Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

I have put about 10 running miles on my Lontras in cool to moderately cold weather, both in wet and dry conditions, as well as wearing them to a high school football game on a cool (low 40s) night where I spent a couple of hours on my feet, walking as I watched the game.

With my high instep and wide feet, they are particularly challenging to get on, consistent with your experience in the first look. I have had some success stretching the neoprene somewhat (a 1 liter soda bottle stuffed into each ankle cuff for a few days) to make it easier to get onto my feet/ankles.

I am very happy with them for a cold weather shoe, and I appreciate the rugged sole, both for cold protection and for use on rocky running surfaces.

There is supposed to be more significant cold and snow moving into the area in the coming days, so I expect that I will have the opportunity to run in them in conditions more in line with what they are advertised to be fore, soon. I'm optimistic that they will perform as well as expected.

10/23/12 @ 11:52
Comment from: Frog Foot Rob [Visitor]
Frog Foot Rob

Thank you for this. I get my pair tomorrow. PA should get snow, and when we do I look forward to testing them.

10/23/12 @ 12:10
Comment from: barefeet [Visitor]
barefeet

I've asked this question in the forums as well. Could you two share a bit about sizing? I wear W38 in the Treks which worked because they stretched out. However, W38 in the Treksports kills me after a few miles on the trails because those don't stretch over the time the way the Treks do.

I'm trying to figure out if I'll need a 39 in the Lontras (especially if I want to wear them with the ultra-thin Injinjis) or 38.

10/23/12 @ 12:20
Comment from: admin [Member]  

@barefeet,

I'd probably size up in the Lontras -- I think given the extra fabric layers, it's almost like you're already wearing a sock within the normal upper of Trek or KSO Trek.

10/23/12 @ 12:25
Comment from: Rich [Visitor]
Rich

Well let's be honest - A split toe shoe is never going to be the best choice for really cold weather. If you're talking about low 40s, high 30 something like that, then ok, but when the weather gets seriously cold you want your toes closer together for warmth. I think with that in mind, these look good. Just don't think they'd hold up well in place of real winter footwear.

10/23/12 @ 12:46
Comment from: Mike [Visitor]  
Mike

I would love a pair of these but I don't know how well they would hold up running in the Canadian winter (and I'm from Toronto so our winter isn't even as severe as other parts of Canada). Anybody worn these in snow yet? It would be great to get someone's opinion about how these would do street running through slush, snow and very cold conditions (no offense to Justin, Atlanta just doesn't have the same weather conditions! Lol)

10/23/12 @ 13:00
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

@barefeet, I would think that you would want to size up. Worst case, they are a few millimeters too big, but too big is always preferable to too small with VFFs. And especially given the snug fit of the Lontra, that little bit of extra size is probably going to be a welcome thing when you are putting them on, with or without socks. In mine, I find it easier to get them on with socks on, in fact, because there's less friction between the sock and the neoprene cuff than there is between my skin and the neoprene cuff.

10/23/12 @ 13:04
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

@Rich, In those sorts of cool temperatures, these shoes are completely comfortable, and maybe even a little warm, at least when wearing socks with them, too.

They clearly won't be ideal for subzero temperatures, but my expectation is that they will work fine for casual wear down to 20, or perhaps the high teens, and will be fine when running down to single digits, if one is wearing a decent pair of socks with them.

10/23/12 @ 13:08
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

I've been seriously considering getting the Lontras, and waiting for this review. But I'm not liking what looks like the stiff/harsh side of the velcro facing up. Can you guys confirm if that's the case?

I've got 10 pairs of VFFs right now, in large part because I switched from velcro to laces in order to stop tearing up my pant legs. The VFFs with velcro eat up the bottom of my pant legs, and I decided after trying the LS versions that I'd never get a non-LS version.

I wear the Trek LS in winter, and they're ok for me even when it's 25F or so. But they suck in snow/rain. I was really hoping the Lontras would be a solution, but I'm not willing to destroy all my pants with that velcro.

If the harsh side is facing down (on the strap vs. on the upper), then I think it will be fine, but it looks from the images like the harsh side is facing up with a lot of it exposed.

10/23/12 @ 13:15
Comment from: Heidi [Visitor]
Heidi

These look awesome, and would be a really good candidate for everyday use for me, but for the trek sole. I can see where it would be great for trail running, but TC1 rubber tends to be really slick on smooth wet surfaces, so walking around doing normal everyday stuff can be annoying if you run into wet sidewalk, grocery store floors (wet fish hatchery floors & grates in my case), etc. I see that Merrel, Atra, and Inov8 are using "sticky rubber" for the soles of some models of shoe, and I've read that it performs reasonably well on smooth wet surfaces. I'd really like to see a VFF sole option like that on something like the Lontra or speed XC.

10/23/12 @ 13:20
Comment from: Dana Roueche [Visitor]
Dana Roueche

I'm anxiously waiting for the on-line stores to carry the full size range. I need a 47 and they just aren't out there yet.

As far as wearing in really cold weather, there will always be the glove vs mitten decision. While mittens will be warmer or in this case uni-toes vs toe shoes, I'd still like a pair of toe shoes that will stay more comfortable in in colder weather than what is available now.

I live in Colorado and run during the coldest part of the day. I can tolerate running in TrekSports down to 15 degrees F for my daily 8 mile runs but that only allows me to use the shoes a few days per month because of the temperature. My hope is the difference between the Lontra's and the TrekSports will allow me to run in temps that are 10 degrees colder. If that works for the Lontra's, I'll be able to run in toe shoes for most of the winter which will make me very happy!

