Vivobarefoot's Aqua Lites & Neo Trails

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Bare Lee, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee
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    OK, I don't really know anything about running shoes, or minimalist shoes. But perhaps an ignorant barefooter's perspective has some value. I want the most barefoot-like experience possible, and only run in shoes when it's too cold to run barefoot. So, if you're like me, I think you really only need two pairs of shoes: the Vivobarefoot Aqua Lites for road running, and the Vivobarefoot Neo Trails for running in snow or on trails. I guess the Vivobarefoot Breathos are also nice for summer trail running, but the trails here in Minnesota are all doable barefoot in the summer, so I haven't picked up a pair of those yet.

    Last winter when it was too cold to run barefoot, I ran in Moc3s, which, with just a 2mm sole, are pretty damn close to barefoot groundfeel.

    But the Moc3s don't have much traction, so when Silly C recommended the Neo Trails, I gave them a shot. And I can't think of a better shoe with lugs that still has a semblance of groundfeel. Plus, the shoe is nice and wide and the lacing is just right.

    Then Sid mentioned he liked the Aqua Lites a lot, which have a 3mm sole. I didn't really need to replace the Moc3s for winter runs that don't require a lot of traction, but I always felt like I wanted something a bit snugger, although, as a habitual barefooter, that doesn't really make sense. I should want as little feeling of shoddedness as possible, right? Anyway, knowing already that I like the Vivobarefoot fit and lacing of my Neo Trails, I decided to pick up a pair of the Aqua Lites too. I really like them. If you take out the insole, the groundfeel is almost identical to the Moc3s, but they hug your foot a bit better, which somehow translates into a somewhat more more relaxed running experience for me. Still, the shoes are in no way restrictive, and I don't think there's a heel cup, arch support, or anything like that. On really cold days, I put the insole back in, but still have a reasonable amount of groundfeel and feel like my foot is able to function pretty naturally. Plus, my wife likes the simple styling of this shoe, so they could double as a casual sneaker.

    So there you have it, a minimal review of minimalist shoes from a minimally aware barefooter.
     
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  2. BFwillie_g

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    Sweet :) gonna look into the Aquas, expect they'll be hard to find here.

    It hasn't been Minnesota-cold here but I've been out in my Breathos in -10C sans socks and insoles with no trouble at all. My tootsies stay warm enough. Now if I could just say the same for my hands :p
     

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  3. Sid

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    Make sure to try the Aqua Lite. The Aqua was an older shoe, that people used for running, but wasn't really designed for it. You can order online at vivobarefoot.de
    In Europe, they also have the Breezy Lite with the same sole but more sport-like upper.
     
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  4. BFwillie_g

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    Thanks for the head's up Sid. The Breezy is the one I'll try, but no rush. Would sure be nice to get them for less than €110 ... when I see prices like that, I think about how many pairs of water shoes I can buy.
     

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  5. Bill B

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    Going to try and pick up a pair of Neo Trails! Need better traction on the snow packed hills around here!
     
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  6. Bill B

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    Bought a pair of Neo Trails! Nice shoes, but they run small! Bought the biggest size they make (47), and the insole is exactly the same length as my Inov8's in 46! Not as wide as I would like, but I do wear the predominately for winter running, so I had socks on. There is also a strange little ridge that runs right in front of the toe box. When I first tried them on, it felt like they were too small! I am able to slide a finger easily behind my heel, so it's this ridge that I was feeling. Not uncomfortable, just odd! Ran with them in -28C with a good stiff wind, and my feet were alright. Not warm, but not uncomfortably cold either. Didn't have the insoles in. I have frost bitten my toes and fingers a couple of times in the past, and they do get cold easily! The grip was awesome! My Inov8's are dangerously slippery! These took on hard snow packed roads and icy spots with no problem! Will look forward to trying them off road this summer! That's my $.02!
     
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  7. sramfl

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    Just got me a pair of Aqua Lites. I haven't tried them yet.
     
