88
Good!
175 users: 4.2 / 5
11 experts: 87 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 8.5oz / Women 4.2oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 0mm / Women 0mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 7.1 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • Most users of the Stealth II found it to be comfortable, flexible, and lightweight.
  • A runner commented that the shoe gave adequate toe room and enabled a more natural foot movement compared to mainstream running shoes.
  • Many runners agreed that it had a stylish appearance unlike other brands of barefoot-running shoes.
  • A lot of users felt the Stealth II was effective in delivering a barefoot running sensation.
  • One reviewer mentioned that a recurring heel pain was reduced when running.
  • Another tester noted that the shoe did not require a long break in period.

4 reasons not to buy

  • One user said the Vivobarefoot Stealth II was not able to perform well on rough roads and dirt tracks.
  • The shoe caused discomfort around the ankle, said one reviewer.
  • It was a little expensive considering its few features, as observed by a couple of buyers.
  • Some runners felt the shoe did not provide enough support to the foot.

Bottom line

Many will find that the Stealth II is a relatively durable running shoe that reaches its goal in making barefooted running easy and enjoyable. The shoe delivers comfort and flexibility while remaining visually appealing. It is not recommended for runners who want a shoe that promotes minimalist running.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

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Our reviews

84
/100 by Avery Smith, posted on .

The Vivobarefoot Stealth II is a high-quality barefoot road running shoe. It has a unique, breathable upper, and a great outsole.

The bottom line is that although the Stealth is a good barefoot running shoe, the Merrell Vapor Glove is better than the Stealth in every area.

 

Marketed Statistics

 

Upper Material

The upper is made of a hexagonal EVA structure. There are hexagons of foam with thin mesh centres.

 

 

This construction is extremely breathable. Vivobarefoot advertises that the upper will keep you cool in 90-degree weather.

Honestly, I didn’t run in 90-degree weather whilst testing these shoes, but in conditions that my feet would usually get very hot, the Stealth excelled at keeping my feet cool.

Fit

The Stealth has an extremely wide fit. I found this to be a disappointment.

The wide fit makes the shoe feel pretty clumsy. I need to really cinch down on the laces in order to secure my feet. The heel area has a standard fit, but the midfoot and forefoot are extremely wide.

Heel Cup

The Stealth does not have a heel cup, which is standard for a barefoot shoe.

Barefoot shoes rarely have such support features. Most people are into minimalist shoes after a free and unrestricting shoe.

 

 

The lack of a heel cup achieves this perfectly. There is more padding than I would expect around the heel collar. This is favorable because of how tightly I have to tie the laces.

Tongue and Laces

The tongue is made of a thin piece of mesh with a plastic overlay.

The tongue is not very soft; it doesn't feel great against the top of my foot when I run sockless.

I need to crank down on the laces because of the wide fit. The tongue does distribute the force applied by the laces to the top of my foot appropriately.

Toe Bumper

The Stealth has a fairly sturdy plastic toe bumper.

This toe bumper is not too necessary since the Stealth is a road shoe, but it does give your feet a little bit more protection.

Insole

The Stealth is built with a fixed insole. The shoe comes with a set of additional insoles if you feel that you want a slight touch of cushioning.

 

 

I don’t usually like to use insoles in barefoot running shoes, because they diminish the ground feel that the shoe provides, however, the fixed insole and heel area of the Stealth become pretty gross after just minimal use.

The supplementary insoles do not accumulate sweat and dirt as the fixed insoles do. Therefore, I recommend using them.

Reflectivity

One of these shoes' strengths is its high levels of reflectivity.

The entire heel area, the entire toe bumper, and the tongue are all reflective. You will always be seen whilst running at night.

 

Midsole

There is no midsole.

Outsole

There are three main criteria for any barefoot running shoe outsole: It must be flexible, durable and provide good traction.

The Stealth’s outsole is made of a single sheet of durable carbon rubber.

 

 

After about 100 miles of use, my pair of Stealths did not show too much wear.

This is partially because when people run barefoot, they tread lightly, but also because the Stealth has a durable outsole. The carbon rubber provides very good traction on roads. I never felt unsteady or felt as If I was losing power due to a lack of traction.

Finally, the outsole has exceptional flexibility. The outsole is engraved with a pattern of many small hexagons. These hexagons flex in all directions with ease.

My feet never felt restricted in this shoe in terms of flexibility. This outsole excels in all three areas.

 

Best Uses

The Stealth is a good barefoot road running shoe. It also works well on the treadmill.

Since the Stealth is so breathable, it works well for summer running. For the same reason, I would not recommend the Stealth for winter running.

The Stealth is a true Barefoot shoe, it will only be comfortable for runners who have a smooth and efficient gait.

Comparisons

Vivobarefoot Stealth II Vs. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

The Primus Lite is the little brother of the Stealth. It is lighter and more nimble than the Stealth.

In an effort to keep down the weight of the Primus Lite, they use a less comfortable upper than in the Stealth. Apart from these features, the two shoes are very similar. They both have the iconic Vivobarefoot hexagonal outsole.

Vivobarefoot Stealth II Vs. Merrell Vapor Glove 3

The Merrell Vapor Glove does everything that the Stealth does, except better.

