Comment from: Kris [Visitor]
Kris

I just received my girly pink Lontras a few days ago and these are my 5th pair of VFFs. They are a bit stiffer in the sole so you can't curl your toes, and yes, there is less ground feel. They are a bit more difficult to get on, but I don't mind that. I expected these things from the last reviews I read. I've worn them sockless for 2 days as daily wear to break them in before I try a run in them. It rained one day so I was splashing around in puddles and my feet remained dry. My feet did sweat in them which is to be expected as I wore them through the entire day.
The one issue I have with them is that when I flex my foot, there is a spot on the heel that basically folds and digs into my heels. It was painful on both heels the first day, getting a bit better the second day. The spot where it folds and digs is directly at the base of the reflective strip that runs vertically down the heel directly under the pull tab. Today, I'm barefoot. Even while the shoes are sitting there with no feet in them, that spot is indented on both heels. I hope I can work that out as that won't feel great when running. Otherwise, I like them. My husband kept telling me to buy winter boots this year as I wore my other VFFs in rain, & slush snow and had cold wet feet the last few years. The Lontras came out jut in time! We'll see how they do as winter progresses here.

12/11/12 @ 11:41
Comment from: kaioslider [Visitor]
kaioslider

I've done two runs in mine. The first was w/o Injinjis and I got a blister on each foot at the same location. I believe the cause was rubbing caused by the forward, inside (not inside the shoe), maybe from being too loose. After that run I checked for seam on the inside at the rub points an there were none. My second run was done with a pair of no-shows Injinjis and I didn't feel any rubbing at the blister points, but I had mole-skin on over those two points so I can't be 100%. I also tighten the strap a bit more on the second run. Overall I'm really happy with these as, like the author, I've been waiting for something like this for quite sometime as the Flows just don't cut it for winter running. One thing I've settled on is to limit my running in these for real winter running, that means very cold temps and/or snow/slush. What I've found over the years is that as long as the roads are not wet with snow/slush, a pair of wool toe socks in many of my VFFs will work quite well at keeping my toes warm in moderate winter temps (in the teens F). But my reason to limit my running in extreme conditions has nothing to do with some kind of deficiency of the Lontra as a running shoe, but rather with the cost of replacing the Lontra given the steep price - so I'll minimize the wear and tear of these by only wearing them when it's appropriate. As for the blisters, I'll just wear the Injinji no-show with them, which I would normally do in winter anyways - my first outing was more of a test run than anything else. I recommend this model if you live in the northeast.

12/11/12 @ 11:52
Comment from: Jeremy Clarke [Visitor]
Jeremy Clarke

Any plans to review the new Merrell Sonic Gloves? They seem like this year's winter barefoot shoe for unite folks.

12/11/12 @ 12:15
Comment from: meee [Visitor]
meee

a green version is also available (at least in Europe) - had them here to try...

12/11/12 @ 12:22
Comment from: meee [Visitor]
meee

Oh and the LS Version is also available by now

12/11/12 @ 12:30
Comment from: Michael [Visitor]  
Michael

I live in Sweden. Just bought my Lontras on a businees tripp to Seattle (at the Born to Run Store).
They work wonderful in heavy snow and -10C. Finally I can go barefoot the year round!

12/11/12 @ 12:30
Comment from: Asle [Visitor]
Asle

I wonder if these would be comfortable in -10 C.? I have tried to run in Bikilas in dry snow and even with Injinji nuwool socks I get cold. It may be my feet but I stick to Leming shoes where I can put on some good wool socks.

And to Justin, an issue I have emailed several times. Why do I have to open and close every picture in your picture galleries? It must be possible to open a gallery of the pictures and browse in the picture gallery. Technical stuff. Just let me know and I could help out.

12/11/12 @ 12:59
Comment from: Shawn [Visitor]
Shawn

I've had my Lontras since October. They were stiff at first and the toe slots seemed uncomfortable, even pinching at times. They DO become more flexible over time. I do a lot of bodyweight and crossfit type training with running and sprints added in so the flexibility depends on the type of use. If you only run in them it will be a slower process. If you're a hardcore runner then definitely going to miss the ground feel.

The first day I started having buyers remorse but after a week of constant use they are now very comfortable.

They do not breathe well so sweat and the inner drying time was a drawback. But now I wear lightweight Injinji's and the problem is solved. I prefer wearing VFFs barefoot so these are the only model I wear with socks. However, the warmth and dryness during bear crawls in wet grass is worth the trade-off.

12/11/12 @ 14:00
Comment from: Annie [Visitor]
Annie

I was dreading having to wear regular running shoes when the weather turned cold.

I love my Lontras. I went jogging in the rain, wind, 32 degree weather. I wore Toesox with them. Perfect fit. My feet stayed warm and dry. I ordered a size larger to be able to wear toe socks.

