Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL KNIT Shoe Review

The Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL KNIT trail-running shoes exceeded all my expectations!


I recently took them on a run on the breathtaking beaches of Costa Rica and was blown away by their performance. I was running during low tide when the sand was hard and compact, and I was pleasantly surprised by the firm grip these shoes provided.

The knitted upper allowed for optimal flexibility and breathability, making the run not only comfortable but also enjoyable. I didn’t have to worry about my feet overheating or feeling restricted, which made for a truly memorable experience.

When I returned home, I put these shoes to the test on the rocky trails of the Colorado Mountains.

These trails can be a real challenge for any runner, with jagged rocks and uneven terrain that can be hard on the feet. But with the Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL KNIT, I felt confident and protected. The firm ground sole did an excellent job of keeping my feet safe while still allowing me to feel connected to the ground. I appreciated how the knitted upper provided a snug fit and excellent breathability, even when I was pushing myself to the limit.


In terms of comfort, these shoes are fantastic. They felt great on my feet, even after hours of running on the trails. I was pleased with the lack of any hot spots or blisters, and the shoes hugged my feet in all the right places. The Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL KNIT shoes have truly changed the way I run. They have rewilded my body, brain, and feet, and I feel more connected to nature than ever before.

In conclusion, I highly recommend the Vivobarefoot PRIMUS TRAIL KNIT trail-running shoes for anyone looking for a comfortable and high-performance shoe.

Connect With The Earth With Vivobarefoot

We are big fans of Vivobarefoot.

Not only are they creating some of the best minimalist shoes on the market, but they are also taking their mission to create a better planet to heart.

This Earth Day, we’re highlighting Vivobarefoot, because of their mission, but also because minimalist shoes help us connect better to the Earth and if we can listen a little bit better to the feedback we’re receiving then it’s easier to fold ourselves into this larger global work.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG Gear Review
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG Gear Review

Recently, Vivobarefoot announced a new project called Right to Roam. It was created in partnership with another B Corp Finisterre. Their mission is enabling a more “accessible and welcoming outdoors.”

In the US, around 28% of land is freely accessible, held in public trust by the federal government. However, in England and Wales, only 8% of land is accessible.

How are they championing this Right to Roam? From their blog announcement:

Firstly, we’re celebrating and amplifying communities stepping up, stepping out and telling new stories about who the outdoors is for. You can read about two of those communities here.

Secondly, we’re curating a series of outdoor opportunities,  workshops and retreats to educate and agitate around outdoor access. We’d love for you to join our newsletter or follow us on Instagram to hear first about when these launch.


Roam with the Primus Lite III

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

A few years ago, we highlighted the Primus Lite II.

Primus Lite III Mens
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Well, the Primus Lite II had an offspring: the Primus Lite III.

True to the minimalist model, the Primus Lite III has a foot shaped foot bed, a wide toe box to allow for natural stability (your toes are your anchors), thin 4mm outsole so you can feel the Earth, and flexible so that your foot can bend and flex naturally.

The Primus Lite III is also made with more sustainable material than it’s predecessor, reducing it’s overall impact on the planet.

This in itself is huge. Shoes make up a ton of waste that finds it’s way to our landfills. Vivobarefoot continues it’s mission to build shoes in a sustainable way. Additionally, because these shoes are minimalist and don’t have padding, they will last forever. And, when you do wear them down and your toes start to poke through, Vivobarefoot also has a program to revive (ReVivo… get it?) your old shoes.

I’ve been wearing the Primus Lite III non-stop over the last week. And I love them.

Primus Lite III Mens
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

First, they look fantastic. I loved the algae green of the Primus Lite II, but I love the new colors they launched the Primus Lite III with. I have the obsidian color and they look slick. They pair well with workout shorts or dressier pants.

They are also super comfy. When I wear them, it doesn’t feel like I am wearing shoes. They are a bit lighter than the Primus Lite II.

I have been taking them out on runs, walks, working out in them, and working in them. They work so darn well.

