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Vibram Spyridon LS - Women's Review

Vibram Spyridon LS
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Price:  $120 List
Pros:  Superb traction, great barefoot feel vs. high protection ratio
Cons:  Unattractive graphics
Manufacturer:   Vibram
By Sarah Hegg ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 8, 2015
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69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Barefoot feeling - 30% 6
  • Warmth - 10% 7
  • Traction - 15% 9
  • Foot Protection - 15% 9
  • Breathability - 10% 6
  • Comfort - 15% 6
  • Style - 5% 4

The Skinny

The Spyridons are a trail-specific running shoe that give you unique protection from trail obstacles. These shoes received a previous award here at OGL, the Top Pick award for women's trail running shoes. They offer similar defenses against rugged mountain conditions to the Vibram FiveFingers Lontra and the Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport - Women's, but with a high specialization for trail running in warm temperatures.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Spyridons are Vibram's first trail-running specific shoe. What sets it apart from some of Vibram's other trail-tough shoes is a layer of molded nylon mesh in the midsole, which serves the purpose of dispersing impact over a wider area of your foot.

Performance Comparison


Beth Johnson getting the barefoot trail running experience in the Vibram Spyridon's.
Beth Johnson getting the barefoot trail running experience in the Vibram Spyridon's.

Barefoot Feeling


In this review, the Spyridons rated in the middle for the barefoot feel metric. Compared to some of the other shoes we tested such as the Vibram FiveFingers Alitza and the Vibram FiveFingers See Ya - Women's, they are noticeably less flexible and heavier. But they aren't as stiff as the Lontras. When compared to the TrekSports, which have a thicker outsole than the Spyridons, the Spyridons have more ground sensitivity. They provide the classic barefoot feel of five-fingers while giving more protection than lighter five-finger shoes.

Warmth


The Spyridon's don't have any insulation like the Lontras, but they do have uppers that cover most of your foot, so that helps keep your feet warmer than other models, like the Alitzas. The uppers are very breathable, which also helps to keep your feet dry, which also equates to warmer feet when you use them in chillier temperatures.

Traction


These shoes have the best traction overall of all the five-fingers we tested. They are the only models that have a multi-directional tread to keep you from slipping around, even at high speeds in a large range of surface types. The low profile lugs are more tightly spaced than on the Lontras or TrekSports, which helps avoid collecting a layer of mud on the bottom of your shoes in sloppy conditions.

Foot Protection


The Spyridons earned the second highest rating of all the shoes we tested for foot protection. They have a layer of nylon mesh in the midsoles that is similar to what is used in bullet-proof vests. This nylon mesh helps to disperse the impact of stones or sharp objects on the ground. While we were a bit skeptical that a layer of mesh would actually be able to do this — when put to the test head-to-head (or more accurately; foot-to-foot) with other barefoot/minimal trail-running shoes, the "rock block" effect did seem to subtly help disperse shock over a wider area of your foot.

Close up of the Spyridon midsole material that helps to disperse shock and impact.
Close up of the Spyridon midsole material that helps to disperse shock and impact.

Breathability


The Spyridon uppers are made of Coconut Active Fiber, which is a highly breathable and finely woven mesh. Unlike the KSOs and Treksports, the Spyridon's have a tighter-woven mesh over the entire upper part of the shoe. The lack of the more open mesh on the very top of the foot helps in keeping trail dust out. We did notice the bottom part of our feet getting a little sweaty (where the Vibram rubber is) but overall this shoe received an average score for breathability among the five-fingers we tested.

Comfort


We had no problems with any blisters or rubbing with the Spyridons. They have a snug, close fit that hugs your foot. They don't quite make you do a double take about whether you have shoes on or not, like the Alitza or See Ya, but they are still very comfortable. They received a moderate rating for comfort compared to the other five-finger shoes we tested.

Style


The graphics on the top part of the Spyridons are reflective, which is a handy safety feature. However, they also make sweeping curves across the top of your foot and accentuate the separate toe-ness of the five-finger style. If this is something you embrace, then you get added safety which also highlights the uniqueness of the five-fingers. The color of the Spyridon LS is a muted green, gray, and black. This color combo makes them a more subdued option compared to a few other shoes we tested, like the flashier Alitzas which feature a lot of pinks and purples, but they are not straight black like the TrekSports or KSOs.

The Vibram Spyridon LS. We aren't a huge fan of the looks or style of this shoe  but find the sensitivity to be unique  and they are surprisingly comfortable.
The Vibram Spyridon LS. We aren't a huge fan of the looks or style of this shoe, but find the sensitivity to be unique, and they are surprisingly comfortable.

Best Applications


The Spyridon's shine brightest on loose, rocky trails, whether running or hiking. You can also use them for road running or other outdoor exercise.

Value


For around $110, the Spyridons are on the upper end of the price spectrum. Given their great performance on trails and rugged conditions, we think they are a good value for this purpose.

Conclusion


The Spyridons provide outstandingfoot protection for a barefoot shoe, and the unique outsole technology gives extra protection without increasing the thickness of the rubber or foam in the outsole. If you are planning to use FiveFingers mostly for trail running or hiking, the Spyridons would be a great choice.

Other Versions


Vibram also makes a Velcro closure Spyridon for women.


Sarah Hegg