Vikram Trek Ascent Review

'What the hell are those?!?' and 'Are they comfortable?' are the two most asked questions I get when anyone notices my usual running/trail walking/hiking footwear. That, and 'Why?...', and yes, I was in socks while shooting for this and my feet got very very wet...

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So the history of me and Vibram FiveFingers shoes goes way back to one of my tours of Afghanistan, where I has seen some of the americans wearing them on a trip through Camp Bastion, and decided to get a pair on my R&R. 

Instant love. Wore them everywhere, but sadly the British Army isn't very accommodating to this type of foot wear, and so regular trainers it was. That was until earlier this year.

Vibrams popped up in my Discover part of Instagram, so I followed them, and noticed they had a solid, laced, aggressively soled trail shoe at the same time that my Merrel trail gloves had seen their final run.

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To current date, I have run 116km in my Vibrams, with about 60% on trails, 40% on tarmac or roads. The first run I did was a short one, about 3k, just to get used to them. The ground was super boggy and muddy, but the MegaGRIP sole just, well, gripped. I was very sceptical, but its absolutely sold me on the cheesy name. 

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Dry hard packed trails. Wet, even flooded, trails. Sand/beach runs, wet and dry rocks, it doesn't matter. These just grip, to the point where you stop even thinking about it and just run. 

Now road miles are a little different. While it is decent, with the soft sole adding a bit of cushioning, I do start to get hot spots after about 5km. Thankfully these have never turned into blisters, but it does get a little uncomfortable. I have, however, noticed a decent amount of wear from the road miles, so have tried to curb my running, even so much as sticking to the small grass sections on the road or path side. I am over 100kg though, so naturally harder on shoes than your typical runner.

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All in, an awesome shoe. I must say though, while they can be worn barefoot, and I have walked barefoot in them, I haven't run without Injinji toe socks yet, so wouldn't be able to say what it is like, but walking without socks in them is very comfortable. 

If you are looking to get a pair, or even a more minimalist type shoe, take it easy. While I no longer get knee pain of ANY sort, my calfs hurt like hell for the first 1-2 months, and I still have a few little achilles pains, though thats through poor flexibility and just not stretching before/after enough.

 

A huge thank you to Vibrams for making an awesome product in both the upper and the soles. There is a reason any good manufacturer uses Vibram soles. 

Another big thank you to Feetus for the great customer service and for promoting minimalist and barefoot running in the UK.