Opinionated World


A Fresh Start With The Vivobarefoot Tracker – Review

After the longest test period Opinionated World has ever been through, we’re finally ready to give you our thoughts on the Vivobarefoot Tracker – a brand new, freshly designed off-road boot replacing the now defunct Off-Road Hi.

Over the course of the past year or so, Vivobarefoot have slowly reduced their hiking range from three models to just one. Gone are the Off-Road Mids, the Off-Road Hi’s and the Synth Hiker. Instead, Vivobarefoot now offer just one boot – the Tracker alongside their trail running shoe, the Trail Freak.

Not too long ago, I said I’d taken to wearing Breatho Trails instead of the Off-Road Mid and given the conditions were relatively dry, I’d use them over the Off-Road Hi too. This discovery left me wondering about the purpose of the Off-Road Mid. Why would anyone use a heavier shoe over a lightweight, more agile model like the Breatho? It was waterproof and more hard wearing in the long term but those benefits never eclipsed the lack of weight in the trail shoes I could be wearing instead. My personal choices for hiking changed from the Off-Road Mid, Synth Hiker and Off-Road Hi to Breatho Trail or Off-Road Hi. I used the Breatho Trail when it was dry and the Off-Road Hi when it was wet and throughout winter.

The Tracker is the first conventional looking boot Vivobarefoot have produced.

The Tracker is the first conventional looking boot Vivobarefoot have produced.

Vivobarefoot must have been thinking along the same lines because the range of options are no more. One boot and one trail shoe with two variants (summer and winter) are what you have to choose from. I think this is a good path to have taken since it removes the confusing choice customers were having to make. I was asked numerous times whether the Synth Hiker should be chosen over the Off-Road Hi and which boot was favourable in winter and in summer. The problem was that the answer was never totally clear, it was down to personal preference more than anything else. I had the luxury of owning them all and knowing the pros and cons of each model – customers did not.

Now, all of the aforementioned hiking models are gone and have been replaced with the Vivobarefoot Tracker.

Abrasion leather is the new upper.

Abrasion leather is the new upper.

The V-Road sole is still present and as good as ever.

The V-Road sole is still present and as good as ever.

The Tracker is a completely new design, borrowing nothing but the sole and the waterproofing method from everything that has come before it. It has a much more conventional look with a brown leather upper mixed with press-stud secured eyelets and brown/red laces. On the bottom remains the off-road sole, now called the ‘V-Trek’ which is 2.5mm thin with 4.5mm lugs for the best traction.

The all-around abrasion guard is no longer needed because the new upper is made of abrasion leather and rip-stop Nylon trimmings for increased durability. Vivobarefoot call this ‘V Leather’. The leather upper is instead glued directly to the sole with the help of the separator band. Vivobarefoot have had issues with this before, namely with the One where the upper would separate from the sole after little use – processes were subsequently updated and the issue was resolved.

Also removed are the ‘lace lockers’ in favour of a traditional speed lace system (open hooks). All eyelets and hooks are now a nice quality metal, rather than cheap plastic. You’ll also be glad to hear the hooks at the top are secured all the way through the boot rather than in-between the materials. Vivo made the Franklin boot very briefly which suffered from these snapping off. Even the Off-Road Hi had plastic closures sewn in-between the outer and inner materials – I guess the reason these didn’t snap off was because of the larger surface area and therefore they could be secured more firmly.

Ion masked material means no water is let in.

Ion masked material means no water is let in.

Interestingly, the laces now start further away from the toe-end of the boot which gives you a slightly bigger toe-box than previously offered. While the barefoot movement has always advocated a big toe box to allow your toes to splay as you walk, the previous models were always the smallest in the range in terms of width. Not to the point of being too narrow, but on the limit and noticeably smaller than other products in their range. The Tracker solves this problem because along with the relocated laces, from what I can tell, it’s about 0.5mm wider too.

Vivobarefoot have also changed crucial dimensions of the boot and I feel it is to the detriment of the toe-box – the height of the toe is at least 10mm lower in the Tracker than in the Off-Road models – they’re super low profile. What this means is that the upper recedes further down in a much shallower manner at the edges and therefore reduces space above and around the toes. See my not-perfect diagram below to see what I mean. Slipping a sock-less foot into the old Off-Road Hi and then immediately into the new Tracker and you immediately notice the lack of space. In my normal size 8 (42), I can’t comfortably wear a thick hiking sock, which is no good for the winter. The only solution here is to size up, which shouldn’t be seen as a big problem – many people had sized up in older models too.

