Vibram FiveFingers Lontra
These aren't perfect (could be a tad warmer and more flexible), but I believe they are the best minimalist winter shoe you can find.
- good traction
- difficult to get on and off
- could be warmer
- not as flexible as other models
I've been wearing minimalist footwear for around five years now, and Vibram FiveFingers have always been my favorite so I was stoked when they came out with this winter model. I originally started out with the men's version because I wasn't able to find the women's in my area. As much as I wanted to love them, I couldn't due to poor fit (EXTREMELY tight around the ankles, but loose in other areas).
I returned these and settled on the ONE pair of women's that I could find, even though it was a size down from what I normally wear. This made all the difference. I absolutely LOVE these shoes, although I will admit that I could easily go a size larger. (I will probably exchange the pair that I have as soon as I can locate a store with my proper size.)
I work on a farm in Oregon, and the Lontras have held up beautifully in the constant rain and mud for the last three months. I would say that they are VERY waterproof and KIND OF warm. They definitely don't keep my feet as warm as a pair of boots with wool socks would, but I accept that they are MINIMALIST shoes, and this is probably about as warm as they are gonna get.
If you want to make sure you stay as warm as possible, I would suggest buying a size up from what you regularly wear and throwing on a pair of toe socks underneath. While these have kept me warm ENOUGH in Oregon, I don't think I would want to exclusively depend on them in a colder climate. The traction is wonderful, but the flexibility is quite a bit less than other FiveFingers that I have worn. I think this comes from the fact that it must be slightly difficult to design a minimalist shoe for winter wear.
The ankle cuff keeps stuff out fairly well, but this also makes it a challenge to get them on and off easily. After you break them in a little, this becomes easier so don't let it dissuade you from purchasing them. Overall, I took off one star from the rating, due to the fact that I feel they could keep my toes a little warmer and perhaps be a little more minimalist, but for the most part, I am very happy with them.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150
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