The Vivobarefoot Tracker is one of the best barefoot hiking boots around. Traction, durability AND a flat, flexible sole make them a shoe that can do it all. Read on for my full review of this minimalist boot.
*Get 10% off your purchase with code VBANYA10
Meet the Tracker
The Vivobarefoot Tracker is a serious hiking boot that makes no compromises on functionality and is one of the best barefoot hiking boots currently available.
1/4 inch lugs, hard-wearing leather upper, and fully waterproofed exterior make these one hell of a boot. Thick laces slide through the metal grommets easily and speed hooks make getting the Trackers on and off a breeze. The tongue is fully gusseted (attached) so you don’t get debris or water in through the creases. It also has an accordion design so that the shoe can expand for higher volume feet or thick socks.
The interior is padded so you can hike in them without blisters and they come with a removable thermal insole. This is a boot by any standard, whether you use it for hiking or as a work boot. But what makes them truly great is that they also meet my standards for healthy footwear.
In addition to all the functionality of a hiking boot, the Tracker is also completely flat, flexible enough to roll into a ball, and spacious around the toes. This is a minimum requirement for me in footwear and what makes this a barefoot shoe.
While they are stiffer than I prefer in my day-to-day shoe, for an adventure boot these are very flexible. My husband has been wearing his as a snow boot in addition to hiking and they really live up to the hype. The fact that you can get the durability and traction needed for high-adventure and still be able to roll your shoe up into a ball is quite impressive.
So far this shoe has held up to its claim to be waterproof. It’s pretty wet and snowy where we live, so it’s been tested many times in real weather. No water has come in and we haven’t had any problems slipping in rain or snow. We’ve had these for about a year now.
The one complaint we have is that the thermal insoles do not keep our feet very warm. Last winter we swapped it for a thicker insole from NorthSole. A sheepskin insole would also work well (that is what I use in the winter)
This has been my experience with all my Vivobarefoot boots, I simply freeze in winter with their thermal insoles. So if you plan to wear these boots in a really cold climate I would use a better insole with them. If you plan to wear them in warmer weather, you might want to ditch the insoles all together.
We have many Vivobarefoot shoes in our house. In general, Vivo sizing is slightly small but usually you can expect to wear your normal size. In the Tracker however I recommend sizing up, because the padding on the inside takes up space.
My husband typically wears a 13 in barefoot shoes. In the Tracker he got a size 14 and they fit him well. He alternates between pairs of medium weight socks and thick wool sicks with his, and he uses a 6mm insole from NorthSole. If he wore them barefoot and with a thinner insole he might get away with a 13, but for a cold weather boot he wanted to make sure he could put in the thicker insole and socks.
My husband also has the Vivobarefoot Addis sneaker in a size 13, but the Addis is built on a wider last and has a roomier fit than most other Vivo shoes. You can see the comparison here:
The Tracker costs $240 (but you can get 10% off with the code VBANYA10) and is available year round from Vivobarefoot, but if they are ever out of your size check out their Amazon shop as they often carry different stock. Vivo offers free shipping, free returns, AND a 100 day return policy. That means you can actually test these to see if they work for you. You can also check out the Revivo site to see if you can get a good deal on a lightly worn pair!
The Vivobarefoot Tracker is a solid boot. I can confidently recommend it to someone looking for an all-purpose, all-weather shoe that can take a beating. Besides hiking, the Tracker is also great for snow and as a work shoe.
These are the first barefoot hikers we have owned, but this fall I am going to be testing out several more! If you are interested in the most durable, sturdy, and waterproof barefoot hiking boots be sure to subscribe below for my future posts! And you can see regular updates and mini reviews on Instagram.
43 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Tracker Review – Barefoot Hiking Boots”
Found your website after about two hours of research for winterproof barefoot shoes. This is the best review in terms of information on the specific shoe, the shoe compared to other shoes within the same company, and also the BEST information on how it actually fares in winter. I am shocked at the amount of reviews that do not mention anything about snow or temperature, so this is amazing. I really wish there was a way for your reviews to be higher on the search results! This would have saved me SO much time! My only suggestion is to type out full names of the shoes, or to specify the name of the shoe series, just because companies are constantly making different variations of their shoes, or upgrading a successful series of their shoes, so it’s hard for me to cross reference the shoes in your review with what is currently available on their websites. Thank you for helping me finally cement my decision on a good winter shoe!
