The Best Vibram FiveFingers for Winter 2015

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:

Spyridon MR

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

Click here to buy the Spyridon MR

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

     

Click here to buy the Trek Ascent LR

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

     

Click here to buy the Trek Ascent Insulated

CVT WoolVibram-FiveFingers-CVT-Wool-Navy-Grey-Casual-Smart-15M501-Feetus.co.uk-Barefoot-01

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.

For added grip on ice, snow, and cold ground, the CVT Wool features ICETREK pods in the sole.

  • Best for: Casual and smart winter use
  • Worst for: Sport

Click here to buy the CVT Wool

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).

5 Ways To Keep Your Feet Toasty & Warm This Winter

5 Ways To Prevent Your Feet Getting Cold

As the temperature plummets and the days grow shorter, it’s a good time to start thinking about how to keep our feet warm during outdoor exercise.

So, we’ve pulled together our ‘Top 5’ ways to help prevent your feet getting cold this winter, and have suggested five pairs of socks that will help keep you toasty.

  1. Thicker socks aren’t necessarily warmer

Don’t wear socks that are too thick for your shoes. If your sock is too thick, it can cause pressure on the foot, which in turn can cut circulation off to your toes. Your toes should be able to wiggle with your sock on your foot inside your shoe.

  1. Avoid cotton socks

Your feet sweat all the time, even when its cold. Cotton gets wet with sweat very quickly and doesn’t keep warm once wet. Opt for a technical fibre instead. Avoid-Cotton-Socks-Feetus-Winter-Blog

  1. Merino wool is your new best friend

This ‘magical’ fabric keeps your feet warm like no other! Merino wool is itch-free, thermostatic (temperature-regulating, making it idea for all weather; hot or cold) and offers superior moisture management.Merino-Wool-Feetus-Blog

  1. Liner socks

If your feet are always cold, try liner socks. It’s amazing just how much of an impact a thin liner sock can make. They’re also great to use as a day-to-day sock or as a lightweight sock for summer.

  1. Avoid Caffeine

A warm cup of tea or coffee may be just what you fancy, but caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, and causes your vessels to constrict, limiting blood flow to your extremities.Avoid-Caffeine-Feetus-BlogWinter-Socks

 

Our Top 5 Winter Toe Socks

Yeah, we love toe socks. Just that little extra material between the toes adds an extra degree of warmth vs conventional socks, but there is more to it than just that. Here, we give you a run-down of the 5 pairs of toe socks you should consider during the cold months.

OUTDOOR NuWool

Made from Injinji’s NuWool Merino wool fibre, these toe socks are our top-pick for winter use . The OUTDOOR range toe socks are thick without being bulky, yet they keep your feet so toasty when its cold. Available in Crew and Mini Crew.

TRAIL

The TRAIL range of toe socks are slightly thicker than the OUTDOOR range and feature a padded sole for added comfort and resistance to cold. Available in Micro, Mini Crew, and Crew.

Lightweight Liner

A very thin toe sock constructed from CoolMax, the Lightweight Liner is that perfect ‘extra layer’ when you need it.

Lightweight Liner
Lightweight Liner

SPORT CoolMax Crew

Great for year-round use, the Injinji SPORT Crew toe sock is higher up the ankle so it keeps your legs warm as well as your feet. The all-black colour is certainly a winner for year-round smart/leisure use.

Injinji SPORT Crew Toe Socks
SPORT Crew

 

Compression

These premium compression toe socks aid circulation, help reduce fatigue, and go knee-height to help keep the cold at bay during your sporting pursuits! The Ex-Celerator Compression 2.0 toe socks are the bee’s knees!Injinji Over the Calf- Compression Sport Toe Socks

 

You may also be interested in our recent guide to ‘The Best Vibram FiveFingers for Winter, 2015″

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)

Vibram FiveFingers Logo

 

Vibram FiveFingers FAQ

We understand buying a pair of Vibram FiveFingers can be very daunting. There are so many different types – and you need to know which is best for you, what size to buy, and how to care for them to ensure they last you a long time! We’ve put together a list of Questions and Answers that we hope will help you.

