4/19/2006

The Vibram Fivefingers Shoe

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 pm — Filed under:

Vibram Fivefingers Shoe

If bare-foot running seems a little too extreme for you, these shoes are supposed to give you the same benefits of running barefoot while still giving you some protection from rocks, glass and pinecones.

I don’t know if I believe it. It looks like hype to me. I know that barefoot running is supposed to protect some people from injury, but I am still addicted to my running shoes. I love how they feel and I never have any blisters. Of course, I’m running a lot less miles every week than the people who are benefitting from barefoot running, so I don’t have much to say about the stress and trauma that people training for a marathon endure.

Via: A Passion for Running » doctor romanov of pose method endorses vibram five fingers shoe

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64 Responses to “The Vibram Fivefingers Shoe”

  1. Mark Says:

    Hey Laura,

    I ran in them for the first time today. I’ll have a review up shortly but the short of it is I loved them. :)

  2. Shawn Lea Says:

    I have the tiniest toes – I just don’t think mine would fit in any size. (I think I’ll just stick with my running shoes, for now, anyways.) ;)

  3. Barefoot Ted Says:

    Howdy Laura

    Vibram’s FiveFingers shoe was NOT designed for running. Barefoot runners like me saw the potential.

    When I first contacted Vibram, they were surprised that anyone would want to run in them. However, run in them we do.

    Future generations of the FiveFingers shoe may be better suited for running. Yet, many, like me, are running in them now.

    Running barefoot, or in FiveFingers, is something that must be built up slowly. It is not an overnight change. I recommend it, but do it right. Study about it. Running well is a skill, just like martial arts or yoga.

    Best Regards, Barefoot Ted

  4. Wondering Whitlow Says:

    Hey I recently saw these shoes in a magazine and were wondering how they worked and if they were good shoes to go camping in and running. Also, I was wondering if you could find some that were cheaper than $70.

  5. Maria Says:

    Saw them on Ebay for $60 + $10 shipping. My local Adventure 16 store is bringing a couple pairs in from Los Angeles for me to try on for size. They sell them for $70.

  6. James Says:

    After running in the Nike Free, I found it to be too much shoe as I was wanting to try running barefoot. Believe me, its not a gimmick. The best shoe is no shoe. Be sure to transition slowly. I would usually run a cool down mile in them and slowly build up strength and run intensity. Be ready for the stares and the questions as they are definately a conversation starter.

  7. Grace Says:

    I have been running barefoot (on turf/sand) and with Nike Free 4.0s (on trails/pavement) for about a year now, and I just ordered a pair of Vibrams.

    I cannot say enough about the benefits of running barefoot (or close to nearly-barefoot) – I have been plagued by chronic knee pain for 12 years, and have gone through various types of “support” running shoes and orthopaedic inserts, to no avail.

    Finally, I decided to give barefoot running a try, and I have been running pain-free ever since. My times have improved, and I was able to recover from my long runs the very next day.

    My theory is that conventional running shoes actually prevent the runner from running smoothly, by drastically reducing the natural heel-toe transition of the running motion. I noticed that runners using with conventional shoes tend to “pound” the ground, while barefoot runners(including children playing on the beach) tend to “glide forward”. This “gliding” motion seems to be more efficient from an energy standpoint, and also easier on the knees.

    I look forward to receiving the Vibrams – I agree with James that the Nike Frees are still way too much shoe, although it is a step in the right direction.

  8. Jay Says:

    I mostly run with regular running shoes but I have a pair of the Vibrams and I also run barefoot some of the time (just ran 4 miles barefoot on sidewalks at lunch). The one issue I’ve had with the Vibrams is chafing on the back of my achilles. This is easily addressed with Injinji tsoks or tape or Vaseline or Desitin. A lot of people who run barefoot have problems wearing shoes. I don’t have such problems. I’m just trying strengthen my lower legs and keep in touch with the natural way to run. As for fit, you don’t have to fit the Vibrams snugly. The individual shoe toes hold the shoe on quite well – I don’t worry about the rest of the shoe being a little loose. BTW, I have long toes. One funny thing I’ve noticed – After running in the Vibrams on pavement, then taking them off and walking or running barefoot, the pavement (concrete) feels cushioned. For running on grass, I’d prefer barefoot. On pavement, I’d prefer pavement on shorter runs, Vibrams on longer runs. On trails, I’d use Vibrams.

