An unfathomably lightweight barefoot-style walking boot that is also eco- and vegan-friendly
Be a responsible consumer AND help your body work in the way it should by stepping into the ultra-lightweight and eco-friendly Vivobarefoot Magna Trail hiking boots. With a durable nylon upper that is made from recycled plastic waste, these highly water resistant, all-terrain shoes are ideal for day hiking on forgiving trails, making you feel nimble and connected to the trail. Their not-so-outdoorsy style also makes them very well suited to everyday use.
Vivobarefoot Magna Trail: The stats
|Weight:||500g per pair (women’s)|
|Waterproof:||Highly water resistant|
|Uppers:||Nylon made from recycled plastic waste|
Features of the Vivobarefoot Magna Trail
UpperThe minimal design of the upper fabric is constructed of nylon that is made of recycled PET. It is also highly water resistant (pretty close to fully waterproof), and is highly durable.
Though only thin, the outsole has a puncture resistant layer that is 5 times more resistant than standard soles of the same thickness. The multi-directional lugs are shallow compared with traditional hiking boots, but plenty deep enough to provide great grip on rocky surfaces.
There is a removable insole that adds 3.5mm of insulation to the soles of the shoes. The outlast thermal regulator insole also features reflective foil to keep your toes warmer during the cooler months. In fact, the insole technology apparently provides 3 times more warmth than regular insoles!
The toe box is vast, providing a ton of room to let your toes splay out. This helps you use your feet in a more natural way and also contributes to your balance. Plus, there is a rubber toe protector on the outside of the shoes — a nice addition to make your feet feel a little more protected in the minimalist shoes.
The laces are slightly crimped/curly. This helps them stay well done up and makes them easy to adjust. The lacing system also features metal eyelets at the ankle and tough plastic eyelets further down.
The neoprene ankle sock fits snuggly to your feet preventing dust and debris from entering the boots. This fit gives a load of freedom and flexibility through the ankles, helping them move and work as naturally as possible.
Vivobarefoot Magna Trail review
I’ll be honest, I was a little resistant to try out barefoot-style hiking boots. There are some fundamental features missing from these lightweight boots that mean they can only just be called “boots”. Plus, they’re so far from what I’m used to wearing to hike in that I was worried they’d leave me limping my way back to the trailhead never wanting to hike again.
However, since even my first steps in them I’ve been pleasantly surprised. And though there are most certainly types of hiking where I wouldn’t wear these, I love wearing them if I want to get places fast, when it’s fairly flat and dry terrain or when I’m likely to be on my feet all day, but not necessarily hiking.
First up, let’s talk about support. If you’re used to regular hiking boots with high ankles, stiff soles and arch support then your feet and ankles will feet totally naked to start with in the Magna Trails. They provide very little support at all. But that’s kind of their point! They’re designed to make your feet and ankles do the work they’re supposed to do, and I kinda like that.
Leading up to my first wear of these I’d been running in zero-drop trail runners (totally flat across the whole sole). This means that my calves were slightly conditioned to the effects of the flat-soled Magna Trails. However, my calves still felt ‘worked’ after the first outing. The more I’ve worn them, the better this has become.
As for ankle stability… I found this really interesting. Because the sole is so thin, your heel and ankle are as close to the ground as they could possibly be, short of wearing no shoes at all. This means that if you do ‘go over’ on your ankle, you’ve really got nowhere to fall to — you’re already at ground-zero! Yes, your ankles work harder than normal because of this, but they soon get used to it.
The relatively shallow lugs aren’t the best on muddy, wet trails. They struggle to shed the mud making each step rather slippy. On dry rocks, however, they are super grippy making me feel really confident hopping from one rock to another.
Comfort and fit
I found the fit to be about a half size too big. I usually wear a UK 4.5-5. These are a UK size 4 and they still feel very spacious inside. I initially felt like my feet moved around lots inside the boots, and my feet had to work extra hard to grip. But this has gotten better the more I’ve worn them, and I guess, the stronger my feet have become. As mentioned, there’s also a ton of room in the toe box for your toes to splay and help grip.
The sole is fairly thin, and on rocky/gravelly trails I can feel the ground a little too much for my liking. It’s nice to feel what you’re treading on and feel a connection with the ground, and this is especially important when the boots don’t help out on the stability front. However, I don’t enjoy having to be careful where I tread, which is the case on certain trails.
Up on the grassy moorland this is no problem at all. My feet feel wonderfully connected with the ground, making the most of the natural cushioning provided by the soft terrain.
Vivobarefoot claim that the Magna Trails are “Pretty damn close to waterproof”. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I rather think they’re being a little modest about this. I’ve worn things that claim full waterproofness that don’t perform as well as these. In wet grass and splashing through puddles they’re amazing. Even walking through shallow streams your feet come out totally dry. And because of the sock-fit at the ankle you can actually afford to go as deep as you dare right up to the ankle cuff.
What I love the most about the Vivobarefoot Magna Trails
I really love how nimble I feel wearing the Magna Trails. They are so lightweight that I barely notice them on my feet and they make me want to trot along and jog occasionally when I wear them.
I also really enjoy their small footprint… in every sense of the word! They are vegan-friendly and are constructed of nylon made from recycled plastic waste. Big thumbs up for this.
What I don’t love so much about the Vivobarefoot Magna Trails
Though the sock-fit helps to make your feet feel secure in the boots and protected from grit etc getting into the boots, it also means that it takes a little more effort to get them on and off than I would prefer. That’s not to say it’s a difficult process. It just could be easier!
I also found that the fabric across the tops of my feet (where my toes bend) is very rigid. The result is that when I walk, a stiff seam is created here that pushes into the tops of my feet. This may not be much of an issue for most wearers, however, I have an uncomfortable scar on my foot, right where the shoes crease!
For those looking to get back to using your body in a more natural way, stepping into the
Vivobarefoot Magna Trail hiking boots will only be a positive forward leap. They provide minimal support, yet are comfortable and lightweight making you feel nimble on the trail.
If you’re taking on more technical multi-day hikes that are likely to be on muddy and challenging terrain, you may want to opt for something with better grip and more protection. But for everyday wear and day hiking on moderate terrain, these stylish and eco-friendly boots may be the only boots you really need in your life.
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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.