10/23/12 @ 13:25
Comment from: Brian Sookhoo [Visitor]
Brian Sookhoo

I have a pair of Lontras and I do agree that one: they are hard to put on, two: they definitely make me sweat more than other vffs, and three, there is less ground feel. But with all that said, they are great for what they were made for. I love the snug fit they have and the fact that they are heavy duty five fingers- and thats the point! Instead of resorting to conventional shoes when traditional vffs won't cut it, we now have a heavy-duty alternative!

10/23/12 @ 13:30
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

@dana, if you can tolerate TrekSports to 15 degrees when running, you'll be fine in the Lontra. I live north of you in Wyoming, and last year I work my various VFFs in those mid-teens temperatures all the time, but I'm acclimated to that. So I expect that I'll wear the Lontra or the Speed XC pair in all but the absolute worst weather.

10/23/12 @ 13:42
Comment from: fritz [Visitor]
fritz

HEY VIBRAM!! it would be nice if you
could offer these, and all your new models in some more SOLID COLORWAYS.
yes, the colorways are funky and crazy but some of us don't like to draw much attention wearing these.
strangers that stare at your feet-that's fine, but when the shoes look like they came out of the CIRCUS-DODGGING THAT BOSS AT WORK
can become a drag.
with some solid colorways ("boring black"), we can get away with our little secret-barefoot shoes and make no hassles at work all the same.

tim and justin-thanks for your effort to bring us, once again,
all the fresh stuff from vibram and other leading bf shoes brands!

10/23/12 @ 19:08
Comment from: MJ [Visitor]
MJ

Justin,

The colorway for the lontra at the top looks different than the gray/black in mens and the pink for women. These look great!!! I want a pair, but I have small feet which means I would have to wear the womens pink, which I will not buy. Just wishful thinking.

10/23/12 @ 19:43
Comment from: Erik Reitan [Visitor]
Erik Reitan

Anybody know when they will be available in Europe? Don´t see them on the european VFF site. Alternatively, any suggestions for american online stores that ship worldwide?

10/24/12 @ 04:02
Comment from: Adam [Visitor]
Adam

Just completed the Tough Mudder here in KY this past weekend. I ran it in my Bikila LS and I noticed a good handful of people running it in some variation of VFF. So would you recommend these for a challenge like that where you are getting dunked in water and mud and everything else they can throw at you? I did enjoy that my Bikilas drained water fairly quickly.

10/24/12 @ 09:21
Comment from: Ace [Visitor]
Ace

@Mike. I'm sortof in the same boat you are

I just had a disastrous attempt at running through the snow in my Treksports yesterday in -12C (10 degrees American) and I'm quite concerned about whose definition of 'winter' these are geared towards. Up until now I just assumed that these would be warm enough, but as this is my first winter after discovering vibrams, I don't want to lose some toes finding out the answer.

10/24/12 @ 10:30
Comment from: Melissa [Visitor]  
Melissa

I'm planning on getting these for my winter running. But I really, really need a minimalist lady's shoe that I can wear casually to work and school that is water resistant. Do you have any suggestions for me?

10/24/12 @ 13:08
Comment from: Ellen [Visitor]
Ellen

I found out that all local stores and the web site do not have the show for women yet. I was told mid Nov by one store. Waiting. My Bikilas have holes in toes so really leak if it is raining. I do have a waterproof running shoe for extreme weather but thought the Lontra would be great for most days in NY where I live. I ran last year most days into the twenties in my Bikila's with socks and was fine most days. It is just the wet that does me in. I am trying to decide if I want the room to wear socks again or just skip it since this shoe is so much more protective. Maybe by the time the shoes are in the store I will hear more from others here as to this matter. I also question whether it is worth such a thick shoe when I have a thin soled waterproof running shoe already.I run only on the pavement but at 61 I need to be sure I don't slip on the ice. So I am also concerned how the Lontra holds up in slick conditions

10/24/12 @ 15:21
Comment from: robert [Member]  

I am not sure what is up with my pair of Lontra. They are extremely painful in the toe area. I can only wear them for about 5 minutes at a time before my toes start to ache. I can't figure out what is going on with them. It seems to be worse around my 2nd and 3rd toe on my right foot. It feels like my toes are being forced/pushed and causes extreme discomfort when I try and walk/move in the shoes. The pair of Speed XC I have are much more comfortable and have no real issues with the toes. Currently, I can't really use the pair of Lontra I have because they hurt so much to wear.

10/24/12 @ 15:58
Comment from: Frog Foot Rob [Visitor]
Frog Foot Rob

I found this video a couple weeks back of a UK runner testing them in puddles and snow. Pretty neat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVjergwV0No

10/24/12 @ 17:55
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

We had a small snow storm roll through yesterday. It seemed like the perfect time to test my pair of Lontra in weather that would be downright impossible to run in with non-Lontra/non-Speed-XC VFFs.

When I went out, it had been raining lightly for hours, and had then been snowing lightly for several hours. So the ground was very wet and muddy, and there was an inch or two of unmelted accumulation in many areas. The wind was brisk -- 15-20 MPH -- and temperatures were in the mid 20s F. Snow was actively falling while I ran.

I spent an hour in perpetually wet conditions. Much of it was goopy mud, snow, and puddles (most of my normal running route is on dirt).

The shoes were fantastic. After an hour in those conditions, my feet were still comfortable. The exterior of the shoes were muddy and wet, but if there was any moisture infiltration through the fabric in that hour, it was too minimal to be able to distinguish it from sweating related moisture. There was a little dampness inside of the shoes, but my socks and my feet were dry.

My legs, which were clad in a pair of CW-X Stabilyx Insulator tights, were _far_ colder than my feet.

