I myself climbed the highest mountain in Colorado on the backs of Vibram soles. Naturally, I was excited when I heard that they were looking to get back into trail running. Vibram struck a partnership with Saucony and are featured as part of the Xodus shoe, which is earning very good reviews, btw.
My job was to review the soles, not the shoes. I took them out on all types of different terrain to see how they would perform.
This is like running on air! Fantastic!
Smooth Single Track (10/10)
Perfect! I was flying on buttery, rolling single track. The soles handled small obstacles (small rocks, occasional root, etc.) with ease. The best part was that I was able to cut around sharp turns (such as switch backs) without having to worry about losing traction. That's a HUGE advantage. You can really make up some time here during races.
Rugged, Technical Single Track (8/10)
The soles definitely performed very well here, too, especially on the uphills. I was a little worried about sliding when traversing larger rocks or boulders. But I shouldn't be running those anyhow.
Rooty Trails (9/10)
No complaints here. Exposed roots did not turn into slip'n'slides as they so often can.
Fire Road (10/10)
Didn't I say something about flying earlier? You can FLY on fire roads with Vibram soles. Just enough grip to hold on to the dirt, but light enough to feel like you're running in road shoes. I was positively surprised!
Very Steep Inclines (8/10)
Climbing was absolutely no problem. Perfect traction here. On very, very steep downhills (30%+), I did lose traction a couple times. But I have never not lost traction on these particular sections of trail. Gravity can be a pretty strong force (thanks, Newton!).
Sandy Trails (9/10)
There aren't too many around...unless, of course, you run a race that traverses a beach. No complaints here.
Yes, sometimes you have to traverse asphalt or, worse, concrete to get to a trail. No issues here.
Soooooo, here is the part you have all been waiting for. I have three (yes, THREE) pairs of Saucony Xodus' to give away, so you can try out the Vibram soles yourself. In order to enter, you have to answer one of two questions in the comments:
- Why do you want a pair of free trail running shoes? OR
- What is the wildest (or most unexpected) thing that has ever happened to you out on the trails?