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Any *new* hiking worthy "barefoot" shoes available? How's the new Vivo rubber?


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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Any *new* hiking worthy "barefoot" shoes available? How's the new Vivo rubber?

Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #3488129
    Rusty Beaver
    BPL Member

    @rustyb

    Locale: Idaho

    Despite really liking them, I vowed to not buy another pair of Vivobarefoot shoes given their very short sole life….until I saw the new Primus Trail for 50% off. Bought them last year and just wore them last night for the first time. New sole…”firm ground”, they call it. The lugs aren’t nearly as aggressive as the old Breathos…but they have decent traction and feel to be made of a different rubber compound. Hoping longer lasting! Wish they had more wiggle room in the toes too…..

    Anyone give these new Vivo’s a good testing yet?

    I have a pair of Carson shoes. There’s so much I like about them (dreamy toe room for starters)…yet they too are lacking in some areas for me.

    Are there any new designs out with zero drop, minimal cushioning/thickness, and most importantly, good traction?

    #3488131
    Rusty Beaver
    BPL Member

    @rustyb

    Locale: Idaho

    Why no edit feature? Any way, let me rewrite that first sentance. It should read: Despite really liking them, I vowed to not buy another pair of Vivobarefoot shoes given **their high cost and very short sole life**…

    #3488146
    Michael Gillenwater
    BPL Member

    @mwgillenwater

    Locale: Seattle area

    Rusty,

    As has been posted in multiple other forum threads on this topic, the Breatho and Neo and Trailfreak models suffered from multiple flaws, including super low durability in the sole (specifically lugs).

    I’ve now done multiple 100+ mile trips in the newer Primus models, and can testify that the sole and lugs on them are improved. They look the same as the the older models, but the rubber compound performs better. It is far more durable. It appears the Primus model solved the durability problem. I have experienced similar improvements with the upper on the Primus. It is both more durable and retains less water when wet than the older trail shoe models.

    Now Vivo has the even newer FG and SG models, with a new lug design. I have a FG pair, but have not tested it properly yet. The shoes have basically the same improved upper as the previous Primus, so that is good. And I assume that the rubber compound is either the same or better than the previous Primus.

    The upshot is that Vivo appears to be hearing the complaints and has been addressing them. I really don’t have any more concerns about the Vivo trail shoes. They are great and they are what I wear on every trip.

    #3488324
    Michael F
    BPL Member

    @gearu

    Why the hell would anyone hike in these? Not being funny, but I’m seriously asking why

    #3488327
    Michael Gillenwater
    BPL Member

    @mwgillenwater

    Locale: Seattle area

    Michael F

    Let me suggest in the future you start with dropping the suspiciously sincere tone with the term “hell”. Otherwise you sound like you are just trolling the forum.

    Happy to give my thoughts and experience, if you are willing to restate your question. And if you are truly serious, there are numerous older threads that answer your question, and give calmly reasoned pros and cons. It just requires a little investment of time to read, again, which should not be an issue if you are “serious”.

    #3488442
    Link .
    BPL Member

    @annapurna

    +1 Michael

    #3488455
    Serge Giachetti
    BPL Member

    @giachett

    Locale: boulder, co

    Tried on the new merrell trail gloves today and they seemed pretty sweet. True to the originals with a bit better fit, grip and protection. I got a stress fracture in my foot after enough big mileage Rocky days in my TG1’s, so I’m skeptical about using minimalist shoes for many trips.  But they are definitely a lot of fun and can make you feel more connected to the terrain.

    #3488463
    Rusty Beaver
    BPL Member

    @rustyb

    Locale: Idaho

    “Why the hell would anyone hike in these?”

    After wearing barefoot shoes exclusively (including backpacking) for the past ~7-8 yrs, as well as doing a fair bit of hiking completely barefoot…including some backpacking, my question might be “Why the hell would anyone hike in anything else?” ;-)

    In all seriousness though, I concur with what Michael said….adding that ending my relationship with conventional footwear was the best thing I’ve done for my knees…as well as ankles and feet.

