Monthly Archives: February 2012

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport Review

The TrekSport is a vegan version of the KSO Trek (made of kangaroo leather) with the same aggressive tread designed for trekking and trail running. It is made of a stretchy coconut active carbon fiber material with TPU toe protection. The TrekSport upper also features a number of padded areas which really increase their comfort compared to the original KSO and the KSO Trek. About 60% of the shoe’s upper is mesh, which offers excellent breathability. I’ve really enjoyed wearing the TrekSports and can’t wait for spring to arrive so I can wear them even more in the warmer temperatures.

Comfort
Like all FiveFingers products, I find the five-toed design extremely comfortable. The coconut fiber upper of the TrekSports is very stretchy and hugs my foot comfortably. The sole is very comfortable to walk on without feeling like you’re walking on the lugs. The new padded heel cup is soft and a great addition to the shoe, it distributes pressure around my heel and Achilles and makes them feel like they are cushioned by a pillow. The adjustable Velcro strap makes the shoes stay in place nicely (although it could be a little longer in the size that I have because with socks on, there isn’t much overlap). The upper under the Velcro strap is padded for extra comfort where the shoe tightens as well. Although there are seams on the upper where the mesh material meets the closer weave, I can’t feel them with or without socks.

Weight
Each size W 39 TrekSport weighs 4.5 ounces or 127 grams according to my scale. For a trail running shoe, these are incredibly light (0.5 ounces lighter than the Treks) and for a minimalist shoe, still around average.

Flex / Sole
The TrekSport features the same sole as the Trek. It is comprised of a 4 mm EVA midsole, which offers plating protection from stone bruising, and a 4 mm Vibram performance rubber outsole with considerable lugs (for a minimalist shoe) to improve traction on rugged terrain. Although it is not as flexible as the KSO and other VFF models’ soles, it is still quite flexible when bent in any direction and comfortable on smooth surfaces. The total 8 mm sole is the thickest sole I’ve tried on a minimalist shoe but considering the rocky terrain that I’ve run on with them, I do not have a problem with the thickness in the least. I have experienced stone bruising while running on trails in my KSOs and after running on the same trails and gravel roads on this sole, I have not experienced this problem. The 4 mm midsole definitely does its job protecting the foot arch from stone bruising.

Support / Insole
Like all other VFF models, the TrekSport has no arch support designed into its last. Although the midsole is contoured like the shape of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot, it does not provide any support.

There is no removable insole included with this shoe and the footbed is made of antimicrobial microfiber.

Barefoot Feel
The 8 mm sole does sacrifice some barefoot feel. However, this shoe is designed for trail running; on rugged terrain at speed, the barefoot feel that it does have is adequate and I wouldn’t want any more than what the TrekSports offer for this activity.

Grip
The grip of the TrekSports is phenomenal. I have had the opportunity to test out these shoes in both desert and snowy winter conditions and have found the traction simply amazing. They have fantastic grip on asphalt, rock, sand, and on loose and hard packed snow. The grip is confidence inspiring in every condition I’ve worn them in.

Breathability
The new coconut fiber is incredibly breathable. Approximately 60% of the upper is a soft mesh with small holes for excellent venting.

Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
Like all FiveFingers products I’ve tested, the quality of materials and manufacturing are impeccable. There are no defects in this pair.

Water Resistance
The TrekSports are not water resistant. As most of the upper is mesh, if you step in water, your feet are going to get wet.

Sizing
The TrekSports fit the same as the original KSO and the KSO Trek. I fit a regular US size 8 and the W 39 fits me perfectly.

Price
The TrekSport is priced on the Vibram website at $100 USD. They are a little more expensive than the KSO but do have superior grip and comfort. They are less expensive than the KSO Trek and are more comfortable with much better breathability.

Style
The style of the TrekSport is a little more rugged than most of the other FiveFingers styles. They have an aggressive sole and TPU toe protection for rough terrain. They are available in a number of interesting colorways this spring including champagne/red, pink/black,  blue/grey and black/charcoal for women as well as champagne/red, red/black, orange/black/grey and black/charcoal for men. I think the black shoes with grey accents of the review pair look sharp and not too loud. But if you want loud, this season’s new colors can accommodate that too.

Break-in Period
As with all the VFF products, there is no break-in period for the TrekSports. If they don’t fit well when they are brand new, they likely will not fit well in the future. The upper is very stretchy so the fit may be more forgiving than with the Trek.

Shoe care
These shoes can be machine washed and air dried. Compared to the kangaroo leather upper in the Treks, they dry much faster as well.

Warmth
The TrekSport upper is mostly made of mesh so they are not warm. I’ve had no problem wearing them with socks and have run in -12C in the snow and still had warm feet.

Uses
This shoe is designed for trail running and is a phenomenal shoe for this activity. They are a great all-purpose for shoe on man-made surfaces and have fantastic grip in the snow. They can be worn indoors as well but don’t have as good a barefoot feel as other minimalist shoes because of the extensive grip depth of the sole. Vibram markets the TrekSport as being popular for fitness, running, travelling, and trekking.

Compared to the Trek
I find the TrekSport more comfortable than the Trek because the kangaroo leather is not stretchy and my foot tends to move around too much causing blisters after half an hour of running. The TrekSport upper does a good job of holding my foot in place and I’ve experienced no blisters or hotspots while running. The padded heel cup is also a wonderful addition to this shoe, which I find very comfortable on my heel. The TrekSport also features a padded area on the upper just under the Velcro strap which the Trek does not have.

The Trek footbed, which is made of smooth leather, is a little softer than the microfiber footbed of the TrekSport. I can’t feel a difference with my feet, however, just my fingers.

Overall, I prefer the TrekSport to the Trek because of the fit issues I have with the Trek. I like that the TrekSport upper is stretchy and hugs my foot in place.

Summary
The TrekSport is another excellent product by Vibram FiveFingers. They are designed primarily for trail running but can be used as an all-purpose shoe as well. They are extremely comfortable, made with a stretchy coconut fiber upper that hugs your foot in place in the shoe. They have an aggressive tread that provides phenomenal grip on all surfaces I’ve tried them on (except smooth ice). Although they sacrifice some barefoot feel for the grippy sole, for trail running, they offer the perfect balance of flexibility and protection. They are an excellently manufactured minimalist shoe with a reasonable price considering their versatility and durability.

To purchase these shoes, find a retailer on the Vibram FiveFinger website at https://www.vibramfivefingers.com or purchase them directly from the website.

Originally posted on LivingBarefoot.info

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