Appropriate sock choice is definitely crucial to overall comfort when the temperature drops and conditions get wet, but the shoes performed exactly as I expected them to perform.

10/25/12 @ 14:37
Comment from: Ellen [Visitor]
Ellen

Kirk,

Thanks for the review. What socks did you use? Did you get a larger size due to the socks?

10/25/12 @ 16:07
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]
Ted_S

The comments on the difficulty of getting the foot past the tight neoprene cuff are making me wonder if, with my wide bunioned foot, I'd have any chance of getting these on. I'll definitely try these on in a store before purchasing.

I wish Vibram had made the cuff removable. I've had a few different brands of trail shoes that either came with removable gaiters, (Montrail), or had them available (Salomon, The North Face). Being able to remove the gaiter makes the shoe far more versatile.

I had a pair of Gore-Tex Teva trail shoes with a permanently attached gaiter. The gaiter, probably neoprene, did open and close with Velcro. This slightly increased it's versatility and greatly increased the ease of getting the shoes on. Still, the attached gaiter made them too warm to wear indoors.

10/25/12 @ 20:11
Comment from: Josue Diaz [Visitor]
Josue Diaz

Great review and pictures, but maaaaan, I am absolutely *NOT* feeling these AT ALL from a style/colorway perspective. Sheesh, feels like the 90's all over again. :\

Just seems that "heavy-duty" in a minimalist footwear option does not compute. Sure, options are good, but I question the longevity of this particular product.

We'll see what happens.

10/28/12 @ 19:28
Comment from: Cody R. [Visitor]
Cody R.

you know, i wish they made the rubber come up around the toes just a little bit

so people with crooked toes just far enough to cause the upper material to rub against the ground causing rips...

10/28/12 @ 23:00
Comment from: bob [Visitor]
bob

the color combinations and patterns of the lontras are a big miss. hope vibram
will get rid of the drunken clown who designed these and assaign a real designer.

10/29/12 @ 09:05
Comment from: Alex [Visitor]
Alex

Looks to me like Vibram are slightly loosing the plot. These look excessive for a barefoot shoe.

Being from the UK I have to adhere to running all weather types from HEAT to SNOW - mostly horrible wet weather (& I only run off road throughout Sherwood Forest - spiky rocks, thick slippery mud and long grass that conceals everything dangerous). All I use are my KSO's and would never choose a bulkier / more reinforced vibram - it defeats the point of choosing to run barefoot.

Vibram seem to be trying to build an 'in between model' for the folks who seem to be scared of getting their feet wet or is counter Vibrams initial 'go barefoot' way of thinking. (Yes Vibram isn't true barefoot but all they had in the beginning was a 2mm rubber sole - now we have reinforced plates and water proof fabric being used).

I would really appreciate if Vibram chose to design more models like the 'Moc' or 'Seeya' - less bulk, less marketing crap.

Choose the thinnest Vibram and learn to soak it up as closest to barefoot as possible - Simple?

10/29/12 @ 12:02
Comment from: berry [Visitor]
berry

I currently wear a size 40. Komodosport LS fit great. Bikila LS just slightly snug. I have a w-I-d-e foot.

So far, the smallest Lontra I've seen has been a 41. From those who own them, will they be too large for me?

cheers,

10/31/12 @ 11:14
Comment from: berry [Visitor]
berry

OK - found some size 40 Lontra at REI.

Since that will be mail-order, I would still appreciate feedback on sizing.

Thanks.

10/31/12 @ 11:25
Comment from: Jim [Visitor]  
Jim

Just got my Lontras yesterday as a birthday gift from my wonderful wife.

My primary VFF's are Bikila LS's size 40, so I went with a 40 in the Lontra and was not disappointed. Just enough room in the toes and nothing feels too snug, except the cuff (which is by design).

In terms of waterproofing, I give them an A+! I filled the tub and started walking around in them with the water coming up to about mid-foot, and didn't feel the least bit of water in the shoe. It's been raining here for the past couple of days, and I was gleefully hitting every water puddle I could find, and never had wet toes :) I'm quite happy there.

In terms of putting the bloody things on, however, I give them an F--. It's seriously a workout to put them on. The hardest part being that the neoprene cuff likes to roll in while you put your toes in the pods, which you then have to dig out, and then try and find the back loop to try and pull them over your heel. Ugh. I think as I break them in it will get easier, but compared to my Biks they are NOT fun to put on.

I think my only real complaint (I knew they were going to be hard to put on) is that the neoprene cuff tends to dig into the back of my achilles tendon. It's not horrible, but it does tend to itch after a few hours of wearing them. I'm hoping as they break in that decreases as well.

Ground feel is obviously minimal, but I expected that. Even with the Trek sole, though, slick pavement is still somewhat slick. I wish they'd gone with the Spyridon sole instead, but c'est la vie.

Overall I'm very happy with them. The water resistance is worth every penny, in my opinion.

11/01/12 @ 09:36
Comment from: barefeet [Visitor]
barefeet

Jim, have you tried them with socks yet? Did you find that the little toe is squashed like others have said?

Anyone out there: Any idea when the women's Lontras will be available? REI originally said 10/28 but apparently that was a bit optimistic.

11/01/12 @ 14:11
Comment from: e [Visitor]
e

barefeet, I was told that the Womans would be here about mid Nov at a local store( well 30 miles away local). They are going to call me.

11/01/12 @ 14:32
Comment from: Jim [Visitor]  
Jim

barefeet: Yup, but only on the right shoe, and only really when I'm slipping my toes in. There seems to be a hard bit of fabric or sole between the fourth toe and pinky toe that makes it a little uncomfortable to put on. After it's on, though, it's not bad.