If you’re new to the minimalist movement, don’t let the thin sole scare you off. Each shoe purchase comes with the VIVOHEALTH Barefoot fundamentals course for free. Plus, these shoes come with a 100 day trial. If your feet aren’t happy (I’m pretty sure they will be), you can return them without any hassle.

The Primus Lite III are available for purchase online. They come in a variety of styles for men, women, and kids.

The coziest minimalist shoe: the Softstar Rogue

Here at Huck Adventures, we have tested a lot of minimalist shoes for the outdoor space: running shoes, trail running shoes, hiking boots, winter boots, and sandals. But there hasn’t been a shoe that I could say was my go-to, work-from-home, wear everyday shoe. Until now.

Softstar Rogue
Softstar Rogue

The Softstar brand has been on my radar since I started wearing barefoot, minimalist style shoes 11 years ago. But this sample of the Softstar Rogue was the first time I had actually tried out the shoe.

The Rogue’s upper is made of soft leather that makes the shoe feel almost slipper-like. When I say that this shoe is incredibly comfortable, I really mean it. Most days I wear them without socks and I always feel like my feet are being nestled in a cozy cocoon.

While I have tested these shoes on the trail, I would classify these shoes as a camping shoe versus a hiking shoe. The bottoms are made from 8mm zero-drop Vibram Geo sole. While it has solid traction, it doesn’t handle as well as a trail or hiking shoe that has lugs for traction on light gravel or rocky trails.

Softstar Rogue
Softstar Rogue

However, I brought these with me to a recent Cub Scout camp. After hiking for a couple hours, we made it back to the campsite and these immediately went on and it felt soooooo good. 

With the Softstar Rogue, I also received sheepskin insoles. These insoles are perfect for Fall or Winter. It takes the natural coziness of this shoe to an entirely different level. Soft and wooly, my feet loved them. A little warm for the summer months, but they will definitely be permanently installed as the weather gets cooler.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t spend a few minutes talking about Softstar itself. All of their shoes are handmade in Oregon. They’ve been making shoes since 1985. All of their materials are sustainably and ethically sourced, as well. Their shoe designs, like the Rogue, follow a similar moccasin style, creating a flexible and lightweight design.

While I can’t fully recommend these shoes as your next minimalist hiking shoe, I do endorse these for everyday wear and for light outdoor activities.

Xero Shoes Fall 2020 New Release Reviews

Xero Shoes Fall 2020 Lineup
Xero Shoes Fall 2020 Lineup

Xero Shoes is a Colorado-based minimalist shoe company. They believe in the natural ability in feet; that they are meant to bend, flex, move freely and feel. They have a wide selection of incredibly light shoes and sandals built with this “foot-first” mission.

All of their shoes have the same DNA:

  • A wide toe box that lets your toes spread and relax
  • Zero-drop, non-elevated heel for proper posture
  • Flexible soles so that your feet bend and flex naturally
  • Natural feel through their thin soles; allowing your feet and brain to regularly communicate

I’ve been wearing various pairs of shoes—mostly in their running and hiking categories—and couldn’t have been more happy about testing out their Fall 2020 lineup.


Xero Shoes Aptos
Xero Shoes Aptos

First up is the Xero Shoes Aptos. For Fall 2020, this shoes is part of their casual lineup, and right out of the gate I love it. 

It still retains the classic Xero Shoes design with these mid-point straps. While in this shoe they aren’t as functional as other products (mainly because of the lack of laces), the shoe fits well.

The shoe I tested is a 10.5 Mens. Normally with Xero Shoes products I’m a size 11. Because of the lack of laces, I scaled down to make sure I had a room to flex and feel, but without having my foot move around too much.

The look of these are amazing. They look a lot like the classic Vans slip-on. These have become a staple for me in the office mainly because it allows me to be little bit more dressy, but while still being able to wear a minimalist shoe.

The top is super sleek with it’s hemp upper. It’s great to pair with a pair of jeans or something a little less casual.

Xero Shoes sells these in men and women sizes in two colors: black and navy.


