Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO WP Review Facts
Vibram’s Bikila line has taken many shapes and forms. With each iteration, they strive to improve upon the last and break new ground in the world of barefoot running. With the Bikila EVO WP, Vibram has its first waterproof shoe. This makes it one of the top choices for those looking for minimalism while still being able to handle extreme terrain and weather. The Bikila EVO WP may just be the ultimate shoe for those running in wet or cold weather.
The outsole of any shoe is very important. But when a shoe claims to be waterproof, that outsole becomes even more important. For the Bikila EVO WP, Vibram uses an 8.5 mm sole, like that used on the original Bikila EVO. This is made up of 2.5 mm of floating rubber pods rubber, 4 mm of Vibram EVA/rubber, and 2 mm of additional insole material. There is bare EVA foam found across 30% of the shoe's outsole. Rather than using just straight rubber, this compound of various materials allows for the shoe to be lighter while maintaining its durability. The sole of the WP tends to be slightly less flexible than the original EVO which is a trade-off for the waterproof properties. The treads found on the outsole are even more rugged and grippy to allow for better traction on an even icy terrain.
The midsole of the shoe relies heavily on EVA foam just like the outsole. Since this is considered a barefoot shoe, there won't be any additional midsole cushioning to speak of. Barefoot runners will be used to this minimal composition
but other runners may want to look elsewhere for a midsole that provides more support and cushioning.
The upper material is really where the Bikila EVO WP shines. In order to keep its waterproof claim, the uppers must be impermeable to the elements. The material used here is a Tri-Layer Stretch waterproof membrane. There is a tongue with minimal padding adjacent to a zipper and lace-up system with a velcro strap. The membrane itself will look familiar to those runners who may be familiar with surfing or wetsuits. Puddles, rain, mud or snow will be no match for the upper once it's tightly zipped. The lining of the upper is equally impressive. Vibram managed to create some of the softest material they've ever used. Runners should have no issues with comfort or chaff along the upper region of this shoe.
It seems impossible for a waterproof shoe to claim that it is among the most lightweight but that's exactly what Vibram is going for with the Bikila EVO WP. These shoes weigh in at just 5.9 oz for a typical size 10 men's shoe. This will allow for all the freedom and speed required in a barefoot shoe. What makes this weight so amazing is that it includes a heavy-duty zipper, velcro lace-up system, and a waterproof membrane. It's truly amazing that Vibram was able to offer so many innovative features while keeping the weight to a minimum.
Breathability could certainly be a concern for a shoe that claims to be waterproof. Anyone who has worn a full-body wetsuit can relate to breathability issues. While the Bikila EVO WP offers a waterproof membrane from toe to ankle, it still manages to remain relatively breathable. Keeping water out usually also keeps air out, but Vibram has found a happy medium. Some runners experienced cold toes while running in these shoes, so perhaps the breathability is a particular concern in the toe pockets. These shoes are designed to be used in colder, wetter climates so those who often run in hot weather may want to look for a different pair of Vibram shoes
Waterproof and comfortable may not always go together in the same sentence. Vibram tries to make both a comfortable and waterproof offering with the Bikila EVO WP. The soft interior material used in the upper of the shoe really helps to ensure the runner's comfort. The zipper, lace-up, and velcro closure system also try to give complete comfort and protection from the elements. Those who suffer from colder feet or poor circulation may want to try wearing toe socks with these shoes to give added comfort. Blisters
and hot spots are bound to come up when running in wet terrain so runners should take care.
Style is always a subjective thing, and people typically have strong opinions on the style of Vibram shoes. However, the Bikila EVO WP has a unique sense of style all its own. Designed with extreme weather in mind, these shoes more closely resemble boots than typical running shoes. Couple that with a wetsuit-like upper and you have a very unique pair of shoes on your feet. The relatively subdued black upper contrasts nicely with the brightly colored outsole. Runners who wear Vibram shoes typically don't mind standing out from the crowd and these shoes follow that same tradition.
Durability is a key concern for a shoe that is meant to withstand the harsh elements of mother nature. The Bikila EVO WP is designed to last through the wettest, coldest runs thrown at it. Vibram's typically rugged outsoles tend to last over many runs and many miles. The area of concern on all of these shoes is the upper. The Tri-Layer Stretch membrane should be able to hold up against minor wear and tear. The place that runners should pay close attention to is the toe pocket. These tend to be the part of the barefoot running shoe that breaks down the fastest.