    #3488480
    Michael Gillenwater
    BPL Member

    @mwgillenwater

    Locale: Seattle area

    Following on Serge’s experience, it is exactly like starting a new sport that stresses neglected muscles and bones. Just in this case for your feet and ankles (and calves). If you don’t slowly condition yourself (muscles and bones), you will get injured. But, eventually your feet will look “pumped up”. 🙂

    #3488565
    Serge Giachetti
    BPL Member

    @giachett

    Locale: boulder, co

    I don’t think that I got a stress fracture because my feet weren’t adjusted. I think it was from repetitive rock on bone bruising. I’m not %100 on this, but I don’t think it’s possible to conditions your bones so they are immune to rocks.

    That said, minimalism certainly strengthened my feet and ankles a lot and helped to me mostly recover from a chronic ankle injury. I’m naturally a forefoot runner, but I don’t think forcing yourself to forefoot walk (esp on flats) is a good idea. Heel striking is very natural to walking. It also makes better use of your glutes. And quads.

     

     

    #3488719
    James I
    BPL Member

    @racerx00

    Let me suggest in the future you start with dropping the suspiciously sincere tone with the term “hell”. Otherwise you sound like you are just trolling the forum.

    Honestly, I thought he respectfully articulated the initial gut reaction to these shoes by most people and asked to be explained why that was wrong. I get that it’s annoying to have to have this conversation every thread but take a deep breath man, we’re all in this together :)

    I’ve come searching for threads on this very subject and found this thread, not knowing anything on the subject. Perhaps I might have stumbled upon a link from you to help another member and would have in-turn been helped. Just sayin!

     

    #3488733
    Peter Nash
    BPL Member

    @nash-pcomcast-net

    Locale: West Michigan

    My brother and I both wore New Balance Minimus 10v1 Trail shoes on a recent 6 day hike in the Sawtooths.  These shoes weigh about 8 oz. and drain very well, so you can keep them on while crossing streams.  These are perhaps not “barefoot” shoes, and I don’t know how long the soles will last, but I was very satisfied.

    <b>https://tinyurl.com/yc8mbn2y</b&gt;

    #3488735
    Sam C
    BPL Member

    @crucial-geek

    Locale: Mid-Atlantic

    I agree with James I and will add that if the question were “Why in the hell would anyone want to wear 3lb. hiking boots?” would not have received the same comment.

    @Micheal F.:  feet are not meant to be housed in shoes and some people find that these minimalist shoes are actually more comfortable.  There is a lot more discussion on this topic in the various running forums out there and a good amount of research into this subject that suggest running barefoot is better for the mechanics and support of the feet.

    That said, some people around here will buy something for the sole reason that it is the lightest option available next to doing without.  This is a crowd that has an absolute obsession with weights of items, you know.

    I had started wearing minimalist and “natural” shoes about a year ago because I have had foot problems my entire life.  I thought this was mostly due to my wide feet but now find that my foot pain and other issues have gone away.  I still hike in Keens here and there because of the wide toe box but the I am liking the natural minimalist concept more and more.

     

    #3489238
    Rusty Beaver
    BPL Member

    @rustyb

    Locale: Idaho

    “…..I don’t think forcing yourself to forefoot walk (esp on flats) is a good idea. Heel striking is very natural to walking. It also makes better use of your glutes. And quads.”

    I wasn’t aware of the idea of forcing oneself to forefoot walk. From what I have understood, and based on my own tendencies, heel striking, or walking flat, is the natural and preferred way to walk. Pick up the cadence and nature takes over and one begins to land on their forefoot…at least when wearing a “barefoot” shoe or nothing at all.

    As a bit of a side note, much of the ethnographic evidence in the Great Basin and surrounding regions, indicate the natives wore nothing on their feet….and they were walking on rocks all the time. In every single old pic I have seen with their feet showing, they are very well defined, wide, and muscular.

    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    #3489358
    Justin W
    Spectator

    @arcturusbearv3-0

    “As a bit of a side note, much of the ethnographic evidence in the Great Basin and surrounding regions, indicate the natives wore nothing on their feet….”

    It probably helps a lot if you start off doing this from day one like the above peoples mentioned. Most of us have spent most of our lives wearing overly cushioned, overly angled (heel rise), overly confining footwear, and most live in an environment filled with very hard and very flat surfaces.

