Earlier this year, Vibram released what they call their first trail running specific shoe. The Spyridon and Spyridon LS are minimalist running shoes with toes but unlike most other FiveFingers, they have teeth.
I had been looking at getting a new pair of “foot gloves”, my other pair was a bit worn out, and because I am mainly using them for hiking and travelling, I wanted a pair with good grip. Now one of the main criticism the FiveFingers get, apart from their weird look (which I find insanely cool myself) is that they are a bit slippery. When you look at the sole of the KSO or the Classic, it’s easy to understand why. Some of the running pairs have a bit of tread but not much.
That’s when the Spyridon came out. They have toes, they are light and most of all, the sole is full of rubber cleats.
Sure footed trail shoes
The outsole on the Spyridon looks aggressive. The cleats are square and raised in some areas and in different directions to provide grip going up and down. In use the balance is good and I could walk or run with confidence on dirt trails, rocks and leaf-covered paths. Wet surfaces still provide some challenges but the Spyridon fare much better than other VFF I’ve tried.
One notable addition to the outsole, and a first in the FiveFingers range, is the rock plate. Generally speaking, a rock plate is a layer placed between the outsole and the midsole meant to protect the feet from rock impacts. But aren’t VFF supposed to promote natural dynamics and ground feel? Well, yes and that’s why the rock plate Vibram put in the Spyridon is not the classic TPU layer you find on other trail shoes.
What they have done is mold a nylon mesh to the outsole which will work by dispersing impacts over a wider area. The shoes are stiffer but can still bend on themselves. Ground feel is slightly affected as well but I still enjoy walking with them as much as my other pairs. I have walked miles in them on hard rocky trails without any discomfort or soreness. I really like their balance between protection and natural feel. They weight 338g/ 11.9 oz for pair of women size 6, a bit heavier than some other models.
Flashy upper, great fit.
The upper is thicker than other VFF but still dries well. The shoe is secured by the hook-and-loop system you’ll find on other models (the Spyridon LS have speedlock lacing instead). The upper fits snugly around the ankle, preventing most debris to enter the shoe and unlike the KSO Treksport which have some netting, those will keep dust at bay.
One detail about the colours though. What you see on the website is way under saturated compared to the real thing. The VFF Spyridon look a dark pink and dark green when really they are quite flashy. They also have some reflective stripes on the hook-and-loop system and at the back.
In my recent trip to South America, I spent every day walking around with my Spyridon and I think they make for great travelling shoes. Three weeks of intensive use did not leave any obvious marks and I am confident they will last.
The good and the very good
The grip is great, they are comfortable and durable. The only thing that could refrain one from buying the Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon are the toes but if you have read thus far that shouldn’t be a problem. The price is still a bit steep also at around $120/110€.