  9. Greg Says:

    I’ve had my pair for over a month! I run in them frequently and they haven’t caused me a single problem. They are better suited for water sports and relaxing activities though.

  10. Edwin Says:

    I’ve had them for two days now, haven’t ran with them yet but i wore them everywhere, first day felt good but still skeptical, today i know it’s a good decision. If you care about looks more than function these are not for you. these shoes have a function and they’re not for fashion, though if you don’t conform to the norm than these are for you.

  11. Duane Says:

    I have had them for about a month now, and what they say about injuries disappearing I will second. I had knee surgery over 10 years ago and had chronic knee pain in regular running shoes as well as plantar fasciatus and would wear orthotics to help aleviate these problems but they never really worked. Since running in fivefingers my knee pain has almost completely disappeared, my heel pain is almost non existent. It was hard building up to regular use, I started with 5min walk, 1 min run and built up 1min more run each week, for a total workout of 1 hour each day. My calfs were sore at first, my feet showed their weak areas, but they are getting stronger each workout. The only complaint, and it probably goes to the fivefinger not being a running specific shoe, is the elastic band that runs over the top of the foot, I have bruising and need to buy padded moleskin,(an added expense) in order to wear the shoes on a daily basis. When the shoe becomes more running specific I think it will then be the ideal shoe. I very much prefer running “barefoot” in my fivefingers as opposed to my expensive running footwear. As to the looks and comments, I have only had positive ones, everyone asking where they can buy a pair, and mostly saying how “cool” they look.

  12. Dave Says:

    I decided to give barefooting a try after reading several articles arguing that modern running shoes cause joint pain rather than prevent it. My first attempt was to simply take off my shoes and run in sock feet on the treadmill for about a half mile. Other than hotspots on my big toes, which I sort of anticipated, it was a GREAT experience. I mean it. My bare feet instantly told me what I had been doing wrong for years. Surprisingly, I found that my running motion was smoother and more efficient. I felt lighter and more in control. Gradual strengthening of the foot and lower calves would be necessary, but I became convinced that barefoot running, or something close to it, could solve my knee problems.

    I also knew that Brooklyn didn’t offer the best climate or road conditions for barefoot running. So after researching it online, I decided that Nike Frees were too much shoe (there seems to be a consensus about this) and went to the only store in NYC that carries Vibram 5-Fingers (72nd/B’way). It was a $70 gamble that paid off. As of yesterday, after 2 months of gradually working up to it, I have finally shed my running shoes for good. I did my first 5K in the 5-fingers yesterday. No knee pain the day after, and only mild foot issues (again, the hotspots on the big toes).

    One recommendation I have is not to cinch up the elastic strap too tightly, as it will rub your Achilles and the big toe tendon on the top of your foot. If you have sweaty feet, toss a little talcum in before each run to slippage/chafing. 5-fingers are machine washable, so throw them in the laundry when they start to get grodie. (They will.)

  13. Peter Says:

    I’m considering buying them, but i am not sure whether to buy the sprint (the one with the band over the top of the foot), or the originals with no band. Any feedback or suggestions?

  14. Thomas Says:

    I’m using the Classic and love them, but their disadvantage is that the rubber strip is craving the sinew of the big toe. I’ve designed my own pad to avoid this, otherwise I couldn’t use them for long runnings and hiking. This problem should be solved according to some reviews. Unfortunatelly they do not (yet?) sell the Sprint model in Germany. Strange marketing of these guys.

  15. Elaine Says:

    I bought the Vibram Classic last week, after a classmate introduced me to them. They were $90 CAD including taxes at my local MEC http://www.mec.ca/ They also carry the Sprint version, which has a strap instead of the elastic band. The price might seem a little steep for something that looks like a “toe-sock dipped in tar”, but I think the price is reasonable for what they offer.

