Vibram V-Run

8.5
8.5 score
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Vibram V-Run Review Facts

The Vibram V-Run features Vibram Vi-Lite technology designed to deliver lightweight, yet responsive cushioning. During landing, the shock is absorbed and efficiently releases energy for a solid rebound. The shoes feature the XS RUN outsole compound.

It delivers maximum stable hardness on various surfaces that are soft. Also featured is the Vibram Mont compound formulated to motorbike racing, mountaineering, and trekking. It is highly reliable when running at relatively low temperatures on different terrain.

The V-Run is an update of Vibram’s Bikila EVO. Other changes than the name have been made. There are improvements in many areas. The design is meant for the road rather than the trail. It is a shoe new barefoot runners, looking to transition to a minimal shoe will enjoy.

The biggest difference is the ability to use in extreme temperatures. A thicker compound is used on them, and the upper is more breathable. The outsole is hospitable to both warm and cold conditions. Fans of the Vibram brand will appreciate the V-Run.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

 

  • Available in many color options
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Clever lacing system
  • Easy on and off
  • Lightweight design
Cons
  • Inconsistent fit
  • Not as adaptable to cold weather as advertised
Outsole

Outsole

Vibram Run rubber is used in the outsole. It has XS Run technology that delivers a grip that is impressive on various surfaces. The outsole is designed to provide improved ground contact. It is similar to the Bikila EVO.

The outsole is 8.5mm thick. The thickness consists of 2.5mm of rubber pads, four-mm EVA rubber and two-mm of added material in the insole. A Mont compound has been added that works with the typical Vibram XS Run material found in other models.

The combination gives a durable outsole that is meant to hold up to increased mileage. There is a bit more grip than previous models. It is intended to perform well on smooth, slick surfaces and indoor tracks.

Midsole

Midsole

Like other Vibram shoes, the V-Run midsole relies on EVA foam. Usually, the EVA is covered up in running shoes. Nearly 30 of the midsole in the V-Run is left exposed. Updates to the EVA foam increase strength and durability while keeping its flexible and lightweight features.

When it comes to technology, Vibram found the winning combination. The midsole flexibility allows full downward to flexing which is a mark of truly flexible barefoot shoes. EVA cushioning absorbs shock efficiently and releases maximum energy for a powerful toe-off.
Upper

Upper

Made of Polyester Lycra Stretch Mesh and Polyester Microfiber, the upper provides maximum breathability. The foot is kept well-ventilated, keeping it dry and cool throughout the run. The goal of a quality barefoot running upper is to offer protection while allowing stretch and breathability.

Perforations on the upper are easy to see. They allow air to flow through the shoe. Depending on the outside temperature, the holes can be good or bad. Ventilation does reduce foot odor. Odor is a common concern of barefoot shoes.

The new upper minimizes the issue. Polyester Lycra Stretch Mesh and Polyester Microfiber are used on the inside. The material feels great on the skin. However, water will permeate the material, especially with perforations.
Weight

Weight

With V-Run shoes, weight is not an issue. The V-Run is among Vibram’s lightest shoes. A size ten men’s shoe weighs 4.38 ounces. The weight is a bit heavier than the Bikila EVO but still very light. Runners appreciate the lightness.

The shoes perform well during road speed work and track sprints. Vibram takes pride in offering lightweight models. The V-Run model is no exception. It is among the lightest in the lineup. Weight doesn’t get much lighter, except actually running barefoot.
Breathability

Breathability

The V-Run earns a high score in breathability. The Polyester Lycra Mesh upper is pock-marked with ventilation holes that make it breathable. There is added perforation to the tongue. The mesh adds to the airy feel.

The V-Run shoes are among the most breathable shoes available. The updated material provides a comfortable feel while allowing the feet to breathe naturally. Breathability comes with a tradeoff of unwanted airflow during cold runs. Running through snow, rain, or wet grass can also cause problems. Those wanting all-weather running shoes should look elsewhere.

Comfort

Comfort

A stretchy Polyester Lycra Mesh, having Polyester Microfiber, upper and an antimicrobial Drilex sockliner are featured in the V-Run. They feel like a second skin. There are some issues in the design. The design works for the typical foot.

Runners with a low pinky toe or longer second toes compare the feel of the shoe to having drooping shorts with no belt. Overall, the insole hugs the arch, and the soft Drilex sockliner feels great on bare feet.

Some runners have complained about the lacing system, saying it provides a fit that is too loose. The loose fit may contribute to blisters and hot spots, especially in the area for the toes. An indented spot on the heel allows some sand or dirt to enter the shoe.
Style

Style

The style is subjective. The V-Run may be among the most stylish models offered by Vibram. The black version is subdued. If runners want to be seen, they can choose from the blue and green varieties. Being toe shoes, they will stand out no matter what color is selected. The lacing system, with the pull tab, adds flair to the design. It is not as noticeable as Vibram shoes with straps or other closure systems. People either hate or like the design.
Durability

Durability

Durability was the driving force of the Vibram update from the Bikila EVO to the V-Run. The X-Run compound on the outsole and the Vi-Lite midsole material are significant additions. The new forms of rubber permit the shoe to maintain lightweight flexibility while being more durable.

Durability is typically not a conder for Vibram shoes. The upper is prone to wear-and-tear, particularly on individual toe pockets. Where the rubber outsole meets the upper polyester is where the shoe tends to fail the test of durability.

There is some superficial degradation which makes the thin upper vulnerable to comprising tears. The shoe scores high in durability but does not receive top ratings. The polyester has been beefed up but lacks some durability to keep the shoe lightweight. The shoes will last a season or two but do not endure a ton of abuse.

