Vibram FiveFingers V-Run Review Facts
The V-Run is the update to Vibram’s popular Bikila EVO. With the name change, Vibram has made some other improvements in many areas of this shoe. It is really designed for the road, not the trail. New barefoot runners who are looking to make the transition to a more minimal design will particularly enjoy the V-Run. The biggest difference from its predecessor is that the V-Run is designed to be used in more extreme temperatures. Both a more breathable upper and thicker compound used on the outsole will make it more hospitable to both warmer and cooler conditions. For those who have enjoyed the other Vibram offerings, the V-Run should be a no-brainer.
The outsole of the V-Run is very similar to the one found on the Bikila EVO. It clocks in at 8.5 mm thick. This is broken down into 2.5 mm of rubber pods, 4 mm of EVA rubber, and 2 mm of additional material found in the insole. The outsole has also added something called a MONT compound that works alongside Vibram’s typical XS-Run material that is found in other models. This combination gives a more durable outsole that should be able to hold up to much more mileage. The outsole is also slightly more grip than previous models and should perform well on indoor tracks or slick, smooth surfaces
Like many of the other shoes in Vibram’s lineup, the midsole of the V-Run relies heavily on EVA foam. Typically, running shoes try to cover up their EVA midsole foam, but Vibram has left it exposed to cover nearly 30% of the sole. The EVA has been further updated to improve its durability and strength while still making it lightweight and flexible. Vibram has really found the best of both worlds when it comes to this technology. This midsole flexibility even allows for full downward toe flexing which is the mark of a truly flexible barefoot shoe
The upper portion of the V-Run has been completely redesigned when compared to its predecessors. The goal of a good barefoot running shoe upper is to offer just enough protection and support while still allowing breathability and stretch. The perforations on the upper are clearly visible and they allow a lot of air to flow through.
Of course, this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the temperature outside and how much air you prefer. The other positive thing about the ventilation is that it cuts down on foot odor. Barefoot shoes are known for their odors, and Vibram has minimized this issue with this new upper. The material used here is a Polyester Lycra Stretch Mesh mixed with a Polyester Microfiber on the inside. This material feels great on the bare skin, but do keep in mind that water will easily permeate this material, especially with all of the perforations.
Weight is not an issue with the V-Run shoes. They are some of Vibram’s lightest shoes to date. These weigh in at 4.38 oz for a typical size 10 men’s shoe. That is slightly heavier than the Bikila EVO model but still plenty of light. Runners will appreciate the lightness and these will perform very well during track sprints and road speed work
. Vibram prides itself in offering these lightweight models and the V-Run is no exception to the rule.
As stated earlier, these are some of the most breathable shoes you’ll be able to find. Vibram took the already breathable Bikila EVO and added perforations throughout the tongue and upper. The updated material found in the uppers will allow for a more comfortable fit while allowing the foot to breathe naturally.
The perforations will also cut back on odors which can be a major problem with barefoot shoes designed to be worn without socks. Of course, this breathability comes with the tradeoff of more airflow during colder runs
. Runs through wet grass or in rain or snow will obviously cause problems as well. If you’re looking for an all-weather running shoe, you should probably look elsewhere.
Comfort has been enhanced primarily by the updated polyester material found in the upper. This microfiber lining feels extremely smooth and luxurious on the skin and should pose no major issues across most of the shoe. However, the lacing system of the shoe although innovative it does provide too loose of a fit for some runners. These shoes have an indented heel spot that was also found on the Bikila EVO. This allows for some dirt or sand to enter the shoe and Vibram likely cut back this material to save some precious weight. This loose fit can also contribute to hot spots and blisters in some runners especially in the toe area.
Of course, style is a subjective thing, but these may be some of Vibram’s most stylish offerings. Like many other models, they do come in a variety of colors. The black version is the most subdued, but those who want to be seen can choose the green or blue varieties. These are still toe shoes
, so you will stand out from the pack. The pull tab lacing system adds a certain flair to the design, but they won’t stand out as much as the Vibram offerings with straps and other closure systems. Most people either love or hate the Vibram designs and these shoes are par for that course.
Durability was something that Vibram looked to improve when updating the Bikila EVO to the V-Run. The major addition comes in the form of the VI-Lite midsole material and the XS-Run compound found on the outsole. These new forms of rubber allow the shoe to maintain its light weight and flexibility while becoming more durable.
The outsole durability is usually not a concern on Vibram shoes, but the uppers can be prone to wear and tear. Like most other toe shoes, runners should watch for wear on the individual toe pockets. Where the upper polyester meets the rubber outsole is where these shoes tend to fail the durability test. Vibram has beefed up the polyester used in the upper, but to keep its weight it still lacks some durability.
