Vivobarefoot Stealth 3 editor review
Minimal Meter:Excellent minimalist standards.
Who should use it:As with all Vivobarefoot shoes, this is a great introduction to minimalist footwear. However, this shoe is more geared towards intermediate barefoot enthusiasts and runners who put on moderate mileage. I'd also recommend this for cross-training as the shoe is sturdier than most mesh shoes and is a significant improvement from the previous model, the Stealth 2.
Most suitable for:Dry, Road Running, Cross Training
Review SummaryThis shoe is for road runners who run moderate amounts of KMs/miles per week. It's also sturdier than other running shoes in the same category and great for cross-training as they're more durable than typical mesh shoes. However, if ground feel is a priority, I’d recommend other shoes that are more minimalist. The tradeoff will be durability for ground feel.
- More durable than the Stealth 2
- Many flaws from the Stealth 2 were fixed
- Comes in all black!
- The insole has been improved and is more durable (the previous model seems to have worn out more quickly on the inside of the shoe)
- Works great for lateral movement (jumping and running from side to side)
- The reinforced mesh makes them more durable than most mesh shoes
- They last longer than most minimalist shoes (such as the Merrell Vapor Glove or Primus Lite)
- The shoes still come off easily, even if tied tightly (not improved from the previous model)
- The footbed has worn out very quickly
- Not much grip (the same issue as the previous model)
- Still expensive for other shoes in a similar category
“Perfect for running and everyday wear, the durable hex-mesh upper is constructed with support and stretch zones to assure responsive foot control and an adaptive fit. Stealth III features our signature 3mm barefoot sole for maximum sensory feedback and minimum interference.”
Video – Probably how I wore down the grip!
- No-Sew Construction durable, flexible, minimal design
- V-Web HEX Mesh Upper engineered material for support and stretch
- Breathable Mesh to keep feet cool
- Non-Marking rubber outsole thin and durable
- Performance insole -made with 10% BLOOM – an algae-based alternative to synthetic and petrochemical EVA
This was the last version of the stealth mode; which has now been replaced by the Primus and Geo racers. This was Vivobarefoot’s answer to their earlier models of running shoes which weren’t able to accumulate much mileage, as shoes with inherently less (minimalist) material. Before this shoe, I was replacing minimalist shoes every 6 months. My Stealth 3 shows fewer signs of wear than my Stealth 2 (over the same amount of time), despite the same usage.
Although this shoe is no longer sold new, it is still being sold on various second-hand platforms, which is a great initiative to upcycle pre-owned shoes to reduce waste.
Flexibility Test Video:
These shoes were game-changers for me as it was the first minimalist shoe to last a year of running and training without ripping. In a world of minimalist shoes with thinner, lighter material, this was a significant improvement over past models and similar brands. They’ve since been replaced by my Primus Lites for training, but I still use these as casual everyday shoes.
It seems to be the exact same tread as most of their road shoes. It’s worn out quickly in the heels and big toes + forefoot area where we tend to strike while running. It’s a shame as those are the areas where we need the most grip.
Video: Lunges with overhead dumbbell + closeup
Check out all models and prices for minimal trainers, vegan paved/road shoes. You can compare prices and specs using our minimal shoes price scanner.
How it feels:
They will always retain a feeling of elasticity as the meshing is reinforced with a hexagonal pattern. This allows the shoe to be flexible in all directions, with added durability. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of feedback and feels more like a traditional shoe sometimes than a barefoot shoe
Durability & Protection:
Although these shoes are mostly-retired for me, they were my daily pair for about 1 year. They were my gym shoes, my travel shoes, and my casual all-around shoes.
The inside of the shoe has started to wear out, as well as where it rubs on the achilles. However, I have noticed that it’s held up better than the previous model. The toes have worn down to the rubber in my Stealth 2’s, but in this model, it’s only the heels that have started to wear down.
Video: Strict handstand pushups with the Stealth 3
While the grip isn’t great…it is enough to grip the wall on the way up and down (:
Fit & Sizing:
These are the older generations of Vivo’s sizing where I was a 42 (I’m a 41 in newer models despite my toes splaying out more). It has a very wide toe box. I have very wide feet and it sometimes still feels like I have duck feet with all of the extra space.
Cleaning & Care:
While it isn’t recommended to put these in the washer, I eventually did to give the shoes a second life. I would recommend using an organic or light soap with warm water as it does get the shoes looking shiny and reflective again (until the reflective material gets worn down). Vivobarefoot must have used a different dye on this model because they’ve retained their black colour a little bit better than the previous model. I’ve also found that wiping with a damp cloth tends to work better on this model.
I would still recommend these shoes. If you’re looking for your first pair of minimalist shoes or casual shoes, these are still a great option. I just wouldn’t recommend accumulating a lot of mileage running in these or hiking in them.
While they’re no longer sold at the Vivobarefoot store, they can still often be found on Amazon and other platforms. If you’ll buy second-hand, you’d also be supporting a great initiative to reuse materials and give products a longer life span.
This is a solid shoe and is a good all-rounder/decent gym shoe. I personally prefer the Primus Lite 3 as it feels more barefoot, can be worn outside of the gym (with rolled up pants for a casual look), and is also fairly durable.
Minimalist AVR Score:
|Weight||80||I was unable to find the weight online. It’s listed between 200g-283g on various websites. It seems like these are probably heavier than the previous model.|
|Wide toe box||90||As per their reputation, Vivobarefoot are wider than most brands.|
|Heel to Toe drop||95||In a zero-drop shoe, your heel and toes are level, which mimics your natural barefoot position on a flat surface.|
|Sole flexibility||80||Flexible, but a little stiffer than the average barefoot shoe.|
|Foot grip||60||Even if you tie the shoes tight, you can still slip out of them without untying them.|
|Support||75||The reinforced mesh makes the shoe feel very fluid when pivoting or moving laterally.|
|Cushion||70||It feels more like a glove for your foot, than an extension of your foot.|
|Flat sole||90||A flat 3 mm sole, and it comes with insoles that take away from the barefoot feel. I don't use the insoles, personally.|
|Activity Type||Daily Use, Gym, Running, Strolling, Training|
|Heel Toe Drop|