Verdict from 4 experts and 67 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The majority of users liked the minimalist/lightweight feel of the shoe.
  • Some buyers were intrigued with the unique look of Ultra 3, which was apparently more refined than its predecessor.
  • The versatility of the shoe was highly commended by runners. Other than trail and road running, they pegged it as a great option for camping, swimming, and hiking.
  • Some use it casually and, for them, it never felt out of place.
  • According to a number of testers, the breathability proved perfect for hot days or even just for those with sweaty feet.
  • Many runners praised the durability of the shoe, which worked well even on rough trails.
  • Traction is one of the things that runners can’t get enough of the shoe; they felt that it was very efficient.
  • The roomy toe box was also appreciated by a lot of users, especially since barefoot running required natural toe-splay.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A few had experienced foot aches and blisters after using the shoe for the first time. They recommended breaking in the shoe first.
  • Some made comments about the ostensibly inconsistent colorways, though they were not too bothered about it.

Bottom line

The Vivorebarefoot Ultra 3 is an incredible shoe that allows wearers to run strong and fast on wet and wild terrains. Nevertheless, its minimalist yet robust structure is versatile enough to be used for exercise, active sports and even on casual strolls. It is one of the best waterproof shoes on the market with the right balance of flexibility and durability.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

Good to know

  • The Vivobarefoot Ultra 3 is already the third shoe in the amphibious Ultra series. Compared to its predecessor, this model is a few ounces heavier in the sole. However, there weren’t a lot of changes in the new version, making it a great option for fans of the original Ultra.
  • Aesthetic-wise, the overall structure of the Ultra 3 is more refined. The lacing eyelets were changed to provide better flexibility and fit. Another noticeable difference is the toe box. In the Ultra 3, the toe box has a somewhat smaller design, which might not be favorable to those who have wide feet. Nevertheless, it offers better durability to protect the toe from debris while running on rough trails.
  • Vivobarefoot is also a famous brand of vegan running shoes. The Ultra 3 is another offering made from 100% animal-free products and processes, making it vegan-certified.

As to the length, the Vivobarefoot Ultra 3 is considered as true-to-size. The width for the men’s and women’s models are measured at medium. Runners will appreciate the naked and comfortable fit offered by the shoe, even with socks.

The Vivobarefoot Ultra 3 features the puncture-resistant Pro 5 Outsole. The unique sole rubber has been tested to withstand five times more impact from rough trails with occasional debris. Aside from its commendable durability, the shoe’s outsole also has dependable traction and optimal grip to prevent runners from slipping during a run. It also doesn’t add too much weight to the shoe, keeping it as minimal as possible.

The hex grip sole is created with sticky rubber to prevent slippage. It is also designed to push the water out to enable the runner to run (or climb) rocks and other textured surfaces with ease. 

Since the Vivobarefoot Ultra series is considered to be barefoot running shoes, the Ultra 3 does not have any technical construction in the midsole. However, the outsole, which has minimal padding, serves as the shoe’s midsole.

The shoe’s hexagon EVA structure offers lightweight breathability that is hard to beat in the barefoot running category. The material drains water well, making it a great choice for trail runs. It also keeps the upper well-ventilated, dry and comfortable. Its moisture wicking properties are also guaranteed.

The lacing system of the shoe allows the wearer to find a secure fit without the hassle. It can be adjusted easily to accommodate the natural preference.

How Ultra 3 compares

This shoe: 80
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: £80
All shoes average: £130
£60 £240
This shoe: 190g
All shoes average: 296g
170g 680g
Ready to buy?
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.