Vibram Sole Review (and Shoe Give-Away)

(please note that this review was originally posted on my old blog)
One of two things usually come to mind when you hear “Vibram”: solid soles or those funny finger shoe things that are oh-so cool right now. (Keep reading, btw. I have three pairs of trail running shoes to give away).

I myself climbed the highest mountain in Colorado on the backs of Vibram soles. Naturally, I was excited when I heard that they were looking to get back into trail running. Vibram struck a partnership with Saucony and are featured as part of the Xodus shoe, which is earning very good reviews, btw.

My job was to review the soles, not the shoes. I took them out on all types of different terrain to see how they would perform.

First Impression
This is like running on air! Fantastic!

Smooth Single Track (10/10)
Perfect! I was flying on buttery, rolling single track. The soles handled small obstacles (small rocks, occasional root, etc.) with ease. The best part was that I was able to cut around sharp turns (such as switch backs) without having to worry about losing traction. That’s a HUGE advantage. You can really make up some time here during races.

Rugged, Technical Single Track (8/10)
The soles definitely performed very well here, too, especially on the uphills. I was a little worried about sliding when traversing larger rocks or boulders. But I shouldn’t be running those anyhow.

Rooty Trails (9/10)
No complaints here. Exposed roots did not turn into slip’n’slides as they so often can.

Fire Road (10/10)
Didn’t I say something about flying earlier? You can FLY on fire roads with Vibram soles. Just enough grip to hold on to the dirt, but light enough to feel like you’re running in road shoes. I was positively surprised!

Very Steep Inclines (8/10)
Climbing was absolutely no problem. Perfect traction here. On very, very steep downhills (30%+), I did lose traction a couple times. But I have never not lost traction on these particular sections of trail. Gravity can be a pretty strong force (thanks, Newton!).

Sandy Trails (9/10)
There aren’t too many around…unless, of course, you run a race that traverses a beach. No complaints here.

Road (10/10)
Yes, sometimes you have to traverse asphalt or, worse, concrete to get to a trail. No issues here.

Soooooo, here is the part you have all been waiting for. I have three (yes, THREE) pairs of Saucony Xodus’ to give away, so you can try out the Vibram soles yourself. In order to enter, you have to answer one of two questions in the comments:

  • Why do you want a pair of free trail running shoes? OR
  • What is the wildest (or most unexpected) thing that has ever happened to you out on the trails?
Sign with your name and city. You have until 11:59 pm PST on August 7, 2009. I will pick the winners on August 8. Check back then, and contact me if you’re one of the lucky ones. Good luck!
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3 Responses to Vibram Sole Review (and Shoe Give-Away)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why do you want a pair of free trail running shoes? I need these shoes because my wife is an accountant. Let me explain.

    I have been running on trails and on the road since I was nine. I grew up in the NH countryside and had endless options for running and not much of anything else, so I ran. My first choice was always to run on a trail. The experience was much more gratifying than slogging away on asphalt. Unfortunately my body did not respond with the normal lean runners physique that you would expect. Now at 45 I am 240 lbs and yes my other exercise of choice is lifting. I know the right and left sides of my brain have been fighting each other for a long time.

    I am fortunate to have a job that brings me to many different places in the US an Canada. This makes it easy to check out local trails in some pretty cool spots. In two weeks I am in Toronto and have already printed the trail map for Crothers Woods a park in Toronto.

    So to answer your question I need these shoes because my street shoes that I wear now are full of holes but more importantly its my wife’s birthday in 2 days and thus I am deep into the window of anything I buy for myself takes away from her gift. Worse shes an accountant and shes a nut about it. If I buy an ice coffee within five minutes shes on my cell asking me how I could buy something on the road when we have coffee at home and the kids need to go to college. The other reason is I’m not your normal runner. You know all skinny and hollow boned. I’m the guy that will destroy these shoes if they aren’t any good. So what do ya think? Flip me a pair of size 12s and I will report back on the durability. And don’t tell my wife I called her cheep

    Thank you

    Matthew Dragon

  2. RNR365 says:

    I’ve been running in NB Minimus Trail shoes (Vibram Sole) exclusively for about a year now. Best running shoe I have ever run in (30 years). I have four pairs now. The only negative thing is one pair had a chunk of the sole come out at the heel. I called NB and they were more than happy to exchange them for a new pair. Had them just under 6 months. Not sure this is a sole issue or lack of padding, but I have taken a couple of thorns that penetrated to my foot. Luckily on both occasions I was able to pry them out with my finger nails.

  3. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back
    again to see more, thanks for the advice!

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