Xero Shoes Alpine
Xero Shoes Alpine

Xero Shoes is also releasing a snow-friendly, waterproof, insulated boot: The Apline. It has polyester insulation, heat-reflective insoles, and a fully seam-sealed lining to get you warm and dry.

While I was testing them in August without any snow available for a deeper test, I tried them out in two different scenarios.

  • Ice Bucket Challenge. I filled a bucket with ice and stepped into it with the boot on. The beauty of the heat-reflective insole is that it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. While there was some cold that seeped through, my foot was still extremely comfortable. I left it in for 45 minutes and while a lot of ice melted, the inside of the shoe was dry.
  • Snowshoeing. This is always the question I have for minimalist winter boots: can I snowshoe in them? The extent of this test of just strapping a pair of snowshoes on. While it was successful and I didn’t have any issues with the boot slipping out while walking around my yard, it’s fair to say that this test was incomplete.

I can’t wait for Winter to come so that I can test these more fully and will post a follow-up review after our first significant snowfall.

The Alpine I tested was a size 11 Mens. It’s fit is loose, but that’s good. When I test this further in the winter, I’ll be pairing it with thicker socks and for snowshoeing it’ll be good to have some extra room in them.


Xero Shoes Leather Hana
Xero Shoes Leather Hana

Four years ago when I first discovered Xero Shoes, the Hana was one of my first purchases and I still have that original shoe. Even though it’s been fairly beat up it’s still a slick shoe to wear into the office.

For Fall 2020, Xero Shoes is adding to their original model’s lineup a Hana with a leather upper. Even with the leather upgrade, the Hana retains its original slipper-like feel and true to Xero Shoes design it retains the functional, huarache-inspired heel strap for a more secure fit.

While the original Hana was a classy shoe for wearing out around town or in the office, the leather definitely helps the shoe step up the classiness an extra notch. Stylish, comfortable, minimalist shoes for work wear or more formal engagements has always been challenging. While there are more brands on the market trying to deliver this function, they typically run into the same issues: they are either too expensive, too weird-looking, or don’t have enough form to them and after a few wears look trashy.

These on the other hand are pretty damn awesome. I’ve played around a bit with different outfits and they worked well whether I was pairing them with a suit jacket or a short-sleeved button up.

The Hana I tested was a size 11 Mens. It felt true to size.


Xero Shoes Oswego
Xero Shoes Oswego

Oswego is new for Xero Shoes this fall. And out of everything I’ve tested, my favorite. It stands out as a performance-shoe, but with a style that you could easily take from the trail to Main Street.

The bottoms have the same grippy pattern on the sole as their Speed Force shoe, but the uppers have a cool polyester knit upper.

My first impression was how close they look to All Birds. I remember when All Birds came out and Googling whether they were minimalist and being disappointed when I found out that they weren’t. The Birds were stylish and cool, but now with the Oswego, I can easily give that brand the bird when sporting these.

These shoes, because of their nature, have been the most heavily tested. Because of the grippy sole I’ve taken them for runs, flipped tires in the backyard in them, and cycled to the office in them. They work well in all scenarios. Can you think of another shoe that you could bike to work in, go for a run in, and shoe up to an executive meeting in? I can’t.

The Oswego that I tested was a size 11 Mens. I felt it was true to size.

When they launch they will come in an assortment of colors for both Men and Women.


Xero Shoes Leather and Knit Phoenix
Xero Shoes Leather and Knit Phoenix

We also tested out two versions of the Phoenix: a classy women’s flat in both knit and full-grain leather.

My wife has naturally wide feet that make shoe-buying hard, which is why she gravitates towards minimalist brands, but with that comes another, more serious challenge: finding cute shoes.

Any time she needs to buy more dressy shoes, it’s a struggle finding anything wide enough. Most women’s “wide” shoes on the market just aren’t that wide. 

With the Phoenix, right off the bat, she noticed the 8 Wide’s sole was wider than the widest dress shoe in her closet. My wife also thought the design of the shoe was “super cute” with the lines and texture on a corner top of the shoe. For sizing, she usually wears an 8W, and these were a perfect fit. 