I have not tried them with my toe socks yet...I hate wearing them because my slight hammer toes make socks difficult to put on. :)

11/01/12 @ 15:49
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]
Ted_S

re Jim's comment on fabric between the little toe and 4th toe: I have the same problem with one shoe of the Speed XC. Without socks or with very rhin socks there doesn't seem to be a problem, but with thicker socks I had a real challenge.

I think that with the three layers of fabric, some of which are stiff, assembling everything cleanly around the little toe is challenging.

Once I figured out what was happening, I found that I could put a finger between the toes and push the overly long seam away from the little toe. It's annoying to have to do this every time I put these on. Had I purchased these locally,(which was not an option), I would exchange them, as it appears that not all shoes have this problem.

11/01/12 @ 16:37
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]
Kirk Haines

Neither my Speed XC nor Lontra pair have that issue, and I've worn them both with and without socks. I prefer to wear socks, as it makes it easier to get the Lontra on. Also, I stretched the neoprene cuffs somewhat through a combination of wear, and stuffing a mid-sized soda bottle into each cuff for a few days when I was not wearing them. It helped a great deal to loosen them up without compromising their functionality.

11/01/12 @ 17:42
Comment from: MJ [Visitor]
MJ

FYI!!

Anyone looking for the Lontra in the female sizes are now available for sale on th Vibram web site. I will not be buying, because I do not like the colorway.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/Five-Fingers-Lontra-Womens.htm

11/04/12 @ 10:14
Comment from: Octavio [Visitor]  
Octavio

I'm thinking of buying them myself. Would you say they're warm enough or would you say they still require some toe socks? I live in the suburbs of Chicago where it gets pretty cold. But while you run we all know your body heats up and our minds aren't even really feeling the cold. But even then would you recommend toe socks or are the Lontra's good enough alone? So I know if I should get them a size bigger for the toe socks to fit in. Thanks.

11/08/12 @ 18:19
Comment from: BC [Visitor]  
BC

So I got my Lontras today, and gotta say was impressed by their construction but blow away how different they are then any of my other vibrams. I have flows, bikilas, see ya, and kso. The first thing I noticed right away is holy crap the pinky toe pocket is small in these ones!!! And I don't mean a little small I mean big time small. I bought these a size bigger then usual so I can throw on socks for the cold weather running and hiking and still hurts my pinky toe. It feels like there is more fabric and maybe a extra seem in there compared to the other toe that take up alot of space. The only other complaint I had was that the amount of material between the toes is immense. It was border line uncomfortable. I'm def going to have to go through a few weeks of casual wear in these bad boys before attempting any runs, but I can't wait to get these on the trail. They are super warm, but not to hot even wearing around my house. Aside from my two complaints about very comfy, loving the new lining, and I think they look killer. Def have the possibility of beating my bikilas as my fav vibrams.

11/09/12 @ 18:23
Comment from: meee [Visitor]
meee

Anyonegot komodosport LS and Lontras to compare sizing?

11/14/12 @ 12:29
Comment from: Zack [Visitor]
Zack

I'm having a terrible time with the cuff digging into my achilles on my right foot only. If anybody knows a good way to stretch them out, I would appreciate it. I've put about 35 miles on them and the tightness is still an issue. The rest of the sizing is fine, and works with the other vff's (I have Sprints, Bikilas, Flows, Sypridon LSs and now these Lontras, all in size 40), but the achilles digging is going to be a deal-breaker if I can't get it fixed.

11/14/12 @ 14:47
Comment from: ell [Visitor]
ell

Well I was waiting for a local store to get the women's Lontras in. I called today and they said they sent all the men's back and canceled the women's! I asked why and was told that several men customers tried on the show and had great difficulty getting it on and that there was no room in the toe area. The staff also tried on and came to the same conclusion. Sounds like a big problem. I won't order online as I must try on first but I doubt I will be getting the Lontra's after all.

11/14/12 @ 14:50
Comment from: meee [Visitor]
meee

well, sticking a bottle in or something to widen for some days sounds as mentioned b4 good to me - that's what I did with other neoprene gear as well

11/14/12 @ 16:11
Comment from: Crystal [Visitor]  
Crystal

A confirmed VFF NUT; hubby wears Newtons as he found VFF too minimalist for his comfort. VFF & yoga has done much for improved posture, leg & hip stability from 30 y/o injury (I'm 55). Currently have SeeYa for indoors/yoga (a bit wide for my low volume foot), Komodo LS for running, fits PERFECTLY in width tho' my short toes are a bit lost. Thanks to all for the comments (how so like a Brit to attempt to chastise Americans lighthearted bg)and *especially* for the video link. That sold me. I have little bony ankles so don't expect the cuff to bite. Soooo happy to stay with VFF.

11/15/12 @ 12:28
Comment from: Christina [Visitor]  
Christina

I just got my Lontras and ran five miles. They absolutely rubbed raw my fourth toe on only the right foot. I'm devastated. I've run three marathons in the bikilas and found I can't wear the treksport because of rubbing issues, can't wear the flow because they rub my achilles and need some five fingers for the slush. Don't know whether to send back or try again with a silicone toe cap covering my toe. Anyone else have any issues?

11/15/12 @ 12:47
Comment from: Christina [Visitor]  
Christina

This message for Zach with the achilles problem. I had the same issue with the flow on one foot. Had to look up on internet how to stretch and strengthen the achilles and ended up ditching my flows because that rubbing issue was just too much.

