Following on from our recent Best Winter Socks article and our Top 5 Tips on keeping feet warm in winter, here we look at the best winter shoes from Vibram FiveFingers. Please note, this is a new article. 2014’s top winter shoes can be found here.
Admittedly, minimalist shoes aren’t always the best choice for colder months. Such footwear is low-profile: the soles are thin which means your feet are closer to the ground and receive less ‘protection’ from the cold underfoot.
Barefoot purists may tell you to grin and bare it, but winter is long, and we believe that with the correct footwear, you can enjoy the best of minimalist running whilst keeping your fitness up during the whole of winter.
An Overview of the best winter Vibram FiveFingers
In case you don’t want to read the whole article, we’ve made it easy for you to pick out the best shoe depending on what activity you’re likely to use the shoes for most:
- The warmest: Trek Ascent Insulated
- Most water-resistant: Trek Ascent LR
- Best for mud obstacle events & racing: Spyridon MR
- Mild winter shoe / Good all-rounder: Trek Ascent
- Best casual/smart winter shoe: CVT Wool
Lightweight and low profile whilst offering adequate grip, the Spyridon MR is a favourite for those seeking speed and stability both on and off road. The ‘MR’ stands for Mud Runner, and these were designed with events like Tough Mudder in mind.
- Best for: Mud obstacle events, winter racing (short-medium distance)
- Worst for: Very wet weather, extreme cold
Trek Ascent LR
The leather upper is naturally water-resistant, strong, and durable. Sure, leather also weighs a little more than synthetic materials but the compromise is well worth it due to the added warmth and toughness this shoe offers. The LR‘s MEGAGRIP sole is thicker than most other Vibram styles and therefore offers more resistance to cold coming up from the ground through the soles. Just the few extra milimetres really does make a massive difference. The MEGAGRIP sole is also Vibram FiveFingers’ hands-down best sole for off-road running, trekking and walking.
- Best for: Water resistance, long distance outdoor use, all winter
- Worst for: Short-distance racing
Trek Ascent Insulated
THE BEST WINTER SHOE from Vibram FiveFingers in 2015: The Trek Ascent Insulated comes higher up the ankle so it keeps more than just your feet warm; your ankles are kept toasty too! Not only that, but the wool lining is outstandingly warm – a total godsend for winter!!
Please note: The insulated padding inside this shoe means it fits smaller / tigher than all other Vibram FiveFingers styles. We strongly recommend you opt for +1 size up than you normally would.
The MEGAGRIP sole on this insulated shoe also features Vibram’s patented ICETREK technology, offering incredible grip on ice, snow, and cold surfaces. The sole is thicker, offering protection from the cold ground, and also features aggressive grip for fantastic stability on and off-road.
- Best for: All winter use (running, trekking, casual, all terrain)
- Worst for: Very wet weather
You guessed it, this shoe is largely made from wool making it warm and comfortable. The CVT Wool features a higher ankle for added warmth and the overall look of the shoe is stylish and ideal for smart and casual use. This shoe is surprisingly light yet cozy and warm.
- Best for: Casual and smart winter use
- Worst for: Sport
Don’t Forget About Toe Socks
Add extra warmth to your precious feet by wearing toe socks under your Vibrams. Some of the thicker socks (such as Injinji’s NuWool OUTDOOR range) can add too much bulk. In most cases a ‘normal’ thickness sock is more than adequate. See our guide to the best toe socks for winter (which also includes tips on keeping your feet warm).