Vivobarefoot Off Road mid


* Ace Member *
Mar 18, 2007
This is an initial first impression review because i just bought mine and greased the leather so it's usable tomorrow at first.

So far without playing in these they appear to be the best shoes for disc golf i've tried on my feet. And the flexibility in the hands twisting the front up is convincing if a little less than with Vibram Five Fingers. The tread is killerwith V shaped 4 mm tall lugs that are directed to stop sliding on the heel forward and against sliding back with the ball of the foot. These are sortakinda barefoot shoes but masked as a hiking shoe. The last ain't as wide as with other (tremendously spaceous) Vivobarefoots and i picked one Euro size larger shoe than i normally use. IDK how that translates to US sizes. Half or full size i haven't checked out. Normal size number pushed the big and little toes up because the last is not that wide and i like most Finns have wide front of the foot. And the sole to side transition is round inside the shoe. The ankle suits me fine again following the Finnish average of having thin heel so that might make these too tight for some.

As with all minimal/barefoot shoes these tax the feet and the legs way more than your average sneakers and an adjustment period is mandatory. I'm overweight and definitely not in shape so i really feel the workout i've gotten from my Vibram Komodosports and i can say without a shadow of a doubt that you can injure yourself overdoing training with minimal shoes in the beginning before you've grown enough muscle and tendon tissue to handle the stress. Check out what the shoe manufacturers say about proper technique of movement and easing into minimalist style shoes. I learned a lot about running and switched style which made running more efficient and way more fun.

Being a minimalist style shoe the shock absorption is was smaller than you're accustomed to with sneakers. In disc golf it is an advantage pivoting more freely and creating more power from the feet and the ankle thanks to the minimal (non existing) drop from heel to ball of the foot. Elasticity in form is needed in DG any way in the x steps so adding to that with the small height of the sole+insole is just a bonus. I don't guarantee that you'll throw farther with minimal shoes because grip slips hold me back and cap my D ATM i think.

WATERPROOF in a minimalist shoe SAY WHAT???? That is great for reducing smell perhaps not for coolness in hotter weather.I can't say about breathability yet but in the store it felt ok but not VFF good. Better than normal sneakers. I bought these for outside summer use but summer rains will probably bring these out. The tremendous thing about being shaped like a normal shoe, unlike Five Fingers, is that you can use water proof socks in these and my Seal Skinz fit into the same size that is usable as is with the insole in place. That means i can use these into winter but can't tell how cold temperature is too cold with the Seal Skinz yet. And the hotness decides in how warm summer days these are useful. I imagine that these won't kill your feet in anything but the hottest weather. The mid tall ankle ensures great mobility even with the Seal Skinz.

I didn't find info about where the waterproof membrane is located on the website of the manufacturer and the paper describing it was not present in my shoes. Other models from the same manufacturer have the membrane against the skin so it seems that one must clip toe nails religiously and file them round and use socks that are slick enough to not abrade.

I'll tell about my experiences after i've thrown in them. I imagine these are great for longevity because they are light albeit heavier than VFFS at 240 grams each with the insole and 230 without.
Looking forward to a report. Looking for something in the minimalist category that can hold up better than VFFs in wet/mud/snow conditions here in Maine. I almost pulled the trigger on the Neo Trail (essentially a low top version of this shoe) but was kind of unsure how the lugs would play when throwing and wondered about durability of the sole especially on concrete tees. The Breatho Trail is (of course) a breathable version of the Neo Trail if you're looking for a better warm weather shoe to pair with the Off Road Mids. Hopefully you find the soles hold up well.

For another water-resistant (not water-proof) option, I picked up a pair of New Balance Minimus MO10. Even though they're only water-resistant, I've walked through dew-soaked grass and wet, low-laying grass areas with them and didn't leak through at all. The only complaint is in wet weather on rocks. The sole had no grip at all in those situations. I'm hoping that the soul just needs to break in and get scuffed up a bit to gain more grip on smooth,wet surfaces. Good minimalist, water-resistant shoe otherwise.
Welcome i forgot to mention another pro to these shoes. That is especially important in wet conditions. The bottom of the sole to the side transition ain't a sharp corner so the shoe doesn't cut into soggy ground as easily like my older wet weather shoe Lowa Renegade GTX low. A shoe that wedges itself into ground can stop abruptly in place making foot pivoting impossible. Because there is momentum involved all the momentum goes into twisting the ankle, knee etc. No such trouble should arise with the Vivos. Toe heel toe and ball of the foot pivots are easy and unobstructed based on doing both at the store.