    The sole is extremely flexible, and stretches to accommodate my wider foot. When on pavement, I can feel the dimples in the road and the warmth from the sun; on gravel, I can feel the stones beneath my feet but without the sharpness; on lawns, I can feel the softness of the grass, the dampness of the ground, and the coolness of the earth; in mud puddles, I feel like a kid again.

    The upper fits snugly, so I don’t need to tighten the elastic at all — I found that the elastic cuts into my foot. The Sprint version solves this problem, but I wanted to try the minimalist approach first.

    My short, stubby toes fit into the sockets just fine. Although there is some space left at the end of a couple of toe sockets, I don’t notice it at all when moving.

    The heel is too pointy for my foot (you’d have to see the shoe and my foot to understand), so there’s some space there as well. Again, it doesn’t affect me since my heel only touches the ground when standing.

    Overall, I’m very pleased with the Vibram Classic, and use them daily. I’ve heard that as your muscles strengthen, your arches tighten, shrinking your foot’s length. If my shoes end up being too large after a while, I’ll definitely purchase another pair of FiveFingers, however, I might take a closer look at the Sprint version.

    I would highly recommend this line for anyone interested in barefoot running, but worried about damaging the soles of their feet, or in need of shoes for visiting stores on their run (no shoes, no service).

  16. Renaud Says:

    I bought 3 pairs of fivefingers a couple of month ago and after weeks of trying them at home I decided to wear them at work on an everyday basis since a week ago. Well it’s a real pleasure to wear and it’s really fun to see kids in the street staring at me with wide eyes ^^.

    They are really confortable to wear and have a great look. Several people even acosted me in the street to tell me how intersted they were in buying the same shoes.

  17. kris Says:

    i picked up a pair of the vibram five fingers yesterday after researching them and yearning for them for the last year. i took them on a quick 2 mile run, having done some “off-shoe” training over the past few weeks, waning my running shoe usage in preparation. they have exceeded my wildest expectations. with just enough rubber in all the right places to give me the connection with the surface i was hoping for, the five fingers left me feeling free and rugged. i found myself running in places i wouldn’t otherwise go with shoes… atop retaining walls, through parking lots, over small fences… as if the shoes sponsor spontaneity. i felt great after the run and this morning when i got up! i can’t wait to get back out and go at it. i should note some rubbing on my outside tendon which resulted in a minor blister, but this is to be expected of any new shoe and i’m not too worried about it being a recurring problem.

  18. Rodger Says:

    They look hideous….

  19. AMB Says:

    For people with the problem of the elastic cutting into the top of your foot, that is a known problem with the shoes, and results from the elastic being too short. You can contact Vibram and they will send you a replacement for the shoe.

    I got a new left shoe sent to me via FedEx (no charge), and that took care of the problem.

  20. John Says:

    Hello- I don’t want this to be commercial just helpful to those shopping for five fingers. I own and run kayakshed.com and we sell a lot of vibram five fingers. Mainly to runners (we thought they’d be more for paddling – who would have guessed – in either case they’re fun footwear)

    It’s really difficult to get the right fit. We have about 20% exchange rate which is very high for shoes. Typical is about a 2% exchange rate. So obviously it’s hard to get the right fit.

    My suggestion (if you can’t try them on in our store or another store first) is to: 1) Measure your foot 2) Use the conversion chart on either our page http://www.kayakshed.com/vibramfivefingers.cfm or on Vibram’s page 3) If it’s looking like you are very close to a particular size… you’re in luck and go with that. If you’re in-between sizes (as most folks are) order the 2 you’re between and return the one that’s not right.

    If you go the latter route … wear one size on one foot and the other size on the other foot. Keep them on your foot for at least 10 minutes. Walk around the house or simply hang out. You don’t need to be walking around for this to work. One size will start to feel better than the other. Half the time this is the one that feels right immediately. Surprisingly the other half of the time the other size becomes more comfortable. I don’t know why this is but it happens and is how I sized mine.

