Vibram FiveFingers Bikila Evo WP Review

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

  1. WP stands for waterproof (and the shoe is exactly that – completely waterproof!)
  2. The Bikila Evo WP is the only waterproof shoe from Vibram FiveFingers
  3. Built on the ICETREK sole, the WP is designed for extra grip on ice
  4. Two fastening mechanisms: quick-lace AND zipper!
  5. 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.

Fastening

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.

The sole

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.”

ICETREK. In Vibram's own words
ICETREK. In Vibram’s own words

Sizing

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.

Conclusion

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!

Buy The Bikila Evo WP at Feetus.co.uk Today

Exclusive look at the Bikila EVO WP

2015 Vibram FiveFingers. Sneak Preview No.4: Bikila Evo WP

Waterproof Vibram FiveFingers!

The Bikila EVO WP is now available to buy from www.feetus.co.uk.

…At Last!  

Every year, when winter rears its head, we are bombarded with customers all asking the big question: “Which pair of Vibram FiveFingers is waterproof”? And we shrug, answering “Well, there is the Lontra, but it is only water-resistant, but you these other styles are also worthy of consideration in winter…”. Until now, we usually point customers to this article What Vibram FiveFingers Shall I Wear In Winter?.

We never expected a waterproof style of Vibrams to ever become available. In all honesty, I had questioned how you could actually make a ‘barefoot shoe’ that also could keep the water out. But now, in principle at least, Vibram have developed just that, and we’re proud to present the Bikila EVO WP.

Introducing the Bikila EVO WP

During a Vibram FiveFingers presentation last year, a spokesman demonstrated the power of this new sole technology they had created. One man attempted to walk over an ice rink in a standard shoes while the other, equipped with a Vibram ICETREK compound sole, made his way over the ice without any trouble at all. Vibram FiveFingers went on to develop this technology further, creating their first waterproof shoe.

ICE Trek Sole by Vibram FiveFingers
ICE Trek Sole by Vibram FiveFingers

Due for release early 2015  (NOW AVAILABLE – CLICK HERE) the Bikila EVO WP is like a cross between the Bikila EVO and the below-par Lontra. The WP has this super grippy sole and a waterproof tri-layer stretch fabric equipped with a waterproof zip that comes to ankle height. A lot of customers who bought the Lontra had trouble with the neoprene cuff either being so tight it dug in to their calf/achilles; or is was too slack, ultimately letting in water. Vibram have sensibly removed this neoprene cuff and replaced it with a much improved abrasion-resistant tricot lining.

Exclusive look at the Bikila EVO WP
Exclusive look at the Bikila EVO WP

The sole thickness is exactly the same as the Bikila EVO (6.5mm). The shoe is around 20% heavier (just 150g total weight!) than the original EVO, which isn’t bad considering the extra benefits of the shoe.

  • WEIGHT: M43 = 5.29oz W38 = 3.88oz
  • MAX SOLE THICKNESS: 6.5mm (2.5mm
  • Rubber/ 4.0mm-EVA)
  • INSOLE: Waterproof Fabric
  • UPPER MATERIAL: Tri-Layer Stretch
  • Waterproof Fabric
  • VEGAN
  • Hand Wash Cold/Air Dry

The official Vibram blurb: “Same minimalist design as our hard-working Bikila EVO, but with waterproof stretch-membrane construction, taped seams and a water-resistant gaiter to keep the wet environment at bay. An ideal running shoe for those looking for grip, and durability on ice.”

The Feetus Verdict

My concern is that this waterproof shoe has been developed on the Bikila Evo. The Bikila Evo features an EVA midsole, and this EVA material is partially exposed. My experience of EVA is that it is like lightweight, dense rubber. This rubber can contract with each step and return back to its former shape. As the EVA rubber is so light, there is obviously air inside. When the rubber reduces in size, it pushes the air out. Then when the rubber returns to its normal state, it takes air in.

My experience of running with shoes with an exposed EVA midsole is that, (and this becomes more prominent over time, as the outer sole wears thinner), when the EVA ‘breathes’, it soaks up water. While this may be a tiny amount of water with each step, but over the course of a run, when the terrain is completely wet, the EVA begins to soak up the water and your feet get wet.

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO WP from Feetus.co.uk
The Bikila EVO WP

Of course, I may be completely wrong about the Bikila Evo WP. I haven’t tested this shoe yet, but for me it would have made sense to have built this waterproof shoe on the new Trek Ascent. The Trek Ascent also features a 4mm EVA midsole, but at least this is not exposed in any way – with the outsole completely covered with durable rubber.

Save up now, or get wet feet

Only time will tell… but again we feel Vibram have let themselves down with the price tag again. The Bikila EVO WP comes in at a whopping £180 RRP (UK RRP now lowered to £150 – Buy the Bikila EVO WP from Feetus.co.uk now)

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