Until now, the cold, wet, wintry weather has always been a real nightmare for barefoot and minimalist runners. What do we do; opt for a thicker-soled conventional shoe with Gore-Tex protection, or stick to our Vibrams and risk getting our feet wet and cold. I’ve always fallen in to the latter group. I was never a fan of Vibram’s Lontra, and for years have yearned for Vibram FiveFingers to create a waterproof barefoot shoe.
Introducing the FIRST and ONLY waterproof five-toed shoe!
Finally. Minimalist running shoes designed for winter, built to last, and waterproof!
Five Things You Should Know About the Bikila Evo WP
- WP stands for waterproof (and the shoe is exactly that – completely waterproof!)
- The Bikila Evo WP is the only waterproof shoe from Vibram FiveFingers
- Built on the ICETREK sole, the WP is designed for extra grip on ice
- Two fastening mechanisms: quick-lace AND zipper!
- Available for both men and women
First Impressions. Out of the Box
The Bikila Evo WP is unique in design. The Bikila Evo WP comes up to below the ankle similar to the long-redundant Bormio. The fabric is surprisingly lightweight, given that the shoe is waterproof. I was expecting something tougher. The workmanship on the shoe is top-class. It seems Vibram FiveFingers have really got it right in 2014 – The quality of the shoes this year have been of much better quality than previous years.
The shoe has two fastening mechanisms. Inside is a concealed internal quick-lace system that is used to ensure a close fit. There is then the zip with taped seams either side which is used to keep the shoe completely waterproof.
Built on the same ‘style’ of sole as the original Bikila Evo, except the sole on the WP is made from Vibram’s patented ICETREK technology. Not only has this rubber compound been granted full marks by Vibram for its durability, it is “developed to grant the best grip on very cold, iced, or snowy surfaces, VIBRAM® Icetrek allows you to move, work, and live safely on mountains and in cold areas.”
A Little Too Snug?
I am commonly between sizes in Vibrams. I am right at the threshold with most Vibram models: Size 44 in KSO Evo, Trek Sport, CVT LS, Lontra – but am a size 45 in the Spyridon. I am a size 45 in the Bikila Evo WP too. I figured sizing-up would be a wise move anyway, given that the Bikila Evo WP is designed for more wintery conditions, and I will likely be wearing toe socks underneath.
So… If your toes touch the end in your normal Vibrams, I would recommend going an extra size up.
How Waterproof Are They?
I can happily confirm that the Bikila Evo WP is completely waterproof. I’ve ran through puddles, through wet grass, sloppy mud, and did the ‘dip test’ in the lake. No water gets through the waterproof membrane. The only way your feet are going to get wet in this shoe is through the hole that your foot gets in. They are as waterproof as possible for a shoe!
How ‘Grippy’ is the ICETREK Sole?
It’s a little early to tell as we haven’t had any snow and ice to test the sole on yet. I’ve tested them on wet tarmac, on slippery paving stones, and on slimy autumn leaves – and truth be told – they seem to offer no more traction than a standard pair of Vibrams. I honestly find that my KSO Evo handle corners (on wet terrain) more capable than the ICETREK. But before I jump the gun – we need snow and ice to test these on. Watch this space.
How Warm Is The Bikila Evo WP?
I’m been incredibly impressed with the warmth from the Bikila Evo WP. Despite the material being incredible lightweight and relatively thin, they do provide a great deal of insulation.
Additionally, I’ve took these for the occasional spin in warmer weather (15C+) and my feet haven’t overheated.
How Breathable Are They?
The longest run I have done in the Bikila Evo WP so far is 7 miles. Despite the outer fabric getting wet, my feet inside stayed completely dry. No traces of sweat, despite wearing thick toe socks underneath.
Despite my initial apprehension on the level of waterproofing, I am completely bowled over by this winter-proof barefoot running shoe.
The downsides to the Bikila Evo WP are:
- Fits a little more snug than normal (very slightly)
- The concealed quick lace has excess lace (easily resolved by cutting or tucking inside the shoe once zipped
- The toe pockets seem a little narrower than normal
The positives far outweigh the negatives
- The shoe is completely waterproof!
- The shoe is gorgeous – Black and Grey (with a dash of either red for men, or purple for women)is a great choice of colour
- You can achieve a very precise, comfortable fit using the the internal lacing system and the external zip
- Optimum grip on ice and snow
- Good degree of warmth
- Of all the Vibrams, this is the best running shoe for winter
Overall, I am exceptionally pleased with the quality of this shoe and am excited for the onset of ice and snow!