The Vapor Glove has a more comfortable upper, a better fit, a more adept outsole, and is lighter. The Vapor Glove can also handle trails better than the Stealth. Additionally, it is almost half the price of the Stealth.

Vivobarefoot Stealth II VS. Salomon S-Lab Carbon Skate

Well…one is a barefoot running shoe and the other is a nordic ski boot.

Conclusion

Overall, Vivobarefoot Stealth II is a high quality barefoot running shoe. There are certain aspects of this shoe that could be improved, such as the fit and the shoe’s inner lining material. 

I have enjoyed my time running in the Stealth, but I always felt that I would have preferred to be running in the Merrell Vapor Glove.

The Stealth is a strong barefoot running shoe, so I recommend it to anyone who finds that they don’t like the Merrell Vapor Glove.

Avery Smith | Level 4 expert Verified
Avery has run for about 4 years on all types of terrain, totaling about 80 miles per week when he is not injured. He loves shoes from Brooks, Hoka One One, Altra, La Sportiva, and Merrel. Avery runs every distance, from 100 meters to 100 miles. Notable accomplishments include winning several 5ks and winning his age group in the Leadville 50 by an hour and forty minutes. This year Avery will be competing in the Boston Marathon and the Leadman Competition.

86
/100 by James Smith, posted on .

I have thoroughly enjoyed wearing my Vivobarefoot Stealth II.

I've put them through their paces on everything from road to mud and even the beach! I've run about 45 miles in these shoes and walked about 15.

They have become my go-to shoe for almost every situation and I can't see anything taking their place anytime soon. When I have them on, all I want to do is bounce about the place.

They've also been an awesome shoe to transition to barefoot/minimalist running in, so much so that I almost wish I could rewind and do it all again!

 

Tech Specs

Weight - Size 45 EU weighing in at 225g per shoe (without insole in… I weighed them myself!)

Sole - PRO5

Patented, ultra-thin (3mm), puncture resistant layer. 5x more puncture resistant than a standard sole of the same thickness.

Vegan - Produced using animal free products and processes.

Upper  -Breathable Mesh 

Synthetic multiply materials, to deliver optimum lightweight breathability and comfort.

V-MESH 

Multi-layer honeycomb constructed upper, engineered with foam and mesh.

V-WEB 

Heat fused together for lightweight structure and stitchless durability.

TPU COMPOUND 

Super thin, lightweight and incredibly durable for maximum underfoot sensory clarity.

INNER 

Outlast® technology, originally developed for NASA, utilizes phase change materials (PCM) that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort.

Design

I've not only used the Stealth II for running in but also as my everyday toe-house and they've certainly turned a few heads… but mostly not in a good way.

They definitely look quite odd and if you're the kind of person who cares about how you look or how other people view you then these probably aren't for you. I'm not saying that I hate how they look but these minimalist beasts definitely weren't designed with looks as the primary concern.

 

Safety

The reflective and protective toe, heel and tongue parts are great for adding to night-time visibility as well as offering that little bit of extra safety and foot security.

The heel cup especially helps to keep your foot locked in, which is great! But in the daytime they make the shoes look more like plimsolls than I'd like them to, I've also had a few comments to that effect.

The honeycomb pattern in the upper although fantastically functional also adds to the strangeness in appearance. Most people that have seen me wearing them just aren't sure what to make of them.

But you know what… I couldn't care less!

These shoes are brilliantly comfortable! I'd go as far to say that (only just) behind the Vibram FiveFinger KSO’s they are the most comfortable footwear I have ever worn!

Flexibility

The 3mm sole is flexible yet resistant and it offers more than adequate protection from the road whilst running. It also doesn't feel too hard on your feet, even without the insole in. (And I'm only just transitioning to barefoot/minimalist at the moment).

The heat fused, multi-layer upper offers great flexibility and breathability.

On cold days (down to -1°C) my feet don't feel cold despite how thin the upper is. The high-tech Outlast inner really is fantastic and does what it says it should.

I can't wait to see how these shoes perform in the summer to disperse the heat on those heat-wave run days.

Fit 

I wish I had gone a size up with these.

I went for my usual size 45EU with these shoes and although I have decent room for my toes I think a size up would have given that little bit more for these shoes to feel even better.

One big plus point with these is that I didn't have to break them in at all. They haven't once given me a blister and they're as comfortable now as they were the first day I stuck them on. 

 

 

My toes occasionally hit the end on downhills which is a bit annoying. That could have to do with my downhill technique more than the shoes being too small. (I'm trying to learn how to run downhill like a child but it's hard letting go).

I think these probably fit as expected but if you're the kind of person (like me) that's sometimes a bigger size then I would definitely suggest going bigger.

My one slight critique of the design in terms of fit goes is that I don't understand the weird flappy bits that surround the tongue. It's almost like they forgot to cut off half a centimeter of excess material from the thing, only it's definitely meant to be there.

It doesn't cause any discomfort but it bugs me a bit that it is there, especially when I'm putting them on.

Maybe it has a function I don't know about but what that could be I have no idea! The tongue also feels like it's slightly too short, maybe just a few millimeters extra on there and it'd be absolutely banging on for me. 

