Stack height: 2.5mm base (4mm lug)
Heel-to-toe drop: Zero drop
Actual weight: 875g
Flexibility: Moderatley flexible
Stability and Motion control technologies: None
Toe spacer compatible: Yes
Materials: Outsole - Rubber | Upper - Naturally scarred wildhide leather | Inner - Recycled plastic membrane and liner
Key Features - fact or fiction
ALL-WEATHER - Unconfirmed ☑️
I have hiked a lot in my Vivobarefoot Trackers. Frankly, the experience has been great. They have served me well in temperatures ranging from 5°f (-15°c) up to 50°f (10°c).
The Trackers come with a removable insole which I used in the colder climates and my feet never got cold, even on the coldest days.
For milder temperatures, I remove the insole and the Trackers have not felt too warm.
That said, I have not tested them in the height of summer. I normally reach for the more lightweight Magna Trails.
Many people have reported that the Trackers are a little too well insulated for summer use, even with the insoles removed.
From my own experience of how warm they have kept my feet in freezing temperatures, I know I will be reluctant to reach for them in summer.
The bottom line... The claim to be ALL-WEATHER is a little bit of a stretch as they are likely too warm for the summer months, but perhaps no warmer than a conventional pair of hiking boots. A more realistic claim might be MOST-WEATHER.
FIRM GROUND OUTSOLE - Confirmed ☑️
Grip has never been a problem when wearing my Trackers. They handled snow extremely well thanks to the 4mm lugs and in wet conditions, the rubber has great traction.
In terms of durability, I’ve put a lot of miles on them this year and the sole is holding up very well with little signs of wear. I am hiking on trails with a lot of mud, snow and soft ground. I imagine if I was hiking more often in rocky, rugged terrain, they may wear faster.
Speaking of rocky terrain, the Trackers handle it very well. You can still feel the rocks under your feet but it is never uncomfortable.
One could argue that it is a little too comfortable. At least when compared to the most barefoot shoes/sandals I own. The grip from the 4mm lugs and the overall firmness of the Trackers comes with a compromise and that compromise is the ground feel.
The bottom line... Let me be clear here, compared to a conventional hiking boot, the Trackers offer an incredible amount of ground feel. When compared to a 3mm barefoot running sandal, there is a big difference.
WATERPROOF - Confirmed ☑️
If history has taught us anything, it is to be sceptical of claims of waterproofness. When I bought my Trackers, I had low expectations but thought I'd give them a try.
Simply put, I have hiked through snow, rain and mud and my feet have never come out wet from these boots.
The bottom line... Over time it is expected that the 'waterproofness' will fade and I will need to recoat them with a waterproof treatment at some point in the future, but so far, they’re living up to Vivobarefoot's waterproof claim.
As mentioned earlier, the outsoles on the Trackers are fairly thick and are all quite stiff.
This should be expected as the Trackers are designed primarily to be a winter barefoot boot. But for some, I think it might be too thick and stiff.
If you buy Trackers expecting the same ground feel as your Xero Prios, you will likely be disappointed.
There will always be a trade-off between ground feel and warmth. You have to figure out where you come down on it.
I wanted a warm winter boot and was willing to sacrifice some ground feel for it. I knew that going in so I wasn’t disappointed with what got, which was still a huge upgrade from any previous hiking boots I owned.
I do not regret my decision to size up. They’re a perfect fit with the thicker socks I wear in winter and I couldn’t be happier.
Interestingly, I expected them to be a little loose (and maybe even uncomfortable) when worn with thinner socks, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that they perform nearly as well for me with that setup. No rubbing or blisters.
Oddities & random thoughts
- The leather uppers are really flexible and let boot can really move with the contours of the ground.
- The removable insole gives you the option to increase ground feel and to use the Trackers in warmer conditions.
- I love the colour and look of my Trackers. I have had a number of compliments on them and it's great to be able to use them in social situations outside of hiking.
- Clasps and hooks are made from metal and feel sturdy.
- The Tracker does not feel like a barefoot shoe. They are bulky and your feet definitely feel like they are inside a boot! That said, they are warm winter boots and you have to compromise somewhere. Of course, we would all love a warm winter boot that feels like wearing sandals, but it’s not going to happen.
- I hate how long hiking boots take to tie up.
- They breathe well and my feet almost never feel sweaty.
Vivobarefoots pricing has always been high and I have often struggled to justify it. But for a good-quality winter boot, it is worth paying for quality.
I bought the Botanical Green Trackers for £145 on sale.
The bottom line...
Would I buy another pair? Yes ☑️
Minimal-list rating: 8/10
The Vivobarefoot Trackers are a great, all-purpose, everyday winter boot that will keep your feet warm and dry in typical winter weather.
For hiking boots, they are lightweight with a decent ground feel. Not only that, but they look great too. Something which can’t be said for a lot of barefoot boots out there.
What the community has to say...
I've got the original trackers had them for around 2 years now they've been superb I'll probably need another pair this winter as the grips are well worn now. Lugs have never been a problem for me with ground feel not as good obviously as the gobi etc in that regard but nowhere near as cushy as LEMS
I have those shoes and they are great...although not true barefoot because they have thick soles with ridges. But they are zero drop and have a wide toe box with no extra cushioning.
The Tracker FG are by far the best hiking boots I have ever had. I really love them. I use them a fair lot, but do not abuse them, walking about 5-7 km almost every day from fall to spring in mostly gravel paths, pastures, forests or semi-mountainous environments.
I have just recently thrown out my third pair, completely worn out, the sole almost inexistent under the ball of the feet, and the leather tore/unglued on the sides, with big holes where the upper foot flex/folds.
I got the Tracker FG as a winter boot for Ontario and a cool weather hiking boot for Iqaluit. I can just about tolerate them as a workshop boot for Ontario summers but would not want to cover the distance in them. Certainly not anywhere warmer.