11/15/12 @ 12:52
Comment from: Karin [Visitor]  
Karin

REI has the women's sizes. I normally wear either 38 or 39 in vff's. I ordered Lontra in 39 and 40, and I ordered sox. The 40s were too big, the 39s fit ok with and w/out sox.

I have very wide stubby feet with very high arches and insteps. Plus I have one fatter ankle because of an ancient severe sprain. So I was really worried about being able to get the Lontras on at all. I stretched the cuffs with my hands as much as I could. It's obvious that getting them on is part of the workout, lol.

I started wearing them around the house and then walked outside for a while this morning. They are not super-warm, but with sox I think they will be quite cozy down to at least 15-20 degrees. If it's any colder than that, I'm going to the gym anyway.

I'm holding my breath for the first run in them. I noted the rubbing issues that others have had, and I think I will start right out wearing sox. I am really grateful to everyone for the comment thread here, it was incredibly helpful to me when I was deciding whether and what to order.

If you are an REI member, you will get free shipping on these, and if you live near a store, you can make returns directly to the store. REI is terrific about returns. You could probably return shoes that you had gone trail running in, if you decided that they wouldn't work for you - I really think that REI would just take them back.

11/16/12 @ 11:35
Comment from: Jane [Visitor]
Jane

A hint that may help getting them on. What I do is thread a shoelace through the loop on the heel. Then I put them on, mashing the heel down and getting my toes into place. Once my toes are placed I pull the shoelace with one hand and run fingers or thumb of the other hand from the front to the heel cuff on either side of the lontra. This puts the neoprene into place while starting to move the heel into place. Once I've done that a good pull on the lace pops the heel all the way on.

Like others I find the lontra a 'different' fit. You feel the toes more then any other shoe and it is stiffer. I have to wear socks, at least for now, as the shoe was digging in to the back of my heel - socks prevents that. But with the socks they feel really tight. I debated sizing up but my big toe is not quite at the end and I think a size bigger I'd be swimming in. Not sure if the material will soften or not but I hope so.

I run in bikila's with injinji wool to -10C so I figure these will get me through winter with socks.

11/17/12 @ 08:25
Comment from: Katrina [Visitor]  
Katrina

I've been patiently waiting for the Lontras so that I could run in the wet Seattle weather without wet feet. I tried them on at REI and had to size up as the big toes seemed very short and, oddly, the foot length (not VFF length) was very short: in my normal VFF size, the Lontras were incredibly painful where my toes meet my foot!
I'm wearing them around the house now and I'm not convinced.......they are so much more 'shoe' than my bikilas and no where near as comfortable. Hmmmm!

11/19/12 @ 16:34
Comment from: Ariel [Visitor]
Ariel

Thanks so much for the review and for most of the comments.

For a few years now I have mourned every winter having to make the choice between running in VFFs in cold and wet weather with soaking feet which always left me with a chill at the end of the run or buying a gym membership to run on a treadmill. Also hated trading in my VFF's for heavy hiking boots or even regular boots which brought back knee and back and shoulder pain.

So Mr. Prince John from Sherwood Forest, I have long hoped that Vibram would do something like this, create a warmer, more waterproof shoe with a little bit more between my foot and the freezing mud, water, slush, etc. while still retaining the important functions of using one's toes and avoiding the pain-inducing cushioning of typical running shoes. If your thing is to be stoically purist about running then go right ahead but don't look down your nose at others who actually want to enjoy their run to the best of their ability in whatever way works for them.
-Ariel from Under the Sea

11/21/12 @ 04:05
Comment from: meee [Visitor]
meee

Just got mine.
In contraryto what others said, the 42 from my komodosports fits for Lontras as well, they could even be a tint smaller...

No problems with the neopren ankle cuff here - mybe some posters got quite chubby legs?

BUT:
The sole is really fat compared to my komodos! Especially this fat stripe under the fromt ball of the foot almost feels like a plateau shoe!
[img]http://images.devs-on.net/Image/QnE4a8EAKIIGwRMO-Bereich.png[/img]

Not sure what to think of them - I expected worse regarding fitting and comfort and even expected a faulty product from what others had written here, but none of that is true for me.
The sole is as it is - and others that are used to run on that thick sole should be ok, but I'm not sure if it's gonna work...

11/27/12 @ 10:35
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]
Kirk Haines

The sole is the same as other shoes with Trek soles. It's fantastic to have that extra thickness on truly cold ground (subfreezing). It does gain some flexibility with use, but it is dramatically less flexible than the sole on the komodosport, or that on a Speed or Bikila, nevermind something like a SeeYa. The use case is different, though.

As for the cuff, I don't think it's a matter of "chubby" legs. It's just a matter of the cuff being designed more to accomodate the stereotypical skinny runner build. If one deviates in build from that, whether it's because of "chubby" legs, or because of muscular legs or more robust bones, it is more challenging to put the shoes on. The neoprene will eventually stretch and loosen, so I haven't found it to be a problem over the long term, though.

11/27/12 @ 13:31
Comment from: E27 [Visitor]
E27

In store the fabric btwn the pinky and fourth toes was very stiff and the toe pockets were very tight compared to our Treksports and KSOs - this was not starting off good and we were disappointed. We went up a size and added socks and the problems disappeared. And like others, we too had some difficulty getting in at first. These issues may put off a lot from the start and the Lontra may not be suitable for you. If you can get past this, the Lontras work fine when there's a bit of wetness.

The Lontras are a beefed wet weather version of the Treksports. Basically when your feet stay dry you have more fun. For snow conditions however we will stick to our tried and true combo of Baregrip/gortex socks. No doubt the Lontras can be used in snow, but there's better traction options out there. ;-)

11/28/12 @ 12:46
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

I was pretty excited when I got the Lontras and wore them around the house. But I wore them for about 20 minutes outdoors on a rainy day and got a massive blister on the top of my right little toe. I can't feel anything there...but the top material is REALLY stiff and just digs in somehow.