Comparing the toe-box size on both the Tracker and the Off Road Hi

Comparing the toe-box size on both the Tracker and the Off Road Hi

Inside remains the textile lining that was there before it – an inner sock if you like. This is a fully waterproof, Hydroguard equipped material that will keep your feet completely dry even in the wettest conditions. Also present is the standard 3mm insole which gives a minimal amount of additional comfort but does make a nice difference in improving their thermal qualities.

The laces are thick and robust – your typical hiking shoe lace but they are also very long. Coming out of the final eyelet on either side leaves you with 60cm of lace, which is simply too much. I’ve never been a fan of laces flying about everywhere or being covered in mud because they’re dangling down but I’ve found my own solution to the problem by going through the final hook twice before tying up – this leaves me with a knot and two tiny loops. To be fair, that’s what I did with both my Karibas and Off-Road Hi’s too. I’m sure this isn’t going to be a complaint for most people – just fussy ones like me!

Great traction on slippery surfaces.

Great traction on slippery surfaces.

The laces are a bit long but you can tie them like this.

The laces are a bit long but you can tie them like this.

The design is cleaner, it is simpler and there are fewer seams and fewer creases. Everything is more polished. What we have now is a conventional looking boot without the bulk and a similar weight.

So what about the comfort, the overall fit and performance, the durability and the cost?

Other than the reduced toe-box height and the need to size up (I was touch and go with the Synth Hiker too), the comfort is better than ever. The interior is plush enough without adding un-necessary soft patches that only add to the weight. It’s soft around the ankle, reducing the luxury to a minimum towards the sole. The heel is barely padded, just enough to prevent rubbing, though higher up around the achilles the padding returns. The insole, as mentioned before is very thin and adds only a small amount of cushion from the ground. It’s there to take the edge off and for additional warmth in winter. I’d recommend leaving this in place (yes, you can remove it!) because unlike running on your forefoot, you heel-strike when walking (just without the jolt) so your heel could probably use the extra bit of comfort particularly if you’re carrying a heavy rucksack.

I didn’t get any bad rubbing from the Vivobarefoot Tracker – no marks or blisters. My little toe was a bit red from the smaller toe-box but after removing the hiking socks on every other occasion, this didn’t recur. Ground feel somehow feels better than before despite nothing changing over the previous models. I think it’s mostly to do with the close fitting nature and the lack of weight. The Tracker weighs in at 435 grams in a size eight which is really quite light. Most of the weight will have been saved when they removed the abrasion guard and the square of padding around the outside of the ankle. To put that weight into perspective, I also have beside me a pair of more conventional hiking boots – a pair of Keen Durand Mid WP’s which weigh 670 grams per shoe. That’s fifty percent more. Imagine that over a mountainous 20 mile walk and one of the benefits of barefoot boots becomes blindingly obvious.

Shedding weight gives better proprioception than ever.

Shedding weight gives better proprioception than ever.

Since February, I have tested the boot in pouring rain, hot weather, through bog, up and down steep slippery mud slopes, over moss coated trees, through streams – I’ve climbed trees, bounded over rocks and ran a handful of miles on tarmac and trails. They’ve been thoroughly put to the test. One thing I always like to test straight away is waterproofing, particularly because I always wonder how Vivobarefoot keep these from leaking and am always surprised when they don’t. I’m sure most people would think that central, textile based lining would absorb liquid like a sponge – thankfully it doesn’t. I’m happy to say the Tracker hasn’t leaked once and I also haven’t re-coated them with anything so their Ion-masking must be working very nicely.

The 4.5mm lugs give you a good mix of durability and traction – I’m sure the soles are ever-so-slightly harder than they used to be but I might be wrong – so you’ll be able to make it up those muddy banks and not worry about them wearing out quickly on tarmac.

More supple material means your feet can 'do their thing'.

More supple material means your feet can ‘do their thing’.

