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Walking Boots

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boots | Review

Enjoy the natural feeling of hiking barefoot while not having to dodge any potential splinters

Why We Chose The Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boots: Lightweight, barefoot feel, walking boot support.

Last winter, we asked a number of adventurers and outdoor professionals what their favourite item of winter kit is. These, the Tracker FG by Vivovarefoot, were the pick of TV survival presenter Ed Stafford.

Here’s what he had to say about them: “I’ve moaned a lot about the amount of rubber that brands use in the soles of their hiking boots. So when I saw these, with three-times the thermal protection of a normal sole but at only 3mm thick, it was love at first sight. I can feel everything beneath my feet and run in them like I’m wearing a pair of barefoot trainers. In Kazakhstan recently, I had a race against a South Korean ex-Special Forces officer – him in his traditional boots, me in my Trackers – and he was so slow, and sporadic. I was down the mountain, running continuously, confident that they’d handle the cold and wet. I’d never go back to traditional boots – they don’t let me move fast enough, for long enough.”

Ed’s a fan then.

“For those who are fed up with huge-heeled hiking boots pumped full of cushioning, these might therefore be a welcome alternative.”

Unusually, this is a pair of boots that fit within the ‘barefoot’ category of footwear. With zero drop from heel to toe, a very wide toe box and a minimal stack height, they’re designed to give the wearer as much sensory perception and dexterity as possible while still offering protection over rough surfaces.

Weighing just 329g per boot, these are much lighter than standard hiking boots, and there’s a big amount of flex to them but still just that little bit of support thanks to the mid cut ankle and high lacing.

The 3mm lugs have been designed to provide traction over firm ground. Photo: Chris Johnson
The leather upper is backed up by heat sealed seams and a fully waterproof membrane. Photo: Chris Johnson
High cuff support is rare with barefoot style footwear, but it's certainly useful to have when covering tricky terrain. Photo: Chris Johnson

Barefoot’s a big thing in trail running circles these days, with many claiming that this type of footwear encourages a much more natural gait which ultimately means less impact on the joints and muscles. For those who are fed up with huge-heeled hiking boots pumped full of cushioning, these might therefore be a welcome alternative. Conversely, when you’re carrying a heavy backpack down steep descents, you might miss the cushioning. Barefoot shoes divide opinion in the running world, and similarly in the case of hiking, we think some people will find these useful and others won’t. Don’t write them off before giving the barefoot style a go at least.

Aside from that barefoot aspect, there are some nice materials used here, most notably the quality leather upper with heat sealed seams and a fully waterproof membrane. You can expect a good bit of grip as well, thanks to the 3mm lugs designed for firm ground (hence the FG in the name). These aren’t massively aggressive but are reliable enough for trails of a medium difficulty.

One other thing worth noting is the thermal insole. This, Vivobarefoot say on their website, provides up to 300% more thermal protection. What that’s in comparison to we’re not sure, but if that’s too much insulation for you, it’s removable so you can swap in a footbed that’s more suitable for you.

Quirky yes, and opinion splitters for sure, but, as we said, don’t knock them until you’ve tried them.

Vivobarefoot say that their thermal insole found in the Tracker FG is able to provide up to 300% improved thermal protection. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

Galahad Clark – Founder of Vivobarefoot.

“The Tracker is the lightest weight, most minimal hiking boot in the world. Waterproof, breathable, packable and designed to let your feet do their natural thing… in the most beautiful and off-the-beaten track landscapes nature has to offer.”

Vivobarefoot Tracker FG Boots

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