Grip

Just looking at the soles on the Stealths you'd think that they would only be any good on nice smooth, dry pavements (there must only be about half a mm of tread grip on them after all).

But you'd be wrong all day long! I still can't quite get my head around how well these things grip the road.

 

 

I've run on wet, dry and icy roads, groomed trails, the beach (both wet and dry sand) and even on wet, muddy grass.

The only times I felt as though I wasn't in control was on the muddy grass and it was a little hairy on the ice (hah!) but the shoe really impressed me in every other instance.

Obviously, you're not going to get a super grip in a lot of places with these but they are pretty amazing.

Support

As I've mentioned before the heel cup on these shoes offers decent support for your feet. The lacing system is simple yet effective and your feet snug and locked in place when all done up.

For the most part, these shoes just allow your feet to act for themselves and don't really need to offer a load of support. They let your feet work things out for themselves and I'm quickly getting used to how great that feels. Not just with the Vivobarefoot's but barefoot in general.

Performance 

Where the Stealth II really shines is when you take the insoles out! They're really responsive.

I've found that when I hit that point in a run where usually my legs would be tired and feeling heavy that isn't the case when I'm wearing these.

 

 

I've still feel light on my feet and my legs although tired don't feel drained. I've also found that my running pace is way more consistent in these. I can only put it down to how these shoes have altered my running form, from heel striking to forefoot running.

On top of how responsive they are the Stealth 2’s support is great. As I mentioned above in regards to support they essentially teach your feet how to look after themselves.

For years I've had a problem where my left foot has overpronated and early this year I started suffering from really bad shin splints. Since wearing these shoes I haven't felt any shin pain at all. It's incredible!

I do have to say that a couple of times I have slightly over-done it and my feet, or more the tendons on the tops of my feet have really hurt for a couple of days after running but perseverance has been the key.

 

Bottomline

I really cannot rate these highly enough.

No, the Vivobarefoot Stealth II is not perfect but they come closer to perfection than any other shoe I've worn before.

James Smith | Level 4 expert Verified
I'm a 33-year-old British Army veteran with a passion for running and fitness. I've been running on and off my whole life and competed in multiple track and cross country events when I was younger as well as being a competitive swimmer and squash player. In recent years, I have completed several half marathons and aim to run both full and ultra marathons in the not-so-distant future. I run anywhere between 10 and 50 miles a week depending on how much time I have outside of my family life. I am married with 3 daughters so I'm always very busy! My favorite brands for running are Vibram, New Balance, Inov8, Under Armour, Nike, Altra & Newton.

80
/100 by Ivan Rojnica, posted on .

Many times I was looking at Vivobarefoot shoes and wondering how they would feel.

Luck smiled upon me and I sourced this pair. There are few colours available, mine is black and red.

 

Design

In my opinion, they look quite cool and futuristic, like from SF movie. The name Stealth suits them well. The honeycomb pattern works great.

I wore them in the office and casually a lot; they are discreet and not eye-catchers.

The toe cover on the shoes is reflective, making an interesting visual effect and added safety in night conditions.

Comfort & fit

Oooh yes, they are comfortable indeed. Especially if you have wider feet.

 

 

But there are a few issues. I had to take out the honeycomb insole as it was too irritating for my feet. The tongue is also too short and really problematic when putting them on.

After removing the insole, there is only a thin sole separating you from the surface, so tread carefully. I did not have any problems with city use and asphalt surfaces, but I would not go walking in nature with them.

Comfort during workouts is great, the barefoot feeling is really present. They are very flexible, so much that you can fold them into the roll.

 

Sole & durability

As mentioned before, the sole itself is very thin, meaning that you will feel every pebble. But for city use and indoor training, they are ok. If you keep the insole, you will have more insulation.

I used them a lot in my free time for walking around the city, there is no significant wear and tear on the sole. Also, I did quite a few workouts with them, they still seem to be in good shape.

So for such thin and soft shoe, I would say they are very durable.

 

Performance

For running, this is not my cup of tea. But probably that is because I am in the 90-100 kg range and barefoot running places a lot of stress on my feet and lower legs. On short distances they felt good, so if I was featherweight barefoot runner, these would work nicely for me.

I did few runs up to 5k in them, for more than that I am not used to barefoot shoes or I am too heavy.

There was no chafing and discomfort, they are really comfortable on your feet. I cannot imagine anyone getting blisters in them. Extra forefront space allows plenty of toe wiggle room, that is something I like a lot.

With insole removed, this is as close to barefoot as it gets.

Unfortunately, the insole is a dealbreaker for me, even if I was lighter and well used to barefoot running, I would probably not run in such thin-soled shoes.
For some people, this could be the ideal shoe.

During indoor workouts I have used them many times, both for CrossFit and for weightlifting, they performed nicely.

 

 

You can really connect your heel with the ground when lifting weights and they are also very good for bodyweight exercises, jumping, etc.

Unless you “need” high heel for weightlifting (I consider such heel cheating anyway) these are very good because you can establish strong heel contact with the surface.

Some people like to weightlift in socks only, but these Vivobarefoot allow essentially the same effect, especially with the insole removed.