They're the same size as my other 10 pairs of VFFs, but my toes also feel smashed into the ends and were sore the next day.

If I wouldn't have ordered them online a long time ago, I'd likely try to return them or at least size up one.

11/29/12 @ 16:05
Comment from: Christina [Visitor]
Christina

After returning my size 39 Lontras and getting a size 40 ( I wear a 38 in the Bikilas), I am a much happier camper with these shoes.
The 39's felt fine, till I ran 5 miles and they rubbed the tar out of my second to smallest toe on the right foot only ???. The 40's felt a little roomy in the toes, but with all that extra material in there, it was absolutely fine on my run. No rubbing, no shifting feet. Hope my experience helps. So glad I was able to clean the bottoms of the 39's and send them back and get my $150 back. That'd be an expensive mistake to make.
These do have a heavier tread, but since I'll mainly use them to run trails and slushy roads, I think it'll be ok. The Bikilas I run in have massive holes in the toes and almost nothing between me and the road on the bottom. I figure once they no longer stay on my feet, I can get another pair. No cushioning to replace.

11/30/12 @ 12:16
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Hello, this is a respnse to Robert's Post a while ago.

"..I am not sure what is up with my pair of Lontra. They are extremely painful in the toe area. I can only wear them for about 5 minutes at a time before my toes start to ache. I can't figure out what is going on with them. It seems to be worse around my 2nd and 3rd toe on my right foot. It feels like my toes are being forced/pushed and causes extreme discomfort when I try and walk/move in the shoes. The pair of Speed XC I have are much more comfortable and have no real issues with the toes. Currently, I can't really use the pair of Lontra I have because they hurt so much to wear...."

I've got a similiar problem with the Trek Pros (Europe). As my feet are only used to the Seeyas I thought it either had to do with the much stiffer Trek sole and/or with the inner lining. This feels quite velvety and my impression is that, as soon as I am wearing socks (feelmax) my toes can't stretch out forward that well when I flex my foot upward, toes still on the ground. There is plenty of room in the toe-bits but the socks fabric and the vekvety shoe fabric don't slide over each other very well. Kind of like putting on a fleecejacket over a fleecesweater. As a result my toes don't seem to stretch forward on their own enough when I walk and roll over the ball of my foot. Then the joints in my toes end up getting the pressure of the forward movement instead and start to hurt. I have never had these problems with the seeya, with or without socks and the lining is very smooth. I am also ok toe wise in the trek pros without socks. They are about 1/2 size up from the seeyas (men's 40 instead of women's 40).

How have your lontras been breaking in, has the pain gone away? From the looks of it, the lining of the trek pro and lontra are quite similiar. The speed sc however, which did not cause you pain seems to have a smooth mesh lining. Have you been wearing the lontras with or without sock liners? Best wishes, E.

12/08/12 @ 09:49
Comment from: Karin [Visitor]
Karin

I have been running in my Lontras a few times now and I'm having some of the other difficulties reported, but not anything that makes me regret buying these shoes. It's true that they are 1, hard to put on; 2, stiff; 3, bulkier between the toes. It's also true that they are WATERPROOF, and that they are significantly warmer than any other style of fivefingers so far.

I went trail running this afternoon, right after a rain, about 42F, and found them quite slippy in muddy river clay - but I don't know of any running shoe that would have been much better. I slowed down; I didn't fall. A kid who passed me at a much faster pace in conventional shoes almost pitched himself into the river when he slipped.

I would have worked out at the gym instead today, *except for these shoes*!! This is huge. Outdoors in fresh air is always better. I even saw a beaver swimming down the river.

12/09/12 @ 18:43
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 @ 14:16
Comment from: kurt [Visitor]
kurt

My usual Fivefingers are a 43 and feel sloppy. I got Lontras in size 43 and can't even get into them. The instep is too narrow for my wide feet, and the toe bit is too beefy to guide my crooked toes into the right place. But I'll switch them for 44's and give it another try.

12/19/12 @ 07:57
Comment from: Thomas [Visitor]
Thomas

Hello guys !
I waited for my new Lontra LS since weeks and in the first week of december they were delivered. Until now I had two pairs of five fingers (Speed and Bikila LS) but both of them were not the right ones to run outside in rainy whether or on muddy footpaths. So I wanted to try the Lonta LS but I had to wait until christmas because they were a gift from my wife.
Yesterday I did my first run for about an hour and here is the result:
The Lontra LS feels much stiffer on your feet than the other two pairs I own but - altough I ran without socks on my feet - my feet were quite warm an dry even though the path was wet and muddy. At the end my two little toes had each a little blister on the outside but there was no pain and so I will try the Lontra LS again next time with socks on. At least the Lontra LS is a good choice for running in bad whether or at low temperature without getting cold or wet feet.

