I’m back with another fitness product review, this time it’s The 01 by Virtue Athletic. I found out about The 01 during their kickstarter campaign in the back half of 2019. Their idea of a functional fitness shoe that has a minimal footprint, but also a minimal price tag had my attention from day one!

For some clarity, I’ve had the shoes in my possession for two weeks and have 6 workouts done with the shoes on. So this will be my initial thoughts on The 01 from unboxing to now. I am going to use and abuse these shoes for the next year.

Virtue Athletic and The 01 are needed in the functional fitness market. I myself have a hard time believing why a minimal shoe, with little frills, needs to cost over $120. Personally, I never buy my Nanos new or at full retail. I always go to the Reebok outlet store and find an older Nano around the $60 mark. That’s who I am as a consumer! 

Also, so you know where I am coming from, I have been using Nano 6’s for the past year and the New Balance Minimus shoes for the year before that! I only own one pair of functional fitness shoes at a time and I wear them for a year. If they make it, that’s a win!

The Virtue Athletic 01 so far.

Taking them out of the box, I was surprised at how stiff they felt. I don’t think I’ve ever thought “wow, this shoe feels stiff” before with any other shoe. Lacing them up the first few times, I felt like the shoe was so stiff I couldn’t get them to tighten very well. I would say that they have broken in well though so far. I’m going to be paying attention to how supple the shoes do, or do not become, as I continue to use them.

Speaking of lacing them up, one thing I noticed is that The 01’s only have four shoe lace holes. Looking at my Nano 6s and the NOBULL trainer, they have at least 5 or more on each side. I wonder if this was a cost saving spot for Virtue Athletic. Less holes to cut and less metal eyelets needed means less money spent to make the shoe, so it costs less for the consumer.

Last notable mention is the toe box. I feel this is my point of contention with most functional fitness shoes. I ordered some of The 01 in a size 10, and I feel they are true to size, but trying them on at the house and the first workout, the toe box felt tight. The shoes feel wide, so it’s tough to say what it was, but I think the point the shoe comes to creates a slimmer profile right at the big and small toe for me. Now that I have used them for two weeks though, I no longer feel this narrow toe box. My guess is that the shoe material loosening up has attributed to this. 

The 01 Shoe Performance

Before we close up for the day, let’s talk about performance. I feel the mentions before are minimal, not the biggest deal. The shoes don’t feel like I got them from Payless and they are true to size for me, as a 10. While using the shoes, nothing about the shoes have gotten in the way of my workout. They have been stable and haven’t drawn my attention away from the task at hand. I am feeling them loosen up by the end of an hour long class, but this might just be the shoe material still stretching itself to it final resting place. I do double knot them and there is a lot of extra lace, but when isn’t there.

So far I am happy with my purchase and I’m looking forward to what the next few months bring. Do they hold up? Do they stretch so much they feel too big? Does the color fade? Do I continue to look like a goober with my belt and headband?

Speaking of head bands, any recommendations? My hair is getting out of control.

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