You can view the full FAQ section here. 

If you have a question that hasn’t been covered here, please let us a comment and we’ll add it to the list!

Vibram FiveFingers Frequently Asked Questions 

How Should Vibram FiveFingers Fit?

In your ‘conventional’ shoes, you may have often had around 1cm to a half-inch gap between your toes and the end of your shoe. With vibrams, you want your feet to fit much closer inside the shoes.

Your heel should fit snug to the back, and your toes should fit into each toe pocket comfortably.

Fit: My toes touch the ends of the toe pockets, is this normal?

It is completely fine for your toes to ‘graze’ (lightly touch) the end of the toe pockets.  We always recommend that as long as they do not restrict movement or cause discomfort to you, the chances are they are probably the correct fit.

Fit: How can I tell if my Vibrams are too small?

Obviously, you don’t want to go running in them only to find they are too small or unsuitable for you, but at the same time, we understand it is difficult to know this before you have tried. As such, Feetus.co.uk recommends a simple test (do indoors) can determine whether your vibrams are going to be a good fit.

  • Put your vibrams on and fasten them up. Wiggle your toes. How do they feel?
  • Jump up and down on the spot, landing on your forefoot. How do they feel?
  • Do some lunges, both left and right legs. How do your toes and heel feel inside the vibrams?

If they feel snug, yet comfortable, they’ll probably be just right when you wear them for your chosen activity (be it running, gym, etc).

If they feel too loose, you have to scrunch your toes up to grip, or your heel keeps slipping out of place, try tightening them up. If they still feel the same, opt for a smaller size.

If the Vibrams feel too tight, if your toes feel compressed / restricted, you may want to try a size bigger.

Fit: My smallest toe does not fit in the toe pocket, is this a problem?

Unless your little toe is set really far back from the toe pocket, and as long as you can still wear the Vibrams without any discomfort, this should be fine. Always use comfort as an indicator for good fit.

I’m a man—can I wear women’s sizes? (Or, I’m a woman—can I wear men’s sizes?)

Vibram cover this question themselves:

Yes, we have made this recommendation many times with great success. The best fit for your individual needs is determined by your foot measurement in inches. The only difference between male and female Vibram FiveFingers is that male “lasts” (shoe forms) are slightly wider and longer than the female models.

If your foot is smaller than the smallest male size, certainly try on a female size based on your measurement in inches—you may have much better luck! Alternately, if you are a woman and your foot is bigger than the largest female size, we encourage you to try one of our men’s models. Please refer to our size guide to understand which size will suit you best.

How do I ensure I get the right size?

The best way to do this is to measure your feet in cm/mm.

Simply place your heel against a wall with your foot flat on the ground. place a rule beside your foot (or underneath) and take the longest measurement (usually your big toe or second toe). Repeat for the second foot. Use the longest measurement and cross-reference this against the size chart. For example, a male with longest foot measuring 26.4cm foot would require a size 42 (typically a UK size 8).

Sizing: my measurement is between two sizes, which size shall I buy?

If you are right on the threshold of a size (ie 27.3cm is as large as a size 43 goes) you may find that this size is too small. Feetus.co.uk recommends sizing up.

Why don’t I see Vibram FiveFingers in high street sport shops? 

Vibram Fivefingers are extremely popular and often we find that demand exceeds manufacturing capabilities. Regularly you will see popular styles that are sold out in popular sizes and colours, and they may not be restocked for some time after. For an online retailer this is not so much a big issue as it is for a high street retailer, but we believe that the availability (or lack of) is the biggest factor that puts retailers off stocking Vibram Fivefingers.

What materials are in Vibram FiveFingers?

Each different style of vibram five fingers is made up of different material.

Please refer to the Product Description of your desired style for a description of the materials used in that model’s construction.

I have a latex allergy, should I use Vibram FiveFingers?

Trace amounts of latex may be present in the bonding compound. Those with latex allergies should avoid wearing Vibram FiveFingers.

