Vivobarefoot launches new barefoot boot designed to tackle the extreme terrain

The Tracker Forest ESC brings Vivobarefoot's minimalist ethos to an ultra high-performance boot

Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC boots in use
(Image credit: Vivobarefoot)

Head straight to our Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC review

Vivobarefoot has unveiled a brand new boot – the Tracker Forest ESC – which the brand says is its most advanced hiking footwear yet, and the result of four years of research and development. ESC is the brand's 'Extreme Survival Collection', and the new boot is a high-performance option designed to enable the wearer to tackle extreme terrain and conditions, all while getting that much closer to the earth.

Vivobarefoot is known for its minimalist footwear that does away the luxurious cushioning and chunky soles found in most of today's best hiking boots for men and women, in favour of thin and flexible designs that let you get that much closer to the ground (head to our Vivo Barefoot Tracker II hiking boot review for a taste of the kind of thing we're talking about). The brand new Tracker Forest ESC follows along in the same vein, but elevates it for use by serious adventurers. 

The standout feature is the Michelin Esc Sole, developed in conjunction with the famous tyre company. Built from high-performance rubber, it features a multi-directional design to deliver superior traction and plenty of precision when tackling tricky terrain. Aggressive 'claw like' VV shaped lugs are positioned for ascents and descents, and include edge traction and an additional textured arch for traversing along steep inclines. No messing around here. Of course, it's also super thin, flexible and wide enough to feel the ground through, in line with Vivobarefoot's general ethos. 

Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC boots in use

(Image credit: Vivobarefoot)

Elsewhere, Vivobarefoot has kept things predictably pared-back. The upper is leather with a sandwich mesh lining. There's no Gore-Tex in sight; instead you're relying on the natural water resistance of the leather (with a helping hand from all-natural Renapur Leather Balsam, a tin of which is supplied with the boots) to keep your feet dry. The mesh also promotes breathability and is designed to keep moisture away from the skin, so your boots can dry out naturally as needed, without being uncomfortable. 

The Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC boots have the stamp of approval of wilderness experts and adventurers Ben McNutt and Debs Nickolls, who were roped in for testing. "It 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," they comment.

"We designed the Tracker Forest ESC to thrive in the most extreme conditions and deliver a connection to nature like no boot before it," says Co-founder and chief design officer, Asher Clark. "The new Forest works in conjunction with nature; a notion, central to our ethos as a company."

We're due to start testing the Tracker Forest ESC boots imminently, with a full review to follow. The Forest is available to buy now at with an RRP of £190 / AU$429.95. Australian buyers can pre-order their size now at and will receive a 20% off gift code for future orders. Estimated dispatch for pre-orders is currently May 24 – May 31, 2021. 

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).