Best barefoot trail 'shoe'?

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by awarrumbungle, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. awarrumbungle

    awarrumbungle Barefooters
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    I have VFF KSO's & I find them a little slippery & am nervous about gravel etc..... what is the best alternative for 'barefoot' trail running....?
     
  2. Blind Boy

    Blind Boy Barefooters
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    If ultimate traction is your

    If ultimate traction is your goal, I'd say Inov8 X-Talon 190 if you can stand a shoe that narrow in the toe box. Otherwise, maybe the upcoming New Balance Minimus trail could work. I believe it'll be released in February though so there's some waiting involved. Also, Altra are suppesed to have a trail model coming out but I don't know much about it. That's it for the shoes, I think, but huaraches seem to be popular and I think that will be the route I'll go next summer.
     
  3. Barefoot Mary

    Barefoot Mary Barefooters
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    I've heard many happy people

    I've heard many happy people singing the praises of the Soft Star RunAmoc trail version, MT100s, and huraches. I can't see huraches giving you much grip though, but there are tons of people who run the trails in them.

    Soft Stars: http://www.softstarshoes.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1342

    MT100s: http://www.amazon.com/New-Balance-Mens-MT100-Trail/dp/B0027CSR04



    MT100s are pretty conventional. Soft Stars are really out there! So you've got your pick. I can't say based on my limited experience...not too much of a trail runner. More of a trail walker. Merp.
     
  4. nature runner

    nature runner Barefooters
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     I know this may sound bias,

    I know this may sound bias, but I have tried vff's on trails before, they are slippery, my bare feet are not. My bare feet have good traction and grip, and you can't beat the feeling that only being barefoot gives on trail runningg, couldn't imagine covering that feeling up and erasing the experience, but I do understand that the cold can take that away too. If it was too cold I would just put my vff's on and be careful.
     
  5. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    if i'm running trails with

    if i'm running trails with Josh and Stomper, we go BF. without them i'll put on my biks. i had sprints and they were too slippery. kso's have similar soles. huaraches won't work in mud. i don't have any other shoes so i can't comment on them but can say if it's not too cold BF is best.



    Mike
     

  6. SillyC

    SillyC Barefooters
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    Okay - on "grip" and the

    Okay - on "grip" and the huaraches...

    I have invisible shoes, and the thing is, they have so little structure that they leave your feet to do the gripping. I trained for a trail marathon, doing my long runs on trails, and I never fell in these things.

    However, one problem I had with the huaraches is that I kept bruising my arches on stones and larger rocks that were unexpectedly bumpy. They have no structure protecting this area.

    I run trails in them. I hike in them. They are fine, and I'll probably continue to run trails in them because I am cheap. I'm not, however, convinced of their superiority over other shoes that I've never tried.
     
  7. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    If you like the fit and feel

    If you like the fit and feel of the VFFs, have you considered the VFF Treks?
     
  8. nature runner

    nature runner Barefooters
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       I have recently discovered

    I have recently discovered that my trails I always run bf on are supposedly ate up with copperheads, I have saw 4 of them, but I haven't saw the ate up version. It makes me wonder if I should run the trails now, being that I always run them alone. I have no barefoot buddies to run with, and shod people slow me down?
     
  9. altrarunning

    altrarunning Barefooters
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     This post is somewhat

    This post is somewhat premature (mainly for the fact they are not available yet), but I am certainly biased. For true minimalist then you ought to give a try of the Altra Adam's or Eve's in the spring. If you want more protection, but still a feeling of natural running then the Lone Peak provides that rock plate and cushion for some serious gnarly trail and rocky terrain. Look for both out in the spring of 2011.
     
  10. EricsLearning

    EricsLearning Barefooters
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    My Vibram Bikila's work fine

    My Vibram Bikila's work fine on trails. Even the muddy ones we have here in a local swamp I go running in.
     
  11. Dirtbag

    Dirtbag Barefooters
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    I'm with TJ. I just got a new

    I'm with TJ. I just got a new pair of VFF TrekSports for my birthday and they are great. A little more grippy than the regular KSOs but they retain that super-minimalist feel.
     

  12. Cozmos74

    Cozmos74 Barefooters
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     I just ran the Razorback in

    I just ran the Razorback in VFF Bikilas. There was plenty of grip, they were great over the rough terrain and solid in the thick mud. I would highly recommend them. There is plenty of "feel" and just enough protection. There is an interesting shoe coming out in April 2011 from a company called Altra - Run natural. It is the called the Lone Peak. I will be ordering a pair to try out for myself....the quest for the ultimate trail shoe continues.

    Good luck
     
  13. LavaRunner

    LavaRunner Chapter Presidents
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    I have wide feet partly due

    I have wide feet partly due to genes and mostly due to wearing sandals, flip flops VFFs or nothing most of my life and since starting to run BF 18 months ago it is even wider. Shoe companies just haven't got a clue. I need a wide toe bed so my toes can splay out and work naturally. Most shoes think they are pumps and cram the toes into an area the size of a dime. New Balance generally has been a wider toe bed but the MT 100's are a massive disappointment with a ridiculously narrow toe.

