I had high hopes for these Breatho shoes. The fact they didn’t visually scream “barefoot running shoes” — meaning they looked more like a regular running shoes and less like the hind feet of a creature with webbed extremities — had me feeling optimistic.
My training schedule was ramping, and I was routinely running through all the various aches and pains. These shoes might, I figured, be more forgiving on my tight calves and tender tendons than other zero-drop, lightweight running shoes I’ve tried.Vivobarefoot has named its latest trail shoe the “Breatho” because of the breathability of the sweat-wicking neoprene mesh upper, and for its ability to dry out quickly.
Vivobarefoot has named its latest trail shoe the “Breatho” because of the breathability of the sweat-wicking neoprene mesh upper, and for its ability to dry out quickly. There’s hardly anything to the upper. It was so narrow and small next to my regular running shoes that I was doubtful it would fit. But fit it did, in a very snug and comfortable way.
The design resembles the offspring of a wetsuit and a backpack: lots of neoprene and criss-crossing lines, as the locking lace system uses a series of zig-zag eyelets. As is standard with Vivo’s shoes, the color selections leave something to be desired.
Walking around in the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trails, I was struck by how comfortable they were. Running felt the same: as pleasant as can be expected given the barely-there construction of the shoe, and considering the need to focus on a quicker turnover and mid-foot landing. But for the minimalist runner, those mental gymnastics are part of the fun.
Well, that’s where the fun ended. The day after running in the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trails, I awoke to what felt like rocks in my calves, and I was apprehensive about slipping into them again when it came time for another test run.The design resembles the offspring of a wetsuit and a backpack: lots of neoprene and criss-crossing lines.
Minimalist running purists may turn up their noses at the 2.5-millimeter sole with 4.5-millimeter lugs. There’s also a 3-millimeter insole that barefoot adherents can easy remove if they wish.
But for me, the extra comfort provided by the combination of the insole, sole, lugs and the TPU toe guard were a blessing that allowed me to run without having to carefully evaluate each footfall on the trail. I just ran without thinking too much about the terrain, and I managed to avoid the sharp pains (and four-letter words) that usually result whenever my foot finds a stick, stone or some other protrusion. The lugs also provide a good grip on the trail.
Objectively, I can see how the Breatho Trails would be a huge hit for dedicated barefoot runners who want to trot through the woods. The material and construction are the best I’ve seen in a pair of zero-drop trail shoes to date, and they have a nice, grippy feel on the dirt. But while their comfort level is higher than most minimal shoes, they’re not very forgiving, even with the lugs and the insole absorbing some shock.
So, seasoned off-roaders will love them. But those with tight calves and nagging soreness, or those just dabbling in barefoot trail running should stick with something more forgiving.
WIRED More protection — and less wincing and cursing — than other minimal trail shoes. Only 9.6 ounces. 100 percent vegan. Excellent breathability. Priced more reasonably ($90) than Vivo’s other shoes.
TIRED Not for the faint of heart (or soft of sole). Colors and styling are garish. Rubber sole lugs won’t appeal to purists.
Article by Sara Peschel (c) Product Reviews - Read full story here.