For casual wearing... walking around in the city, office, etc, the are very comfortable. I never had issues or discomfort on hard asphalt surfaces like asphalt even after quite long walks.

It can be tricky during very hot weather, as hot asphalt will be felt through the thin sole.

 

Pros

  • Very comfortable for wide feet, plenty of toe wiggle room
  • Flexible
  • Breathable 
  • Cool & discreet design
  • Durable

Cons

  • Uncomfortable insole (at least for me)
  • Short tongue
  • Possibly too wide to be comfortable for narrow feet

Conclusion

I think these are one of the best multi-purpose shoes, considering that they can double as everyday and office shoes.

For sports, they are equally as good. So definitely worthy acquisition if you are planning to venture into the barefoot world.

Start with few weeks of walking around in them, before starting with running and workouts, so that your feet have some time to adapt.

Ivan Rojnica | Level 3 expert Verified
Hello, my name is Ivan. I like all sorts of exercise - crossfit, weightlifting, cycling, but most of all trail and off-trail running in the nature. Being of heavier build with 90 kg I found that most of the shoe reviews are not good for me because they are written by the featherweight guys. Unfortunately many of the shoes behave differently for them and for me. Also my wider feet require adequate fit which is not found in most of the running shoes nowadays.

85
/100 by Jose Espinoza Rodriguez, posted on .

From the first look at the brown box, you can feel that something different is going to happen.

The pure expression of minimalist running, no fancy colors, no bright spotlight on the roof, this black running shoe with a little of red, only has a thin layer of rubber with honey-comb cells designed on the outsole.

 

 

With mere 240 grams (9oz) on this tinny puppies, for all the weight freak concerns out there, let me tell you, this feels light! 

With a 0 mm drop and almost zero of thickness the first thing you feel is the Mother Earth right on your feet, nothing else!

 

 

If you are not into minimalistic running, you need to break it on this pair, and the process is very very important.

Let me tell what maybe you need to do, first, walk and lightly run on the shoes. Adaptation for neutral runners will be easier, walk with no shoes at home all the time.

Workouts for your feet may do the trick (wrapping your toes with a small towel) make your toes stronger. 

 

Performance

The Stealth II push you naturally to refine your running technique.

If you don’t know yet that you have a bad running technique, you will find soon out with a loud tap tap tap sound while running with this shoes. Once you correct your running style, the sound will stop and you will start to run faster with better cadence!

What makes this pair unique is their characteristics: lightweight, mini-outsole, stealth black!

In their performance, I said before that you can feel the earth breathing?  Right?

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Appealing shoe design 
  • Good laces
  • Great reflective marks
  • Grippy outsole

Cons

Verdict

Super fresh shoes, no hotspots, nice and well-done fit, no blistering!

The grip of the outsole, it is unexpectedly good! I have tried this on rough surfaces, smooth track fields, irregular sidewalks, pavements, some grass paths and the Vivobarefoot Stealth II performed very well.

I can’t swear if they will last for years without wear, but until now I don’t notice any wear in the rubber. I have put some 50 miles or so on this pair and to be honest, it looks just like out of the box!

Jose Espinoza Rodriguez | Level 3 expert Verified
Hi! I'm Jose, an avid MTB/Road biker/racer. I've been running trails for more than 25 years now and I average between 50 and 75 k per week plus 200 km on bike road. I've participated in countless ultras, half marathons and a lot of other 10 mile races. Current favorites are Hokas and Altras.

90
/100 by Jan Schneider, posted on .

Imagine getting ready for your run, and just when you are about to start, you become aware that you are standing on the concrete of the sidewalk. You start running.

After some meters, you now feel the texture of some gravel. Some of the stones are very tiny, and some are a bit bigger. You continue running.

Suddenly, you feel that everything is way softer as you find yourself running on some grass. You are back again running on a paved trail, and you see that on the side of it there is some dirt.

You then quickly jump on the dirt to experience how running feels there.

Running with the Vivobarefoot Stealth II is super fun. They allow you to perfectly feel the texture of the ground while being protected from extreme temperatures and sharp objects.

Design

I am one of those crazy persons who like to use my running shoes exclusively for running to keep track of how many km I’ve been running with them. This has been so hard for me with Stealth II.

 

 

It is mainly because I really feel like using them as casual shoes too. To me, they look like very classy casual shoes and allow you to enjoy the barefoot feeling the whole day.

Comfort

These shoes are super flexible and provide a lot of space for your toes.

 

 

With these shoes, it is really easy to forget that you are wearing anything.

Durability

In my opinion, the durability aspect of the Stealth II shoes is incredible. I’ve run with each of my pair of Stealth II for over 750km.

Despite that distance, their super-thin, 3mm sole is still surprisingly in very good conditions. The rest of the shoe still looks like new.

Performance

One has to keep in mind that these are barefoot feeling shoes. Therefore, I recommend being very careful about just running with them. Here are some of my impressions:

Getting used to the Stealth II

After using them, your calves will be sore—and I mean very sore. For your first few runs with them, I recommend to use them only for very easy runs.

My easy runs are usually 50 to 60 minutes run between 10 to 13km long. My first run with them was of 40 minutes, which was enough to get cramps in my calves during the night.