These shoes aren’t designed to cover rugged trail terrain but they still offer a fair amount of protection. The new compounds offered in the outsole will do a solid job of protecting your feet from standard rocks and roots. These are still better suited for the road, sidewalk, and track but a few soft trail runs should be fine.
The midsole should be much better protected with the combination of EVA foam and VI-Lite rubber. As stated above, some debris is prone to entering the shoe through the heel opening. So trail runners looking for the ultimate amount of protection should look for a more rugged shoe
with fewer perforations in the upper.
These are some of the lightest, fastest, most responsive shoes that Vibram makes. Runners should have no issues with responsiveness and connection to the running surface. The minimal construction allows runners to really feel every inch of the road or trail and the shoes will respond well to subtle movements. The individual toe pockets allow for a natural stride that lets the toes splay out as they were meant to. Sprints and track workouts will be no problem for the V-Run.
Support is something that many barefoot running shoes intentionally lack. Many barefoot runners
want as little as possible between them and the road. The V-Run keeps this mentality and offers little support beyond the bare minimum. Having said that, the mid-foot support on these shoes is more substantial than many barefoot runners are used to. The heel is also more durable and gives a firmer ride than other minimal shoes. Of course, if you’re looking for serious support to correct overpronation or other stride issues, the V-Run is not the shoe for you.
As stated earlier, these shoes really perform best on easy, flat terrain. They will be perfect for road running and that’s really their intended use. Track runners should also enjoy bringing the V-Runs out for track workouts. The grip found in the outsole will do wonders for ensuring smooth running on some soft, wet trails. However, these shoes shouldn’t really be used on more varied terrain like trails with larger rocks or roots. The sweet spot here is road running and most runners should stick with that if they’re wearing the V-Run.
Vibram shoes offer a lot of technology and they tend to price their products accordingly. While some deals can be had, Vibram shoes are rarely found in the bargain barrel. Compared to other running shoes, barefoot shoes
sometimes command higher prices despite being made of less material. That tradeoff is worth it for many barefoot runners. Shoes like this tend to have a very devoted crowd who are willing to put up with higher costs to ensure a superior product. If you’re looking for a high quality barefoot running shoe that is built for the road, the V-Run will not disappoint.
The traction on the V-Run is really stellar. Vibram took what was working on the Bikila EVO and added even more grip with the updated rubber compounds. Each toe pocket has ample grip with grooves and ridges to help hug the terrain. The heel, in particular, has plenty of traction to avoid slippage. Runners should have no issue navigating wet grass or slick sidewalks after rain. However, it would be wise for runners to avoid icy terrain when wearing the V-Run. There are better options out there for running on snow and ice
These are really some of the most flexible shoes Vibram has made to date. Experienced barefoot runners will have no trouble flexing their toes upwards and downward when wearing the V-Run. They offer the runner plenty of flexibility when clearing different types of terrain. The other positive about the flexibility is that it makes these shoes extremely packable. They can easily be rolled or practically folded in half to fit into tight spaces.
isn’t a huge factor for most barefoot runners. These shoes are meant to be minimal and allow for all types of movement in all types of conditions. The one knock on the V-Run shoes is that they sometimes feel as though they are slipping off. The peculiar sizing and heel fit are the reasons for this. So in that sense, they do lack the stability that some runners crave. The V-Run may not offer enough stability for those coming from thicker shoes with more traditional laces. However, those who are used to barefoot running will have no stability issues whatsoever.
The drop is important for barefoot running shoes and many people look for a little drop. The 8.5 mm stack height on the V-Run may be higher than some barefoot runners are used to. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The added lift contributes to the durability and protection that’s found in these shoes. Vibram does offer plenty of 0 drop shoes if that’s what you’re looking for but the V-Run will be suitable for most. Especially if you’re transitioning into your first pair of barefoot shoes, the V-Run will be perfect.
- Lightweight design
- Clever lace-up system
- Decent heel support for a barefoot shoe
- New EVA midsole cushioning
- Perforated upper for maximum breathability
- Great traction
- Odor resistant thanks to high ventilation
The Vibram V-Run does an amazing job of improving upon the Bikila EVO. Subtle changes with the rubber compounds found in the outsole and microfiber technology used in the upper make this a great continuation of the Bikila line. If you’re just starting to transition into the world of barefoot running, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the V-Run. While they may not be the best choice for trail running or extreme cold or wetness, these will perform admirably in a wide variety of running scenarios.