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Tested: we put the Vivo Barefoot Trail Freak through its paces. One thing’s for sure - this is no ordinary trail shoe…

vivobarefoot trailfreak
Overall Score
Super light, instant comfort
Take getting used to and not the best option for really rugged conditions

The Trail Freak is as minimalist as you can get for a trail shoe. Because of this it does indeed feel freaky at first – it’s so light that you hardly feel you have anything on your feet.

That said, the ultra-thin, puncture-resistant off-road specific sole has aggressive 4.5mm lugs which offer excellent traction and ‘proprioception’ – where you’d at first expect to feel every little pebble under your feet you don’t at all.

Indeed, according to Vivo Barefoot it offers ‘natural motion control by allowing your feet to engage rapidly with the earth as well as giving independent rear and fore-foot movement’. To us it just felt very flexible…

To go with this you get uppers with a remarkably lightweight natural fit, utilising breathable mesh and a laminated structure that gives superb flexibility although noticeably less support than you’d get from a normal trail shoe.

On test the lining proved to have excellent moisture wicking and the toe box pretty wide and roomy. The soles give good natural shock absorption by allowing your arches and toes to load, splay and recoil.

What all this amounts to in practice is a very light and comfortable shoe that will appeal to anyone who likes innovation and is in to moving light and fast through the hills.

Traditionalists will have reservations about just how much support and protection shoes as light and minimalist as this can provide in a harsh mountain environment.

For our part, the Trail Freak is definitely a shoe we’d only use in summer and on shorter days in the hills rather than full on day trips or multi-day adventures.

You may feel differently though, in which case we’d recommend you try a pair…

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