Running on the pavement

These shoes have no absorption. The energy of every step you land is directly transmitted to your foot. Therefore, if you are running on pavement, I would recommend them only for easy runs.

 

 

For more softer surfaces, they do very well if you want to run faster.

Grip

I’ve used the Stealth II in wet, muddy, dusty, snowy and icy surfaces. I only got some grip problems on the icy surfaces. But, well, every shoe I’ve tried has a problem there.

Long runs

I can run really comfortably with absolutely no problems while wearing these shoes until I pass the 60 minutes or 14km mark.

Once I reach 60 minutes of running with them, I usually start to get warnings on my Achilles tendons, Plantar Fascia, or calves. I have run up to 18km runs with them without getting injured.

But, it is something I would not recommend.

Conclusion

If your aim is to improve your running form in terms of landing on your feet and making contact with the ground, Stealth II is a good choice.

If you want to train all the muscles of your legs while running, the Stealth II will help you with that.

Lastly, if you want to add some enjoyment on your runs by feeling all the details of the ground texture, the Stealth II is perfect for you.

Plus points

  • Good looks
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • True Barefoot feeling

Weak points

  • Not recommended for running fast on pavement
  • Not recommended for long runs

 

In the past, I have tried other barefoot feeling minimalistic running shoes. So far, Vivobarefoot Stealth II are the best shoes that I have tried in this category.

Jan Schneider | Level 2 expert Verified
At the end of 2001, I decided to explore what is it like to be a runner. One year later, I joined the track and field team from my university and ran for my university until my graduation. My best marks at that time were 4:24 in 1500m, 16:52 in 5000m, 35:18 in 10000m and 1:26.28 in half marathon. On 2013, I finally started seeing tangible improvements in my running. Currently, my PBs are 16:08 for the 5000m, 34:25 for 10km, 50:22 for 15km and 1:15:00 for the half marathon.

89
/100 by Cameron Corbin, posted on .

With all of the talk about how barefoot running is beneficial for any runner, the publishing of the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and Kenyans continually dominating the elite field of runners, Vivobarefoot Stealth II is a great shoe for runners to run barefoot without the risk of landing on a detrimental object.

 

 

The aesthetics of the minimalistic shoe is appealing in every way. Be warned, it takes some time getting used to its lack of cushion.

In order to review this shoe, I had to ultimately transition from my Adidas Energy Boost, 10 mm heel-to-toe drop with a great deal of cushion, to the Stealth II’s patiently to prevent injury and gradually adjust my gait and stride.

For me, it took roughly a month to be able to run 5-6 miles in these shoes and wear them for every run.

 

Outsole

According to the VivoBarefoot site, the outsole is “5x more puncture resistant than a standard sole of the same thickness,” and this shoe lives up to those standards.

However, this sole does not prevent you from the uncomfortable pressure of a rock or acorn which may lead to a whole run of a tingling feeling (a say this from experience).

This shoe is ideal for those who are wanting to run on the road, not necessarily the sidewalk, or else you would need to focus on landing on the cement slabs and not the wooden spaces between it (again, from experience).

The traction on this shoe is minimal: whenever it rains and you wear this shoe, expect to focus on not slipping instead of running.

 

 

Durable outsole that protects the feet from most, if not all, hazards a barefoot runner can possibly RUN into (oh boy, that’s a good one).

 

Cushioning

With the purchase of the shoe, VivoBarefoot Stealth II comes with a removable footbed that is a great addition to the shoe.

Whenever I needed more cushion for my longer runs, I just put in the footbed and made my long runs more comfortable and smooth. It doesn’t deform the shape of the shoe or slide out, it performs like it is stitched to the shoe.

Also, this footbed helped me transition from my other shoes to these ones because the footbed, although it looks minimal, adds needed cushion to help support my feet.

This footbed was stable and did not move at all on all of my runs! The addition of a removable footbed raises the bar for this shoe and this incorporation in general.

 

 

Upper

The thin-seamless hexagonal upper on the VivoBarefoot Stealth II’s makes this shoe extremely breathable that conformed to my foot over time. From experience and from other experiences I have read, whenever it rains, the color bleeds onto the foot and will stain socks, if worn.

At the beginning of testing this shoe, the crease made when landing on my midfoot made the run uncomfortable, but manageable. The shoelaces on these are decent, nothing special about them but they do their job.

The best part of the shoe is format/composition of the shoe is…the toe box! A majority of running shoes nowadays have a tight toe box that can lead to foot deformation, turf toe, bunions, etc.

The toe box is wide and roomy for the expansion of the feet when landing while being comforting and supporting when lifting off.

Furthermore, VivoBarefoot recognizes morning or evening runners by adding reflective material on the heel.

 

Overall

The benefits of barefoot running shoes, like the VivoBarefoot Stealth II, is explained on their site that 200,000 nerve endings are in the foot that has been restricted by over-cushioned shoes.

Their goal is to retrain the nerve endings in the foot to work together and allow the brain and foot to communicate naturally.

The VivoBarefoot Stealth II is a great shoe for barefoot runners, with the sleek “stitch-less” mesh and provides great features without compromising the shoe, and a great shoe for a novice, with added padding from the removable footbed but needs to ease into the runs for injury-prevention.