Thank you! It’s a battle keeping my posts up to date with how often the shoes get changed!
Hello, thank you for your reviews. I have worn VivoBarefoot Tracker for a number of years now and I find them to be the best hiking boots I’ve ever had. The only downside is not one pair has proved to be waterproof, on a number of occasions my feet have been soaked. I walked yesterday in heavy rain wearing a newish pair and my feet were very wet at the end of a two hour walk. It’s a great shame because other than that they are perfect.
Thanks again, Angela UK
That is a real shame! Sounds like that’s been the case with multiple pairs for you too. I haven’t had any issue with that yet, my husband and I both have a pair we wear often. There are some products you can apply to shoes, I believe Aquaseal is one that is supposed to do an excellent job of sealing up shoes. Might be worth a try!
Do you know if they are slippery when wet on rocks?
I bought xeroshoes boots and they grip but it’s not slip resistant like my regular hiking boots.
I am looking for a good pair for trekking . Thanks
Hello! Thanks for your great reviews. I entered the discount code you indicated and it didn’t work. Has the code been updated? If so, may I know the new code please? The shoes are pricey so a 10% discount would be welcome 🙂
I think it must have run out of uses. I’ve already sent them an e-mail and they’re usually pretty fast about resetting it! Hopefully it’ll be up and running again by the morning.
Thank you so much! I worked!
Hi and thanks a lot for this great review.
As a lot of people, I’m really concerned by the waterproof point : it seems it’s variable from one pair to another, when I read the comments on distincts reviews.
I suppose at the end that the only choice is to try directly, or wait for a new model.
Another point I have different informations is the durability. Some reviews point the fact that the sole can be quickly damaged, and had some issues with lacing eyelets.
Did you had the same question about durability with some of your pairs of shoes ?
Thanks a lot for your answer
Hi Patrick! My husband’s pair that has been used heavily for 2 years is still going strong and waterproof. He has noticed that at the crease where his big toe bends the sole looks like it might come undone soon, but nothing yet. My pair hasn’t been used quite as much as his, but still no issues for me. I can’t account for other people’s experiences, but they’ve been great for us.
Hi Anya, I’m sure I saw somewhere that you were testing out the new Tracker Forest Esc but I can’t find a review. I’m wondering how it compares to these for ground feel, how water resistant it is and whether it fits larger than the tracker? I have shallow roman feet with wide toe spread and long 3rd toe so Vivos are not usually great for me but I read somewhere that the forest esc has a wider toe box – is that the case? If you’ve already reviewed it please can you point me in the right direction, and if not I’d be really grateful for any info you can share. Thanks. 🙂
Hey! I just wore them on their first hike today! Sizing is nearly the same as the Tracker FG, maybe slightly roomier (Or it just feels like it because the upper is a lot softer). No ground feel – they have deep lugs for traction, and I sized up one in them just like I did in the FG. My husband is like you, and the Trackers are the only Vivobarefoot shoe that has worked for him in the next size up.
That’s great to know, thanks! I’ve ordered a pair to try – I sized up and went over to mens for extra width in the front. Should be arriving today so fingers crossed…
Thanks fir the review. I just bought some of these boots but on first outing the backs of my heels are blistered and raw. There is a seam that runs across the back of the heel that is extremely painful. I wonder if you have heard of anyone else who had this experience?
The heel bothers me too and I wrap an old insole in the heel cup to protect my foot. You can also put a tongue pad. I have pretty sensitive heels and am used to doing this with my hiking boots, it really helps!
I have a pair and while I love the idea, they have begun to delaminate – the sole is pulling off the boot after only three years. That is super frustrating.
That is a shame! I hear that every so often, but we haven’t had it happen to us.
Thanks a lot for you numerous and extensive reviews.
I have just thrown out my third pair of completely worn out Tracker, and it is by far the best walking/hiking shoes I have ever had. And my previously favorite was their older model…
My only reservation is the price seems to get higher with each iteration, and the durability is not really what I would expect from this kind of price range.
