Comment from: Reemi Beatrix [Visitor]
Reemi Beatrix

Thanks for detailed description. Would love to see these Trek Ascent Insulated in smaller sizes. Do you know if they are being made for women with 7, 8 or 9 size shoe? ..

02/10/16 @ 14:41
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Reemi,

They do offer the Trek Ascent Insulated for women in euro sizes 36 - 41

38 -41 roughly translate to 7-9 US sizes, but there are measurements and conversions for inches, US sizes, and Euro!

02/10/16 @ 15:38
Comment from: Alex [Visitor]
Alex

I just tested these out last week from Amazon and loved the wool liners. The shoe felt great and I really wanted to keep them. Unfortunately the non-waterproof was the deal breaker for me. If they can keep the fit and add waterproof I'll be all over these.

02/10/16 @ 16:46
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Alex,

I am wondering if Vibram thought that the waterproofing would make things too sweaty inside the shoe? I recall the Bikila EVO WP was quite restrictive in terms of foot volume and toe space, so comfort might have been a part of the decision as well.

However, they could have just aded more space to the toes. They were able to add them for the woolsockliner, so they surely could have added a waterproof layer as well.

I any case, the Ascent Inslulated is still an excellent shoe for a wide variety of activities, but it just does not have the total package for an all-terrain, all-winter, all-conditions, shoe.

-Jarvis

02/10/16 @ 18:15
Comment from: Jesse [Visitor]
Jesse

I've been wearing my pair for the past several months through a Tokyo winter (hardly any snow) and they've been great! I haven't had a chance to ride my bike in the freezing cold yet...back when I would do that in older vibrams my toes felt so cold they might fall off! In my walking to/from work in this model my toes have never been uncomfortable.

I was able to put the shoes through some real nasty snow/slush when we had to drive up to Yokohama to register our car and it decided to dump snow that morning. When we arrived at the parking lot it was covered slushy snow, and our trip entailed crisscrossing the parking lot multiple times as we ran between different government offices. At first I was dismayed as I felt the water start to seep in, but once I got used to it I realized my feet weren't freezing, even though they were wet. Afterwards I was able to keep wearing the wet shoes for several hours before getting home and I wasn't uncomfortable then either. So even if they aren't waterproof, the extra insulation helps keep wet feet warm and that's a plus.
I still wish Vibram would make a truly winter proof model...

02/10/16 @ 18:20
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Jesse (and Porco!)

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Indeed, even if water and slush gets in, the wool does an excellent job of keeping tabs on the temperature.

It's a bit of a challenge to maintain warmth in toed shoes as there is simply much more surface area that is making contact with snow, cold air, and water (much like how mittens are warmer than gloves), but Vibram did a fantastic job with its sockliner. I would say that these are warmer than the Feelmax Kuuva 3 waterproof boot that I reviewed last year, though that model is completely waterproof (and still is to this day).

-Jarvis

02/11/16 @ 07:16
Comment from: Jimms [Visitor]
Jimms

I have been very happy with my Lontras for winter trail running especially on sloppy ,snowy, slushy days ,when regular shoes just aren't fun. They are warm and keep my feet reasonably dry.I don't look for my Insulated Trail Ascents to serve the same purpose - they are just super comfortable knock around shoes for the rest of the day , and Jarvis is right - they are the most comfortable shoes they make. Great review .

02/11/16 @ 13:36
Comment from: Rob C [Visitor]  
Rob C

Thanks for the review. It was good timing, as I have been back and forth about buying a pair. Vibram told me directly it could be a couple of months before they can even restock them. So I may go through EMS. It's more reassuring to see EMS get a recommendation on here as well.

One question though: I normally wear socks because if I don't, that sweat feeling can bother me. Based on the review: You are saying I could wear these without socks comfortably for the 1st time in a FF shoe? Because that excites me, and I can't get enough of the comfort that wool socks provide.

02/11/16 @ 16:04
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Rob,

I would say that the benefits of the wool sockliner are MANY, including heat AND sweat regulation.

I would say that I enjoyed the Bikila LS the most because of its soft uppers and padded heel collar. These traits have translated to the Trek Ascent Insulated in a huge way, making this the most comfortable shoe Vibram has ever made. Perfect for exploring a hiking trail or a run through the start of a blizzard.

I would highly recommend you try one out. Go one euro size up for right sizing.