    I will applaud the company that finally comes out with a wide shoe, decent grip, zero lift, small rock plate and lightweight that doesn’t cost a fortune. I love my VFF’s, there is just nothing on the planet wrong with them other than they are slippery on mud and they do offer a slight overconfidence that barefoot doesn’t and I have bruised my feet not paying attention. A rock plate might have avoided that. Barefoot on wet clay is no better. I slide all over the place if the trail slopes to the side or downhill. It is rare to have a perfectly flat trail that is wet and how fun would that be anyway?

    KSO treks, they are no better in mud, they are slippery and slide. I anticipate the Lone Peak and really would like to try them out. They seem like the perfect shoe if they aren’t too thick of a sole. The Inov8 X-Talon 190 seems like it would be a great shoe but like many said, it is narrow so I can’t wear it.

    I guess I just need to glue some knobby’s on the bottom of my feet or maybe buy some X-Talon’s or MT100’s, cut the top off and make Huaraches out of them. After all, a minimalist shoe just needs to hold a minimal amount of material on the bottom of the foot, not the top. That is minimal, is it not?
     
  14. JosephTree

    JosephTree Barefooters
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    I find that my VFF Bikilas do

    I find that my VFF Bikilas do fine on trails. I can curl my toes into the muddy bits and they do seem to offer what I find to be enough shielding from the brusiest rocks. I love just BF for trails that I know where it's mostly roots and managable rocks. The Bikilas are better for closer to freezing temps, though nothing helps when it's both cold and soggy.

    I had one morning last week where I went out BF on a flat trail, and all was fine for the dirt and forresty floor parts. I hit a stretch where I crunched through "cat ice" and that was that. I finished the loop back near my car and put on my VFF's and stuck to drier gravel towpath as they came back up to a bearable temerature.
     
  15. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    New Balance Minimus Trails

    New Balance Minimus Trails (available in Feb. or March, but have a 4mm heel), Merrell's line (available at the same time), Inov-8 BareGrip 200s (same time) should all be excellent. Right now, Treks are pretty good, EVO IIs are decent for trails. Ted's Leadville Lunas would be a good option. The Inov-8 X-Talon 190s have awesome grip (more or less cleats) but like everyone else said- they are narrow. New Balance MT 100s and 101s are good, but have raised heel.
     

  16. stomper

    stomper Guest

    There are certain scenarios

    There are certain scenarios where bare feet offer the best performance, in my humble experience. If it is VERY muddy, bare feet offer the best use of your toes, for example when climbing up out of a streambed. Other than that, bare feet seem to slow me down a bit on nasty gravel and irregular terrain. But it feels good.
     
  17. miker

    miker Chapter Presidents
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    So, if one is thinking about

    So, if one is thinking about bf trail running, yet carrying some minimal footwear to put on (if needed), what would be your recommendations for something that is light, easy/fast to get off and on? And would you put them on and off multiple times during a race, if the ground changed back and forth?
     
  18. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    Miker- huaraches.  I did this

    Miker- huaraches. I did this for several ultras with good success.

    Stomper- another advantage of bare feet- when going uphill, you can immediately feel slippage, which may be what you are talking about. It allows you to instantly adjust muscles to prevent sliding down the hill. It's like traction control. :)
     

  19. ewheeldrive

    ewheeldrive Barefooters
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    I've got a similar problem

    I've got a similar problem being in need of shoes for winter trail running. Last year, my saucony shay xc flats and mt100's did the trick. Unfortunatley, after a summer of barefooting, the flats are too narrow and the mt100's feel like boots. My mother-in-law gave my wife $100 to get me something from her for Christmas so I've got to pick something. I wanted to wait until all the spring releases but the wife says I've got to have it before Christmas. I've resisted the vibram thing for 2 years since starting barefooting, but may give them a shot. Jason, you've had a ton of experience with plenty of footwear. What do you think? I want wide, flexible, durable, good ground feel, but warm enough for winter trail. I'd barefoot it but I'm just not that hardcore. I need a training tool.
     
  20. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    ewheel- unfortunately, every

    ewheel- unfortunately, every choice available today is inadequate in different ways. As you said, the MT100s have a raised heel and a lot of EVA. The Inov-8s are too narrow in the toe box. VFF Treks don't have great traction and the toes are less than ideal for warmth. The EVO IIs are okay as they're both wide and have a zero drop heel. The negative- relatively poor traction.

    Last year, I used KSOs with poor results. I ended up doing most of my runs barefoot (not advisable). Toward the end, I got the first generation of EVOs. They worked fairly well, but don't have very aggressive traction for snow and ice. The traction is about as good or slightly worse than Treks. The advantage- they will keep your feet a little warmer. If I had to pick the best shoe, I'd probably pick the EVO IIs. Having said that, I won't use them at all on trails this winter since I have some of the next generation of shoes from other manufacturers. From a performance standpoint, they are far superior to everything currently on the market. I have talked to them about releasing earlier; none will have production models available until at least February.
     

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