I use them almost every day from Fall to Spring, I would say around 1’200 – 1’500 km?
No idea if it is a “normal” life expectancy for hiking shoes, but I do notice that the stitch/glue rips every time at the same place, around where the foot folds.
I keep looking for more robust alternative that does not feel like ski boots (Birkenstock “Jackson” seem nice but I am afraid of getting back to a rigid sole after all this time, and I am seriously considering getting a quote for custom barefoot leather boots from an artisan), but so far the Tracker really seem to be the best there is…
Glad you’ve been enjoying your Trackers! They are solid boots. I’ve heard about the delamination from a few people – it seems to be the first place they break down. If you’re in the UK they have a repair service and can resole them, otherwise I don’t think there is much you can do. It’d be nice to get a hiking boot that could be resoled – Softstar is going to release a new hiking boot in a week or so that will have that capability.
Hi Anya, when you replaced the thermal insole with sheepskin insole for Soft Star, which insole did you purchase from them? They have a standard and a primal. I want to make sure I get the one you had success with fitting well in the tracker.
I got standard, because at the time it was all they had. Regardless, you can cut them to fit.
Have you ever tried alpaca insoles? I was wondering if they would be any warmer then wool.
I haven’t, but they sound cozy!
I have had a pair of these for around 4 years and they have completely lost their waterproofness – I’ve already tried using aquasure on the seams and sole/upper joins, plus nikwax waterproofing spray on the leather but they still are compromised in a dewey field or 30 mins rain. Anyone else had this or come up with a solution? I really don’t want to bin £180 shoes after 4 years with not particularly heavy use, they should last longer than that..
I have exactly these issues. I’ve had them for about 4years and recently got them revived. Disappointed that the sole was letting in water. A run round with Aquasure sorted that but they have never been very waterproof. I was out today in heavy rain and my feet were pretty wet after a couple of hours. They’ve never coped with having to cross boggy ground. As they have a fairly new sole I’m loath to replace them yet.
I wore mine on and off for one year, the glue has come off, the leather is torn, the red tag on the back fell off. These shoes are no more durable than any common, inexpensive shoe. They are comfortable but the poor build quality has me feeling ripped off.
Hi Anya, thank you for all your wonderful reviews! I have found them extremely helpful. I have just tried to use the discount code for vivobarefoot and it doesn’t appear to be working. Wasn’t sure if it required resetting? Thanks again!
Hi Tarryn! I just checked it and it’s working for me. It won’t work on top of sale items, and it only works on Vivo-owned sites (there are some Vivobarefoot franchises out there that don’t accept my coupon). It should be good for .com, the UK, EU, and a few others.
Hola, yo utilizo merrel tracker, que tienen suela quantum grip, y en terreno húmedo ( sobre todo en roca ) no tienen buen agarre. La vivobarefoot tracker puede decirme si tiene más agarre.
También estoy valorando la forest.
Muchas gracias por todo
Hola! El bosque tiene mas agarre que Tracker FG, pero ambos son buenos en suelo mojado. Nunca he probado Merrell Tracker
Thank you for this helpful review. Are the shoes pictured in the style called ‘Bracken’?
Yes, the color is called Bracken.
Thank you for your reviews! I’ve recently bought a pair of the Vivobarefoot Tracker IIs. I love the idea of them, but I’ve been having trouble with comfort, particularly around my ankle. The top hooks for the laces apply some uncomfortable pressure around my ankle when I lace up. I’m wondering if your husband experienced this pressure, and if so, does this goes away once the boots are broken in more? Do you have any specific recommendations for breaking them in other than wearing them frequently?
Hey Will! Since I first wrote this review a few years back now I also got a pair. Justin still wears his a ton every winter, I wear mine also but not as frequently (I’m almost always testing pairs for reviews so, I rotate). Justin was never bothered by the heel/ankle area, but I felt it like you do. I put some padding in that area behind my foot and that helped while the shoe was breaking in. For padding you can use a tongue pad or an old insole cut up. I also use this simple hack for loosening new shoes as well.