Great breathability, flexibility, comfort exists in this shoe; however, traction is neglected and color-bleeding is present that makes this shoe not ideal for wet or smooth conditions.

Cameron Corbin | Level 2 expert Verified
Hello, my name is Cameron Corbin. I live in Katy,TX and I believe that a shoe can make all the difference in the world. I am an avid runner and a shoe enthusiast. I have completed 4 half-marathons in my 10 years of running and plan on doing more! I enjoy trying out different shoes and see which one suits the best for a specific purpose.

90
/100 by Paul Josua, posted on .

Although Vivobarefoot shoes don’t have the toe pocket design of Vibram Five Fingers, they’re just about as minimal as you can get. You’ll feel every bump in the road, and the shoe isn’t going to mask any inconsistencies in terms of form or stride.

Although that might sound intimidating, phasing into a minimal shoe is not only very rewarding in terms of sensory feedback, but it can be very fun, especially if you’re used to traditional shoes. The Stealth II is Vivobarefoot’s main road running option and weighs in at 225g for men and 180g for women in sample size.

 

 

The zero drop platform and extremely minimal design do make it a niche option, but it gives you everything you could want as a minimal runner or someone looking to transition to less shoe.

The following review is based on 270 miles of running. The majority of these miles have been on roads and pavements, ranging from short runs to long runs (topping out at 17 miles), a number of sub-20 5km parkrun events and a small number of speed sessions including track and hill intervals.

Fit

The Stealth II (like most minimalist shoes) is designed to have plenty of room in the toe box. If you’re new to minimalist or barefoot-style footwear, you might initially feel like the shoe is too big. It takes some getting used to, but it is intentionally roomy in the toe box.

You should be able to splay out your toes without restriction and really feel the ground. When you combine this with the extremely minimal profile of the shoe (3mm off the ground), it really allows you to feel the ground and balance yourself.

A reinforced toe bumper at the front gives some shape to the shoe, and there is plenty of height, so the upper material isn’t right on top of your toes. With such a roomy fit at the forefoot, it's important to be able to lock the shoe down through the mid and rearfoot.

The lacing system is simple and easy to get a secure hold through the middle, and the extra eyelet allows you to use a lock lacing method (something I use with the vast majority of my shoes including the Stealth II). A very soft heel counter is present but it doesn’t add much in the way of support or structure; similar to the toe bumper, it gives the shoe same shape around the heel and doesn’t compromise flexibility.

 

 

As a minimalist shoe designed to encourage natural movement, there are no stability elements or medial posts. A pair of optional performance insoles are supplied; Vivobarefoot’s modus operandi is to remove as many barriers as possible between your feet and the ground, but they accept that some runners will have a need for a marginally softer feel.

The insole does help if you want to soften the feel of the shoe slightly, but unfortunately, I have issues with them slipping back and out of the shoe (more on the performance section to follow).

Performance

You will feel every bump in the road with the Stealth II, which is fantastic if you’re looking for a shoe to give you maximum sensory feedback. Seeing as there is no midsole cushioning and your foot sits on top of the 3mm barefoot sole, it's not going to do any of the work for you.

With your traditional EVA foam blends and a multitude of ‘super foam’ (Adidas Boost, Saucony Everun, On Helion, to name a few) options you’ll feel a lot of response and energy return. You’re not going to get that with the Stealth II, but you will get an extremely pure feel that is completely untainted by the presence of foams or supportive elements.

 

 

Experienced minimalist and barefoot-style runners will love this feeling. If you’re newer to this style of footwear, any kinks in your form or strength issues in your lower extremities are likely to get exposed.

This isn’t a bad thing, and if you’re considering trying these shoes, there’s a good chance you’re interested in improving your form and getting stronger. The feedback you get is going to help enormously with this, but you have to listen to your body and respect the fact that there may be a significant transition period to adapt and strengthen.

Phase them in gradually, but accept the possibility that it could take in excess of six months to fully adapt. As a runner who has worn low drop footwear for the past five years and zero drop casual shoes at work, I’m fairly comfortable running on the roads in them for long distances. Even with this longer-term adaption though, I do tend to phase slowly back into the Stealth II if I take more than a couple of weeks without running in them.

Running on roads and firm, non-technical trail paths is a real joy. It might sound cliché, but the connection to the ground feels amazing when you compare the ride to a traditional trainer.

Most of my mileage in the shoes are medium to long distance on roads, at easy-to-medium intensity. Although they do feel super smooth when you open up your stride and pick up the pace, I do prefer a slightly closer fit and a shoe with a lively-and-responsive foam if I’m racing.

Sharper corners at pace is an area I feel the Stealth II struggles with due to the roomy toe box, but longer straights are great even at a quicker pace.

 

 

Returning to the insole slippage issue: I’ve had this problem with numerous Vivobarefoot shoes and have come to the conclusion that their insoles just aren’t great at staying put.

I frequently use the stock insole from an Altra Escalante which doesn’t shift. This combination has proved to be my favourite configuration of the shoe; just enough extra underfoot to comfortably run in excess of 10 miles, but without compromising the pure feel of the shoe.