    I am not a runner so take my suggestions as that. Suggestions. Good luck and have fun with them. Thanks John

  21. A Bundy Says:

    Thank god

  22. Chris Says:

    I recently purchased a pair of the Sprint Vibram Five Fingers. I am an avid outdoorsman and these “shoes” are the perfect footwear for light hiking and trail running. I was able to scramble up rocks much faster than normal and after a long hike, my legs weren’t as tired as they usually are from hauling around large hiking boots. Anyone looking for the perfect outdoors shoe need not look farther.

  23. Tim (J600.com) Says:

    Hi Guys, We have just started stocking these. We are usually a rift retailer but lots of our customers are moving on to fivefingers. I took on board the comments from kayakshed.com but we are UK based retailer and are finding it really hard with working out the sizing conversions. The sizes that vibram gave us just dont add up with the shoes we’ve tried on. If any users from here who have bought uk fivefingers could take a look at our sizing guide at http://www.j600.com/nike-air-rift/vibram-fivefingers.phtml and confirm if we have got it near engough right that would be great. I have heard that vibram are changing their sizing guides due to how confusing it has been and i noticed their site has changed the size guide completely. I’m personally a uk8 and found the uk8 (42) was far too small for me and i needed a uk9 (43). The feel is very similar to the nike air rift however getting your little toe into the vibrams is somewhat a tougher process (perhaps its the shape of my toes??) :)

  24. Stephen Says:

    I have a quick question, are the toes longer on the guys version or the girls version?

  25. Moss Says:

    I just got some “fivefinger vibrams” today and i havent been able to get them off my feet. I actually got them for my brother as a christmas present though. They are pretty dang cool. You guys are talking about running half marathons in them and stuff but i dont see how you could do that kind of running in them. they are quite a cool shoe to kick around in the river or stream in but not for running a few miles in.

  26. KayakShed Says:

    Hey Moss.. “I have a quick question, are the toes longer on the guys version or the girls version?”

    Percentage wise the toes seem to be the same from Guys to Gals. The Gals are a little narrower than the guys. Besides that they are the same. The 41 and 42 which are overlapping sizes from the mens and womens are actually the same shoe. So a Womens 42 = a Mens 42 Womens 41 = Mens 41. Cool Good Luck! John

  27. Dwayne Says:

    Hey guys quick question. Are the VFF anything like running in the nike air rifts? I ran trails in my Rifts and it was awesome however I need more traction. I don’t live in the US, UK, or Canada so i will have to be ordering them, so any and all feedback would be great.

  28. Jim G Says:

    QUESTION: Does the VFF expand over time? I ask this because I found one size to be too short and the next bigger size to be too long or lose. If I buy the smaller size, will they lengthen with wear?

  29. David Says:

    I’ve had a pair of these in the “Surge” style for awhile and am NOT a fan. The only time I wear them now is on rocky beaches. First of all, know these are unisex – Vibram ignores the difference in foot anatomy between men and women. Second, they are in uniworld whole sizes – 27, 42, etc. So forget whatever size you wear now. Thirdly, they are poorly designed for real feet. I have relatively small feet for a man (8). But, even for me, the toe pockets are way too small, contorting my digits and digging into my toenails needlessly. Someone suggested wearing them with toe socks. I have no idea how you would get socked feet in them unless you intentionally bought them about 10 sizes too large. Having said all that, I know a physical therapist who wears almost nothing else (in footware) and swears by them. I bought them on her recommendation and assurance I would “get used to them”. Vibram’s selling point is you don’t want your feet to have to conform to shoes. As for me, not worth the money until they evolve into something universally useable. Until then, I’ll just wear my trusty old trailrunners.

  30. John Says:

    Hello.

    I am very intrigued by the Vibram Five Fingers and was wondering how supportive they were for someone who had semi-flat feet?

  31. C.S. Says:

    Just bought a pair a few weeks ago (after much research), and am definitely a fan. Here are some of my observations and experiences:

    1. As mentioned, they are difficult to fit. I tried on at least six different sizes/styles before I settled on one that fit me comfortably. The common sizes for men and women (41-42) are NOT the same – the men’s shoe is wider. I am glad I was able to try them on in a store, as mail order would have been a disaster.

    2. Wear them indoors initially to get used to them and assess whether or not they fit properly. That way you can return them if you are not happy. I found it took a couple of hours of wear before they felt natural and comfortable.