12/26/12 @ 08:39
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]
Ted_S

Today I finally had my Lontras out in some challenging mountain weather -- snow, puddles of water, ice, sleet, hail. The bottoms of my feet were cold but not uncomfortable for the hour of ascent. I was wearing Injinji (heavy) wool socks. My wife wore the Speed XC with the ultra-thin Injinji performance socks and found the bottoms of her feet to be very cold.
On the way down, we both felt after a short while that our feet were much warmer -- comfortably warm. The temperature had dropped and wind and precipitation had increased, so the effect clearly had something to do with going downhill Vs. going uphill.
I think the increased warmth was due to more blood flowing to the feet and toes. Going downhill requires much less energy than going uphill, so the major muscles aren't demanding as much blood flow and more is available for the periphery.
Another factor might be that uphill travel involves landing on and hard pushoff from the balls of the feet, which probably compresses blood vessels and thus reduces circulation. Going downhill involves mostly landing on the heels and very little real pushoff. The lack of much force on the forefoot probably leaves the blood vessels more open, enhancing circulation.
For longer winter mountain hikes I'm uncertain how well our feet will do or if we will rely on any VFF. We've managed five-hour long spring ascents with slush-soaked KSO Treks, but that's with relatively warm weather. For heavier snow I've always taken off the VFF and put on something more substantial that I could use with crampons, and will likely continue to do so. The Trek sole has almost no traction on ice or crusted snow.

12/30/12 @ 23:56
Comment from: clc [Visitor]
clc

Hi Justin, i'm also from Toronto and just got a pair of the lontras from the vibram fivefinger website. I'm a 38 in the bikila's and got the same size in the lontras and finding them snug. I have yet to try them on with toe socks. Did you find that they stretched after time? I'm contemplating if i should return them and get size 39 instead. Your thoughts? Also, where in Toronto did you buy yours? I would love to try them on if i can find a retail location. Would appreciate any feedback, thanks! -CLC

12/31/12 @ 19:07
Comment from: Tereza [Visitor]
Tereza

I have mine for two weeks and they are exactly what I expected and wanted them to be. The size is OK (I have the Sprints in 40 and the Grados in 39, so I took 40). No problem with the neoprene, only with putting the toes in the right pockets. To feel the fabric between the toes is quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful but this feeling disappears after some time walking or running and so far I´ve had no blisters or anything afterwards. The sole feels thick but the ground is still closer than in normal shoes and the feet are not cold nor wet. I´ve made a 17 km hike in temperatures around zero without socks and it was fine once my feet had warmed up. Well the colours are awful so I didn´t clean all of the mud :-)
The overall feeling is somewhat bulky but still quite different from normal shoes so OK for me. It was not an easy thing to design I guess and so far they seem to do the job so I would recommend them to anyone hesitating who accepts that these are a trade-off between what we are used to and what we need them to do.

01/01/13 @ 12:33
Comment from: Thomas [Visitor]
Thomas

High guys !
I ordered my new Lontra LS (size 46) end of november 2012 and I got them delivered mid of december 2012. After having used them for severals runs I am happy to have them. Even when the trail is wet and muddy my feet are warm and dry. I wear the with toe socks because I got small blisters on my little toes when wearing the barefoot. Although the trek-sole is not as flexible as in my Speed or Bikila LS it is famous to be on the run with the Lontra LS. These were definitely the running-shoes I have waited for to continue my running also during winter and bad weather.

01/02/13 @ 10:33
Comment from: Josh [Visitor]
Josh

I use a thin dive boot for winter running. Google 'ocean quest premium dive boot'. They're around $30, and are waterproof but still thin and allow ground feel.

01/03/13 @ 18:10
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Hey Josh,

thank you for your tipp :). Searched for the diving boots you mentioned and they look pretty cool. So far I've only been able to find models that said they're made of neopren. Does this mean they behave a little like VFF flows and your feet get quite wet in rain and slush? Or do you maybe do something to waterproof them?

01/06/13 @ 03:46
Comment from: Joe [Visitor]
Joe

This is my 4th pair of VFFs.
KSO, KSO Treks, and Bikilas.
My primary runner is the Bikilas which are excellent except they easily get wet. I live in cold and rainy Germany and the Lontras seemed like just what I needed.
I finally got them today and I'm not impressed. They are very hard to get on and they are most definitely not waterproof or water resistant. Slight wetness on the road was no problem, but running through a 1 inch puddle was a huge problem. I could immediately feel the water flowing in between my toes just like it does in my Bikilas.
These shoes are going back!

01/09/13 @ 12:26
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

After having my Lontras for 2 months or so, I'm also not happy with them. If I could return them I would, but it's beyond the time and I'm in another country now.

First and most importantly, they crush my little toes. I have 11 pairs of VFFs. They're really all I wear. So I know which size to get, etc. But for some reason the 41 (my usual size) in the Lontras are so painful I want to take them off almost as soon as I put them on. However, the 42 is too big.

Additionally though, they're way too stiff where they shouldn't be. I bought them for training in cold rain and snow, so I do want them to be substantial. But there's a difference between substantial and incredibly stiff and painful.

I really want to like these shoes...especially since they're my most expensive pair. I keep trying to give them another chance, but every time it's the same bad experience.

01/10/13 @ 05:13
Comment from: Kirk [Visitor]
Kirk

Joe, that is strange. Perhaps you have a defective pair. I have both Lontra and Speed XC shoes, and both are very water resistant.

01/10/13 @ 08:15
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]
Ted_S

David -- I wonder if your crushed little toes are due to the same problem that I have with only one shoe. There is a length of the between-the-toes fabric that extends out. It usually gets pushed into the toe pocket of the little toe, making the fit unbearably painful. I found that by placing a finger between the toes and pushing away from the little toe I can eventually get the fabric where it belongs. Once this happens the toe pockets fit perfectly.

01/10/13 @ 10:42
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

Thanks Ted, but the problem feels like the shoe is too short at the last/little toe. It's not that the compartment is too small width-wise, or that there is not enough space in it. The issue is that unlike all the other FFs I have, there seems to be less length.

The fabric (just looked) appears to be fine in the area you're talking about.

