Vivobarefoot Test: The Tracker Firm Ground
This barefoot shoe test is about the Vivobarefoot Tracker Firm Ground. A real hiking shoe that promises barefoot feelings. I bought the shoes last year before autumn and have worn it as a daily shoe during autumn and winter. With daily, I do not only mean shopping in the city. I tested the shoes while hiking and bushcrafting. Read here if the Vivobarefoot Tracker is something for you, why I loved it and why my girlfriend sent hers right back.
- Beautiful color
- A shoe that lasts.
- Not comfortable for everybody
- Too warm?
- The barefoot feeling could be better
- Safety in difficult terrain
- Robust materials
- Not just suitable for off-road use
First impression and appearance
What can you say? A good-looking high leather hiking boot. I have the brown model. It looks really valuable with the typical Vivobarefoot Firm Ground sole. Other hikers will not see at first sight that this is a barefoot shoe. At second glance they will wonder about the sole. So I was allowed to answer some questions in a hiking group.
The leather has a somewhat rough look, but not as rough as suede. At the beginning you can see every scratch. Even if you go over the leather with your fingernail backside, it leaves a trace. But this disappears after a few days in use.
With the price of that shoe, you can expect something. The Vivobarefoot Tracker Firm Ground fulfills all expectations.
The sole is perfectly glued. No gaps and no glue residues that stick out. All stitching is very clean and of high quality. All eyelets for the laces are also perfectly attached.
The manufacturer promises water resistance. I can confirm this too. There is no need to avoid puddles anymore. I simply go through. One actually expects that some water will penetrate at the stitching. But my feet stay dry. I had never minded getting wet feet when I roamed the forest after a rain. With this shoe, I now know what it really means when your feet stay dry. From now on I do not want to miss it anymore.
Fit and wearing comfort
Now here is the critical point. We have a divided opinion here. My girlfriend and I ordered these shoes together. While I’m satisfied, she sent hers back. To hers first.
My girlfriend exchanged the shoes twice and finally returned them. Her first order was in her size. Perfect for her feet, the toes had room. But the shoe was too tight on the back of the foot. With every step the shoe pressed into the back of both feet. You wouldn’t expect that at €230. So she exchanged the shoes for the next size. Here she had the same problem. So one more size. The problem was gone, but the shoe was too big now. She had to lift the feet now more, in order not to get hooked. So she sent it back and ordered a competing product from Zaqq, which she was immediately satisfied with and still is. Here a big praise to Vivobarefoot, they took the shoes back without further ado.
But now to my experience. I ordered them in my size. And I must say that from the first moment they were on, they felt like they were made for me. There is no squeezing and I didn’t have to wear the shoes in before they fitted. So here it was love at first sight.
But what about the temperature in winter? The manufacturer sells it as winter proof. I can only confirm that too. Sitting quietly in the cold or standing for a long time at the Christmas market are very pleasant. But, in barefoot shoes the feet warm themselves in motion. This means that while the climate inside the shoe is excellent in winter, it gets very warm on the way in autumn and spring.
It does get warm, but I never had the feeling of sweaty feet when I took my shoes off.
It’s just a typical Vivobarefoot, you could say. But the barefoot feeling is different at the Tracker Firm Ground. Not to say bad.
It’s a barefoot shoe suitable for winter. The shoe is padded at the bottom to ensure insulation. The shoe also has an excellent insole for better protection against cold.
And there the barefoot feeling comes back again. You can take out the insole and the barefoot feeling is better. Not quite as good as the Primus Trail firm Ground, but still good. So you can enjoy a decent barefoot walking shoe in the warmer seasons.
But what is typical for Vivobarefoot is the generous space in the toe chamber. Also, my wide feet feel comfortable. With every step the toes can spread without restrictions.
Slip resistance of the sole
The sole is Vivos Firm Ground sole. That means a profile of 3 mm depth. During my forays through the forest I always had good hold. I am also sure that this shoe can do the same as the Primus Trail firm ground. There you can see in the test how good the sole is.
Inside is a lot of plastic. You should know that. Is there anything left without. One of my criticisms is always when artificial material is used in a shoe. At least it keeps the feet warm and dry.
The good thing is that the feet don’t smell. At least for me. As I found out, foot odor can also be caused by diet. In the test period I changed my diet and I do not have any body odor at all. So I don’t know what to think.
On the outside of the shoe, Pittard leather is used. A carefully tanned leather from Great Britain. Very high quality and robust.
Possible areas of use
As already mentioned a few times in the test, this is a nice pair of shoes. They are not only suitable for hiking. Also, for the city and for shopping. Because they don’t look too booty (is that even a word?) nobody is wondering why you wear hiking shoes.
Now to the actual purpose. Hiking.
This is now my first choice when it comes to walking in the forest. Because I sneak a lot through the undergrowth. The puncture-proof sole gives me a good feeling of security. I know from underneath nothing can get through.
Because the shoe goes over the ankle, nothing can get in from above. How often have I walked down a mountain and the dirt got into my shoe. Finally, this has an end. In addition, ticks now have a harder time getting at my precious blood.
As robust as the shoe is, as flexible it is. When I build my camp in the forest, the shoe makes everything comfortable. A deep squat and kneeling also makes the shoe easy to follow, without pressing.
When I have built my camp and sit in the cold, the feet stay warm. Because you are not allowed to light a fire in Germany, I depend on a warm shoe in this regard. With the Primus Trail this was only possible with cold feet.
The shoe is absolutely suitable for Bushcraft and more.