My wife found the knit version of the Phoenix to be great for wide feet. She has a wide toe box, and her feet were actually wider than this shoe. But, because the knit version has some stretch to it, it felt really comfortable and she has been getting a lot of wear out of this pair. It cleans easily and can be dressed up or down. 

The leather Phoenix was a bit less forgiving for wide feet. The leather is thick and didn’t stretch as much as she’d hoped, so it was a bit of a squeeze for her at first. She found that after some wear, the leather had more give and was more comfortable. She found the leather to be more dressy than the knit. 

She said Xero shoes did really well with this design and she’s excited to have shoes that are both comfortable and dressy. 

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio truly ‘goes green’

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Download on the Apple App StoreDownload on the Google Play Store

The hot trend in footwear over the last couple of years has been tied to the sustainability movement. Brand after brand are announcing new sustainable measures they are taking to help save the planet. You can now buy shoes made from plastic, ocean plastic, recycled shoes, or even from biomass.

But try as they might, I’m a big believer that the only sustainable shoe is a minimalist shoe. 

Over 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually. Because traditional shoes have a six to nine month, or 250-350 mile lifespan, it’s estimated that 300 million pairs ending up in landfills after they have been worn out.

Minimalist shoe brands, like Vivobarefoot, have always had a special place in my heart. One of the first reviews we published was of their Primus SG trail-running shoe. I’ve had them for almost a year, putting over 1,000 miles on them on trails, including 50K, 55K, and 50-mile ultramarathons. And they’re still holding up. Sure the lugs have worn down, but they are still my go-to shoe for trail running. I’ll probably continue wearing them until my toes start poking out of the bottom.

But that’s the difference between a minimalist shoe versus a modern shoe. When a modern shoe breaks down, it’s in the cushion and the arch support. Your feet are weaker in them, and they pick up on the discomfort a heckuva lot faster. With minimalist shoes, there’s next to nothing between you and the ground, and your feet are stronger. So, when it comes to wear and tear, the deciding factor to buy a new pair is usually how visible your toes are or the attractiveness of the next new thing.

The Next New Thing

Vivobarefoot is committed to sustainability. By 2020, their goal is to have 90 percent of their shoe materials made from sustainable material.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

In July, Vivobarefoot sent me a pair of their Primus Lite II Bio, their most sustainably-made shoe, to review. At first glance, it’s not my typical style–it’s green. Not a cool, dark forest green like the Primus SG, but a bright green that lets your feet stand out wherever you are walking. They aren’t the type of shoes an introvert like myself typically wears because they are conversation starters. But it does allow me to geek out a bit, because these shoes have a pretty awesome story.

The Construction

Vivobarefoot first started making shoes with bio-based materials in 2017, when they created the Ultra Bloom, a shoe moulded from algae-based foam. They had discovered that the algae choking the world’s waterways could be repurposed into a foam material.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

As chemical waste seeps into waterways, an algae forms. The algae releases toxins in the air that are harmful to humans and animals. It also depletes oxygen from the water and blocks sunlight, which negatively impacts marine ecosystems. By repurposing this algae, for every show they make, Vivobarefoot recirculates 57 gallons of clean water back into natural habitats and prevents the equivalent of 40 balloons full of CO2 being released into the Earth’s atmosphere.

But they didn’t stop there.

With the Primus Lite II Bio, they use a corn-based biopolymer made of yellow dent field corn called Susterra Propanediol. This material is made from glucose from field corn and is petroleum free and non-toxic. It also uses 52 percent less energy than other petroleum-based materials and causes 32 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

So, you’re literally “going green” when you wear these shoes.

The Wear and Feel

Just like every other pair of Vivobarefoot shoes I’ve opened, it was easy to fall in love with them. These shoes quickly became my go-to shoes during the summer. I’d wear them to the office, on bike rides, running errands—essentially anytime that I didn’t want to wear sandals.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

When packing for a week-long conference in Boston, I debated over which shoes I should pack, but ultimately decided to go all-in and just pack the Primus Lite II Bio.