Care and cleaning Tips

We understand that you want to keep your Vibrams looking as smart as possible. Here’s a few simple tips and tricks to maintain them:

  • Vibram FiveFingers® footwear is machine washable. Use gentle, cold water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent.
  • Hang to air dry. Make sure to keep away from direct sunlight or heat source.
  • Do not place them on a radiator or inside a tumble drier.
  • A quick way to dry your vibrams is by placing scrunched up newspaper inside (to soak up the moisture). Be sure to remove this paper shortly after to let the fabric breathe.

How much do Vibram FiveFingers weigh?

Each style and size of Vibram FiveFingers s has a different weight. Please refer to the Product Description of your desired style to find out the weight of your chosen model.

Do Vibram FiveFingers come in different widths?

Most Vibram FiveFingers footwear features a stretch fabric upper that accommodates most medium and wide widths (up to eee) comfortably.

I have wide feet, is there a particular style that will accommodate my feet better? 

If you have wide feet, a high instep, or high arches, feetus.co.uk recommends choosing a style that has laces (as opposed to a Velcro style). Lace-up styles often have the suffix ‘LS’ at the end of their name (for example, Seeya LS).

I have wide feet, do I need to size-up?

You do not need to go for a bigger size, simply use the sizing guide as normal and select the size that best suits the length of your foot.

I have different sized feet and require two different sizes

Unfortunately we do not sell mismatched pairs. There are however, times when we may have an odd shoe or size spare, so it is worth contacting us to see if we can fulfil this for you. I f this is not possible, and if your feet are slightly different in size, we would recommend going with the larger size to accommodate the longer foot. If your feet are significantly different in size then your option would be two purchase two different sized pairs of Vibram FiveFingers.

Are Vibram FiveFingers warm?

Some styles have a thicker upper fabric and a thicker sole, but in general Vibram Fivefingers are not warm. They are designed to be close to the ground and add a protective layer to give ‘barefoot’ feel.

Can you wear socks with Vibram FiveFingers? 

Yes, we stock a fantastic range of toe socks for your Vibram FiveFingers, from Injinji, Gotena, ToeToe and V-Toes. they come in different weights, different styles, colours and lengths, so you’re bound to find the perfect pair to match your Vibrams.

Are Vibram FiveFingers heavy?

Absolutely not. Designed to let your feet do their thing naturally, Vibrams are deliberately super-light.

Are Vibram Fivefingers comfortable?

Everyone is different, but the general consensus from those that have tried Vibram FiveFingers is that they are extremely comfortable (almost like slippers!).

I have bunions, can I wear Vibram FiveFingers?

This depends on the severity of the bunion. From experience, we have found many customers to successfully wear Vibram FiveFingers and experience absolutely no discomfort. Many customers often find that the fit and soft fabric feels incredible, and provides relief where other ‘conventional’ shoes would rub and hurt.

I have long toes / Mortons Toe syndrome, can I wear Vibram FiveFingers?

In most cases this is not an issue and the best advice is to go with what you feel comfortable in. In some cases you may want to size-up to accommodate your toes. Providing the Vibrams stay close to your feet and remain comfortable, they ought to be fine.

If, however, one toe is significantly longer than the rest, resulting in the shorter toes to fall too far short of the toe pockets, Vibram FiveFingers may not be suitable for you.

I have flat feet, can I wear Vibram FiveFingers

Yes. Vibram FiveFingers are designed to encourage your feet to act naturally. Wearing Vibrams should not cause any discomfort to flat feet.

Do you have a question about Vibrams?

If so, leave a comment and we’ll add it to the list.

Where are you ladies?

Women Don’t Run In Winter

It’s a Man’s World…

…So we’re giving the ladies 10% off this week! Use code: LADIESONLY at the checkout

The last two weeks have seen us ship out LOADS of orders around the country. Much more than normal, in fact. And we’re so grateful to all of our amazing customers who are helping us to continue to grow. We’re certainly becoming the go-to online store for Vibram FiveFingers.

The bestsellers of the last fortnight have been the Lontra, the Trek Sport, and the EL-X

However, during this time, 9 out of 10 orders have been for men!! 

