Are you looking for a new pair of minimalist boots? You might have heard about the Vivobarefoot brand and been wondering, like I was, about how they actually stand up in the wild.
Well, I’ve put a pair of their Tracker FG barefoot boots through their paces, and this is what I’ve found!
The Makers 🔨
First, let’s talk about the company itself. Vivobarefoot was founded in 2012 by two cobblers who are massive proponents of barefoot running and the power of the human foot, and they’ve been creating barefoot shoes ever since.
They want to bring people closer to nature and their minimalist shoes, zero drop boots, and barefoot sandals are designed to be as close to full foot freedom as possible. They’re wide, thin, and flexible, in order to promote the natural movement of your feet rather than restricting them. The question is: Do they work?
Overall thoughts 🤔
What really stands out is that these barefoot boots do what they say they will. They are one of the most comfortable minimalist boots I’ve ever worn, and they give a real sense of freedom. You get a lot more contact with the ground than you might be used to, and you can certainly feel the rocks and stones under your feet.
I specifically tried out the Tracker FG, which stands for “Firm Grip”. This style does mean that the tread is a little shallower, and they are not ideal for slippery, snowy, or muddy terrain.
With that being said, they definitely do the job on even long and arduous hikes, and you can always attach microspikes or snowshoes for more adventurous trips.
I did find that they’re not really breathable at all, which means my feet were sweating on hot days but would still get pretty chilly when it was cold out. Surprisingly, though, they are almost completely waterproof out of the box and are perfect for wet weather, despite feeling so thin and flexible.
When it comes to sizing, these boots are pretty straightforward. They’re true to size, but you might be better off tending towards the size above for boots or if you usually go for a half-size. They are naturally wider than traditional shoes, though, which is worth taking into account.
It might seem a little different at first, even if you’ve got the size right, because they're foot-shaped rather than shoe-shaped. That means you have more room for your toes to move freely and greater volume inside the shoe itself – which is great for all different foot shapes.
Obviously, the main oddity here is the fact that they’re designed to be as close to barefoot as possible.
They are zero drop shoes (which means there’s no difference in the height between the toe and the shoe), they’re wide, they’re thin, and they’re flexible. If you’ve not worn a pair of barefoot boots before, it can feel a little strange to have so much freedom! It almost makes your other boots feel cramped and limiting by comparison.
Right now, you can find a pair of Tracker FGs for around $195. It’s best to buy them directly from the Vivobarefoot website, so that you know you’re going to get the right warranty and support.
The bottom line…
Would I spend the money on buying the same pair again? Yes, I would. They aren’t necessarily the perfect shoes for every weather or every surface, but they are incredibly comfortable and flexible, and they stand up to the test of time.
They are a little pricey, but I would say that they’re worth the extra cost. You can even use their repair/refurbish service when the soles do eventually wear down.
Often compared with 👟
If you’re looking at other options that are similar, the Vivobarefoot shoes are often compared to Xero Shoes and Lems Shoes - two other big names in the barefoot market.
For my money, the Vivobarefoot are the best of this bunch, although they do have the price tag to match.