Unfortunately, my model which are over 10 months old now and a pre-production sample, suffered from the dreaded upper/sole separation right at the beginning of testing. Fortunately, it stopped almost instantly at an amount that leaves it only an aesthetic issue up close and hasn’t affected the waterproofing. Vivobarefoot told me they expected this to happen in the early stages as they changed their bonding procedures and understood how best to work with the material. Ten months is a long time and I’m certain that the problem is now fully resolved – I’d like to test this out myself.

On a whole (and after removing my thick socks) I’ve really come to love the Tracker. The comfort all around combined with a lighter weight gives it an edge over what I used to wear. I don’t notice these on my feet even to the small degree I noticed the Off-Road Hi and the freedom of movement is better than ever thanks to the use of just one material on the upper – they are more supple because of this. Until the day my early edition samples give up the ghost, I won’t be donning anything else. At least not for hiking.

The Vivobarefoot Tracker is on sale now for £180 which is a fair chunk more than the previous model. Though as I always say, you get what you pay for and if it’s an extremely lightweight, nicely made, leather finished barefoot boot that you’re after, then you’re not going to find one better.

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55 comments on “A Fresh Start With The Vivobarefoot Tracker – Review
  1. Caleb on said:

    These seem like great boots! The only concern I have is about the durability of the the lugged sole. I live in an area with mostly hard packed, rocky trails. Do these sort of protrusions on the sole unit hold up well on non grassy, soft terrain? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Caleb,

      They are indeed great boots. In regards to the sole, the wear will of course depend on where you use them. They’ll last forever on soft ground and less time walking along pavements on hard surfaces. That is the case with every sole or materials on the softer side – something that is more abrasive will cause a higher wear rate.

      With that in mind, the sole will of course wear more quickly on rocky terrain, though that isn’t to say it will fall apart. I have a pair of Breatho Trails sporting the same sole as these and I estimate I have done 500+ miles in them on mostly hard ground (un-even rocks, tarmac etc). They are now almost worn through on the heel – I used them a lot for hiking. I’d say that reflects pretty well on the sole.

      There are occasionally mixed opinions on how well it wears – a very small number of people have had issues with the odd lug breaking off after only a short period of use. I would suggest those were manufacturing defects that are not widespread. Vivobarefoot wouldn’t continue to manufacture the sole if there were too many issues.

      I have eight pairs of Vivobarefoot shoes with the Off-Road sole and have never had any lugs snap off or experienced a particularly high wear rate. I’ll add that the sole may wear more quickly than some other treads, just because the lugs are not wide and flat – the surface area is smaller and they can be flexed more easily that a ‘standard’ block tread.

      To summarise, I really wouldn’t worry. If lugs start falling off and you find the wear unexpectedly high I’m sure Vivobarefoot would replace them but I’d be surprised if that happens. I personally have had no issues with durability.

      Hope this helps…


  2. Tammy on said:

    Hi Ste,

    Wonder how the Trackers have held up since your last comment? I want these but at the price and only a 6 month warranty….I would be so mad if they started coming apart like so many reviews I have read.


    • Hi Tammy,

      As mentioned in the review, the separation I had between the sole and the upper never got any worse. I actually glued it back down with sole glue and it’s been pretty good since.

      I’ve read many reviews of them since and none have mentioned the separation at all. Mine were a pre-production pair and from what I can tell, not many people have suffered with the issue since they went on sale.

      They’re definitely worth the money and even though the warranty is just six months (arguable frankly), I think if you’re going to experience any separation, it’ll come long before that.

      Hope this helps. Keep me posted if you do get a pair.


  3. Tammy on said:

    HI Ste,

    Thanks for your quick reply. My 50th birthday is coming up so I think these will be my present to myself :) Thanks for confirming they have held up pretty well long term.


  4. Tammy on said:


    If you could choose between the Tracker and the Off Road hi…..which would you choose? I am thinking, in part due to the cost, the Tracker would be a work shoe for me and I would probably never take it hiking, preferring to wear my Neos….but the Off Road Hi looks less delicate and I might hike in it…..but how did the OFH hold up over time assuming you kept wearing them,


    • I prefer the look of the tracker and also the feel. The toe-box, as mentioned, is smaller (less tall) and I’d size up if I purchased them again. The Off-Road Hi is probably more durable overall because of the thick band attaching sole to upper – it’s like a barrier for abrasion. The Tracker is merely leather so it’ll scuff up more easily – the same as any leather boot.