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  8. BFwillie_g

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    well check back in once you get a chance! :D
     

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  9. BFwillie_g

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    The world is topsy-turvy. My Breathos, which as I understand it are Neos with lighter upper material, run noticeably large, enough so that the manufacturer even mentions on their website. My Inov-8 experience otoh has always been that they run extra small (every product from Inov-8, not only their shoes).
     

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  10. Bare Lee

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    I haven't noticed any size discrepancy with my two pairs. They fit about the same as every other shoe I have in my size.
     
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  11. flammee

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    I just cut lugs of off my breathos, maybe they now are usable.. ;)
     
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  12. BFwillie_g

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    ???
     

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  13. NickW

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    I only have one pair of Vivobarefoot shoes (the Neo) and those I need to give to someone with narrower feet. I thought they were ok when I bought them but when I actually ran in them they were too narrow for me. Every Vivobareoot shoe I've tried on from the EvoII to Neo Trail to Neo to Breatho are too narrow for me. I did try the Ultra as well and it was wide enough but just didn't feel quite right, can't quite place my finger on what was wrong.
     
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  14. Sid

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    I had a similar experience, starting with the Evo, then Neo. I was pleased when I found out that the Aqua Lite was wider and fits me well.

    The reviews from the Natural Running Center are good about listing the width of the shoes. I also look at the photos on the Vivobarefoot website. Sometimes it's possible to tell from the photo of the bottom of the shoe, if it's going to be too narrow.
     
  15. Bare Lee

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    Let's face it Nick, you're a duck.
     
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  16. NickW

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    At least I'm not a squirrel or chipmunk or whatever you think we internet folks are. ;)
     
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  17. flammee

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    Lugs hurt when running/walking/standing on hard smooth surfaces.. And I'm not big fan of too much grip either.. Too much means that there's probably a risk of rolling ankle when shoes doesn't slide and when foot starts moving inside shoe, if not tightened to uncomfortable tightness.

    They are probably fine on trails, but shoes just don't fit my purposes if they don't work in all conditions without pain. If grip is bad, it can still be fun to run, but usually if shoe gives pain, it's not fun. I like to have a little bit of spontanity on my route choices and not to be restricted by shoes.

    I didn't have too good tools for cutting, there's still about 0,5-1 mm of lugs, which is more grippy than normal non-lugged vivobarefoot soles. But my effort was probably in vain, since they still hurt when walking and standing. I think it's something with vivobarefoot soles, they are so hard that it's painful just to have them on. Barefoot on concrete - no problem, vivos on concrete - ouch. I have had lots of vivos and would like to like them, but it's kinda hard to ignore pain they cause. Expect for ultra, that's fine shoe.
     
  18. Bill B

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    I actually thought I bought a 46 instead of a 47! I did take them out for a run, and they didn't bother me at all! Will probably be too warm to wear in the summer, but my main reason for buying them was better traction and warmth in the snow!
     
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  19. Bare Lee

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    My new Merrell Vapor Gloves came today. They run a half size big so I couldn't use the ones that came last week. I really liked these and the run today with them went well. They're comparable to the Moc3s, but feel a bit snugger, have a little better grip, and are a bit cheaper. I think I've finally found the perfect minimalist running shoe! The grip isn't as good as I had hoped, but I guess no shoe is really going to give you much traction on pure ice. The Neo Trails are still good for snowy conditions, but for compacted snow, ice, and dry asphalt when it's too cold to run bare, I think I prefer the Vapor Gloves over the Aqua Lites and everything else I've tried so far. Besides the reduced proprioception, they are pretty close to being bare. They aren't very warm though, so I'll need to wear them with smart wool socks on the coldest days, but that's true for almost any running shoe. The lacing isn't as good as it is on the Vivobarefoot shoes, and you can't take out the insoles, but I don't really see why you'd want to. The groundfeel is superb, really slipper- or sock-like.

    @Flammee, I agree the Neo trails don't work too well on dry asphalt. I'll only use them in freshly fallen snow.
     
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  20. Sid

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    They look nice. Just wondering, if you put the Vapor Glove and Aqua Lite sole to sole, which one is wider in the forefoot? Thanks!
     
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