The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak is a mean, lean running machine aimed to get you on the trail for some freaky fast trail runs. Lightweight and highly breathable the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s feel like a second skin on the trail, but also offer the protection of a patented puncture resistant ultra-thin sole. I received a pair of the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s to test and review and was quite frankly blown away by Vivobarefoot’s newest addition to their trail running line. I got my first look at the Vivobaregoot Trail Freak’s at the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show and was impressed with their bright and comfy appearance, so naturally I was excited to get these shoes on my feet and on and the trail for some real testing, but before we get into all my thoughts, impressions and commentary about my experience with the shoes let’s talk briefly about the specs.
The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak shoes initially looked like an updated and more hip version of the Breatho Trails I tested earlier this year (review here), but on closer inspection that is not really the case. The overall feel of the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak is much different than the Breatho Trail, and I must say I like it.
The Trail Freak uses a lightweight duo 3M mesh and laminated upper that is breathable yet keeps your foot secure and in place; It really feels like a comfy cozy sock. The upper also incorporates a Dri-lex lining with Lycra collar which keeps your feet dry, a very important feature in keeping your feet healthy on those really long runs. The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak quick and easy closure lacing system is another great feature that sets it a part from the Breatho Trail, who’s laces seemed endlessly too long.
The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak has some serious sole. You can expect a zero-drop platform with the Trail Freak as with all Vivobarefoot shoes that also uses a removable 3mm insole. The roomy toe box gives you plenty of room for your feet to expand over the roughest of trails and the grip will keep you going regardless of the conditions. The outsole of the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s mean serious business with 4.5mm lugs that perform just as aggressively as they appear without sacrificing the overall barefoot feel Vivobarefoot prides itself on.
If you can think back to your childhood, way back to when you were just learning to walk, your parents may have put you in those socks that had a bunch of little grippy things on the bottom to keep you from slipping. Do you remember those socks? Well that’s exactly what it felt like the first time I tried on the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak shoes. I love the second skin feel of the shoes that seem to hug my feet without feeling too tight or uncomfortable. The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s were a whole different story on the trail, and boy was their story a good one. For me I don’t want to worry about my feet on a long trail run. I don’t want to think about my shoes or about getting blisters or black toenails especially as I am currently preparing for my first ultra marathons.
With the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s I have been comfortable with running and not concerned with anything else. I am able to focus on my training, my pace and the trail in front of me without having to worry about me shoes or my feet. Peace of mind on my long runs over rocky and rugged trails makes a huge difference in being able to get those long runs in. The Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s feel fast and comfortable on my short tempo runs as well as my long back-to-back weekend runs.
It’s been extremely hard to find anything I don’t like about the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak shoes and I suppose my job as an honest reviewer is not to search for things I do or don’t like, but simply share my experience. Subsequent to that belief I really don’t feel there is anything about the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak that I would change or that I find myself wishing they had. For me the feel and fit of the upper is incredible and the sole provides excellent control and performance on even the gnarliest. My bottom line with the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak’s is that these shoes were made for the perfect barefoot experience on the roughest trails out there.