      The Off-Road Hi’s have held up incredibly well actually. I’ve done over 600 miles in them and they’re still going strong. Because of their construction, there’s no way anything can separate. Always been very happy with them!

      The Tracker will make a very smart work boot, that’s for sure!

      • Tammy on said:


        If you could only get one?? I can wear the OFH to work as well….they are the black version but are actually 1 size smaller than I wear in the Neo so I do have concerns of them being too small but I was thinking that back then they made the deep toe box and thin socks…..maybe??


        • That’s a really tough question, Tammy. If I wanted a boot based solely on aesthetics, I’d take the Tracker. If I wanted one that I felt would stand up better over a long period of time, I’d probably choose the Off-Road Hi. Unfortunately without testing the on-sale version of the Tracker, it’s difficult to say too much about its durability. I can only work with the other accounts I’ve read.

          The Off-Road Hi toe-box also wasn’t that big, but it had quite a bit more height. Because the Tracker is a smaller overall fit, the lack of height means my toe has less space above it, while it’s closer to the end of the boot. I dare say that if it were sized slightly larger, the height would be a non-issue because your toes would fall further away from the end of the boot, where there’s a bit more space.

          Worth noting is that, out of the 14 pairs of Vivobarefoot shoes I own, there are only two I would size up in – the Tracker and the original Ultra.

  5. Tammy on said:

    Hi Ste,

    Thanks for your thoughts…..I may have to see if I can grab them both :) The ORH are less than $100 new that someone has so that is a steal.


  6. Tammy on said:


    Interesting….they only show that boot on the UK site version not the US site???


  7. Tammy on said:


    That’s ok, I still LOVE the look of the Tracker, just so afraid it will fall apart…..waiting for a sale :) so I can at least not pay $220! Their prices are nuts imho…..$130-140 but $220…..when they can’t get them to hold up. I expect something I pay that kind of money to to last for years. I still wear some of my Keens I have had for 15 years with no issues….I would bet that $220 the Tracker will not be in one piece after 15 years.


    • Would have to agree with you on the durability front – certainly wouldn’t expect the Tracker to last close to 15 years. Keen’s do have a bit of a reputation as a boot that lasts a long time however, namely because the sole is so hard. Any boot with such a thin sole and thin material is going to wear more quickly than one with a 1 inch, flat sole though.

      Still, they’re expensive as you say. I think that comes mostly from the fact they’re still a relatively small company, all the products are hand made out of nice materials and there’s a much more limited run with not as much scope for mass production. Compared to Keen or other huge brands, they’re never going to compete with their pricing and such.

      Having said that, Keen’s Durand Mid WP does retail at £140, so there’s no difference in price between that and the new Hiker.

  8. Tammy on said:


    I have about 25 pairs of Keens and in all the years of wearing them and being so supported, I now have plantar fasciitis and this is what prompted me to defy the podiatrists advice to never go barefoot, tape my feet, etc…..I started looking at what might have caused this in the first place and was shocked to find I have abused my feet by wearing awesome shoes for all these years :) At least Keens have always had a nice big toe box which is why I loved them so have been transitioning to “barefoot” shoes over the past 3 weeks…got a pair of Xero for walking around and 4 Vivo, and one Lems Primal coming today….I tend to get obsessed once I get on something…..hence wanting the Tracker, and the Scott and the…….uggg…..that why I hate that they are so expensive. I got my roommate to get a pair Vivo and she is walking around work today in them for the first time and telling me they are “weird”….lol, she said she did not realize how hard sit hit her heel down, until putting these shoes on…..guy in the next office is going to get some. I think I should get a referral discount!


    • You sound like I did six years ago Tammy! The range is so appealing aesthetically as well as functionally and knowing they’re great for your feet, posture and so on makes them even better.

      I did a Vivobarefoot training clinic a couple of years ago and even though I was already aware, they did a great job of highlighting just how important it is to wear the ‘right’ footwear.

      I’d definitely keep on the track with going barefoot. I’ve never looked back and frankly, whenever I walk in a pair of shoes with a huge cushion (which is once in a blue moon – like when I reviewed the Keen Durand Mid’s) it feels completely alien and unbalancing. You literally can’t feel anything. I much prefer to be light on my feet and aware of where I’m stepping. Even better for running to be honest!