I was happy I did. Boston is an amazingly-walkable city. From the time I landed at the airport till the time I left, I didn’t step foot in another vehicle (with the exception of a water taxi). At the conference I was on my feet a lot as well. Through it all, my feet were surprisingly comfortable. The materials breathed well, and there wasn’t a day where I got home and had to unpeel sweaty socks off my feet.

They are also part of Vivobarefoot’s active line, and while testing them, I have taken them on runs on the road, concrete sidewalks, and lightly graveled paths. They’ve held up well, allowing for ample ground-feel as any true minimalist shoe should. These were size 11, and with Vivobarefoot, I’ve found that they fit comfortably snug on the side while leaving plenty of room in the toe-box. Even with the extra room, I’ve never felt my foot slide in the shoe or have blisters form due to too much movement.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II Bio

And the green coloring is surprisingly easy to style with your wardrobe and very modern looking.


It shouldn’t be a surprise that I love these shoes. It’s awesome to wear something that has such a strong sustainability message. I’m excited to see how Vivobarefoot continues to embrace their sustainability message and how it affects their lineup of shoes.

Please note that Vivobarefoot is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above. We appreciate your support!

Download on the Apple App StoreDownload on the Google Play Store

Xero Shoes Prio – Product Review

Xero Shoes Prio
Xero Shoes Prio

Two years ago, I had worn through another pair of minimalist shoes. I had only owned them for three months and my mileage wasn’t anywhere near where it is today. Also, I was living in Kansas City. Most of the terrain I was running on was pavement and sidewalks.

I needed another pair of minimalist shoes for running—ones that wouldn’t wear through. A big piece of why I ran in minimalist shoes was because of sustainability. In theory, and what should be practice, I should be able to run in minimalist shoes for two to three times the mileage modern shoes would get.

I was on the hunt.

Luckily, Steven Sashen of Xero Shoes was an internet marketing whiz and started serving me prospecting and retargeting ads based on my search queries. It was the first time I had heard of Xero Shoes, even though I was familiar with Steven’s first foray in minimalist footwear.

We had actually crossed paths on the internet several years earlier. Steven had started a company creating DIY huarache sandals called Invisible Shoes. His DIY kits were what had inspired me to visit a local cobbler with instructions to cut 4mm Vibram rubber into the shape of my feet.

Xero Shoes Prio

Xero Shoes Prio
Xero Shoes Prio

The particular shoes I kept seeing were the Xero Shoes Prio. They are a “performance” shoe made for running, cross fit training, or for everyday use. They are lightweight and flexible, allowing feet to flex, bend, and move naturally. 

The Sole

The Prio uses Xero Shoes’ 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber sole that’s featured on many of their products. One of the things that caught my eye, given my challenges with other minimalist shoes, was their 5,000 mile warranty. If you wear down the sole to 1mm at the heel or ball of the sole, they will replace the product at 60 percent off MSRP, plus shipping. Which is an amazing offer. Challenge accepted. 

Xero Shoes Prio
Xero Shoes Prio

I’ve logged over 500 miles on my Xero Shoes Prio and the soles have held up great. Only 4,500 more to go.

Traction on the sole has held up as well. The bottom of the shoe is covered with arrows pointing forward and backwards to provide traction whether you are moving uphill or downhill. They are deep enough to provide traction on gravel trails, but not enough for more technical terrain. 

The Build

The shoe is constructed with vegan-friendly materials. Even after running 500 miles in them, they’ve held up great.

Xero Shoes Prio
Xero Shoes Prio

The exterior has a huarache-inspired design—a nice throwback to Invisible Shoes—that is a functional part of the design, letting the wearer adjust for a more-perfect fit. It also has an adjustable instep strap so you can lock your foot in place while letting your toes move freely.


The Xero Shoes Prio was an amazing entry point into Xero Shoes. Since that first purchase, I’ve bought five different products. The sole is one of the most durable in the industry, and I’ve enjoyed every run in them.

