, flexible, wide toe box, zero drop)

  • Tongue separate from upper

  • Removable insole

  • Very comfy and lots of height for toes

  • Very inexpensive

  • Would be good for someone with larger square shaped feet (tall toe box and wide heel for bigger feet)

Cons:

  • NOT the world's widest toe box! (as advertised)

  • Fabric bunches by the laces at toe

  • Hot. Really no ventilation so my bare feet get sweaty pretty quickly. Definitely require socks.

  • Not as cute IMO. More boxy looking

  • Made in China

  • Durability? We'll see




Amy S. is a labor and delivery nurse, sun-seeking horseback rider, and outdoor-exploring barefoot shoe fanatic!

Comments


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Hey, I'm Kim!

I'm so happy you're here.

I believe that your feet are the foundation for full body strength, and living a barefoot lifestyle is key to moving through your years with joy and freedom.

Join me as we live our best barefoot lives together.

XO,
Kim

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