  9. Tammy on said:


    I am not a runner but maybe one day my feet will feel good enough to give it a try :) and it definitely be “barefoot”…..I managed to find a new pair of Neo on Amazon….forgot about those, they are coming today as well. Need options for work ya know….can’t just wear one pair of shoes. So two pairs of Neos….and one I will not worry about getting dirty and try a trail run as soon as it cools off.


    • Never tried the Neo’s myself but people rave about them so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

      Let me know how it all goes. If it’s easier, I’m on Twitter @realsterumbelow and Facebook too.


  10. Tammy on said:

    Hey Ste, I did break down and order the Tracker…..should be waiting for me when I get home from work today. I hope I have not made a mistake. I was waffling between the Tracker and the Kuuva 3. I will see what I think later….I saw your review of the Hiker and I did look at that but do not care for the look at much as the Tracker.


    • Hi again Tammy, great to hear from you.

      Glad you ordered the Tracker and I’ll look forward to seeing what you think. I think, having just looked at the Kuuva 3 for the first time ever, the Tracker will be much more durable in the sole department!

      The Hiker certainly won’t be for everyone but I expect a few more colours will come out and give everyone some more options.


  11. Tammy on said:

    HI Ste,

    Well, I am walking around the house in the Tracker now. First problem….the left boot is quite a bit bigger than the right. I am wearing Injinji original weight toe socks and if I were to put thicker socks on the right boot would be too tight, with the toe socks the left boot is too loose….uggg. I SO love their shoes but hate their QC. I also got the Drake so have to try those as well. For this price they should be perfect so not sure if I am going to send them back for another try. I did get the men’s because a lot of the reviews from women’s said the toe box was too tight as well as the width….the right boot is PERFECT….the left…..sigh….I had to crank down the laces on the left boot so looking down on them they look odd because the laces on the right boot at open wider and the left they are cinched up…..


    • Slava on said:

      Just stumbled onto this thread. FWIW, i have the same issue with the size of left vs right, NOT a subtle difference: left is slightly loose, close to perfect, right is super tight in the toe box and digging into my ankle bone.

  12. Tammy on said:

    Hi Ste,

    I sent Vivo and email with the problem and they immediately set up an RMA number for the boots and are sending me another pair. I asked if I could hang onto the first pair in case I can make a match from the two pairs as far as fit and they agreed which surprised me. So keep your fingers crossed I can get two boots that fit properly.


    • Oh Tammy, I’m really p*ssed off on your behalf. Sorry :(

      There I go, recommending a product and you spend your hard earned cash and they’re not as expected. Hopefully the pair that arrive do the trick, I really hope they do. Very odd that one was such a different size to the other – they were definitely labelled as the same size inside the boot, yes?

      Keep me posted.


  13. Tammy on said:

    Hi Ste,

    Oh, this is not on you at all. I had been looking at them before I found your blog :) It is the company that needs to really look at their QC if they want to keep loyal customers. I was told that the Tracker is going to be redesigned in 2016….to which I replied, “why are you waiting till 2016?” but got no reply. Their are quite a few negative reviews on the narrow (non barefoot) toe box so I bet they are going to address that with the redesign. Yup the boots are labeled the same inside, I checked! Also thought maybe somehow a women’s got mixed with a mens boot as that was how different the feel of the two boots are. So if the new boots are both like the left large boot I may have to send both pairs back and get the women’s….


  14. Tammy on said:

    Yup, Vivo sent me a second pair of Trackers letting me keep the first pair in case the perfect right boot of the first pair was a better match for the left of the new pair. But the new pair felt very even for fit…..and oddly was kinda right in the middle ground compared with the fit of the first pair….in that the first pair the right boot was perfect with my thin toe socks and the left way too large. The second pair they sent, the right boot was a bit larger but the left boot was smaller and evenly balanced with the right boot so I went with the second pair since they matched perfectly as far as fit of each boot to my foot. So overall the second pair is a hair large feeling with thin toe socks but that gives me the option to wear a thicker pair of socks for colder weather. I have not worn them much yet because up until a few days ago it was still getting close to 100 degrees here in San Diego and the boots are too much boot for those temps. But I have worn them to work which is mostly sitting at a desk….super comfortable, not hot for me and they look amazing. So far, no quality issues out of the box. I have issues with getting shoes dirty….lol….I know, silly, so I have to wrestle with myself on whether I would actually wear the Tracker for hiking….I just got the Trailfreak so I will probably opt to dirty them before the beautiful Trackers. But I have to say customer services was good with dealing with the problem….most companies will not let you keep a second pair of $220 boots while you sort out the problem. So I was happy overall with the end result….now just have to see if the dreaded “falling apart” at the glue points becomes an issue….