Protection

Protection

While the shoes are not meant to cover the terrain of rugged trails, they do offer some protection. The compounds used in the outsole do a solid job of protecting from roots and roots. They are better suited for the track, sidewalk, or road.

A few short trail runs would be fine. The Vi-Lite rubber and EVA foam should provide midsole protection. Some debris is likely to enter the shoe via the opening in the heel. Trail runners looking for the ultimate in protection would choose another shoe.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The V-Run is among the most responsive, fastest, and lightest shoe made by Vibram. Runners have no issues with connection to the running surface or responsiveness. Minimal construction permits runners to feel every inch of the trail or road.

The shoes respond well to subtle motion. Individual toes pockets permit a natural stride that allows the toes to splay out as they are supposed to do. Track workouts and sprints are no problem for these shoes.

The extremely thin four-mm EVA midsole and 2.5mm XS Run rubber outsole give the shoe overall malleability. When pressed between the ground and foot, the soles are quite firm. They provide a sort of responsiveness in stride. There is a noticeable difference from traditional shoes with stacks of foam or rubber that may provide some give and return bounce.
Support

Support

Many barefoot running shoes lack support. It is an intentional design aspect. A great many runners want as little as can be between the road and them. The V-Run midsole support is more substantial than barefoot runners are typically accustomed. The heel is more durable and offers a firmer ride than many minimal shoes. Those looking for support to correct stride issues such as overpronation need to search for another shoe.
Terrain

Terrain

These shoes perform best on flat, easy terrain. They are ideal for road running. Intended for road use, track runners also enjoy the V-Run for track workouts. The outsole grip does wonders for smooth running on some set, soft trails.

Varied terrain such as trails with large roots and rocks are not well-navigated with the V-Run. Road running is the sweet spot of the V-Run. While wearing the shoes, most runners should stick to short trails, sidewalks, pavement, and tracks. There are those who contend the V-Run is a versatile shoe that does equally well on the road and steep rocky trails.
Price

Price

The MSRP of the V-Run is $120. It is a good buy for someone looking for a versatile, pared-down barefoot running shoe or a person ready to transition to barefoot shoes. Not only is it a unique shoe, but it performs well on trails and gives the amount of protection needed by would-be barefoot walkers.

Vibram prices their products based on the technology they offer. There are deals to be found, but the shoes rarely end up in the bargain barrel. Compared to others, barefoot shoes may command higher prices even though they are made of less material.

For many barefoot runners, the tradeoff is worth the price. Shoes like the V-Run tend to have a devoted crowd willing to pay higher prices to ensure superior products. Those looking for high-quality barefoot running shoes are not disappointed with V-Run. Amazon advertises the shoes for men in the $91 to $215 range. For women, the advertised prices range from $58 to $268.
Traction

Traction

The traction of the V-Run is stellar. Vibram took what works on the Bikila EVO and added more grip with updated rubber compounds. The toe pockets have ridges and grooves that provide ample grip to hug the terrain.

There is plenty of traction in the heel to avoid slippage. Runners have no problem navigating slick sidewalks or wet grass after it rains. Staying off of icy terrain is wise. There are options better suited for ice and snow.

Flexibility

Flexibility

To date, the V-Run is among the most flexible Vibram shoes. Experienced barefoot runners can flex the toes upward and downward in the V-Run. Plenty of flexibility is offered when clearing various types of terrain.

Flexibility makes shoes extremely packable. The V-Run can be folded and rolled nearly in half to fit in tight spaces. There is a train of thought that the extreme flexibility of the V-Run limits the capacity for responsiveness.
Stability

Stability

Most barefoot runners do not consider stability to be a huge factor. The shoes are supposed to be minimalist and allow all kinds of movement under any condition. Sometimes the V-Run feels as though it is slipping off. Peculiar heel fit and sizing are the cause. The V-Run might not have enough stability for someone who previously wore traditional laced thick shoes.
Drop

Drop

The drop of a shoe matters to barefoot runners. Many look for as little as possible. The V-Run has an 8.5mm stack that may be higher than a barefoot runner is accustomed. The height is not necessarily a negative aspect.

Added height contributes to the protection and durability found in these shoes. The Vibram V-Run is suitable for most runners, especially those transitioning to barefoot shoes. The heel-to-toe drop is advertised as zero-mm.

The drop of a shoe is the distance from the heel to the toe. A zero drop would mean the toe is 8.5mm above the ground. The configuration is ideal for those transitioning. Zero drop shoes allow the feet to be level with the ground. There is no slope from the forefoot to the heel. A shoe with zero drop helps runners run naturally and efficiently. Proponents believe zero drop shoes are a safe and practical way to emulate barefoot running.
Key Features

Key Features

Adjustable cord closure and pull tabs
Antimicrobial Drilex lining
Clever lace-up system
Decent heel support
Forefoot rubber pads and Mont compound for durability
Great traction
Lightweight design
Machine washable
New EVA cushioning
Odor resistant due to high ventilation
Polyester/polyester mesh upper
Thin soles that allow feet to feel the run
Upper perforation for maximum breathability
XS Run rubber compound and Vi-Lite midsoles in the heels and toes are a great blend of durability and cushioning
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Vibram V-Run is a fantastic improvement upon the Bikila EVO. Microfiber technology used is the uppers, and subtle rubber compound changes in the midsoles make the V-Run a great continuation of the line. Someone transitioning to barefoot running would find it diffiuclt to come up with a better option.

The shoe may not be the ideal choice for extreme wetness or cold or trail running scenarios. The V-Run scores well in many categories due to the comfort of unaided foot landing and inherent lightness. Breathable lycra mesh stretches to fit the foot.

The Mont rubber compound and Vi-Lite sole make for a comfortable landing. Other technicalities and categories do not fare as well. The foot shape design does not accommodate those with low pinky toes and second toes more extended than the big toe.