Made for fitness, the V-Train 2.0 has versatility beyond its fitness-oriented intensions with an excellent strap system, sole design, and durability. Welcome the next generation of the training line from Vibram!

Overview

Made for fitness, the V-Train 2.0 has versatility beyond its fitness-oriented intensions with an excellent strap system, sole design, and durability. Welcome the next generation of the training line from Vibram!

From Vibram

The V-Train 2.0 is the perfect tool for serious trainers and functional athletes.

XS Trek will carry you from the trail to the urban playground and even across a range of indoor activities, thanks to its non-marking feature.

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Heart and Sole

This V-Train 2.0 is excellent for a variety of uses beyond its designation of “the fitness shoe”. It is excellent for gym sessions, including p90x and similar programs, circuit training, jumping rope, and cutting motions. Outdoors, the V-Train shines as a road and trail shoe for average minimalists and it has a good rubber compound that gives it some winter running chops as well. Its reinforced strapping system locks in tighter than the Lace Systems used in more lightweight Vibrams. The shoe features a comfortable tongueless “wrap” style and the uppers are very flexible and accommodating for a wide range of feet volumes.

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While the V-Train 2.0 is an obvious evolution of Vibram’s other fitness shoes—ranging from the Komodo to the KMD—I also see it as a pseudo KSO update due to having a Velcro strap. Ironically, the KSO EVO, which evolved from the KSO, lost that Velcro strap in favor of a Lace System.

The V-Train 2.0 has an aggressive and interesting sole design that features multiple specialized lugs. It is a lot of fun just looking at the sole and seeing all the different types of treads. The shoe features rounded lugs around the ball of the foot and heel, pebble-lugs along the arch for traction, longitudinal trenches for cutting movements, and lugs along the toes for digging.

The rubber compound used is Vibram’s XS compound, which originally debuted on their Bikila EVO line. Vibram XS Trek is a technical compound that allows for great flexibility and traction. XS is versatile and provides good traction in the gym (or home gym), roads, trails, and dry cold-weather applications. Unlike the V-Run, the rubber covers the entire sole area. This compound seems denser than the all-around MEGAGRIP compound found in the V-Alphas, but seems stickier in cold weather. Combined with the substantial uppers, the sole design makes the V-Train a pretty decent cold-weather shoe. However, true cold running is better suited to the Insulated models and their IceTrek rubber compounds.

The V-Train 2.0 is a more substantial shoe, especially compared to Vibram’s more featherweight designs in the past. At 6.88 oz for a size 42, this places the V-Train as average compared to most minimalist shoes and above many Vibrams.

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The V-Train 2.0 feels like a more substantial V-Alpha. They occupy similar functions as gym/fitness, running, hiking, and parkour shoes. The V-Train is certainly the heavier of the two, but is also more durable in most aspects. Choosing between this shoe and the V-Alpha will depend on your needs. The V-Alpha is a jack-of-all-trades shoe with many strengths, while the V-Train 2.0 is designed to be more heavy duty with a ton of security and protection features and a more aggressive, but less smooth, sole. Someone looking for more durability and features for extreme needs would certainly appreciate the design elements of the V-Train 2.0.

Overall, the V-Train is an excellent fitness shoe. I found that it is excellent as an indoor and outdoor shoe.

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Aesthetics

The V-Train 2.0 has a complex, industrial look with multiple layers of materials that speaks to its more heavy-duty capabilities. There are some padded TPU sections that prevent tears and scuffs, and its dual strap system communicates security and toughness. Multiple types of materials are comprised in the uppers with a splash of color on some models in the collar and elastic laces. The V-Train look like would give the V-Trek and Trek Ascent shoes a run for their money for mud runs, spartan races, etc.

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Fit and Materials

The highlight of the V-Train 2.0 is its strap design. Velcro strap and lace system work together to provide a very secure fit. This gives some homage the KMD and Komodo and a bit of the KSO as well. The shoe is protected from all angles through multiple layers. However, it does become pretty complicated-looking with all the layers working together.

The V-Train 2.0 utilizes a triple upper design. I would classify the three sections as the core uppers, the lacing layer, and the TPU layer. The core of the uppers a wrap style that overlaps around your foot and removes the need for a tongue. This core section is padded around the collar for security and comfort. The section above the feet and toes has protective painted on bits to prevent snags and tears. This plush section provides a cozy, flexible, and seamless experience. I believe that many will consider this among the most comfortable of the Vibram designs due to that seamless interior that is somewhat reminiscent of the Furoshiki shoes from Vibram. As an additional benefit, the extra plushness of the uppers and additional layers make the V-Train 2.0 a pretty good fall and winter shoe for non-snow activities.

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The lace layer that uses Vibram’s excellent lace system. This closed-loop bungee and velcro strap lace system is consistently excellent and easy to use. I always find the Vibram lace system to be superior to traditional shoe laces in terms of comfort, speed, and durability. There is less time fiddling and tying and more time enjoying the little things with the bungee and velcro route.

This lace system is threaded through nylon eyelets stitched into the lace layer. Prior models have the elastic threaded through the uppers. I am not sure if this is a better way of securing the laces as I am not sure if these nylon eyelets are more durable than threading the laces through an entire upper layer like the V-Alphas.

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The third layer is the aforementioned padded TPU section, which secures the Velcro strap. The Velcro keeper in the laces has a double-sided design that sandwiches the keeper between two sides of the Velcro strap. This combo makes for the most secure Vibram design yet. In my experience, once you find a good fit, this Velcro strap and double-sided lace keeper really will not budge. This is excellent from a security perspective and anyone with issues in the past with the Vibram lace system should definitely check out this hardy design. In some ways, I cannot help but feel like this might be overkill for most users.

The heel of the shoe also features an extra layer of material, which adds to the durability of the shoe.

All of these layers and the strap design makes for a very tough, secure, and durable shoe. However, this comes at the compromise of extra weight. If your preferred weight for shoes is in the 6 oz range (size 42), this would be a perfect gym shoe and more. If you are looking for something in a more featherweight option, the V-Alphas are a great choice and can do many of the things that the V-Train 2.0 aims to do, but in a more streamlined and simple design. The V-Train 2.0 also overlaps with the V-Trek and Trek Ascent shoes due to its durable upper design and rugged sole. All of this creates a lot of choices for shoppers—perhaps too many options in my opinion.

The V-Train is a versatile shoe and is unmatched in Vibram’s lineup for extreme circumstances. However, the V-Alphas are my first recommendation for most users.

Future Improvements

Overall, I do feel like Vibram has a lot of overlapping models and even some legacy models still being sold. Some of their models are ten years old and they exist alongside their latest updates. Looking at their website is like seeing a family tree for shoes. Even their newest shoes demonstrate a number of similar models and I cannot help but wonder if it would be a good idea for them to streamline their line.

For a V-Train 3.0, I would possible streamline the three-layers of uppers into two, combining the lace layer and the Velcro layer to shave off some weight and maybe tone done the TPU protection layers so they still function to protect the shoe, but for a more elegant appearance.

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V-Train 2.0, V-Alpha, and KSO EVO

Summary

It’s amazing to think that this line has been on the market for ten years! From the Komodo, to KMD, and now the V-Train, each iteration has been updated for durability and security. This latest shoe features an aggressive sole, a secure strapping system, and additions that strengthen its durability.