  15. Sean Casey on said:

    Any update on the condition of the boots now .? I am thinking of buying a pair .. or do you have any info on a new design being released



    • Still ok for me, Sean! Hopefully Tammy (see above) will see these comments and chime in with how she is getting on!

      I presume you’ve seen the Hiker, which I’ve also reviewed. There’s a second model of that out fairly soon. I’ve had a pair for a few months and will be releasing a review as soon as I’m allowed to!



      • Tammy on said:

        Hey guys…..my pair of Tracker is still good but I will say, I have become obsessed with Vivo shoes and have 13 pair now so I do not wear any one pair often. I wear my Drakes the most….have both the gray and black and hope they come out with more colors. As for the Tracker it is such a comfortable boot….but I can not say I have tested them in any kind of harsh conditions. They get worn to work in an office with carpet and I am still at the point when I baby them. So I can not comment on durability, just comfort….for that I love them. I do not know anymore about the Tracker redesign….I imagine I will want those as well :)

      • Sean Casey on said:

        Thanks for the swift reply Ste .

        I live in Ireland so would have to be the Trackers to be able to handle our weather .

        I was thinking that maybe a lot of people who had a problem with their durability weren’t treating the leather properly and maintaining them correctly . have you been treating the leather and properly cleaning yours that they have held up so long?

        Do you think I should hold off a while for the new model ?
        I don’t need them straight away really and I would hold off if the new model is better .

        Id be sick if I dropped 230 euros on the old ones if the new ones were great

        Thanks again


        • Tammy on said:


          Keep in mind that on my end it appears they have pulled the reviews off the Vivo site….there were quite a few saying they were not waterproof. I have not tested them for that but I think Ste has. But to pull the reviews sure makes me suspicious they want to hide the bad ones….


          • Sean Casey on said:

            13 pairs is quite the collection I thought I was bad with my 4 pairs :)

            I wear the Scott the most and think they are wonderful , my girlfriend got the women version and loves them as well

            I did notice that about the reviews and its made me quite suspicious . I have been humming and hawing about getting these for a while its Ste’s review really that’s keeping me interested , well that and the fact that the Scotts are great ….

            My Mother is a huge into the hiking and Id never live it down if I drop 230 on these and they fall apart :) she isn’t sold on barefoot yet ha ha

        • Mine are mostly still in good nick, Sean. I try to maintain them as best as I can so I do clean them and then wax them when they need it. The sole separation never got any worse (and mine were a pre-release pair devoid of the updated glueing process). Like Tammy though, I have so many pairs, I rarely wear the same ones.

          I do however, have to suggest the Hiker’s to you. Yes, they aren’t leather and they don’t look as classic or as minimalist, but I think they will last a great deal longer than the Tracker and probably be much more waterproof in the long run (not to say my Trackers have let water in yet). They’re harder wearing too and I’ve had no problems with glueing or separation – they’re just dirty and need a clean.

          The new model coming out is the same as the Hiker but has a soft-ground sole, a different lacing system and one other small update. Effectively, they are the same.

          Don’t discount the Hiker by any means.

          Oh and the new one will be (unless they change it) black, with some red highlights. More inconspicuous than the current grey/green Hiker.


          • Sean Casey on said:

            The reason I discounted the Hiker is because I didn’t think they were waterproof .. They really don’t highlight it too much that at all on their site .. if that is the case I will go for them for sure .. thanks for that .

            What is the story with their sizing .. is it up one like Tracker ?

            I am 45 in Scott


          • Always tough recommending sizes to people. I would feel guilty if you received a pair that were too small or too large.

            The problem is that I always order the same size and have always been happy with the fit. The only exception was the Synth Hiker which could’ve done with going up a size.