Please note that Xero Shoes is an affiliate to Huck Adventures, and at no additional cost to you, Huck earns a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the links above. We appreciate your support!

Gear Review: Lems Women’s Trailhead Shoe

Note: Lems is redesigning the Women’s Trailhead, and the new version will be released soon. You can get the version reviewed in this blog post on clearance now at lems.com.

Lems Women's Trailhead

My family and I recently loaded up our camper van and headed to Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Culture National Historical Park for some hiking and history and to Santa Fe for some urban exploring.

It seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the Lems Women’s Trailhead shoes that they had sent me to review. I wore them during the whole adventure, which included hiking on trails, sidewalks, and even a little bit of snow.

In the end, these shoes have earned their place as my go-to as a road trip and trail-to-town shoe. I do want to note that they feel narrower than some of the “wide toe box” trail runners on the market today (such as Altra Lone Peak or La Sportiva Wildcat). If you are a Lems fan, you’ll find this shoe is narrower than their other lines. The shoes also have their limitations, which I’ll touch on in just a bit.

Putting them to the Test

I did a lot of walking on our trip in many different settings. We hiked at a decent pace through the lower great houses of Chaco Canyon and on a five-mile Pueblo Alto trail. We also slowly meandered through all of the art galleries in Santa Fe.

Lems Women's Trailhead

In my opinion, this shoe handled the slick, sand-covered sandstone in the narrow slot canyons as well as any of my other trail runners and hiking shoes. The toe box of the Lems Women’s Trailhead felt a bit narrow and took a little getting used to. But, I found myself enjoying the shoe more and more with each passing day. I’m not sure if it stretched to accommodate my foot, or if I had just been in wide trail runners for so long that I was originally unused to being hugged by a more form-fitting shoe. Whatever the case, I was comfortable after walking all day on a variety of surfaces. I found that the shoe easily accommodated my orthotics if I chose to insert them (having Morton’s Neuroma is a drag).

Great for on the Town

One major benefit of the Women’s Trailhead is I didn’t need a set of “nicer” shoes for exploring Santa Fe. On previous trips, I’d bring my trail runners and another set of shoes that are more appropriate for city use (and city outfits) so that my Boulder-ness wasn’t TOO glaringly apparent. These Lems were cute enough to pair with nicer jeans and tops, and looked good walking through the galleries. The best part? My feet were so much happier after a day of art perusal in Lems than in my other city shoes! We hit Santa Fe at the end of our week of exploring, and the shoes still looked great. I wiped the trail dust off, and they were good as new.

We ended up doing a random side hike to Jemez Falls. The road was closed to vehicles due to snow, so we hiked in from the highway. It was another great opportunity to test out these shoes. This time, we took them on snow and cross country on our “short cut.” I am pleased to report that my feet stayed dry, and I didn’t slip too much on the snow. Climbing down some boulders to the waterfall was all in a day’s work for these versatile shoes.

Lems Women's Trailhead


The biggest limitation was that were a little narrow for longer backpacking trips where my feet tend to swell. This would be a problem for me on any trip where I am backpacking over 10 miles per day for multiple days in a row. I need more room in the toe box for that sort of use. Also, they don’t really work with a cocktail dress. I may still need to pack an extra set of shoes for that if I ever have a more fancy occasion. For everything in between, I have my Lems Women’s Trailhead.

Vivobarefoot Kids

“I love these shoes!” My four-year old daughter exclaimed as she pulled out the neon orange Vivobarefoot Primus from the shoe box. She ran them over to me to slip them on and once they were on, she refused to take them off, even for bedtime.

My son, at seven, was equally excited. The Primus he had were colored by a nine-year old from Wales; a mixture of blues, greens, and yellows.

Vivobarefoot sent us these shoes for us to review, and I was happy my kids were as excited as I was for them to experience minimalist shoes. When they were little, they always wore the soft-soled shoes from Stride Rite. But the older they got, their shoe options became harder, less flexible, and with more cushion. We spent a lot of time in shoe stores bending shoes in half to see if there was any give.

