Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail Review Facts
Vibram FiveFingers provides the ultimate minimalist shoe experience with their unique toe-shoe design. Their long history of producing shoes with unbeatable (and unbelievable) traction has made the brand famous across the globe. Now, technical trail runners can enjoy the same minimalist experience as road runners with the release of the Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail.
The V-Trail incorporates a variety of impressive features including Next Generation Spyridon MR / Elite, multi-directional lugs, MegaGrip Compound, and 3D Cocoon Mesh technology.
How did the Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail perform on my local technical trails? Read my in-depth, wear-tested review below to find out how my minimalist trail running experience really was!
The outsole of the V-Trail is a powerhouse. MegaGrip rubber, exclusive to Vibram, was used to construct the outsole of this shoe. It provides superior traction on all surfaces, wet
or dry. While out on the trail, I could run from the trail, over rocks and logs, through streams, and back again and not slip in any way.
The outsole is also covered in multi-directional lugs which also contribute to the extreme traction of these shoes. Climbing rocks and running up steep sections of trail posed no challenge while wearing the V-Trail.
The Vibram 3D Cocoon technology is molded into the outsole to help provide protection from rocks and debris. Although I definitely knew there was something between my foot and the ground, I am not so confident that after the sole begins to wear a bit that debris would be stopped by the rubber.
The V-Trail has no midsole. Therefore, this shoe lacks the cushioning that is often provided by this component. If you like cushioning, you definitely want to stay away from the V-Trail. This shoe is definitely for the minimalist or barefoot runner.
I found running in these to be a neat experience. I felt like I was running barefoot. However, afterward, I also felt like I had been running barefoot
. My feet were definitely experiencing some discomfort after running in these shoes, so it is a feeling that you need to get used to overtime. Read also about best running shoes for shin splints.
There isn't a true "upper" to this shoe. Rather, what is considered the upper is more of a sock
liner. It is 2mm thick and is made of EVA and NZYM Anti-Microbial Poly Fabric. It fits snugly just like, well, a sock! It is extremely comfortable and flexible. Additionally, the breathability is stellar, and the shoes dried quickly, even while on my feet, and my feet felt cool during my entire run.
The sock lining upper, however, is a bit of a challenge to get on. Even at the proper size for my foot, it took me over 5 minutes to get the shoes on, and then I still had to arrange my toes so they went into their appropriate slots. The toes, although allowing incredible freedom of movement, are very long, and almost ill-fitting.
A size 43 in the V-Trail weighs a mere 6.4 ounces. This is extremely light for a trail shoe, but it is to be expected considering it is a minimalist trail shoe (almost to the point of being considered barefoot). It truly felt like I was only wearing a sock while running in the V-Trail.
This is an area where the V-Trail truly shines. The EVA and NZYM Anti-Microbial Poly Fabric sockliner keeps your feet cool and dry
through your entire run. After running through puddles and streams, the shoes dried very quickly, as did my feet. Water drains from them quickly, and chafing and blisters were not a concern, even with the snug fit.
The upper of the V-Trail is extremely comfortable. Being a sock liner, it has a snug fit, yet is extremely flexible. The sole of the shoe is comfortable to wear, however, once you begin running in it, you may find that your comfort level decreases. This is because the barefoot style
of the shoe allows you to feel everything underfoot, and I mean everything. Although this is great in terms of sensory perception, it can be a bit taxing on the feet.
The V-Trail is available in 4 colors- black, blue, gray, and orange. It fits like a sock
, so it appears very streamlined. The toe design takes a little getting used to, but many other trail-goers stopped me to ask questions about the shoe- it is definitely eye-catching!
The V-Trail will last you a long time, I promise. The rugged MegaGrip outsole can handle any type of wear and tear your local trail can muster, whether it be gravel, rocks, water, mud, snow
, or branches. It takes an extremely long time for this unique rubber compound to wear down. Same goes for the upper- the EVA and NZYM Anti-Microbial Poly Fabric is incredibly durable and can handle any obstacle on your path.
