Vivobarefoot Magna FG: Minimalist Boots For All-Season Hiking

February 11, 2024Barefoot hiking boot with a 5.5mm sole, wide, flexible leather upper, and firm ground tread.

Hello, my name’s Andrew, and these are the Vivobarefoot Magna FG, a lightweight barefoot boot with a water-resistant leather upper, slip-on collar, and semi-aggressive tread for firm ground hiking.

Vivobarefoot Magna Fg Feautres Showcase Edited

Features

This year I tested Vivobarefoot’s slip-on collection for the first time with the super agile Magna Lite WR SG, which is great for fast hiking and trial running, but the vegan upper’s not as durable for rocky trails.

So I asked Vivobarefoot for a pair of Magna FG to test and with the lightweight collar and rugged tread…

It’s kind of like all-terrain tank with a bedroom slipper roof.

Upper/Lining

Because the Magna FG has a wide foot-shaped toebox with a water-resistant NuBuck leather upper, along with reinforced eyelets, and a heel strap for durability.

Up top there’s a stretchy merino wool blend collar for improved range of motion, which is ribbed on the inside for padding and breathability, and Vivobarefoot also includes a thermal insole for added warmth.

Sole/Tread

Underneath you’ve got a 5.5mm zero-drop sole with a medium amount of flexibility in all directions, along with a semi-aggressive tread that’s denser at the heel for protection and more open at the forefoot for grip.

Testing

Back in 2017 I bought the original Vivobarefoot Primus Trek and it’s still one of my most versatile hiking boots six years later, so I was kind of hoping for the same experience from the Magna FG.

Walking

Going out for a walk on flat pavement I definitely preferred thinner road shoes, like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite, but being only 5.5mm the Magna was flexible enough to feel smooth walking for few miles until I switched over to trails.

It’s funny, because I spent so much time in clunky hiking boots growing up that every time I put my foot down I expect the pinch of ankle support, but with the Magna, the whole upper half of the shoe just…disappears into thin air!

Hiking

Ironically, despite having a “Firm Ground” sole, the Magna FG felt great tromping through a muddy field and when I exited off onto an old boardwalk the flatter lugs gripped much better than Vivobarefoot’s soft ground sole.

Also, over the years I’ve actually come to prefer uninsulated minimalist shoes, because they’re more versatile for warm weather and for winter you can always warm them up with a wool felt insole or a couple layers of Injinji merino wool toe socks.

Slogging through marshy terrain and dipping my foot in a puddle the Magna FG’s upper was highly water-resistant, although it can soak through eventually if you go through too much wet terrain.

Trekking

Climbing up and down hills the Magna FG sole provided plenty of traction for all but the steepest grades and muddiest conditions and the NuBuck leather gave me some nice coverage against sharp sticks and roots, while the stretchy collar made the boots convenient to sip on and off to shake out stones.

For longer treks it helped to wear a couple layers of socks to prevent the thicker heel strap from rubbing on my ankle and although the FG tread worked fine on larger rocks, the thicker Tracker Forest ESC sole definitely offered more protection.

Conclusion

Overall the Vivobarefoot Magna FG is a great option for anyone who wants the agility and comfort of a lighter barefoot trail shoe with the toughness of a full-blown hiking boot.

Pros/Cons

Because the leather upper is wide and water-resistant, the slip-on collar provides some excellent breathability and range of motion, and the semi-aggressive tread is super versatile for all kinds of terrain.

However, the Magna FG’s toebox isn’t roomy enough for extra-wide feet, the NuBuck leather isn’t completely waterproof, and the firm ground lugs aren’t grippy enough for steep, slippery hills.

Alternatives

In terms of similar barefoot hiking boots…

  • Vivobarefoot Magna FG Leather: wide toebox, premium water-resistant leather upper, slip-on collar, 5.5mm sole, and semi-aggressive tread for all-season hiking on firm ground.
  • Xero Denver Leather: wide toebox, water-resistant leather upper, synthetic insulation, 6.5mm sole, and semi-aggressive tread for cold weather hiking on firm ground.
  • Vivobarefoot Magna Forest ESC: wide toebox, water-resistant leather upper, slip-on collar, 9.5mm sole, and hybrid tread for all-season trekking on hardcore terrain.
  • Resources

    If you’d like to support the channel, you can use FOLTSY10 with the referral links above/below for 10% off Vivobarefoot, browse products on barefootwear.org, or watch my Zero-Drop Transition video to learn more about barefooting.

    Finally, if you have a question about the Vivobarefoot Magna FG, or about barefoot shoes in general, let me know in the comments.

    Thanks for reading, catch ya next time. Peace!

    Andrew Folts

    Andrew is a writer/filmmaker who creates video guides and reviews for a community of 25K+ creative rebels on YouTube.