Hi Anya! Absolutely love your reviews – I’ve learned so much over the last couple years transitioning into zero-drop shoes and most of it has been from here!
I’ve been mulling over getting a pair of Tracker FGs and I’m curious how your husband’s pair have held up over the last couple years – it would be great to get a long-term update! Have you had to re-waterproof them at all? I live in a particularly rainy region, with the occasional immense snowfall. So gore-tex has traditionally been a must, but I haven’t been able to find any zero-drop / barefoot / minimalist boots that are fully waterproof. Thanks!
Hey there! Hard to believe it’s been more than two years since writing this review. They still are getting regular use here, they are Justin’s primary snow/hiking/work boot to this day. The lace on one boot broke recently and he had to order some new ones (I really wish Vivo sold replacement laces), other than that no issues. They just look a lot more worn nowadays. We’ve not had any problem with the waterproofing not working, but I would still plan on touching them up as needed with your climate.
How long does it take to break these in? I just tried on a 38 and 39 today to see which was better – 39 was too long, 38 was too tight in width but perfect length. Would the 38 stretch out to be comfortable? I love these boots but they felt so stiff, whats your experience?
Justin didn’t find them too troublesome to break in, but I found my pair to be pretty stiff and tight for a while. They loosened slowly over several wears and then just continued to soften more and more over time. It’s hard to know if they’re going to be right when they’re brand new because they change quite a bit as they break in. If they’re snug on your foot that should be ok, but if you can’t hardly wear them they’re so tight then the 39 might be better.
I’m amazed at how yours look after use. We bought two pairs of Trackers recently (a pair as a Christmas present and a pair for my husband a couple months earlier, in October). Both pairs are absolutely crumbling. The soles on both have peeled away from the leather and the rubber material that wraps up and around the boot is crumbling. In Canada, we pay over $400 for these boots and we are incredibly disappointed.
We’ve been wearing barefoot shoes for years and the search for a durable boot continues. If you are someone that needs boots for work or trade, these are not them. Maybe they function well for a hike or walk around town, but one of our pairs is for a carpenter (not that aggressive a job physically but definitely on your feet all day) and the other for a farmer (forget it). We are presently going through the incredibly arduous and frustrating back and forth with Vivo to have the warranties honoured. It looks like they just hired a new company to solve their warranty issues. Hoping this makes a difference.
Overall, there is either a new way these are being made or we got a bad lot or… I don’t know, but after spending close to $1000 for two pairs of boots, I doubt very much I would do it again (unless the replacement pairs proved to be dramatically different).
Love your work. I recommend your site to everyone I know who’s interested in getting their feet (and bodies) sorted out. 🙂
That is frustrating! Since writing this review a few years ago Justin has continued to wear his religiously. The leather looks very worn in and he had to replace the laces, but they are still functioning great! I don’t believe anything has changed about their manufacturing, but it is weird that the sole is crumbling on both of yours. We have recent pairs of other Vivobarefoot shoes with the same outsole (my son is a huge Primus Trail fan) and they’ve also held up well. You might want to check out my Facebook group for suggestions on heartier alternatives for farming, there are a number in the group who would be able to share what has worked for them.
Hi Anya. I’m looking to trade in my Keens! I think I am high volume Plateau, normally a size 5.5 US, 35 euro. But when I do the pic sizing on vivobarefoot.com, they say a 7 so I’m a bit concerned to order them. I need waterproof, lugs, and speedhooks. Prepping for a wet hiking/photography trip to Scotland. 🙂 Any advice on a good option for my foot would be most appreciated!
Hi Nicci, it’s totally in the realm of possibility that a 37 is a good choice for you if you are used to wearing shoes that might be a little small for you. The Tracker FG also fits a little snug. Another option is to measure your feet and then use their size charts to double check the sizing.
For your foot type I also like the Freet Tundra. Have you seen my article on barefoot hiking boots?
Thanks Anya. I’ve read your article in detail – it’s great. I had ruled out the Freet because it said water resistant and I definitely need proof – will be standing in water at times. I’m going to measure one more time and pull the cord on the Tracker FG. Really appreciate all of your information!