Yes, these shoes fit like a glove. But, I am not so sure I would say my feet felt protected while wearing them. Although the outsole is incredibly durable and rugged, it is just a thin layer that lies between your feet and the ground... and any sharp or pointy object that might be down there. So, while wearing the V-Trail, it is really important to watch your step- literally- to avoid serious injury from stray glass or other objects you may unfortunately encounter on a trail run.
The V-Trail isn't the most responsive shoe I have ever worn. It is responsive in the fact that it adjusts automatically to the terrain because there is practically nothing between your foot and trail floor. However, in terms of energy return, there really isn't much at all. In this trail runner, you are dependent upon your own natural stride
to propel you through the rest of your workout.
My foot was supported through the compression
of the upper of the shoe. The upper fits like a glove (or sock, in this case), and feels very snug against your foot, but in a good way. I felt like the shoe was going to stay on my foot and it definitely wouldn't slip off.
In terms of other support, like cushioning, it is non-existent in this shoe. This is to be expected since it is a minimalist/barefoot shoe. So, if you are a runner that enjoys a little more underfoot cushioning, this is definitely not the shoe for you.
The V-Trail is a technical trail shoe. With lugs that cover the entire sole of the shoe and heavy duty, highly durable rubber, this shoe is meant to take you on the roughest, most debris covered trails. You will have the grip and traction you desire, yet the barefoot running sensation that can get from a road shoe.
With that in mind, this shoe is pretty painful to run in on the road (I tried!). Between the lack of cushioning and the numerous lugs, I do not recommend anything but technical trails for wearers of this shoe.
The MSRP of the V-Trail is $120. Most retailers are selling it at this price point because it is a newly released shoe. Although some may feel this is a high price for what may seem like a sock, the durability and barefoot technologies built into this shoe are worth the value. Especially impressive is the grip and traction of the V-Trail. I was able to tackle every obstacle with ease on my trail runs, and never felt unstable or unsure of my stride.
Traction is where the V-Trail truly shines. Vibram's exclusive MegaGrip rubber can't be beaten in terms of grip. Whether I encountered steep hillsides, rocks, or streams on my run, I conquered them all with ease. My footing was sure with each stride I took.
The outsole of the shoe also provides superior traction because it is covered in lugs. These help not only to increase the traction of the shoe, but also to protect your feet from rocks and other debris, like branches.
The V-Trail offers ultimate flexibility. There are two main reasons for this. The first is the sock-like upper. It is incredibly flexible, and literally molds to your foot. It moves with you with every stride, step, and jump of your trail run. And, with the toe-design, you can literally wiggle your toes
and use them to get a powerful toe off.
The MegaGrip rubber outsole of the V-Trail is incredibly flexible. This was a little surprising considering the number of lugs and the durability of the outsole. However, the flexibility of this part of the shoe is what truly allows it to mimic the feeling of barefoot running.
Running in the V-Trail was a very stable experience, even on uneven and rough terrain, through water, and across rocks and logs. The traction and grip provided by the MegaGrip rubber outsole and numerous lugs help create a sure-footed feeling for your entire ride, even on the roughest and most debris covered trail.
If you are looking for ankle stability, however, keep looking for a different shoe. The V-Trail does not provide any type of support for your ankles. This is appropriate, though, since it is minimalist/barefoot shoe. Technical trail runners with superior form will benefit the most from wearing the V-Trail.
The V-Trail is a zero drop shoe. This means that there should be no difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot of the shoe. The V-Trail is engineered and designed to mimic barefoot running, so having a zero drop contributes to this feeling.
A zero drop shoe promotes the most natural running
form, according to running gait experts. However, your running form must be appropriate for such a low-drop shoe, or else you risk injury.
- MegaGrip Outsole
- All-over lugs
- Sock-like upper
- Barefoot feeling
- Rock Protection
The V-Trail is a technical trail shoe that is meant to give runners a barefoot running feeling
even on the roughest terrains. It is an incredibly flexible, durable and breathable shoe, and its traction is rated extremely high among similar shoes.
If you are searching for a technical trail shoe that really makes you feel one with the trail (trust me, you will feel every single part of the trail underfoot), then give the V-Trail a try. You will have a sure-footed run on every trail you tackle.