Vibram Five Fingers V-Alpha Trail Review

Like all Vibram FiveFingers shoes, the V-Alpha Trail is a perfect alternative to barefoot running because the ultra-thin sole lets in an endless flow of sensory feedback that forces you to change your heel strike to a forefoot strike when you run. This is absolutely essential because more firmly established research has found that there is more overwhelmingly positive qualities of forefoot running that’ll save your knees, hips and back vs heel strike running.

The Vibram Five Fingers V-Alpha Trail is remarkably versatile because its ready for any surface, and more important, the shoe was crafted with foot-health in mind such that Vibrams signature anatomically-shaped design improves foot geometry, giving you a more functionally resilient foot that’ll adapt quicker to new levels of training.

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What’s the V-Alpha Trail Good For?

The Vibram V-Alpha Trail is definitely worth a look for trail runners and hikers as the shoe performs exceptionally well in marshes, swamplands, wetlands, rivers as well as on grass, rocks, boulders, logs and any type of dirt surface!

The versatility of the shoe doesn’t stop there! The V-Alpha Trail performs just as well on the roads, biking, weightlifting, bouldering, rock climbing, swimming, gardening, squat and dead lifting and for all-day casual use.

How Do They Compare to Other Vibram Models?

If you loved the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS, you’ll love V-Alpha Trail because its a slightly warmer version than the Bikila’s, making the V-Alpha Trail more suited for slightly cooler weather, especially when paired with Injinji toe socks.

Sole Specifications

The less you can feel the ground when you run, the more it undermines your control of upholding proper forefoot running mechanics. The best way to connect with the ground is to feel the ground, and V-Alpha Trail does just that because it sits on a zero-drop (completely flat) 3.7 mm thin rubber sole with a 2 mm foam insole for added comfort.

The strategically placed traction provides strong grip for any off-road terrain while remaining fully flexible throughout to move seamless with your foot and for optimal ground adaptation.

The V-Alpha Trail’s sole employs multi-directional, multi-sized, tightly-spaced flat Megagrip lugs separated by flex grooves that grips superbly on both dry and wet terrain, including large rocks and on pebble/rocky beaches, trekking through rivers and right back to a rocky trail without slipping!

Despite the enhanced traction, the sole is still thin enough where you can actually feel the temperature of the pavement! The strong ground-feel acuity is one of the most enduring benefits of the V-Alpha Trail because you can easily feel your way forward with more confident strides, which is especially needed for running safely on uneven, challenging terrain.

As mentioned earlier, the ample grip-stability of the V-Alpha Trails sole  offers a reliable ride for running fast on all types of terrain, especially very steep, debris heavy trails and grassy hills, making the shoe a good match for obstacle course races, but is also a well-balanced crossover shoe that takes you from mucky trails to smooth roads without missing a step.

Upper Specifications

Like most Vibram shoes, the upper of the V-Alpha Trail is unlike any kind of shoe because its moulded around the natural shape of the foot, literally, and is designed to fit like a sock.

The segmented toes gives the front of your foot full freedom of movement which is very effective in absorbing impact and steadying balance. The upper is also super light, making you feel buoyant for a smoother, faster run.

The upper is well-built, made with 50/50 wool/synthetic materials for better airflow and provides all the comfort of feeling barefoot. The upper is so comfortable and light that it feels like a second skin, and is also reliable when wet since it dries quick.

The upper is incredibly stretchy and automatically adapts to the shape of your foot. It laces up great, too! Instead of traditional laces, the upper features a strong pull cord allowing you to make instant micro-adjustments to lock your foot in place with zero slippage when zipping over wet roots and rocks. You’ll also love the upper comes in several vibrant color options as well.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to a beastly barefoot shoe for serious off-road adventures, the Vibram Five Fingers V-Alpha Trail has no compromises. Its even better that the shoe crosses over impressively well from asphalt to sloppy, gnarly trails, but where the shoe performs best is inspiring safer strides and making your feet healthier.

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If you’re interested in getting your paws on the V-Alpha Trail, you can get them here!

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you’ll love my reviews on other amazing barefoot shoes, here!

You can also check out my YouTube channel: Run Forefoot, where I talk about the all the evidence-based reasons why forefoot running is safer and more economical than heel strike running! 

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Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!