Ok... so I'm probably one of the last to put up a review for the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail... but better late than never! I've had these since late May, and so I've probably logged more miles in them than I normally do before putting up a review. Summer kind of got away from me... road trips, forest fires too close for comfort, and the usual distractions. So, working on getting caught up on reviews...
One thing I noticed right after the Breatho's arrived was that I was having some cool color coordination going on, purely by coincidence. I'm digging the red/black/white/gray combo ofBedrock, Vivobarefoot, and Injinji!
Anyway... getting distracted already. This is the second pair of Vivobarefoot shoes that I have reviewed. Back in December, I reviewed the Neo Trails here. When the Breatho Trail was first announced, it was positioned as a warm weather version of the Neo Trail. I really do love my Neo Trails, but they are certainly a cold weather/snow running shoe. The Breatho Trail is similar to the Neo's, especially with respect to the proprioception, the sole and tread pattern.
However, as you can see above, the outer is certainly lighter weight, and much more breathable (hence the naming convention I am sure!). They really do drain pretty well.. I had no issues after stepping into a creek or two with them drying out (of course the lack of humidity in Colorado is a plus) Also, the Breatho's don't have a separate tongue like the Neo Trails, but instead are constructed with in a one piece style.
Also, the lacing is similar to the Neo Trails, but the Breatho adds a "Lock-Lacing" system shown above to help secure the tension of the laces after you have set them. I found that this worked pretty well, however, just like the Neo Trails, if I didn't double knot the laces, they would almost always come untied during a run. Not sure if it is due to the slickness of the material, or the fact that it seems the laces are too long. Regardless, its a minor issue.
The tread pattern is the same as on the Neo Trails... I really love the lugs on these. They grab really well. However, I wouldn't run much on pavement with these, aa it seems it doesn't take much to begin wearing them down. We'll see how long they hold up with just trail running.
As for specifications/features, below are the details as posted on the Vivobarefoot site:
As far as the sole goes, my only wish is that Vivobarefoot would incorporate some kind of rock plate, similar to that in the Merrell Trail Glove. For longer runs, and especially on rough trails, I've grown to like just a little bit more protection. A 1mm rock plate wouldn't take much away from the proprioception, but would help disperse some of the shock from nastier terrain. But, it's not a show stopper for me... just a nice to have.
Like the Neo Trails, the Breatho Trail includes a 3mm removable insole. I removed them in my Neo Trails, however I chose to keep them in the Breatho. Why? Well.. to my chagrin, there is a sizing discrepancy between models. My Neo Trails are a size 43. A good fit, but on my right foot, my second toe is just a tiny bit longer, and it had a tendency to rub and push on the front of the Neo Trails... only bothered me when walking, and not as noticeable when running. So, I thought I should order the Breatho one size bigger to alleviate that issue. Well, I missed the notation on the Vivobarefoot website that says the Breathos run one size bigger, so order down one. So, the result is, this pair is probably a tad too big for me. So, to compensate, I kept the insoles in, and I also wear a slightly thicker (original weight) Injinji Toe Sock. So the moral is, pay attention when ordering!
|Before run... so clean!|
Based on my prior Vivobarefoot experience, I took a chance on these and went on my longest run to date at that time. I ran 10.5 miles on Waldo Canyon Trail. As you may know, this trail is now closed due to the terrible Waldo Canyon Fire that started on 6/23, just days after my run. So, I'll always remember that run as a first for a double digit distance, and as my last opportunity to get a glimpse of a truly beautiful trail run.
|one of my favorite views of Pikes Peak from the trail|
The run went really well... I really appreciated the traction of the lugs on the steeper climbs on loose gravel. Also, overall, the shoe felt very comfortable. Again, my only negatives were that they came untied once (I forgot to double knot), and I nailed a few really good rocks with the ball of my feet, and even with the raised lugs, it smarted pretty good. Hence, my wish for a simple and effective rock plate. But beyond that, my feet stayed really cool (I ran with Injinji lightweight socks), and I didn't develop any hot spots at all. Didn't run into any water on this one, but as I noted earlier, the Breathos handle that well also.
|Love the quartz outcroppings...|
And of course, the Breatho Trails have made numerous trips up the Manitou Incline, and back down Barr Trail. Right now, the Barr Trail is very busy with runners getting their last training runs in before the Pikes Peak Ascent, and Pikes Peak Marathon this weekend... the Marathon is on my list for next August... and who knows, the Breatho Trails may be the shoe to make that run with me.
|Sunrise at the top o' the Incline...|
So, overall, I am really happy with the Breatho Trails as a great warmer weather minimalist trail shoe. I highly recommend them if you are looking for a minimalist trail shoe with great traction and proprioception. They retail for $90 on the Vivobarefoot website, a pleasant reduction from the Neo Trails which now retail at $115. My guess is that these shoes will continue to work well into the cooler fall, but when the snow flies and gets deep, I know I'll be back to the Neo Trails :-)
As always, if I've missed anything or you have any questions please let me know!