With zero drop and no midsole, the Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail 2.0 gives you that ‘zero fat’ experience of massive ground feel and naked foot strike.
Can be hard to put on (depending on toe shape)
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It’s imperative to tackle the Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail 2.0’s ‘love it or hate it’ looks first. FiveFingers look… unusual. There are pros and cons to that famous ‘toe pocket’ design. Pros are the natural, almost naked feel and the powerful toe-off delivered by five toes able to flex and splay independently over the terrain. Cons are mostly a design that won’t suit everyone’s foot shape (my little toes didn’t reach the little toe pocket and his big toes were a tight fit).
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The Vibram company are most famous for their outsoles – specified here their super sticky MegaGrip, which doesn’t disappoint (deep mud being their only foe - they’re not fell shoes!). Within the sole, 3D Cocoon technology (a plate of sorts) balances ground-feel with reduced ground pain cleverly. There’s no midsole of-course, so they’re zero drop, light and nimble. Heel striking is, by design, painful and so a fast cadence and short stride is almost automatic. Runners in very hilly areas will likely find hard-packed or road descents tricky at speed. Overall comfort is impressive and the lacing system cinches up the mid-foot securely.
• RRP: $120 (US) / £130 (UK)
• Gender availability: Men’s, Women’s
• Weight (per shoe, men’s UK11): 221g / 7.8oz
• Colors: Blue & Orange / Black & Yellow / Ivy & Black
• Drop: 0mm
• Compatibility: Great on all trails, with the exception of deep mud
On the trails
Good fit is crucial here – I used the size chart on the Vibram website which resulted in UK10.5, half a size smaller than my usual, and when they arrived the shoes were snug – so perhaps go with your usual size.
These are actually my third pair of FiveFingers and, well they’re pretty identical to my last pair. The grip looks improved but, like all minimal shoes, sticking big lugs on them isn’t really an option as you’d feel them pushing up against the bottom of your feet. These have a semi rigid sheet (3D Cocoon technology) that should help as a rock guard of sorts. They look well made. My feet remembered how to encourage my toes into the toe-pockets – although my little toe doesn’t actually reach!
They grip surprisingly well on most terrain that isn’t mud. If you’re new to the design, there’s an initial concern that you’ll stub your toes more, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Your feet are free to contort around surfaces which creates more grip and feels fun. But it is tiring. Short runs for me for a while.
Mid-pack fell-plodder Paul has been writing about his outdoor adventures for about ten years. Initiated by a move from Coventry to the Peak District in 2010, Paul quickly evolved from jogger, reluctant gym-goer and occasional camper to full-blown fell-obsessed trail runner and wild camping adventurer. Paul’s 2016 attempt at the Cape Wrath Ultra was only curtailed (on day six!) by an infected big toe; the story of its Vesuvius style release, with supporting photos, is something Paul is too keen to share.