My son, over the last year, had several complaints about his legs and feet hurting, especially after long walks, hikes, or short runs. My daughter also had a habit of running and tripping, building up a decent collection of boo-boos.

We have another kid who is 15 months who still has the chunky baby feet. It’s still in that development phase where cartilage is developing into bone; slowly creating the best foundation for his tottering, wobbly body.

If you looked at each of them walking in their respective footwear, you’d easily see their progression as modern footwear attempted to shape their feet instead of letting them grow and develop naturally. My son, in his hiking boots, has a long stride with a heel strike. My daughter overcompensates, lifting the heel of her shoe off the ground and walking on her toes. The youngest walks with his full foot on the ground, rolling through it from the toes to the heel.

There’s a lot of benefits to having our feet move as naturally and as unrestricted as possible. As our kids’ bodies grow, being barefoot or in minimalist footwear promote increased strength and agility. There are mental benefits, as well. Given the biological makeup of the foot, there is a ton of information (over 200,000 neurotransmitters) that is being communicated to the brain. The more we feel, the more work our sensory receptors are doing, which leads to better coordination and balance and decreasing risk of injury.

I’ve been a fan of Vivobarefoot for a number of years (more coming in an upcoming blog post), and I was excited to have my kids experience their shoes. My kids have several pairs to choose from, but they have chosen to wear their Vivobarefoot shoes exclusively since they received them: to school, to playgrounds, on walks and hikes, and just around the house.

Both kids have the Primus model, and I am really impressed with the design. First off, they look awesome. The colors are eye-catching and the design is really cool. While doing pickup at my son’s elementary school I’ve had several parents comment on them.

The uppers are designed with a breathable mesh, but even in winter, their feet are comfortable and happy. The sole is thin, but puncture resistant. They can feel the ground, but, as parents, we don’t have to worry about their feet getting hurt by rocks or sharp twigs.

The shoes fit great with plenty of room to grow. Because of their design, I don’t feel bad if they are wearing a shoe that is perhaps a half-size too big. There’s a stretchy elasticity that cups the ankle. This keeps the foot secure, but at the same time completely flexible, allowing there to be optimal, non-restrictive movement.

Watching these kids run around in these shoes make me really happy. Not just because I know that their feet will grow stronger, but because they are joining me on this minimalist journey.

My son hasn’t complained about his legs hurting.

And my daughter still runs full tilt down our street, but hasn’t tripped and fallen, which for her is unusual.

They’ll definitely be wearing these on our next Huck Adventures family hike.

If you’re interested in checking out Vivobarefoot, please visit their website: https://www.vivobarefoot.com. They have a whole section dedicated to Wild Kids that’s worth checking out, especially if you have wild kids yourself.

BOOT BANANAS “This product is bananas”

Their design might be a little bit bananas, but their product works: getting rid of that funky stench in your rock climbing shoes. Originally from the U.K., they are making their U.S. debut later this year.

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My Minimalist Journey – Vibram FiveFinger V-Trail Review

In 2009, I was introduced to the barefoot movement by a Kansas City based barefoot runner—Barefoot Ted or Barefoot Ned, I can’t remember. It was the same year that Born to Run by Christopher McDougall was published. After my first barefoot running session and feeling those sensations of grass and squishing mud—sensations that I don’t think I felt since I was a child—I ran out and picked up the book, devouring it over the course of a week.

Between runs in modern running shoes, I would try to run barefoot, a little bit at a time. After a particularly scorching summer day on sidewalks, I realized that urban Kansas City wasn’t the best place to embrace the movement. But the core idea of the movement was in the back of my head: how can I get back to a place where my feet were behaving naturally and how can I get more connected with the surfaces I was running on.

Almost a year later, in 2010, I had a running injury that caused me severe pain in my achilles tendon. It didn’t matter what pair of shoes I tried, the modern rigid structure of various brands caused me to almost stop running.

That was when I was first introduced to Vibram FiveFingers. They were preparing for their launch of their Bikilas line, and it was love at first sight.

