Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Versatile, comfortable, secure
Cons: Great all-around shoe but doesn’t excel at one thing
Best Uses: Trail hiking and running, road running, general fitness
The TrekSport is the jack-of-all-trades barefoot shoe in the group we tested here, performing well in almost all situations. So well, in fact, that they received our Editors' Choice award. They are rugged and can withstand the toughest trail conditions, but they are also adaptable enough to wear inside at the gym or around town. If you want something lighter and with more sensitivity, try the simplistic Vibram FiveFingers See Ya - Women's.
If you are still on the fence about minimal footwear, learn more about the decision to go barefoot in our our Barefoot Shoe Buying Advice article.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The TrekSports have a wide variety of applications. They have some extra comfort features, such as padding on the heel, and they perform equally as well on trail as on pavement. They received our Editors' Choice award because of this versatility and their high all-around scores. Though they don't excel at any one application, they perform well in every metric, making the best all-around barefoot shoe you can buy.
Compared to the rest of the FiveFingers we tested, the Treksports provide a moderate barefoot feeling. There are a few other models that are thinner and allow for a little more freedom than the TrekSports, such as the running specific See Ya and the Best Buy winning, casual Vibram FiveFingers Alitza. There are others in our test group that provide the same or less freedom. While these rank in the middle of the pack for barefoot feeling, they still allow flexibility for your toes and good ground sensitivity. We concluded that they hit the sweet spot that balances protection with barefoot feeling. The point of wearing a "barefoot" shoe instead of actually going around barefoot is that shoes provide some degree of protection for your feet while still allowing for extreme mobility. The Treksports are the prime example of this balance.
The TrekSports provide average warmth for a FiveFinger shoe. They have a thin layer of EVA foam on the bottom that helps insulate your feet on chilly fall days, but they also have highly breathable mesh uppers that don't provide much insulation to keep your feet warm in colder weather. If you think you'd want to use these shoes regularly in colder weather, ordering a size larger and wearing them with socks would likely be necessary. If cold weather running is your thing, the lightly insulated Vibram FiveFingers Lontra - Women's might be better for you.
The tread on this shoe is versatile and grippy. Like most of the other shoes we tested, the tread rubber is made of the durable and proven TC-1 Vibram rubber. The lug design allows for good traction on dirt roads and trails. The TrekSports received the second highest score for traction, coming in just behind the trail running specific Vibram Spyridon LS - Women's.
The TrekSports ranked third for protection. They've got full uppers that are effective at keeping debris from getting inside the shoe and they've got 4 mm of Vibram rubber on the sole and a 4 mm of EVA foam to cushion your foot and protect your feet a little from sharp objects. This helps make them robust enough to take on rugged singletrack trails.
Like most FiveFingers, the bottoms of your feet can get sweaty in these shoes because you typically don't wear socks, and there's a layer of non-breathable rubber everywhere. However, these shoes have a hook-and-loop Velcro closure which does a great job of keeping them securely on your foot and prevents them from sliding around. Similar to the Vibram FiveFingers KSO - Women's, there are a few different materials that are used to make these uppers. Near the toes, there is a finer woven mesh that is durable and helps keep out more trail dust. The top part is a highly-breathable mesh that allows sweat and heat to escape in warm conditions.
The TrekSports rank high for comfort. The hook-and-loop Velcro closure system keeps the shoe snugly fit and secure on your foot. While the TrekSports are very similar to the KSOs, there are a few added comfort features on the TrekSports such as extra padding at the back of the heel/Achilles area, as well as under the Velcro strap. There is also a thin reinforced layer over the toes, increasing the durability and life of this model. Although there are a few extra comfy trimmings on the TrekSport that give it an edge over the KSOs, the Velcro strap seems to be a bit shorter. If you have high arches, you may be at the far end of the spectrum needed for adjustment.
These shoes are another FiveFinger that is simple and basic. They only come in black/charcoal and besides the few small pieces of reflective material on the strap and heel and the low-key Vibram name on near the big toe, they have no other graphics or dramatic colors. This is perfect for those who perfer to wear their barefoot shoes discreetly. If you would rather have bright colors and flashy graphics, check out the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO - Women's.
This is the most versatile pair of barefoot shoes we tested. We don't find them to excel at one specific use, but they work great on rugged trail conditions while at the same time they are lightweight and breathable enough to wear at the gym, on pavement, or even around town. We think you can wear these for any athletic activity where you want barefoot shoes: running, hiking, yoga, etc.
These shoes price in just around $99.95. While it isn't the cheapest of the shoes we tested, for a shoe that is as versatile as the TrekSports, it makes them a pretty good deal. Because of the reinforced toes and the burly sole, this pair is more durable than some of the lighter, thinner models, so we predict you will get many miles of use from these shoes before they wear out.
Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport
Vibram FiveFingers EL-X
Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS and Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO - Women's
Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO and Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO - Women's
The TrekSports are the best overall performer of the barefoot shoes we tested here, and are suitable for the widest range of functions. They provide excellent traction and strike an elegant balance between protection and barefoot feel. This versatility wins the Treksports our Editors' Choice award for the best all-around barefoot shoe.
— Sarah Hegg
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Most recent review: July 4, 2014
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