            I’ve got the Hiker and the soon-to-be-released Hiker in the same size and they fit fine. There’s more toe-box space in them than in the Tracker, namely height wise (one of my Tracker complaints). I could certainly get away with the next size up though and if I wanted to wear a liner and hiking sock, it might even be a good idea.

            Whatever you do, don’t expect a toe-box as big as your Scott’s – those things are capacious!


  16. Sean Casey on said:

    OK I will get on to them and see what they say .. thanks for the information it is greatly appreciated .

  17. Sean Casey on said:

    So I got the Hikers they arrived yesterday , I haven’t taken them for a spin yet but I am struck by the sizing , The 46 Hikers are slightly smaller than the 45 Scotts .. Puzzles me why they dont just make a waterproff scott with lugs and keep the sizing its perfect …

    The Hikers shape and feel like regular runners with a flat sole .. I am also surprised at how stiff the sole is but maybe that is necessary for the terrain

    The cut out angle at the Achilles is an unusual design because it is very low and looks prone to leaving in water .. I am going to have to invest in some gaiters i reckon ..

    I imagine though that that cut away would allow great ankle flexion for descents which is good

    I paid 80 euro with a voucher so we will see at the weekend how the go

    • Hi Sean,

      Presuming they fit, you’re going to love them. As I mentioned, sizing with this boot is a tricky one for me to suggest so I hope yours are ok. The Scott’s (and the Motus and Kariba) have gigantic toe boxes and I wouldn’t generally compare the fit of them to any of the other shoes Vivo mate.

      The sole on the Hiker is of course more rigid – same as on the Tracker, so that you can deal with rocks and such more easily. It’s still plenty flexible when your foot is in it and I think you’ll appreciate the versatility of it across varying terrain. A Scott with the off-road sole is effectively the tracker, just with a narrower toe-box.

      80€ is an excellent price for them, even if you need to size up!

      p.s. the Scott can handle water pretty well based on my experience. Especially if you re-proof them once in a while.



  18. Sean Casey on said:

    Hi Ste

    So I got a chance to look at them properly last night and wear them around the house .. And I am finding that where the foot flexes it drives the fabric into the top of the foot .. around the house it wouldn’t be bad but I fear on a hike that after 30 mins it would chafe the top of the foot quite badly ..

    I am wondering is this because of extra fabric from sizing up ? maybe I should go back down ?

    I did get a 46 before in the winterproof trail runners and the same problem was there ( I had ordered the wrong size by accident and then just gave up on the trail runners and returned them without trying the 45s as I decided on going for something else)

    have you experienced this before ?



    • I seem to recall mine doing a similar sort of thing. I think they’ll supple up a bit. I’d give them a go and see how you get on. I imagine they’ll shape to your foot a bit more than they will out of the box.

      I’ve not had an issue with my pair at all and I didn’t size up.

  19. Interesting article. Discovered it after people started asking me about my footwear during a 250 km non-stop ultra race through the hilly forests of Southern Belgium. This is what I sent to Vivobarefoot…

    “Hello Vivo people. Just to let you know that I entered a brutal, unmarked, self-supporting 250 km ultra trail race through the snowy and rocky Belgian Ardennes on a pair of newly bought Vivobarefoot Trackers. Although I stepped out of the race after a gruelling 142 km and 4000 vertical meters, I was happy to discover I had dry feet on amidst the blisters and the trench feet around me. The grip is unsurpassed, never fell or stumbled. The comfort legendary. You guys know how to build a trail shoe.

    PS: the race I am talking about is the Legends Trail, only 15 ultimate heroes of the 47 starters finished it. http://www.legendstrails.com/en/

    • Crikey Sander, that’s phenomenal.

      Really glad to hear you got on so well with the Trackers. How well did the sole gluing hold up? Be interested to know whether they took a battering or not.



  20. Brian Morris on said:

    Echoing Sean, I’d also love to hear if you’ve had a chance to use the new FG soled Tracker. The wording on the Vivo website leaves me wondering what it is they are trying to say: are the FGs better on dry surfaces and rock than the previous soles, but with perhaps less grip in wetter conditions, or is it a “win win” on grip in all conditions? And will there be a pay off on durability (which if not excessive could be OK if it brings significantly better grip)?

