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Product Review - VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker Textile FG2

Updated: Jan 14


Pair of VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker Textile FG2's on window

I was in the market for a new pair of hiking boots and was originally attracted to this shoe by it's sleek minimalist design. Traditional hiking boots are CLUNKY for lack of a better term. I wanted something waterproof that provided freedom of movement but with some amount of protection for the foot. Enter the VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker Textile FG2!!!


Unfortunately, the shoe is no longer available on the US website but still can be found available from other retailers and countries. However, based on my review below, I would not hesitate to recommend any of the other VIVOBAREFOOT hikers based on your needs. Warning, if you are new to barefoot or minimalist shoes, I would not just buy a pair and go hiking in these right off the bat. In a subsequent post, I'll give you everything you need to know about crafting your barefoot journey.


Disclaimers:

  1. This post is NOT sponsored and I purchased these shoes with my own money.

  2. I DO receive affiliate commissions which help to support this blog should you decide to buy any shoes from VIVOBAREFOOT here.

  3. Any views and opinions expressed are my own and are not affiliated with VIVOBAREFOOT or USA Powerlifting.


TESTING METHODOLOGY

National Forest Marker

To test this product, I put these shoes through a full getaway in North Shenandoah. Specifically, I used these shoes everywhere for several days including a hike along the Orkney Springs Trail on Day 1 and a hike around Lake Laura on Day 2. This review will compare the product description or claims against what I experienced during the getaway. I will also review against other criteria that will help you decide if this product, or similar offerings from VIVOBAREFOOT, are appropriate for you. Orkney Springs and Lake Laura trail stats are outlined below for reference.


Trail Marker

Orkney Springs Trail

  • Length: 5.2 mi

  • Difficulty: Black Diamond

  • Trail Type: Out & back

  • Elevation Gain: 1,374 feet


Lake Laura Trail

  • Length: 2.5 miles

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Trail Type: Loop

  • Elevation Gain: 223 feet


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker Textile FG2 right on ledge

Below is a description of the product straight from the Canadian website as of the time of this post. I will evaluate the product against the three (3) claims enumerated below.


Specifications

  • FIRM GROUND 2 OUTSOLE Stand firm on multiple terrains — with extra grip, durability and traction.

  • THERMAL INSOLE The Thermal Insole has built-in temperature-regulating technology that absorbs, stores and releases heat. This smart thermal layer responds to the naturally changing temperatures of your feet, keeping them warm or cooling them down.

  • BREATHABLE MESH Breathable, lightweight and comfortable.

  • WATERPROOF Made using hydrophobic treatments, non-absorbent materials, sealed seams and an inner breathable membrane to make them completely waterproof.

  • WEIGHT 398 grams; Based on a single shoe in Men's size: EU 42 | UK 8 | US 9


Claims

  1. Everything you need from a hiking boot. The Tracker Textile FG2 is a lightweight, breathable hiker made from fully waterproof, animal-free materials. Explore wild terrains, come rain or shine.

  2. FIT, FEEL, FLEX For natural stability, natural sensory feedback and natural strength.

  3. FIRM GROUND 2 OUTSOLE The new and improved Firm Ground 2 Outsole has deeper lugs, with a 3mm base and 4mm lug height for added grip and traction. Made from a sticky rubber compound with sharpened hexagon shapes, plus a textured arch for zonal grip (ideal for technical trail movement), this sole will keep your feet firmly planted on multiple terrains — wet to dry, concrete to rocky.



PRODUCT REVIEW

The first thing I want to know when considering a purchase is whether or not the product will actually do what they say it will do. Below are the product claims made by VIVOBAREFOOT followed by my personal evaluation. I did not consult any other reviews of this product in creating this evaluation.


Claim 1: Everything you need from a hiking boot. The Tracker Textile FG2 is a lightweight, breathable hiker made from fully waterproof, animal-free materials. Explore wild terrains, come rain or shine.

Evaluation 1: As mentioned in the introduction, I wanted something waterproof that provided freedom of movement but with some amount of protection for the foot. The Tracker Textile FG2 hit the mark for sure. It was not raining much on either day I went for a hike, so I cannot attest to how waterproof these really are in the field. However, when loading up the car during a light drizzle, I did notice the water beading on the surface rather than soaking through. My feet also were not sweaty despite having hiked in them for hours fully laced up. Claim 1 appears to be true under the conditions I encountered but requires further field testing of waterproof-ness, if that's even a word.


Claim 2: FIT, FEEL, FLEX For natural stability, natural sensory feedback and natural strength.

Evaluation 2:  I felt every rock, root, crag and crevice and was able to adjust my gait as required to navigate various terrains while holding back my pups. Since the sole is slightly thicker and has more traction than a normal minimalist shoe you might use day-to-day, I could not sense fine gravels or pebbles on an individual basis. However, I could still differentiate between the various textures along the hikes. Claim 2 is true in my book.


Claim 3: FIRM GROUND 2 OUTSOLE The new and improved Firm Ground 2 Outsole has deeper lugs, with a 3mm base and 4mm lug height for added grip and traction. Made from a sticky rubber compound with sharpened hexagon shapes, plus a textured arch for zonal grip (ideal for technical trail movement), this sole will keep your feet firmly planted on multiple terrains — wet to dry, concrete to rocky.

Evaluation 3:  I had no issue navigating dry, moist, or rocky terrain. The hikes included some small stream crossings, enough to say that the grip is great. However, I wouldn't claim to say I thoroughly evaluated the traction on wet terrain. Based on my experience, Claim 3 has been met.


Ok, so I've established that the Tracker Textile FG2 meets all of VIVOBAREFOOT's product claims. Here are a few other things you should consider before purchasing this product.


Price Point

At $230 US Dollars, these are not cheap shoes by any means. However, these hikers are in a class of their own! Many of the big brands offer clunky hikers between $100 and $200 USD which weigh you down and don't provide any sensory or tactile feedback. In addition, many of the brands use leather, so if you are looking for a hiker made of animal-free materials, this is a great option. Furthermore, the aesthetics are unmatched in my opinion.


Sustainability

VIVOBAREFOO B Corps Certification

VIVOBAREFOOT uses recycled materials in their products. They also offer repair and refresh services which include everything from cleaning to re-stitching to replacing soles; unfortunately this is only available in the United Kingdom. VIVOBAREFOOT is also working towards the following goals for their products:


  • Use of bio-based materials over man-made ones when possible.

  • Designed to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. All recycled materials recaptured for reuse in new Vivobarefoot products.

  • Only use natural materials, such as leather, wool and cotton, grown or raised on certified regenerative farms.


Sustainability, much like strength, is a journey that all companies need to work toward and while VIVOBAREFOOT acknowledges there is room for improvement, they are continuously refining and improving their processes. Furthermore, VIVOBAREFOOT is a Certified B Corps as of September 2020. Based on the B Impact assessment, VIVOBAREFOOT earned an overall score of 98.8. The median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment is currently 50.9. The minimum qualification for B Corp is 80 [1].


FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, the VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker Textile FG2 is a premium product at a premium price point, but you are getting what you pay for. While there are other options out there for waterproof vegan hiking boots, few are minimalist and even fewer look this good! If you thought this was helpful then definitely be sure to like, comment, and subscribe below! If you do decide to purchase a minimalist hiker from VIVOBAREFOOT, be sure to use this link and support this blog!


REFERENCES


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