-Jarvis

02/11/16 @ 16:10
Comment from: Josef [Visitor]
Josef

Used it this autumn for hunting. Terrific. Extreme grip on grass, could climb on 45° or steeper and felt how the blades of grass teared below my sole. Of course, I lost my wind after a 5-minute climb, but I was as impressed as my hiking-boot-equipped colleagues. Extreme grip on snow and ice, and also normal ground found in forests. I had no experience with rain and mud so far, but until now, I like the shoe a lot. Good complement for the waterproof Lontra (that I cannot find in my size anymore).

02/13/16 @ 19:44
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Josef,

Thanks for sharing!
Your experience should be very helpful for those who are looking for hiking and technical stuff during colder months, rather than full out snow attacking.

I always found the Lontra a bit too tight and inflexible and I was never a fan of the Maiori's odd connected pinky toe.

02/14/16 @ 09:13
Comment from: MJ [Visitor]
MJ

I have been looking at theses shoes to wear for everyday use so I do not have to continually transition from VFF to regular shoes for the winter. How would waterproofing the shoes with a silicon waterproof work? Would it keep out water etc.?

02/14/16 @ 10:54
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

I think you can add waterproofing spray much like you would a canvas bag. A few coats to cure over a few days would enhance the water resistance a lot, but they will never be 100% waterproof.

Enough for longer times in snow and slush for sure, but beading is not going to prevent a puddle.

02/15/16 @ 23:14
Comment from: Rob C [Visitor]
Rob C

I got my pair and are breaking them in. So far so good, but Jarvis I have another question:

I noticed on my right shoe, on the big toe, the stitching is a bit more over the toe rather then more towards the inside of the toe like my left shoe.

I checked your top down photo of your shoes and noticed the same stitch placement on your right shoe too. Do you think it's because of the shape of our toes or is this a design choice? Or maybe even an error [I thought this for my pair, but then saw it's exactly the same on your pair per the photo..]

02/17/16 @ 15:42
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Rob,

Oh whoa! I did not notice that!

I gotta say, the same thing is going on with my pair. It doesn't affect anything. I can't see this being a deliberate design choice, but perhaps a discrepancy with the ma ifs tiring process.

I haven't noticed this with any other pair of Vibrams. It's very odd!

02/17/16 @ 16:29
Comment from: Rob C [Visitor]
Rob C

Ok thanks. I like things symmetrical so this jumped out at me. Still enjoy them though. Had a good break in period yesterday. I love the puff cuff and that it is higher on my foot. Makes it feel more like a hiking boot.

02/18/16 @ 14:39
Comment from: Regan [Visitor]  
Regan

I'd love to try these out. I have the original Lontras for winter running and Bikila EVO WP, which have split apart and are a poor design. With the Trek Ascent Insulated, it seems a little bit of shoe waterproofer spray may help out a lot. I spray many of my VFF's with silicone waterproofer to give them a little water protection and make them easier to clean the outside. I wonder if it would help the Insulated ones on snowy runs.

02/24/16 @ 09:04
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Rob,

It's a cuff that keeps things connected, but does not restrict!

All vibram cuffs should be like this.

Regan,

I think that waterproofing spray would go a long way, but I will continue some testing and will report back. I'm glad that you've had a good experience!

02/24/16 @ 13:43
Comment from: mc [Visitor]
mc

Been wearing the Ascent all winter in the UK. When not raining it is the perfect winter shoe - the wool is fab. This is the ONLY five fingers i've ever had to break in, though - the lining in the left foot nearly killed me on the 3rd and 4th toes. Not what i'd ever expect to go through in a vff - otherwise, lovely.
@mcphoo

03/18/16 @ 16:42
Comment from: Jude [Visitor]  
Jude

I live in Winnipeg where cold is really cold. Would this shoe be adequate for say -15C?

07/28/16 @ 17:02
Comment from: Andy [Visitor]  
Andy

Love to get a pair but need at least a 49 /50 to fit. Since vibrum doesn't make them could you suggest a minimalist winter boot for daily street wear

09/15/16 @ 08:10
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Andy,

I love the Kuuva 3 from Feelmax and the Boulder from Lems (but that is not waterproof).

Jude,
I felt a little cold as the TA-I became more and more wet at around 10 degrees, but if you have tough feet and are keeping yourself dry, you should be okay for most situations!

