Wanted: A pair of hiking shoes that are waterproof, lightweight, multi-functional and suitable for all seasons.
The Trail Freak II’s from Vivobarefoot seemed to fit the bill when I read the product description. It included words and phrases like “durable”, “lightweight” and “keeps water out”.
I was on a quest for a pair of shoes that could handle all types of terrain in Ecuador for my upcoming 2-week-long trip.
I needed shoes comfortable enough for several hour long walks on the cobbled streets of Quito and Cuenca, suitable for a climb up a 75-degree gradient staircase, and with the traction and durability for a hike through a rain-drenched animal farm in Tarqui and a possible hike in Cotopaxi National Park.
I had three pairs of shoes to choose from before embarking on my journey. Vivobarefoot’s Women’s Trail Freak II shoes ended up going with me to Ecuador.
- Waterproof – kept me warm and dry in the rain and at temperatures at around 40 degrees
- Flexible and easy to pack in a carry-on
- Suitable for all types of weather – rain, temperatures below 40 and above 70 degrees
- Looks good with jeans, shorts and yoga pants – I even wore them to a 5-star hotel for lunch
- Great everyday walking shoes
- Multi-functional – city streets, terrain, farm, dirt road
- Good grip on trails and off road, even when it’s wet
Vivobarefoot Women’s Trail Freak II runs a little smaller than my usual shoes like the Columbia and Toms. I chose size 38 (Euro size) which is US size 7.5. My usual size is US size 7. I suggest going for half a size bigger than your usual shoe size. So, if you are size 9, you would go for 9.5, Euro size 40.
I wore these shoes with a pair of thin ped socks, socks that just touched the bottom of the ankle. The Trail Freaks are suitable to wear with no-show socks and liner socks as well. I wouldn’t wear them without socks since most waterproof shoes do not have the same breathability as non-waterproof shoes.
The shoes have removable insoles with minimal cushioning. If you’ve worn TOMS Alpargatas shoes, you will have no problem getting used to Vivobarefoot minimalist shoes. On the other hand, you’ll need some time to adjust to these barefoot and lightweight shoes if your usual footwear is heavy and more cushioned.
With burly lugs, the Trail Freaks are better suited to wet grass than pavement.
- Slippery on wet pavement (concrete and asphalt) and wet roads – I had a hard time walking on the wet sidewalks in Cuenca, Ecuador. Though the shoes worked well in all terrain, they didn’t perform on wet sloping streets and pavements. The traction is better suited to off road purists, hence the name Trail Freak.
- Need time to adjust and break into the shoes. It took me a few days to adjust to these shoes, as the top of the shoes felt a little stiff at the beginning. When I started wearing the shoes, the top of the shoes between the lace and the toe creased and bent as I walked. These creases dug onto the top of my feet. After two days of wearing at home, the shoes molded to my feet and immediately I felt comfortable and never had that issue again.
In prior travels, I’ve worn Columbia hiking shoes that were heavy and bulky. After wearing the lightweight (less than 2 pounds per pair) Trail Freak II shoes from Vivobarefoot, I must say, I’m now a fan. The light weight and flexibility means I can pack along another lightweight pair of shoes with me when I travel. Most of all, I like the multi-functionality of the shoes.
Vivobarefoot Women’s Trail Freak II cost retail $142.
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The Vivobarefoot Women’s Trail Freak II shoes were provided for this review. As always, this Vivobarefoot Women’s Trail Freak II review contains only my honest views and opinions. Some links found in this review are affiliate links, meaning that we get commission if you decide to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. This helps to fund the site.