    I would like to go more minimalist, but a few summers ago, I was playing kickball with the kiddos, and when running to home base, I jumped up high, and landed particularly hard on my right heel (hard asphalt surface).  Ever since then, I’ve had issues with it off and on, and found that I need extra cushioning. I re-injured it during a cruise this last winter, as I got to dancing and jumping around all crazy like on the dance floor, and it was then again sore for another month or so after.

    My compromise is that somewhat recently, I bought a pair of really cheap, foam sandals, which didn’t have much compression resistance.  They wore fairly flat in the heel area over a month.  I put these in the hiking sandals I most wear which have a noticeable heel rise (which I don’t like), and it counter balances that a bit, while giving a little extra cushion to that problem area.

    I’ve recently started jogging a bit again, but trying to take it slow (I run on a dirt-gravel road). So far, so good.

    #3489601
    Duane Hall
    BPL Member

    @pkh

    Locale: Nova Scotia

    I have been hiking very rugged trails in Bedrock Cairns.  These are the most secure sandals I have ever worn, and they provided excellent foot bed protection.

    #3530551
    Michael Kujawa
    BPL Member

    @kujawa71

    Locale: Pacific NorthWest

    I hiked the PCT from Campo to Kennedy Meadows on a single pair of Merrell Trail Gloves (original model). I was going to get a new pair at 500 miles but I just kept going. The sole was worn out but the upper was still in excellent condition. I skipped Trail Glove 2 and 3 but I plan to test 4 some time this summer.

    #3530565
    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member

    @geoffcaplan

    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    To answer the original question, Xero have a new minimalist shoe with enough tread for some off-trail and mud. Looks like a decent all-rounder, and is a candidate as a thru-hike shoe.

    https://xeroshoes.com/shop/terraflex/terraflex-men/

    Lot’s of very positive reviews and a fairly decent price. The sole has a 5000 mile guarantee! Which I presume really means that it is guaranteed for the life of the upper. For those of us in Europe, there’s a UK website too. Not the best looking shoe, but function trumps fashion and I’m going to give them a shot.

    I’ve tried the NB Minimus but found the tread was lacking – for groomed trails only, I think.

    The other main option is the Vivo Primus Trail. Reviews are saying that they have finally overcome the problems with durability. I’ve been badly bitten in the past, though in their defense they did give me a couple of complementary pairs to compensate.The Vivos work out more expensive than the Xero, but to my eye are a much better looking shoe.

    As for pounding on rocks, I think that most of us will need to be pragmatic. My longest trip so far in minimal shoes was 30 days on tough high-alpine trails – often very stony or rocky. I did this hard-core in Vivos. By the end my feet were a bit tender – not enough to spoil the trip, but I was hobbling a bit after stops till my feet warmed up.

    So since then I’ve been experimenting with inserts for differing conditions. For road walking I use a 1mm insert of an impact absorbing foam, just to take the edge off the hardness. I don’t think we evolved to walk barefoot on asphalt… If I’m facing a long passage of rock, I also add my home-made rock plates. Currently I’m using plastic from thin kitchen chopping mats I bought at a pound shop. Cost next to nothing and seem to work pretty well.

    For me, minimal shoes add a lot to the hiking experience – I feel more connected with the country I’m moving through. I also have a much-injured ankle, and find that the low stack-height is safer and more stable. I’ve worn nothing else for years so should be fully transitioned, and am hoping to refine my system to the level that I can complete major thru-hikes without any undue discomfort.

    If I find I need more protection on multi-month trips I’d try the Atra Lone Peak. Much more stack height that I’d like, but at least it’s a zero drop shoe. Very popular with US thru-hikers.

    Have any of you done big miles in minimal shoes? I’d be interested in your experiences.

    #3530573
    Michael Gillenwater
    BPL Member

    @mwgillenwater

    Locale: Seattle area

    The Terraflex definitely have a higher stack height and therefore  more cushioning than the VBF Primus SG and FG models. It does take a long time to condition the bottom of your feet to multiday long mileage on rocky trails with the VBF.

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