Well I finally got a chance to try on a pair of Vivobarefoot Off Road Mids, and found them a bit stiff - I guess that's what people look for in trekking boots/shoes, but not me...
So I then tried on some completely black Neo Trails in a 41, and liked them better. The first pair seemed to have something strange going on with the toebox as it was cavernous above the toes, I could flex my big toe up to catch on the seams at the top of the toebox...! As much as I like room for my toes that was just a bit odd. I tried on one size smaller, found those too small, then tried on a different pair of 41's - these were better, so I bought them.
They've been on a few trial trails
already as I work in the countryside I get chance to amble up hills at lunchtimes, on grit and gravel tracks, I ran up and then downhill on a track in them, and I'm pretty pleased with the grip they offer. They aren't so good on concrete surfaces in the rain, however. Tarmac, again, not amazing but I guess they're not meant for running on the road.
Ground feel is...different to what I'm used to. Two years of Vivobarefoot's thinnest soles (Lucys/Aquas) and feedback in the Neo Trails is muted - the soles have become more flexible after a week's wear, and though you can tell when you are on gravel or grass, you don't feel so much. The sole is 2.5mm plus 4mm lugs - I'm wearing them with the 3mm insole in too. Where stepping on a chunk of gravel would cause me to limp onto my other foot in my Lucys, I can quite happily bear weight in the Neos, feeling my foot curl a little around it.
I've seen similar comments on what it's like to wear them for longer periods - yes they are quite warm and after some hours can cause the feet to get a bit hot. (I should imagine this will be a good thing in the Winter as I can suffer from cold feet) I've been out for half an hour walks in the rain and they're not bad at keeping the water out (much better than my Lucys/Aquas) - you can paddle a bit in shallow puddles without fear of getting wet toe. They've also got mud on them and so far that's wiping off okay.
One thing I would say is that they seemed to need a bit of wearing in compared to all the other VB shoes I have - probably because of the stiffer material used. The hinge/crease where the toebox bends did seem to press on my little toe for a while, it seems to be loosening though. I'm currently wearing them to work every day in order to wear them in a bit - which I can get away with as they are black and actually look quite smart for a trail shoe!