They will be perfect for the Spartan Race in Utah next June.

This will be my 10th pair of VFF's!

12/11/12 @ 15:12
Comment from: Steve [Visitor]
Steve

Vibram should make a lontra variant for winter road running. Trek outsole is too stiff for pavement running. Bikila outsole with little thicker insulated footbed will be awesome.

12/11/12 @ 16:46
Comment from: bob [Visitor]
bob

colors and patterns looks kitchy and cheap.
vibram vibram...
don't expect ME to wear these anywhere.

12/11/12 @ 17:23
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Thank you for your awsome review! Its really comprehensive and helpful. Especially emphasising the choice one has to make between a thicker sole and thin but potentially wet shoes - at least for now..

12/11/12 @ 17:34
Comment from: Jeepman [Visitor]
Jeepman

Thanks for the nice review Tim. Another good job of telling us what we need to know. I really liked the "Are the Lontras for you?" section. This will help people to decided if they should pull the trigger on a pair of $150 VFFs. I've been running in Flows for the last 4 years and being wet has never bothered me. While my feet have been very cool at times, they've never been uncomfortably cold in the Flows. I've ran through it all from fresh powder snow, slushy trails and roads, to sleet and freezing rain. With the information you have presented, I think I'll remain in Flows for many more years to come. Thanks again for the nice review.

12/11/12 @ 17:39
Comment from: Ide Cyan [Visitor]
Ide Cyan

I'm really interested in the Lontras, because I'm looking for minimalist footwear that'll be warm enough for Canadian winters, and even with socks my non-waterproof VFFs only get me so far. (Pretty far, with leggings warming my ankles, but not long below freezing or in wet or snowy conditions.) The toe stiffness seems like it could be a problem. However, I have a high instep that rules out innumerable models of footwear (such as the Vivobarefoot Boxing Boot, which has a seam that cuts into the top of my feet), and failed to fit through the opening of Bikilas I tried in stores, so the difficulty you report in putting on the Lontras worries me that they won't fit me at all. In any case, there do not seem to be any local stores planning on stocking them where I might try them on until spring, so I'll still be looking for an alternative until then, but thank you for the review.

12/11/12 @ 17:56
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Just caught onto the lontra's namesake. Look at all that poofy goodness :) and check out the feet!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/River_Otter_-_Buffalo_Zoo.jpg
Still waiting for my lontras to arrive. It's 14 degrees F outside. Lets see how far the seeyas will last. Round 32 degrees they were fine with regular socks.

12/12/12 @ 10:25
Comment from: Scott [Visitor]
Scott

I know that I'm not supposed to care about aesthetics on shoes for active uses but...

I really miss the simple two-toned fabric of the old days of early FiveFingers.

It's bad enough that the shoes are pretty noticeable with individual toe pockets, but now the swoopy artwork lines combined with the polka dots is just really awful looking is apparently just there to scream "look at me, I desperately need attention!!!"

I love the simplicity of my brown leather KSO Treks, and the KSO classic in olive.

I really would like a pair, but for $150, there's a limit on how far I'm willing to go on garish graphical design, especially for something that has a somewhat limited use.

For the record, I turned down the Spyridons for the same reason, as much as I love the treading on that shoe.

12/13/12 @ 10:26
Comment from: Josef [Visitor]
Josef

I was using the Lontra during November for hunting in our mountains. They are great because they are waterproof and cover the ankles. With one (Injinji Smartwool over-the-calf) or two pairs of toe socks (plus Knitido silk socks beneath), even standing at -10°C works fine). But there are some drawbacks, although of absolutely minor nature: The shoe is stiffer than any other Trek-sole-based shoe, the internal material is slippery and can cause blisters, and your feet sweat more. I now own the Lontras in green, gray, the LS, and the Speed XC in blue, and they are perfect for wet days like in winter.

12/14/12 @ 05:06
Comment from: Tom [Visitor]
Tom

LEAKING AFTER TWO MONTHS OF USE!!!

I've used them mainly for asphalt-bike path dog-walking and recently they started leaking. I mean, seriously, my socks and feet are wet from just dew on the grass or accidental step into a puddle. I love VFFs and waited anxiously for Lontras, but it seems to be a mistake and disappointment. Ridiculously priced short-lived performance. With water resistance no better than your sneakers, it misses the point, misleads and doesn't deliver.
Contacted TravelCountry (they had them early), but they refuse to help claiming that they don't mention water resistance on their website, despite this quote: "helping to resist water and snow".
I'm curious how VFF will address this leaky issue.