Moving from the insole to the outsole, grip, and traction on road surfaces has proved to be very good (even in wet conditions). It goes without saying but due to the flat outsole, you’re not going to get any grip on soft or muddy surfaces, so stick to firm and well-groomed trails if you’re planning to take these off road.

 

Durability

The advantage of having such a minimal and stripped back shoe is that there are less potential elements to go wrong. Outsole wear is minimal, considering more than 250 miles of use, and the upper is holding up really well. No signs of failure.

Considering there’s no midsole to speak of, you don’t have to worry too much about cushioning elements starting to break down. If there is one element of the shoe that may liable to break down, it would be the insole.

As mentioned previously, it has a habit of shifting easily and curling up at the sides, so if you do want to use the insole for a good chunk of your mileage, it will probably be the first thing to go.

Any other highlights? Any other issues?

Alarm bells usually go off in my head when someone says a running shoe doubles great as a gym shoe. Plenty of running shoes that are marketed as gym-suitable usually compromise in some way.

In the case of the Stealth II, the zero drop and extremely low profile actually make it a fantastic shoe for strength work. Bodyweight strength exercises are a regular part of my plan; you know exactly where you are when lowering into a pistol squat or driving through a kettlebell swing.

Although traditional lifts aren’t a regular part of my routine, the inherently stable base and high feedback would make it the shoe I’d wear for those movements.

 

 

The shoe is also surprisingly reflective (as you can see from the image above with flash). If you do any of your running in the evening or low-light conditions, any degree of reflectivity is a bonus.

What is this shoe best suited for?

For experienced barefoot or minimalist runners, the Stealth II could easily be a go-to mileage shoe. It's smooth and simple; if you’re adapted to zero drop and minimal cushion, it's going to be a great option for easy mileage, long runs, and moderate-intensity workouts.

For anyone looking to transition to minimal footwear, it’ll be a great option for recovery runs and short workouts to focus on your form. Most of the colourways are neutral and inoffensive which would make it an all-day option for work and commutes (particularly important when you’re transitioning to less shoe as most of your day is spent not running), and the wide and stable platform make it an excellent choice for strength work (weights, lifting, bodyweight workouts, etc.)

Pros

  • As minimal a shoe you’ll find, maximum feedback
  • A stable platform and low profile give it genuine credentials as a gym and strength work shoe
  • Comfortable and stylish/professional enough to wear as a work/casual shoe (depending on occupation of course), more time wearing in the shoe to increase adaption to minimal footwear
  • From a sustainability standpoint, the shoe uses recycled plastic elements (and Vivobarefoot as a brand are conscious about being ethical when it comes to plastics, leather and offering vegan options)

Cons

  • As minimal a shoe, it will take some adaption if you’re inexperienced with zero drop and low cushion
  • The insole has a tendency to shift within the shoe
  • You can make the argument that the price point is high for a minimal shoe
Paul Josua | Level 2 expert Verified
I'm Paul, a club runner who participates events ranging from the mile to ultra distances. I got into running as an easy way to keep fit with a low barrier to entry. I stuck with it because of the health benefits and challenge myself to keep improving. My preference is towards more minimal footwear, but I run in models ranging from super-minimal to maximum cushion. As of mid-2019, I'm targeting a sub-1:24 half marathon before the end of the year and preparing for a real attempt at the marathon in spring 2020.

100
/100 by Daniel Weiss, posted on .

As a barefoot/minimalist runner, I’ve been eyeing several Vivobarefoot shoe models for quite a long time.

All the friends who had experience with them were excited about the brand but at the same time, it seems like Stealth II model and therefore I was curious about it.

I, myself had owned a pair of Vivobarefoot office shoes before I got my feet in Stealths and so I had some expectations and worries at the same time.

Fitting

My worry was that while the wide toe-box sounds great, it can also provide enough wiggle room for your foot inside the shoe. I thought that during faster paces, I could potentially get blisters or even injure my foot because of that.

Oh boy, was I wrong! The moment I put my foot into the shoe, I understood.

 

 

First, the Stealth II has a completely different fitting compared to my office model. The shoe holds snug just under your ankle, like a sock. A very comfortable, plush sock.

The toes, on the other hand, have enough space to spread. Actually the combination of the space in the toe-box and a snug, comfortable fit will make you forget that you are even wearing anything. Bravo!

Besides that, I’ve never understood when reading reviews, about breaking in the shoes. My experience with barefoot shoes are exactly the opposite and the Stealths were not different. I put them on and I run. Simple as that.

Sole

Like all Vivobarefoot models, you can expect a thin sole.

In the end, these are barefoot shoes that will let your feet feel the ground, while also protecting them from the urban dangers like stepping on glass.

The sole itself is 3mm thick. This allows it to twist side to side as well as front to back. There is also a sports insole included in the package that you can put inside of them.

It has been improved over time to provide the maximum comfort while not interfering with the perception of the ground. It also allows drains water fast as it is perforated.

The same removable insole is used in their trail models and can be purchased separately if you want to.

If you are worried about stepping on glass or a nail, the sole is made of a puncture resistant material. And while you cannot expect to be jumping on nails without a scratch, I hope you will not do that, I have not during the testing period.

