This is Vibram's five finger dedicated trail runner, although I've come to use it as both a trail runner and scrambling shoe. After having knee issues, I have been on the lookout (for a long time) for worthy minimalist trail runners. I tried the New Balance, since that is my favorite shoe brand, but returned them...they were super comfortable at first but after a couple hard miles I just couldn't take them anymore. The Vibrams are more solid thanks in part to their 3.5mm sole. As with all minimalist footwear, the Vibrams will be rough on your calves, so it's advisable to break them in slowly
The shoes are very lightweight and barely noticeable either on my feet or stowed away in my pack. The sole is properly rugged for alpine environments, on the approach trail and on the mountain itself. Toes, mid-sole, and heel seem well protected from both the sides and bottom, as the tread wraps a bit up the sides (unlike other versions of the Vibrams). This is especially useful while climbing and traversing Class 4 and higher routes where the rock is somewhat unpredictable.
Although not as sticky as a traditional rock climbing shoe, I find this shoe rather adept, comfortable, and much more versatile in an alpine environment. Pitfalls include stubbing your toes and possibly having some painful rockfall on the top of your foot. Also, trying to find your balance after changing back to rigid-sole boots is an effort in itself. It takes me several minutes of stumbling around before I don't feel drunk anymore! These are breathable and you don't wear socks with them. They are also NOT waterproof.
Paraphrased from Vibram's website: The Spyridon LS is Vibram's first trail running–specific model. It provides the perfect balance of minimalist “foot feel” and protection on rugged surfaces. The Vibram rubber sole is 3.5mm so it provides more impact protection from stones, debris, and the rough surfaces encountered on rocky crags while better allowing proper barefoot dynamics (aka balance). The aggressive tread design delivers sure-footed grip in all directions, molded nylon mesh in the midsole adds a “rock block” effect, dispersing impact over a wider area. The Coconut Active Carbon upper offers natural breathability and an adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure fit. 3M reflective applications for safety after dark.
These retail for $115, but I found a deal and got them for $75.
UPPER - Stretch Mesh and Polyamide
SOLE - XSTrek Vibram Rubber
FOOTBED - 3mm Polyurethane Insole Anti-Microbial Dri-Lex Sockliner
Machine washable. Air dry.
Men's size 44 - 6.88oz. each or 13.76oz./pair