Prior to their launch, I decided to make my own pair of huarache sandals, so that I could continue running. Imagine the shock of the local cobbler when I came in with instructions to cut 4mm Vibram rubber into the shape of my feet.

After another month, the Bikilas were launched, and I made my first purchase of Vibram FiveFingers. Over the years, I owned two different releases of Bikilas, Spyridon for trail-running, TrekSport, and the V-Run. I would wear them running, on dates with the wife, and to work. There was something magical about those shoes that kept me going back to them.

This past year, I moved to Boulder, Colorado, and was introduced to winter and mountain running. The Spyridon became my go-to for snowy runs up Bear Mountain or on some of the more technical trails in Boulder.

But then Vibram sent me a pair of their FiveFinger V-Trail to review.

The update to their trail-running line up was immediately evident. One of the main differences was in the shape of the heel cup. There was more padding, which made pulling the shoe on and off a lot easier, but also provided more protection which is key in more technical terrain.

The fit is really comfortable too. I felt secure in them, but as I ran over rocks and tree roots, it was the right sense of protection but still having the sense of connection and ground feel. Going up Mount Sanitas in Boulder felt amazing. On the uphill climb, I felt more stable and secure, and was able to push myself harder. Because of the way FiveFingers fit—essentially like a glove for your feet—I was able to grip, dig in with my toes, and push myself up boulders a lot quicker. On the downhill of that particular run I felt more in control, finding myself in an almost meditative pattern over familiar terrain.

I also took the opportunity to take them on a 15-mile trail loop called Dirty Bismark. There isn’t a lot of elevation gain and the trail wasn’t too technical, so it became a speed game—seeing how fast I could go in the shoes before I felt worn out.

But that’s the magical thing about minimalist running: when you do it long enough, you start training your body to use all the bones and muscles in your foot; you’re not just more connected to the ground, your connecting deeper with yourself.

For the fit, if you’re new to Vibram FiveFingers, it definitely something to try out in store, if you have the opportunity. With the various pairs I own—bought over the course of eight years—sizes range from 41-44. If you’re ordering from their site, Vibram’s sizing guide for their FiveFinger line is very handy. You also need to consider whether you’ll be active in them with socks or without, since that will impact sizing. For myself, I go both ways. Usually if I am heading out on short runs, I’ll wear them without socks, but for longer runs, I’ll toss on a pair of Injinji trail socks.

When I headed up Mt Bierstadt and Mt Evans this summer, I ran/hiked in the V-Trail and Injinji combination. It was the perfect shoe for the more technical aspects of Sawtooth Ridge, providing a sense of stability where some of my other minimalist footwear choices wouldn’t. Even though the route was around 12 miles with 4,500 foot in elevation gain, my feet didn’t feel tired—everything else did, but my feet felt great.

All in all, since picking up the Vibram FiveFinger V-Trail, I have put around 200 miles on them and couldn’t be happier. For the mileage, you can’t see any wear and tear. This is another great thing about FiveFingers and minimalist shoes in general—you don’t tear through them as quickly as other shoes. Typical, modern running shoes have a shelf life, depending on the brand, of around 250-500 miles. There’s still FiveFinger shoes in my collection that are 5 years old, with over 500 miles on them that I still wear. With my FiveFingers, the only ones I’ve retired are the ones wear I’ve completely worn through the outsole.

If you’re part of the minimalist movement, you should definitely pick up a pair of the V-Trail and hit some trails with them. If you’re new to minimalism, please keep in mind that transitioning from modern running shoes to minimalist takes time. It took me four months of running in my Bikilas to run a 10K comfortably; you build a little bit at a time, strengthening muscles and bones that haven’t been used in a long time. In this article, you’re only seeing a small slice of my minimalist journey. I started eight years ago, but didn’t start running in minimalist shoes full time until four years ago. I’ll share some additional details in future posts.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions about the V-Trail or any other minimalist shoes. You can reach me at jnelson@huckadventures.com or if you’re in Boulder, feel free to look up one of my upcoming trail running adventures as part of Huck Adventures.