A member of the minimalist brand’s Extreme Survival Collection—designed for extreme conditions and performance—the boot “works with nature, not against it,” Vivobarefoot said.
Rather than rely on an artificial waterproof membrane, the Forest’s leather upper provides natural water resistance, the brand said. Air mesh lining within the boot, meanwhile, allows the footwear to “breathe and dry naturally, keeping feet comfortable for longer,” Vivobarefoot added. A multi-directional sole produced with the tire-manufacturing giant Michelin helps the wearer maintain traction with what the brand described as “knife-edge precision.”
The Forest also features an outside side stitch for easy repairs, anti-rust cast brass eyelets and additional grip in the boot’s arch that the wearer can utilize when negotiating trickier terrain. Each pair also comes with a 50 mL tub of Renapur leather balsam and an application sponge to help prolong the boots’ life.
“We designed the Tracker Forest ESC to thrive in the most extreme conditions and deliver a connection to nature like no boot before it,” Asher Clark, Vivobarefoot’s co-founder and chief design officer, said in a statement. “The new Forest works in conjunction with nature, a notion central to our ethos as a company.”
Vivobarefoot tapped wilderness experts Ben McNutt and Deborah Nickolls to lead the product testing process for the Forest. Co-owners of the wilderness skills school and expedition leader Wild Human, they said the Forest “is a perfect combination of merging the wisdom of ancient tradition with the best of modern design, to create the perfect flexible boot for rugged wilderness travel.”
The Tracker Forest ESC is available for purchase on Vivobarefoot’s website for $220.
The spike in interest in outdoor footwear, begun last summer, shows no signs of slowing down. According to the NPD Group’s most recent data, in fact, hiking and walking footwear sales climbed more than 25 percent in the first quarter versus the same period in 2019.
Trail running, too, has flourished during the pandemic. Since January, The North Face has rolled out eight styles in its new trail-focused Vectiv franchise. The line includes the Flight Vectiv, a performance trail running shoe tested by professional athletes.