Durability seems to be on spot. So far, I have run about 50 miles in them and I wear them casually as well, without any sign of wear. My hopes are that the shoe will get you through a lot of mileage.

I can compare them to my Vibram FiveFingers V-Run because I feel the same about the sole. So far, VFF’s carried me over 1800 km’s and I am confident they will last just above 2k!!!

Upper

The upper of the Stealth II is made of a two-layer, synthetic material.

On the top is the V-Web hex mesh that allows for effective evaporation of sweat, which will be beneficial at higher temperatures. It also stretches a bit providing the sock-like quality.

 

 

The inner material fits like a sock and feels a little bit thicker than the outside mesh. It is made from a kind of soft foam that is responsible for the super comfortable shoe from the inside.

What you will also notice is that there is no stitching. That means no possibility of friction.

Worthy to note is that I was using them outdoors during a dry winter for running as well as casually. While your feet warm up during a run and you don’t mind lower temperatures even with so a thin upper, you might feel on the cold side when just walking around, especially when the wind starts blowing.

For me personally, I haven’t noticed any discomfort until temperatures fell below 0°C. That is when walking.

A nice feature for the urban environment is a reflective surface around the shoe on the front, back, and the tongue of the shoe.

The white surface in the photo is the reflective coating.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight 240g
  • Super comfortable
  • For casual wearing and running
  • Airy
  • Reflective material for safety

Cons

  • I don’t want to wear anything else
  • They don’t fit with suits. No, they don’t!
  • Price - although the price is on the higher side, I believe it is reasonable for the quality. (There are many models and brands that come nowhere as close with the same price tag.)

Conclusion

Guys at Vivobarefoot know exactly what they do. The intention behind this shoe is for running as well as for wearing them on the move and they deliver!

Vivobarefoot Stealth II have become like the best friend in an urban environment to me. It is a super comfortable city shoe with a punch of style!

You can use them for training and wear them for a date right after.

I take them out for a coffee, shopping, and we even go to work together. It is a shoe you will love spending time with!

 

 

Just the other day as I was walking to a shop I decided to run instead of walk and ended up running to the shop and back, feeling amazing!

It reminded me of child-like playfulness that the shoe allows you to live through again. Run when you feel like without restriction.

Daniel Weiss | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi I'm Daniel! I am a trail runner and OCR racer who's been running in minimalist footwear since the beginning of my running journey. Currently, I am focusing on half marathon to 50k distances, running 80k+ (50mi) weekly.

  • The Stealth II is a road running shoe that is ideal for seasoned barefoot runners. It is built to withstand long-distance running on roads, treadmills, and gym floors. The design and structure of the shoe are aimed towards neutral pronators.
  • At 3 mm, the sole unit is thin enough to let the foot experience the most natural environment possible.
  • The upper of this Vivobarefoot running shoe consists of an engineered hex-shaped laminated mesh that provides support and allows for a comfortable stretch.

As a minimalist running shoe, the Stealth II provides plenty of room for the foot to move naturally and comfortably. However, while it fits true to size, runners with a high-volume foot might want to wear half a size up to accommodate their forefoot. The width profiles are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

A 3-mm V Road rubber outsole is present in the Stealth II to deliver flexible traction in both wet and dry conditions. There are no deep lugs as the shoe is made for running on pavements and similar surfaces. Instead, it has rubberized V-tread grips that guard against slipping.

The Stealth II encourages a natural foot movement with its zero-drop profile.

As a minimalist running shoe, the midsole of the Stealth II is built to be ultra-thin and puncture-resistant for maximum proprioception. It features natural sensory feedback, which engages the foot’s natural running gait as it allows the arch and toes to load, splay, and recoil. This results in a natural shock absorption and a clearer foot sensation.

A footbed insert is included to provide additional cushioning and protection to the foot. It can be removed for an even better ground feel.

Made from a lightweight EVA cage with a thin mesh, the upper of the Stealth II aims to deliver optimum breathability and comfort. With this, it aims to keep the foot cool even in a 90°F weather. It also encourages a responsive foot control and an adaptive fit so that the foot can endure long-distance running.

The structure of the upper is heat-fused together to eliminate the need for stitching. This contributes to the durability of the shoe.

The lightweight material prevents rubbing and chafing so that the shoe can be worn even without socks.

The interior lining of the shoe is made from Dri-Lex to promote moisture wicking and superior comfort. Dri-Lex works by transporting moisture away from the foot. Another layer under the Dri-Lex ensures that the interior of the shoe remains breathable so that the skin of the foot remains cool and dry.

Both the tongue and heel collar are slightly padded to provide comfort and protection to the foot.

It also features the HI-VIZ reflective PU, which allows visibility in low-light conditions.

Size and fit

True to size based on 140 user votes
Small (11%)
True to size (77%)
Large (12%)
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Same sizing as Vivobarefoot Stealth III.

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Size comments

I think these probably fit as expected but if you're the kind of person (like me) that's sometimes a bigger size then I would definitely suggest going bigger. - James Smith, Level 4 expert

How Stealth II compares

This shoe: 88
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $150
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 8.5oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
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.

jens@runrepeat.com