    Although I’ve read some complaints about grip from Tracker and Off Road users, these have always perplexed me given that most walkers will have moved to Vivo from traditional Vibram soled walking boots: my Vivo experience being that although you may slip on wet, slimy surfaces and muddy inclines, this is not that surprising and in any case cannot be worse than on vibrams. I walk often with a friend who uses vibram soled Meindl boots… and whenever we get to slippy conditions I and the Vivos always fare better with fewer slips or falls….. OTOH, his feet stay drier for longer :-(


  21. Kristian Hansen on said:

    I’m also super curious about the new Tracker FG’s. I have even ordered a pair on the Vivo homepage to check them out. I almost ordered the “old” Tracker last season. But now I’m a little bit worried if the “new” Tracker FG’s are better or worse than the original? ;-)

    BR Kristian

    • Brian Morris on said:

      Hi Kristian

      Well after posting I got the FGs and have been them using alongside my older Trackers. The problem in trying to compare is that you really need similar weather conditions and surfaces, but I am getting an initial sense of the difference. This is very personal and YMMV, but on a very dry and lumpy clay-like surface (ploughed field) I found the FGs to be a bit less comfortable: issue here being that there seemed to be less flex in conditions where the “Cheese cutter” traditional sole seems to cut more readily into such surfaces than the more rubberised FG.

      OTOH, I did notice what I think was better grip on a descent – again in dry mud-dust land but on a steep slope. This is a slope that always causes me to proceed with caution and I have nearly fallen over on previous descents with the traditional sole. It’s not magic of course – just I felt less slip and a a bit more confidence.

      I’m less sure about wet conditions: very boggy conditions in the Scottish highlands last week and alternating between FG and traditional for drying out, saw me slip-slide in both – but in both cases satisfyingly less than my vibram-clad companions! I think however that the FG might just shade the traditional on exposed rock… need more like for like to be sure.

      Still think jury’s out, but I’m inclined to think they are better for dry dusty descents (as Vivo claim) but that this is not a win-win. On a recently ploughed dry Cotswold field, I’d go traditional every time!

      Be interested to hear you experiences with the FGs!


      • Kristian Hansen on said:

        Hi Brian,

        Thanks for sharing your experience with the new FG’s. I’m looking forward to trying them out when they arrive in the mail :-)

        I hope they will give me a winter with less cold feet than last year (where I reluctantly sometimes had to skip my barefoot shoes and jump into my traditional boots to stay warm on cold days in the snow). It is funny how I have come to miss being able to feel the ground when I have to wear my traditional boots. I would love to be able to ditch those heavy chunky pieces of junk! :-)

        Any thoughts so far on insulation / ability to stay warm in cold/wet weather?

        Best regards

        • Brian Morris on said:

          Hi Kristian.

          Well I’ve yet to use the FGs in anything like cold conditions, so a considered reply about the cold stuff might have to wait a couple of months or longer depending on how this winter pans out. However, since the Tracker came out Vivo have been supplying thermal insoles: these are a big improvement on the old insole used with the Off Road series.

          From last Winter, I’ve found that as long as I wear a couple of pairs of middleweight socks and use the new style insoles (I bought spares to upgrade my other Vivo shoes) I am absolutely fine in anything down to low single figures and over occasionally frozen ground in shaded areas.. When it comes to walking in snowy or icy conditions – well I don’t know because there really haven’t been any here since the Tracker and the new insoles came out!

          With wetness, the big problem is keeping the water out! The Tracker is better than the Off Road in this respect, but the waterproof inner lining loses it’s effectiveness over time, and then you need to retreat the leather every couple of wet walks.

          Last time I did snow/ice in vivos it was using the old Off Road and insole: and even with smartwool socks over lighter inner socks, my feet were COLD. If those conditions were common here I’d have had to go back to conventional boots. I’m more optimistic about the current models though: if only because of the thermal insoles. My gut feeling is that the FG might be a fraction better than the last Tracker: but that might be an illusion based on the fact that they seem a bit less flexible.

          All the best

  22. How is the sizing on the Trackers? My longest foot measures 277mm as is the measure of US9 size. and a Greek footshape / 1 and 2nd toe of equal length)
    Unfortunately other foot is 270mm.
    Any idea if US9 will be on the tight side so I should size up up to US10? Or are the boot soft enough so US9 will wear in for a perfect fit?

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