This has had us scratching our heads. Do women decide not to run in winter? Do ladies hibernate? Do they choose to visit the gym only during the months March to October? Surely not! 

Ladies Only

That’s why, for the rest of this week only, we’ve decided to a LADIES ONLY discount (sorry gentlemen). Prove to us you still need your Vibram FiveFingers during the cold weather by ordering a pair today AND GET AN EXTRA 10% OFF by entering code: LADIESONLY at the checkout.

So, what’s it gonna be?

If you’re looking for a winter shoe, we recommend the Lontra, the Trek Sport, or the Spyridon.

 

If you’re after a gym shoe, look no further than the Komodo Sport.

 

 

If you want a new-for-2013 pair that are great for yoga, pilates, and indoor training, how about the Entrada or the Alitza?

 

And finally, if you’re just looking for a clearance-bargain, we recommend you click on the styles below and keep your fingers crossed we have your size available!

 

Don’t forget the Code: LADIESONLY

This sexist special offer is applicable only to ladies’ footwear and will only last until midnight this Friday (14th November 2013). So be quick.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL RANGE OF WOMEN’S VIBRAMS. 

 

 

Wear Vibram FiveFingers for your winter training

What Vibram FiveFingers Should I Wear In Winter?

Winter Is Here! Which Vibrams Shall I Wear?

PLEASE NOTE –

This is an archived blog post and a new version has been published for winter 2015/2016. To view the new ‘Vibrams for Winter’ guide, click this link. 

We’re seeing a massive shift in the barefoot shoes that people are buying. The days are getting shorter, it’s colder, it’s wetter, and its windier. People are seeking out the best Vibram FiveFingers for winter – and we’re here to help you find the perfect choice.

An Overview

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:

…But if you want to know more, read on! 

A Quick Look at the Soles

Vibram Fivefingers have some excellent styles that are designed for use in colder weather and challenging terrain, but there are two sole types that stand out as the most winter-proof; the Trek sole, and the Spyridon sole (aka the Vibram XS Trek compound).

The ICETREK Sole

The ICETREK sole is unique to the Bikila Evo WP. Built on the same style / shape 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.”

Bikila Evo WP - Men's ICETREK Sole
Bikila Evo WP – Men’s ICETREK Sole

The ‘Trek’ Sole

The Trek sole: A closer look
The Trek sole: A closer look

The Trek sole can be found on the following styles:

With a maximum sole thickness of just 7.5mm the Trek sole is very minimal – but in comparison to some of its peers (EL-X 3.5mm, Seeya 3.5mm) it is more ‘built up’, thus giving less ‘barefoot feel’ (aka proprioception / feedback).

The extra sole depth comes in the form of tread. The lugs on the Trek sole are strategically placed to provide extra grip where it is needed, giving you confidence when running on the trails. The extra sole thickness means the Trek sole is less flexible than other Vibram styles.

The Vibram XS Trek Compound Sole

Sypiridon sole: A closer look
Sypiridon sole: A closer look

The Vibram XS Trek Compound Sole is found on the Spyridon MR.

The Spyridon MR sole is more minimal than the Trek sole with a maximum sole thickness of just 4mm. The sole features multi-directional tread designed to provide traction and stability when you need it most. The Spyridon MR sole is also much more flexible than the Trek sole, and you can easily roll and flex the sole.

A Look At The Shoes

Bikila Evo WP: The ONLY Waterproof ‘barefoot’ shoe

The Bikila Evo WP was released in November 2014 and has created quite a stir. For year, barefoot runners have been calling out for a shoe that is genuinely waterproof, and now we have it.

See our full review here

This shoe features a triple fastening mechanism: A concealed quick-lace system, a full zipper, and a Velcro across the top. The upper fabric is 100% waterproof, the zipper has taped seams, and the ICETREK sole is super-grippy in snow and ice. Despite the wealth of features, the Bikila Evo WP is also extremely lightweight. Its baffling how a shoe so good, so comprehensive, can remain so low on weight.

