Welcome to the official apirateslife.com review of the Vivobarefoot Tracker Men’s Hiking Shoe! I have been using the Vivobarefoot Tracker Shoe exclusively on different types of treks for two years, and I feel like I know enough about it to write an unbiased, honest review. First thing that I’ll say is when I got the shoe in the mail, took it out of the box, I was absolutely stunned at how beautiful it was. The color and the leather looked amazing. I actually liked the red highlights in the shoelaces and loved the detail of the gold shoelace lugs. Wearing these around for the first weeks before I took them on a trek was a pleasure, as it’s a pretty new look for me to wear hiking boots out in public, but these actually looked good enough to do so. I also noticed other people looking at my feet to check them out.
My first adventure using this shoe was a bouldering trip to Joshua Tree. By bouldering I don’t mean climbing vertically, I mean walking for miles up and down huge piles of rocks over sandy terrain through cacti and other features. I was amazed at how comfortable my feet were the entire time. I constantly compare them to wearing a big, cozy sock, almost like the feeling of being inside of a cartoon shoe because these things were that comfortable. The rubber lugs on the bottom were extremely grippy on the rocks. I never lost my footing, and I also felt very comfortable around the ankles with enough support and enough movement, at the same time, to do whatever I needed to do. On that first trip after the first heavy use when I pulled my foot out, the sole of the shoe came with it, the insole, rather. I must say that that was a little bit alarming because once I put it back it took a few more wears for it to end up in the correct position again. After that, I never had a problem with the insole.
One thing I must note is that the leather toe section of the shoe was pretty wrecked after just one use. For anyone who has just spent 250 dollars on a pair of shoes, it’s quite a bit of a bum-out to see how the leather reacts to abrasive scenarios. I have had other pairs of Merrill boots and worn them for years, and they showed less signs of wear and tear than the Vivobarefoot Tracker did after my first trip. Since they were still pretty new and I was kind of distraught, I took them to a leather shop and actually had the shoemaker polish them up and prepare the worn out sections to look more similar to when it was new. He did a good job, and they looked fairly new for quite some time.
However, since then, on subsequent trips I have added tons of wear and tear to the shoe. Now they look like a dirty, beat up, old hiking shoe, and I guess I’m okay with that. The comfort level is there constantly and feels good every time that I wear them. The rubber tread on the bottom of the shoe is a little bit alarming as well. After just one year, some of the lugs are completely worn off. I would say about 70 percent of them are torn or ripped in some way, not to say that this makes the tread ineffective; however, I can tell that the shoe has a much shorter shelf life than other brands of hiking boots in this class for way less money. On all sorts of terrain, the shoe performs very well. It’s waterproof, however I have never submerged my foot yet. (NOTE: after a long trek in Norway, I can attest that the shoe is definitely not waterproof).
All in all, I’m extremely impressed with the level of comfort achieved by a hiking book like this. I have never hiked more than 6 or 7 miles in a day, so I can’t vouch for how the barefoot approach will feel on a super long 11, 12, 13, or 14 mile day, but my overall impression of the Vivobarefoot Tracker Shoe is that the comfort is worth the price, as long as you are okay with watching a beautiful shoe get wrecked. To purchase Vivobarefoot you may do so at one of the links below. I do get a small commission from this, and though I’m not getting rich from it, it will buy me a beer. Thanks and I hope you enjoy your new boots!