Protection is a big part of waterproofing. The Bikila EVO WP protect the foot from nature's harshest elements. The higher than the normal upper region of the shoe protects the ankle against moisture from rain, dew, snow, and wet terrain. Despite being considered a barefoot shoe, you'll still get a fair bit of midsole and outsole protection in the Bikila EVO WP. Most small rocks and roots won't even be noticed under the slightly stiff outsole. The added traction will also protect from mud and slippery terrain. Most running surfaces
won't stand a chance against the Bikila EVO WP
For a durable, waterproof running shoe, the Bikila EVO WP still remains extremely responsive. The midsole sensitivity will allow runners to turn on a dime and navigate icy or slippery conditions
. There should be no concerns about limited responsiveness due to the waterproof components of the shoe. The slightly thicker outsole still allows for a strong connection with the ground across most types of terrain.
Support isn't always the most important thing when discussing barefoot running shoes. The Bikila EVO WP won't offer a ton of support throughout the midsole of the shoe. Underpronators
or those looking for more motion control or stability would be best served to look elsewhere. There is some heel support offered in these shoes as a way to protect the foot from excessive moisture or rain in extreme conditions.
These shoes are designed to tackle all types of terrain
in all types of weather. Mud, slick grass, or rocks are no match for the Bikila EVO WP. Runners should have no issue climbing snow banks or even running across slippery frozen puddles in these shoes. The extra grip found in the outsole will make navigating all types of terrain a breeze.
Vibram typically doesn't compete with their competitors on price alone. They've always taken pride in packing their shoes with the latest and greatest technology no matter what that means for the price tag. The Bikila EVO WP won't be considered a bargain shoe, but it offers great value for all of the features and benefits found in the shoe. Keep in mind that this shoe serves a dual purpose as both a running shoe and an all-weather boot.
As stated before, traction is one of the most important things to consider when building a shoe that is considered "all-weather" and "all-terrain". The Bikila EVO WP relies on some of the most aggressive traction that Vibram has ever used. The bottoms of these shoes are reminiscent of snow tires and they make the most of every inch of their grippy surface. While maybe not designed to be one of the top trail running shoes
these will still hold up on most trail terrain due to their amazing traction.
Flexibility is one where these shoes have actually taken a step back from its predecessor. In order to offer the full waterproof capabilities in this shoe, the Bikila EVO WP needed to become slightly less flexible. The difference is hardly noticeable, but it's a fair trade-off for the waterproofing. Compared to other Vibram shoes, these are not the most flexible. But compared to typical running shoes, there is still a ton of flexibility here. You won't be able to flex your toes downward as you can in some Vibram shoes, but you'll still have no trouble feeling the ground and flexing over variable terrain.
While maybe not making the list of top stability shoes
, the Bikila EVO WP will be one of the most stable offerings that you'll find from Vibram. The secure zipper closure system will keep the heel and ankle in place to make the runner fell more stable and secure. With limited midsole material, there is no enhanced stability or motion control in this shoe, but the foot should remain in place across most runs.
Vibram takes the minimal drop in their shoes very seriously. The Bikila EVO WP offers up a zero drop heel to toe. Barefoot runners who crave this sense of minimalism will be very pleased. Runners who are still transitioning to a minimal run may want to test out some other options before wearing the Bikila EVO WP full-time. As is the case with any new shoe, it's best to take some time getting used to it before logging major miles. This may be considered one of the better options in zero drop shoes and perhaps the best overall when considering its waterproofing.
- Amazing waterproof properties
- Secure zipper system
- Plush interior lining
- Incredible traction
- Very flexible midsole
- Machine washable
If you're looking for an all-weather shoe that still maintains its barefoot sensibilities, the Vibram Bikila EVO WP could be your perfect shoe. It combines all of the ruggedness of a winter boot with the sleek contours and lightweight construction of a fast barefoot running shoe
. Vibram may have found the best of both worlds in this evolution of the Bikila series. Seasoned barefoot runners and those looking for something different for their wet or snowy workouts will not be disappointed with the Bikila EVO WP.