Buy the Bikila Evo WP

Trek Sport: Great for winter and year-round

The Trek Sport is one of Vibram FiveFingers’ most popular styles. The black/charcoal colourway is arguably more ‘socially acceptable’ and less conspicuous than some of Vibram’s more brighter, vibrant styles. The upper is exactly the same as the KSO (Keep Stuff Out) style, and the Trek Sport style and colour is exactly the same for both men and women.

The Trek Sport: Black / Charcoal, for both men and women
The Trek Sport: Black / Charcoal, for both men and women

Because the upper fabric completely covers the foot to just below the ankle, it provides warmth and does a great job of preventing any objects (gravel, sand, mud) from getting inside the five-toe shoe. The mesh ensures the feet can breathe and the Velcro fastening is a God-send when your fingers are cold; simply pull and stick – no fumbling with numb fingers to lace-up your shoes!

What is the Trek Sport best for?

These are all reasons that make the classic Trek Sport an ideal choice if you are looking for a shoe that will perform in:

  • Boot Camps
  • Off-road running (trail running, beach running,
  • Mud obstacle courses such as Tough Mudder
  • Trekking
  • Day-to-day use

Buy the Trek Sport from Feetus.co.uk

Trek Sport Sandal: Great for trails in milder weather

Vibram released the Trek Sport Sandal in 2013 to very favourable reviews. While the original Trek Sport is great for hitting the trails when the weather is cooler, muddier, and the terrain looser – The Trek Sport Sandal will serve you better when it is warmer, and when the terrain is more hard-packed.

That said – You can provide extra warmth and protection by adding a pair of Injinji toe socks.

More a shoe than a sandal, The Trek Sport Sandal features vents on each side of the shoe providing incredible breathability. The upper fabric is extremely durable and comfortable.

While the Trek Sport is a Velcro-only style, the Sandal is lace-only (LS) and comes fitted with Vibram’s brilliant Quick-Lace system as standard plus a spare pair of conventional laces, giving you the choice of how you lace your Sandal.

What is the Trek Sport Sandal best for?

The Trek Sport Sandal is certainly less of a winter shoe than the Trek Sport, but is equally as versatile, making it a popular choice for the following activities when the weather is fairer:

  • Off-road Running (Trail Running, Beach)
  • Boot Camps
  • Trekking

Buy the Trek Sport Sandal from Feetus.co.uk

Lontra: Water-Resistant and Thermal

The Lontra was the original winter barefoot running shoe – before the Bikila Evo WP was released..  The upper is water-resistant (but not waterproof), and is more padded than any other style, providing thermal qualities to keep your feet warm when it gets cold.

The Lontra features a multi-layer laminate upper with fully taped seams, providing insulation and water resistance. The micro pile fleece liner is soft against the skin while helping wick perspiration away from the foot. Other features include: a neoprene heel cuff to keep out snow and debris, a reinforced hook and loop closure for a snug and secure fit; and reflective surfaces for safety at night. The 4mm EVA midsole provides insulation from frozen surfaces, and the TC-1 Dura outsole provides traction, durability and superior plating protection.

The Lontra feels slightly over-sized, and I suspect it was designed this way to provide extra space inside the shoe to give the wearer the option of wearing toe socks for extra warmth and comfort.

You may also find the Lontra to be less breathable than other styles. This is arguably a fair trade-off given the water resistance element.

What is the Lontra best for?

You will likely find the Lontra best for you if

  • You’re running when it is really cold
  • Snow running
  • Off-road running (unless it is warm)
  • Boot Camps
  • Obstacle events such as Tough Mudder, Mudderling, Spartan Races, etc

Buy the Lontra

The Spyridon: A viable winter option: Copes well in mud obstacle races.

The Spyridon MR is available for both men and women:

The upper fabric is only slightly water resistant (not as much as the Lontra). Like the Trek Sport and the Lontra, your foot is fully covered giving excellent protection against loose objects when running and preventing things such as stones, gravel and mud from entering the shoe.