I don't know about the durability yet but the sole feels tough enough. It is halfway between VFF Spyridon and the older VFF models with the sometimes too hard and slick soles for concrete tees like KSO, Trek and Komodosport in rubber hardness. So if that indication is correct it should have no trouble in wear. I'd be disappointed in them if the sole didn't hold up because these were designed for off trail in the rough running. They start with the very deep 4 mm lugs and there is additional 2.5 mm of sole above them.

I put on the Vivo Breathes and they sure are well ventilated. I looked through the side of that shoe :) But i have had no trouble with 5 finger socks with my Komodosports in summer heat. Sweating, hotness and smell are more of an issue without the socks but a non issue with the socks i have. They contain silver nitrate i think and it is antibacterial. So my VFFs smell less than regular sneakers :)

The Trail has a different harder material much less aggressive tread which based on Komodosport experience is likely to slip and slide on concrete and wet rocks and grass at times at high speeds.

How minimalist is an issue to some so beware that these are less minimalist (stiffer sole and about two thirds of the way from heel to front than the stiffer VFFs not to mention the 1mm sole ultra minimalist original minimalist shoes. The upside is that the rougher the terrain the better you are protected against kicking something or having a stick penetrate the side or hitting rocks. My home course is rocky and i always need to be aware of each step and obstacles with the VFFs. Even more so after getting a marathon runners nail except it has hung on for almost 3 months after breaking from the root. I don't think that i need to worry with the Vivos. More brain capacity to throwing :)

Finland is wet and snowy 8 months per year and standing in a puddle and sloshing around plus being immersed in snow is the norm and the summer is a brief respite in between so water repellency is pretty much a summer only benefit. Smells might be increased due to less ventilation than the best shoes. And for most of the year they'll get mud water inside or snow so they're gonna stink up soon. Not to mention coldness from water/mud solution sloshing around inside the shoe. Water proofing thank you very much.
Morning jog in 56 F with mock run up 100 % + x step and no disc 100 % arm throws slid a little on moved grass, none whatsoever on asphalt with sand and small rocks (1/10th of an inch in diameter roughly) and sand. No sweating or heat issues. I ran into a puddle on purpose and ran on sloped rocks and had a minimal slip once so the tackiness is too little for those conditions and there the Spyridon probably holds an advantage. I was lured to throw on a rocky course built around a ski jumping hill in 65 F and they became a little hot and sweaty so they don't ventilate nearly as well as VFFs but that was to be expected. No grip problems whatsoever.

You can feel the lugs a little walking and running but they don't bother me with the insole on YMMV but you need to be aware of that if you wanna remove the insole or demand the purest thinnest sole. Then neither this or the Spyridon is the best option.

In shoes this rugged and expensive one shouldn't expect to see any wear with so little use and luckily i don't.

There are pros and cons to both shoes and carrying both might give the best features of minimalist shoes for different courses and conditions. I can wholeheartedly recommend Off Roads for running and disc golfing. Based on only in shop use the Spyridon should definitely be looked at too. I may yet buy them unless better models come out in later years. Now the Komodosports will have to do for a while being in tip top shape.
I was able to get minor slipping on the tee today. It required a) mud covering the lugs b) grass doing the same c) a tee with sand to 1/10" diameter rocks rolling between the concrete tee and the sole while i was running up and throwing at top power with what felt like a ball of the foot pivot. Thus eliminating the heel V shaped lugs from resisting sliding forward. Another point in favor of a heel pivot. The problems were minor and less than with any other shoe i've tried by a good deal. I'm very happy.
No wear so far but i can now confirm the finding of a runner reviewing these that when wet the grip ain't as outstanding on rocks as it is in other surfaces in other conditions. But wet rocks are bad in every shoe.
Still liking these, JR? Thinking about the mid or the hi for the winter months here.
If you get cold weather highs are probably the way to go but i can't tell how comfortable they are. There is another way and that is to use water proof socks that are warm like the Sealskinz. I like these still but the sole material is too hard to stay as grippy as possible in cold and/or wet weather or when there is sand or small pebbles on a hard surface. The pro to using the lows with Seal Skinz is that you can use the same shoes with better ventilation and no added bulk and mechanical resistance of the hi part all year round. in muddy conditions i've never encountered anything as grippy.

