Episode 31: Vibram Five Fingers "Trek Sport"
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Ben, or (as known on Instagram), The Barefoot Daddy, here. If you read my review with the Barefoot Shoe Review on the Merrell Vapour Glove 4 3d’s then in terms of intro, I don’t need to be quite so thorough; however, I’ve been running in barefoot trainers for the past 12 years, mainly in Vibram Five Fingers or VFF, so I am delighted to be able to review my most recent pair. I have had 3 different pairs of Five Fingers at this stage, the V-Alpha’s I recently decommissioned, and my first pair where the Spyridon Black.I am a size 11 (UK) foot 45 (EU), Foot width, approximately 4.5”(though I rarely measure my width).
I became a Vibram user back in 2014, after my New Balance Nimbus died a last death and I wanted to amp up the barefoot shoes I was choosing, and so Vibram’s were my only choice. I kind of lean to a black apparel style when working out/ running and the Spyridon worked nicely for that. Having enjoyed them, when the toe lining started coming away from the soles, I went for the V-Alphas, and when the same started happening to them, I got the Trek Sport. The Trek Sport are slightly different, in that they have 2mm more thickness insole to sole than the V-Alphas and .5mm more than the Spyridon, and considering I primarily run on off road trails, that was something I was looking for. The price I paid for them was £89.99.
"Marco Bramani and Robert Fliri developed the first barefoot shoes then showed the concept to then Vibram USA president & CEO, Tony Post. He discovered that VibramFiveFingers were the unique solution to the knee pain and soreness he was experiencing when running. Soon, they collaborated with the full Vibram team to position Vibram FiveFingers® as a performance product for running, fitness and outdoor sports. FiveFingers not only encouraged a more natural forefoot strike during running, but also allowed the foot to move and work in a completely natural way, while providing grip and protection over a variety of surfaces."
I really like these, I’m not going to lie. While the difference in insole to sole thickness is minimal, it makes quite a difference on the trails I run. I tend to run sockless, and these are a snug (in a good way) fit. They embrace the foot with little slippage, and I am fairly keen on the velcro strap versus the pull cords on the other two. You still need to manipulate your foot into the toe holes, but that becomes second nature to a VFF wearer. The materiel used for the top shoe is quite porous, but this makes it breathable also, so when wet and muddy, they clean and dry pretty easily. (I have hose washed them a dozen times since getting them, hang them on the washing line and they are dry as a bone in a couple of hours). I’ve had one blister moment after several weeks of use, likely due to the mud drying on them and then wearing for another oudng having not washed them.
As noted, I am a fairly average size of shoe. 11(UK), as well an average width, My Spyridon’s were 11, V-Alphas however, I must of had a stroke, as I got 10.5 (UK), and while this was fine and the shoe adapted to my foot, There was no give in them at all. They became more comfortable over dme, but for the TrekSport, I reverted back to the 11, and they are spot on, with a mm of play in there, suitable for the expansion of the foot whilst running. The sizes on offer are from 6 - 12 with an 11.5 size also, (at least from where I got mine).
The shoe upper is polyester & microfibre mesh. It is breathable and they get wet fairly easily, but this also works with wicking away the moisture while running. On first pueng on the trainer, the top of your foot feels fairly exposed, but you quickly get used to that. As mentioned above, I chose these as they were a tiny bit thicker between the insole and the sole so that rogue flint doesn’t damage my foot, and it has added confidence in the run. I still feel every undulation of the trails I run in, which is part of the draw to this type of shoe, but the extra 2mm on the V-Alphas makes a huge difference. On both of my prior VFF’s the reason for change has been ultimately that the fabric and rubber sole have come away from each other around the toes, and they where; polyester in the Spyridon and Wool/ Synthedc in the V-Alphas, so hopefully this new combinadon is more durable.
Weight: W38= 4.8 oz / 136gr ; M43= 6.5oz / 184gr
Insole: 4 mm EVA + Drylex sockliner
Outsole: 3.5mm rubber
Upper Material: Polyester Mesh and Microfiber material Machine Wash Cold / Air Dry
I’ve currently run 109 miles in them, and I got them in mid-late spring 2020. If I have slipped, it's because the terrain has been particularly sodden. As a trail shoe, it does what I wanted; a comfortable barefoot trainer that you have excellent ground feedback but feel confident that the foot protection is there. I have been “caught’ a couple of times and let out a “damn” having hit a stone or spikey stick, and not felt like it was detrimental to my foot. Debris has goben into the shoe from time to time, but not enough to cause irritation. There is a finger hook at the heel of the trainer to help wiggle your toes into the toe holes as well as easing in your foot. This is also useful in taking them off. My little toes can at times struggle to get into the toe holes, but I think this is more my physical attributes than at the detriment of the shoe.
Love the black and grey combo.
Fit like a glove
Extra sole protecdon.
Excellent Velcro fastener
None to mention yet. Have blistered once, due to user error, likely.
Cleaning after a muddy run is a must (machine max 30°c or hose - air dry). As two pairs have been decommissioned due to fabric and rubber sole degrading, my hope is that these will last longer based on the slightly higher price tag paid, versus the others.
It feels like these are an upgrade to the prior two pairs I have owned. They look sleek and were comfortable out of the box. Little to no blistering bar user error. They install a confidence for trail running which is what I use them for, so can imagine they would be superior for road running also. I have taken them out for trail walks as well as running, and they are comfortable all round. They do carry a slightly higher price tag than I have paid previously, so the material will hopefully hold longer than previous pairs. If you’re looking for a VFF for trail or road running, I feel confident in recommending these.