-Jarvis

09/15/16 @ 08:24
Comment from: Mary [Visitor]
Mary

I am wondering if you would recommend these for backpacking in Iceland? I am going on a 50km hike there and will be carrying a 15-18 pound pack. In the past I have backpacked in New Balance Minmus but that has been discontinued. I will be hiking in rain and snow... Thanks for any help

09/25/16 @ 21:56
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Hi Mary!

I think these would be great for backpacking!

However, I would say that I prefer completely open sandals for long hikes, but it depends on what you will be hiking through.

If you are encountering light snow, these should be pretty good.

You can compare them to smart wool socks that you would wear with winter boots, minus the boots.

Eventually, water does get in, but that depends on how much snow you are encountering.

If you backpacked in the minimus shoes, these will do just as well.

-Jarvis

09/26/16 @ 05:56
Comment from: tomylee [Visitor]
tomylee

Hi Jarvis,
did you have the chance to do any testing with the waterproofing spray?

Tomylee

10/24/16 @ 03:36
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Hey Tomylee!

I tried two means of waterproofing:
Dry Guy WaterproofingTent Fabrics & Outdoor Gear Waterproofing Spray
and Atsko Sno-Seal Original Beeswax Waterproofing Leather Protector

Both work really well.

The spray is easier to apply because you can soak it into areas, while the bees wax seems a bit more capable, but requires a lot of rubbing and hair-dryer work.

Overall, I would say you cannot go wrong either way. The wax does change the way the fabric feels and stiffens it a bit, while sprays do not. Wax is pretty much 100% waterproof, and some sprays are pretty darn close.

10/24/16 @ 15:45
Comment from: John C. [Visitor]  
John C.

Waterproofness doesn't work. Either you sweat and get wet or wetness gets in over the top of your shoes. What does work is wool and/or synthetic insulation that will retain dry quickly and won't compress due to water, which is why almost nobody wears cotton for outdoor activities, except in arid climates. I first experienced this on a trail run in 2005 when I had just unknowingly replaced my regular socks with ones made of acrylic (they felt soft and cushy), I was wearing a basic pair of Adidas running shoes (Falcon or Hawk something). I accidentally stepped in a not-quite cold enough to be frozen stream and my feet got wet. By the time I was done though, my feet were still warm due to the physical activity and quick drying nature of the shoes. I should add that I was only wearing my usual 5" nylon running shorts and a microfleece half-zip.

10/31/16 @ 17:13
Comment from: tomylee [Visitor]
tomylee

Most important is to have a shoe which is warm and you do not get wet during rain a a little bit water in the gras or trail during hicking. When you run it's most of the time not a big deal because of your high body temperature, but it is another story when you are moving slow. On the other hand I never really have wet feet during my runs because of sweat and I do not expect to walk a creek and have dry feet.

11/16/16 @ 07:32
Comment from: Iris [Visitor]  
Iris

How do these compare to the sizing of the KSO EVO?
I'm usually a size 8.5 (39 EU). I have the KSO EVO size 9 (40 EU) and they fit perfectly, but if I wear them with a pair of injinji nuwool socks they are too tight.
I'd like to order the Trek Ascent Insulated to wear with a pair of injinji nuwool - would you recommend I go up even one more size and order the 41?
Thank you for your superb reviews!

11/28/16 @ 16:53
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Iris,

The KSO EVO runs a bit smaller than the rest of the lineup.

I would say that the Trek Ascent is more true to size, while I size up by 1 (EU) for the KSO EVO.

A 41 EVO is about the same as a 40 Trek Ascent, but the length of the Trek will be the same as a 40 EVO, so keep that in mind for your sock needs!

11/29/16 @ 10:23
Comment from: Iris [Visitor]
Iris

I'm not sure I understood what you meant by "A 41 EVO is about the same as a 40 Trek Ascent, but the length is the same".
You mean a 40 EU KSO EVO is somewhat narrower than a 40 EU Trek Ascent Insulated but same length? Or that the length of the 41 EVO and that of the 40 TAI are the same?

11/29/16 @ 15:21
Comment from: jarvis [Member]  

Iris,

The Trek Ascent simply has a bit more internal volume than than the KSO EVO. So, if you get a 41 KSO EVO vs 41 Trek Ascent, they are the same length, but the Trek Ascent will have more space inside for wider feet.

Sorry for the confusion!

11/29/16 @ 15:51