Trail Freak

Upon initial inspection, the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak looks like just a water shoe; colorful, flexible and breathable – unlike any hiking shoe I’ve ever worn. When first trying them out, I felt as though I was walking around with nothing but thick socks on my feet! The Trail Freak is truly fundamentally different from what many of us have come to expect in a shoe.

I have often heard people espouse the benefits of hiking sans footwear, yet never could bear the thought of having to subject my feet to the sharp stones and poking sticks of your average trail. “Barefoot” shoes such as the Trail Freak offer an attractive middle ground between the cushioning and support of normal shoes and the “feeling-the-trail” attraction of hiking hobbit-style.

The Trail Freak takes some getting used to if you have never worn a “barefoot” shoe; I had to shake the feeling that I wasn’t actually wearing shoes at all! My muscles also seemed to need to do some adjusting, since without any arch support, my feet and legs had to get used to a different type of motion. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, since my foot felt unsupported and flat. Once that weirdness subsided, I could begin to appreciate the novelty and sense of freedom that comes from not having my feet encased in the confines of a comparatively bulky, traditional shoe. It began to feel reminiscent of my younger days, when summer was spent in barefoot bliss.

Whether hiking on paved roads, dirt trails or off-trail, the Trail Freaks were up to the task. I wore them daily, walking the dog on the road, on dirt and gravel trails, as well as scrambling about on rocks. They excel in situations where you need a lot of traction, and, despite their somewhat fragile appearance, they are surprisingly durable. I have yet to see any significant signs of wear anywhere on the shoe after six weeks of daily wear. They are not only rugged, but are also designed to be light and breathable for fast, hot ascents. However, the caveat is that their minimalistic design works the other way. While spending a day out hiking in intense sunshine, the heat beating down on my nearly-bare feet was occasionally uncomfortable and the heat from the ground could penetrate the soles of the shoe. If you are hiking on scree slopes, there won’t be any ankle support here. On the other hand, after six hours of trail hiking, I expected the soles of my feet to be aching from the pounding, and this was not the case.

Trail Freak

Instead of traditional laces, the Trail Freak is equipped with a draw-string style system that is both easy to use and effective, and eliminates the possibility of your shoes becoming untied.

The Trail Freak comes in two color combinations: Lime-Orange and Sea-Green, both of which are extremely vibrant. This may be either desirable or off-putting, depending on your personal preference, and such unusual colors may make them potentially unsuitable for wearing around town. That said, I personally love my vibrant Lime-Orange pair.

I found it somewhat tricky to find the right size of shoe for me; I’m usually a size 12, but found that size of the Trail Freak much too small, and had to exchange it for a size 13. It is recommended that you wear socks with the Trail Freak to prevent blisters, but they can also be worn without socks.

Bottom Line:

After an initial period of adjustment, I found the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak to be a pleasantly unorthodox approach to footwear that really brings you closer to the trail.

Tech Specs:

Availability: Available now

MSRP: $110.00

Colors: Lime/Orange, Navy/Orange

Materials: Due 3M mesh, Dri-lex lining, lycra collar

Vivobarefoot Trail Freak











  • Great traction
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Colorful


  • No arch support
  • Little ankle support
  • Little insulation from hot surfaces

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