12/15/12 @ 14:05
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Hello Tom, wow, so sorry to hear this. Have you contacted Vibram US or EU? Such a sharp and sudden decline in water resistance within the boundaries of regular wear & tear surely warrants a comment on part of the company other than 'well, we never said it would be waterproof'.. Is there any way for you to tell were the water gets into the shoe...?.. Maybe there is at least some sort of way to fix the leak even though of course you shouldn't have too..

12/16/12 @ 08:45
Comment from: Martialartiste [Visitor]
Martialartiste

My Lontra's arrived today from City Sports. With the discount net cost was only $120. Liked them out of the box. Consistent with other comments they are a pain to get on. I started to break them in by just walking around in them without socks for a few hours. I found them pretty comfortable but stiffer than the Bikila's I am used to running in.
Today on the East Coast was a crappy cold and wet day. Perfect for an inaugural run. I went easy for 2.5 miles with socks on and found the Lontra's to be comfortable. No rubbing or chafing. Even better my feet were dry and warm. I think these are a keeper and serve their purpose. Its a different road feel but to be expected. You have to give up something to get the waterproofing and warmth. Overall though I give them a B+. These will definitely enhance my running experience this winter.

12/17/12 @ 19:52
Comment from: jbierling [Visitor]  
jbierling

How has the sizing gone? If I'm a 42 in Bikilas (with or without socks), would I get a 42 in these as well?

12/18/12 @ 09:04
Comment from: tim [Member]  

@jbierling I'm right in the middle of size 43 (wear them across the board in all VFFs) and that's what worked for me in the Lontras. If 42s generally work for you, stick with that. If you're on the cusp of 42/43, then go with the 43s,

12/18/12 @ 10:58
Comment from: Eduardo Davis [Visitor]
Eduardo Davis

Do you think it is usable in summer? If it is around 25 and 30ºC do you think your feet will be too hot? I am thinking about casual use, not for running.

01/15/13 @ 12:17
Comment from: tim [Member]  

@Eduardo--yes,even sitting around the house in them my feet would get sweaty. While the temperature wasn't that bad, they don't breath very well at all.

01/15/13 @ 14:41
Comment from: Dana Roueche [Visitor]
Dana Roueche

I finally got my Lontras delivered a few days ago and would like to share a few comments.

1) This is my 5th pair of VFF and the same size fits perfectly for me in ALL models. I found no need to size up in the Lontra.

2) Having experience with VFF, I did not find the Lontra to be extraordinarily difficult to get on or off. I just follow the same process as with all the models I have. Slide my foot in, fit the toes then pull the heel on.

3) The cuff fits around my ankle perfectly and really works to keep the snow out and sand as well. Since it rides higher, it also helps keep my ankles warm.

4) I do not have any hot spots or areas of digging in anywhere. The shoes fit perfectly and while they are more heavy duty, they are still quite comfortable.

5) If you own a pair of TrekSport, you'll find the sole and function of the sole to be the same. The uppers are obviously more robust for good reason but the shoes feel and work similarly.

6) I've worn them on two 10 mile runs over the last two days in temps of 13 degree F or -10 C on both days without socks and with 2 inches of snow on the trail. My feet stayed completely warm and dry. I believe I could go down to 0F or -18C without socks before my feet started to get cold.

7) I could not be happier with these shoes. I think they are just enough to handle just about everything the winter Colorado climate has.

8) If you want to wear VFF 12 months of the year but live in a colder climate area, these will do the trick. I recommend them highly.

01/17/13 @ 14:01
Comment from: Stoyan [Visitor]
Stoyan

I have used the Lontras for two months now and I'm not so impressed with them. Unlike the person above me, I can feel the cold really fast when I go outside in -10C with socks. It takes about 5 to 10min. for the shoes to get cold in the toe area. I assume it's the fabric between the toes and the lack of insulation between the rubber and the footbed.

Many times I've had wet socks and feet with just an hour of wearing the shoes. I can't tell if it's all sweat or some water comes in, but wearing them all day and going into ice puddles isn't fun. I feel the cold instantly and I feel WET! There's definitely moisture getting in from the outside.

The ankle cuff is awful. It's too tight, but at least it loosens up after some use. It's still tight enough to irritate the upper part of my achilles with the terrible seams ala Skeletoes. I've had calluses on both feet when I wore them without socks... If I knew there would be so much issues with these I'd have chosen a non-fivefingers shoe for winter...

02/03/13 @ 02:08
Comment from: Scott [Visitor]
Scott

I don't understand what the point is of these shoes being waterproof if they don't breath. Haven't the people at Vibram ever heard of GORE-TEX?

04/09/13 @ 09:33
Comment from: Scott [Visitor]
Scott

...Don't get me wrong. I love VFFs. I hate when I have to go back to my "usual" shoes during the cold months. I'm really hoping to be able to wear FFs all year round.

04/10/13 @ 02:59