01/10/13 @ 16:19
Comment from: Elle [Visitor]
Elle

Hello David, when I ordered a pair of lontra ls, the little toe of the left shoe was significantly shorter than on the right shoe. You couldn't tell at first sight, the shoes looked smooth and well made from the outside and in - except my little toe hurt on the left. When comparing both shoes more closely I could then see and feel the difference in length.If you tried another pair of lontras your size and it turns out your pair is defective maybe the store will still take them back?
Having said all that, I did find the lontra ls toes to be slightly less long on the inside than the seeya's and I had to size up - only because of my big toes' length. Not many people seem to have to size up but if your pair turns out to be not defective maybe your small toes are borderline to the next size?
I hope you will have a well fitting pair soon.

01/12/13 @ 22:03
Comment from: Dave [Visitor]  
Dave

I have been running in VFFs for 3 years and have worn KSOs in the summe and Flows in the winter. The flows were warmer than the KSOs but when my feet get wet in below freezing temperatures it gets really painfull. When I saw the Lontra I was leary because of the price but after a few really cold days decided to order a pair. I have been wearing size 43 always and with the Flows even manage a pair of thin Injinji socks. When my Lontras arrived I tried to get them on my feet it was impossible. The toe space is very restrictive and I could not get them on. Now I am worried that if I send them back and get size 44 they will still be too tight on the toes. You would think the shoe interior would be the same size with the liner and not smaller.

01/14/13 @ 10:25
Comment from: David [Visitor]
David

Thanks Elle. Both the left and the right are just a LITTLE bit too tight (but it's enough to be very painful), so I don't think they're defective. The main reason I'm not even trying to exchange them is that I bought them in the US and am now in Europe.

I went to a Vivo Barefoot store and bought some Off Road Hi boots two days ago, to make up for the Lontras...to wear when it's wet/snowy and freezing cold. I really do like the Vivos for that purpose. However, today I put the Lontras on after wearing the Vivos, and they'd be even better if they only fit! Compared to other shoes, I love how the VFFs are completely flat. My Merrells and now the Vivos curve up just a bit at the front of the ball of the foot, by design, so you don't get the same use of your ENTIRE foot like you do with VFFs.

I must say, I'm really disappointed since I had my hopes up about the Lontras. Maybe I'll get a size 42 and try them with 1 or 2 pairs of really thick toe socks.

01/14/13 @ 14:40
Comment from: Tanja [Visitor]  
Tanja

Hello,

I just got my Lontra LS (size 37) and I was really looking forward a barefoot shoe, I can run with at cold temperatures. Today it´s -10 degrees and I hate my normal running shoes. Last spring I bought the Bikila LS and it´s great .... but now it´s too cold.

I just had it on for about half an hour in the house, mostly reading this site.
It felt like the toes would be spread really innaturally and I wonder if I would be able to run naturally like this. Unfortunately I can´t try outside if I want to send them back and my house is to small ;-).

I just got them off and my foot was absolutely cold and my toes were sleeping - I tried to move them all the time, but it was nearly impossible. Maybe it´s a bit more heavy to battle against a fat and hard sole when your size is only 37.

Now I sit here and wear my old Bikilas and my feet are getting warmer.

I think I will send them back :-(.

@Josh: The shoes diving shoes you mentionned, are you running with them? Is it ok? Is it possible to get them in Europe/Germany?

Greetings, Tanja

01/16/13 @ 05:23
Comment from: Christina [Visitor]
Christina

I sized up two sizes from my Bikila shoe and I've worn the Lontras all winter so far, doing a 50K and a half marathon. They are different, but if they hurt your feet-toes at all, I would size up. I can only wear them with socks anyways unless I want a bloody heel from the rubbing. Love these shoes and they are warm and much better than regular road shoes.

01/16/13 @ 10:53
Comment from: Tanja [Visitor]
Tanja

Hello,
I read the post of Christina and outside was snowfall and -5 degrees and I decided to try it.
(The Lontras are the same size as my Bikilas and there is still space in lenght for my toes, maybe 1-2 mm shorter than my Bikilas.)
I was running half an hour and I didn´t think at the awfull space between my toes. My feet were not colder than in normal shoes and not wetter. My socks were a little bit wet only between my Toes.
After I got the shoes off, my toes itched for about half an hour and I think if I had been running a bit longer, I would have some blisters. I will see.

But I´m glad I didn´t return them.

Greetings, Tanja

01/18/13 @ 05:07
Comment from: Reticuli [Visitor]
Reticuli

I'm wondering if this is just manufacturing variation that is causing these sizing issues. Because my Lontras are exactly the same size as my other 6 pairs of Vibrams and yet my Speed XCs are slightly smaller, particularly on one foot... my smaller foot, so it's doubly too small. I have one pair (out of two) of Bikila LS that has the left foot slightly smaller, but it matches the naturally slightly smaller left foot fine. I suppose this is more evidence against buying Vibrams online without free returns. It's best to buy them in person and try the pair(s) on first. Every pair probably has a good match to some person's feet out there, but don't expect the size listing to tell you everything.

01/25/13 @ 00:39
Comment from: Gina Harris [Visitor]  
Gina Harris

I really like my Lontras; they worked really well keeping my feet dry until I washed them for the first time and now they don't seem to be water resistant anymore. They are still great shoes and keep my feet very warm, but I'm disappointed that they let the water in now. I washed and air dried them like it said. I only have 80 miles on them. Any suggestions?

01/30/13 @ 12:50
Comment from: Josh [Visitor]
Josh

Just got my pair of lontras, i love them but i aggree with most people that the neopren cuff is to tight. I put these on when i first got them had no problem when my foot was dry but putting these on on my way out of work with a sweaty foot was damm near impossable.

02/02/13 @ 17:52