The ‘MR’ in the name actually stands for Mud Runner and the shoe was designed for off-road, muddy pursuits; the grippy sole akin to that of a mountain bike tyre.

What is the Spyridon best for?

As such, the Spyridon MR will serve you well if you want a winter shoe that still has maximum barefoot feel, whilst still performs well in:

  • Mud obstacle courses such as Tough Mudder
  • Trail Running
  • Boot Camps

Buy the Spyridon MR

A Personal Opinion / Conclusion

It has to be said that the most important aspect of keeping warm in a ‘barefoot’ shoe is not so much in the shoe itself, but in the socks you wear underneath. Without socks, your feet are really going to feel the cold. If you want to continue running and training outside in the colder months, don’t forget your socks!

See our huge range of toe socks

If you’re looking for a pair of Vibram Fivefingers for general use, for road running and for a bit of everything, there is no better product than the Bikila Evo WP. Unparalleled grip, waterproof, and the look amazing!

I personally find the Lontra to be a little too ‘clumpy’, heavy, and rigid. When I run in the Lontra, I lose all-important ‘barefoot feel’ (also known as proprioception, ground-feel, or feedback) and I notice that my running form suffers.

The Trek Sport and Trek Sport Sandal are two of my favourite shoes. Excellent handling, great for long distance, top breathability: I personally cannot find any faults with these shoes, though some may argue that the Trek sole is too thick at 7.5mm). I would argue that the tread depth is essential for all trail running / trekking enthusiasts.

The Spyridon MR, while being a very attractive shoe with what looks to be a very ‘grippy’ sole, I find it to lack the appropriate grip when the conditions get very wet. I also find that the Spyridon MR does not provide the level of breathability that is essential in a running shoe.

Don’t Forget Your Socks

It goes without saying that in winter, a pair of socks can make a difference between a great run, and a downright hideous one. It’s so important to keep the blood flowing in your feet, so make sure you keep your feet warm and comfortable. As soon as you lose feeling in your feet, how do you know if your technique is correct? …You don’t!

Keep Warm: Add a pair of Injinji toe socks to your set-up
Keep Warm: Add a pair of Injinji toe socks to your set-up

A pair of socks will go a long way to keep you dry, warm, and most importantly, running naturally. Specialist running shoes with individual toe pockets require specialist socks with toe pockets. Luckily, we have the best toe socks on the market… Injinji toe socks.

Pick up a pair of Injinji toe socks today.

Customer Questions

1. Brian Holden asked: “How will they [Vibram FiveFingers] fit with toe socks?”

By adding a pair of Lightweight Injinji toe socks, the added ‘bulk’ is so minimal that this will make no difference to how your FiveFingers fit.

Wearing Original Weight Injinji socks under your Vibrams will have a greater impact. If you Vibrams are currently quite close-fitting (i.e, your toes graze the end of your shoe), then the added material from the Original Weight socks will probably be too much, and could cause ill-fitting inside the shoe. This of course, will have a knock-on effect to your running performance and comfort.

Most people will find that, if you are usually a size 43 in a KSO, a size 43 Lontra will feel a little oversized, meaning you could easily accommodate a pair of Original Weight socks inside.

 

About The Author

Barefoot runner, cycling fanatic, outdoor-lover, Lee Firman is the man behind Feetus.co.uk. Click here to read more.

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Vibram FiveFingers Lontra NOW IN STOCK

WOW. It’s been a hell of a long time, but FINALLY, the Lontra are back in stock in the UK.

Best Vibrams for Winter

The perfect winter shoe from Vibram FiveFingers, the Lontra is just the ticket if you’re looking for a barefoot running shoe that keeps you dry, warm, and can handle rough terrain in the worst of the weather.

Lontra Available for Men and Women

Available in black/grey/bright green for men, and for ladies, they have a lovely grey/pink/black colourway. And to get the ball rolling, we’ve discounted them by 10% so get them before they sell out! They might not come back in stock until after January 2014!!

Men's Vibram FiveFingers Lontra
Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Lontra
Women's Vibram FiveFingers Lontra
Women’s Vibram FiveFingers Lontra