If you get the lows and try to stay warm with water proof thick socks i'd get the socks first and then try the shoes with the socks on both with the insole in and out of the shoes. So far no problem with the water proofing without using the Seal Skinz except once. The shoes are not warm enough for the coldest weather so warm socks are mandatory. I don't know how cold the water proofing membrane should be able to take so you need to take into account too.
34F water on ice and man these are slick. I fell over on uneven ice after the weekly i played. On the course there is plenty of snow and the wide toe box helps a lot in putting enough socks in to remain warm. I have very poor blood circulation in the extremeties so not having the feet being constrained by a too tight shoe helps a lot. With that said i had regular socks underneath Sealskinz and it got a bit cold toward the end of the session. Over 4 hours out within almost 5 hours. I bought large enough Sealskinz to hold thicker socks in without the feet being squeezed so i have the ability to put in thicker merino wool socks to acclimatize for colder weather.

I used Veriga chain/spike grip enhancers on the course for much less slipping than you'd expect from ice on rocks lying underneath the snow. And still in thicker snow i had slips when the spike gripped part of the snow detached from the underlying snow. I was surfing with a snow ball stuck underneath my shoes. Having a pliable sole and light for winter shoes with good grip with the Verigas it was the lightest weekly in winter ever. I cannot estimate how much of that is due to the shoes but they sure helped. I have lost 7 kilos of weight this year and have run and cycled and am in somewhat better shape.

The Verigas look exactly like Kahtoolas so they might be the manufacturer for Kahtoola or another brand buying from the same factory.

Some of the lugs have had some wear so despite the on the hard and slick side of sole&lug material they aren't as durable as one could imagine from feeling them. While not optimal for grip and durability these are probably the best soles around. At least i haven't found anything better yet.

Edit: The low top version of this shoe was all wet inside and i had a lot of snow stuck inside the pants too when i came home so water proof socks are a must even though the shoe is water proof. They are not water proof from snow creeping in between the shoe and the sock from up to down which is gonna happen automatically when there is more than a little snow on the ground.
I almost just ordered some Vivobarefoots, but ended up going for some New Balance Minimus MO20s. I liked the reviews a bit better and I've had really good luck with NB in the past. These will be my first barefoot shoe.
I'm interested so please give us a review for different temperatures for disc golfing and whatever ways you are using them. The Vivos have a hugely wide front and IIRC from earlier threads you need wide shoes and these sure fit the bill. I hope the NBs fit your feet.
These are what I got. They are waterproof suede. I should have them tomorrow. My biggest worry are the lugs, but that's what shoe goo is for.

that's not a barefoot shoe in my eyes. the sole is thicker than 4mm and it has a raised heel. They look good for DG though.

EDIT: I thought this was in the socks or no socks thread. I still think those shoes look good for DG.
New Balance brands it as a barefoot, but they may just be cashing in on the barefoot craze right now. One of the details said it was less than 4mm raised and only 1 or 2 mm drop from heel to toe.

I normally wear Asics Onituska Tigers and those have very little lift and drop. So I'm a little used to minimal shoes. But I always DG in keeps or Salomons
Yeah I read on the NB website about the 4mm drop from heel to toe etc. I guess I've been wearing these Altra's for too long. I walk funny when I have to put on "normal" shoes.

I always thought you had a wide foot Dave (being of large stature) and I wouldn't have picked you to wear Onituska Tigers.
I've wore tigers for about 5 or 6 years with running Nikes sprinkled in some, but mainly the Asics. I have weird feet. The ball of my foot is wide but the back half of my feet are skinny.
I actually got a sweet new pair of Asics a month ago. They at light gray and OKC thunder blue accents
you Okies really do love the Thunder. Maybe you guys should buy the Chiefs and breath some new life into them.
I wear TRUE Linkswear shoes 99% of the time. It's tough to find some "minimalist" style winter boots for snowblowing the driveway and stuff, and I still have some old sneakers I use for mowing the lawn, and the heel drop makes me feel like I'm wearing such high heels. Very weird.

I just got a pair of hiking shoes on sale for $42.99 for more summertime disc golf. They have massive heel drop and are far and away NOT minimalist, but whatever - I don't want to wear out my TRUE Linkswear shoes when disc golfing, or get them too muddy, so they'll be fine.

Honestly I spend 90% of my waking hours without shoes on at all, so I'll be fine. :)

P.S. Those NB Minimus are "minimalist" enough. Not "barefoot" per se, but <= 4mm heel drop is good enough for me to consider wearing. My Brooks Pure Connects, Pure Flows, and my Saucony Kinvara 2s are all 4mm I believe. My Adidas toe shoes and my Vibram KomodoSports are 0mm of course... ;) and the TRUEs are all 0mm.