    3. Start gradually with any “barefoot” running or hiking. The shoes force you to walk/run in a different way than you have become accustomed to, and to use muscles in a different way than you usually do.

    4. I haven’t worked up to running outdoors yet (have been running on the treadmill), but would recommend starting on trails and softer terrain at first, and starting gradually when it comes to running on pavement.

    5. Took the shoes on a 3-hr steep, technical and rocky hike. I only intended to wear them for the trip up the mountain (brought my trail runners along), but actually wore them the whole time, without any problems. In fact, this was the first time that my knees were not at all sore from the trip down. I would attribute that to the fact that the shoes made me much more careful and cognisant about how I was landing on my feet. I also found that I did not roll my ankle even once, which I usually do at least two or three times. My feet were a bit sore afterwards (muscular soreness as well as some very minor trauma from landing on small rocks), but fine the next day. I’m not sure how well these shoes would fare on wet rock, as my feet did slip a couple of times when I hit wet patches.

    Overall I am very happy with the shoes, and am looking forward to deep-sixing my runners in the near future.

  32. CLD Says:

    I read about the VFF shoes in a magazine and worked hard to track them down. I was up in Vancouver last week and was finally able to try them on (which was all I intended to do), but they felt so amazing, I HAD to buy them. I’m training for a walking half marathon and have been having terrible problems with blisters in my Asics shoes, but after wearing these for two days straight I haven’t had a single problem in that regard. I’m quite overweight and was worried if there would be a problem with not having enough cushioning, but there was absolutely none. In fact my back and knees felt amazing. I’m dying to use these for the rest of my training and the event (about a month away) but my coach says it’s too late to swtich. So last Saturday I went back to my regular shoes for a 10 mile training and actually found that those shoes seem to put weird stress on my ankles and knees. Although I didn’t twist my ankle, by the end of the 10 miles it felt as if I had and I’ve been limping for 2 days now!

    So for me, the Vibram’s clearly align my body better and keep me pain free. I’m sold! But I guess I can’t wear them until after the half marathon event because going back and forth seems to be a problem. The Vibram’s are superior, but my coach thinks I’ll risk injury if I switch so late in training. She thinks the soles will be insufficient for the rocks on the trails on the course. I wish I’d found these shoes 2 months ago!

    I’d recommend them to anyone. At least find some place where you can try them on. (At M.E.C. in Vancouver I spent about an hour deciding on the style and size that felt best…subtle differences do count, but it was worth every minute and every dime.)

  33. Chris Says:

    I’m 27 male around 170 pounds, and a former sub 15 minute 5k runner. So needless to say, I have spent years running.

    I supinate, no over pronation.

    I’ve heard the hype about barefoot running as I also have a background in biomechanics, and it all made logical sense, BUT REALLY??

    So a couple days ago I purchased these Vibrams just to see for myself, as I am keeping a daily log for a study.

    So as of today – here is the low down..

    Although inconclusive results

    I have noticed some soreness in my Anterior/Posterior Tibialis, which could simply mean I am strengthening this shin area SO MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS – PERHAPS THESE COULD HELP PEOPLE THAT SUFFER FROM SHIN SPLINTS?

    I have some soreness also around the bases of my 5th metatarsal – again a symptom that seems as if I am strengthening my feet.

    Hopeful thoughts are that they will also help with people that suffer from mortons neuroma, as they promote the natural spread of the toes, whereas shoes hinder the spread, and may “pinch or bind” our toes. Therefore reducing the amount of inflammation of the primary foot nerves..

    any questions youngck@mac.com

  34. Chris Says:

    and obviously this is consideration of those who don’t prefer to run bare feet, like me ;)

  35. Dan Says:

    I’ve been checking the website to see if they have additional sizes.. mainly smaller ones. Anyone here wears a size 7.5 male who tried the womens size? I wish they made them in smaller sizes.

  36. Joe Says:

    Bought a pair of the flows last week, thats all I could find. Gotta tell ya, I love them. Played a bit of baseball in them yesterday goofing off of course but ran over all types of ground and didn’t bother me a bit. I am so glad these fit, I even have greek feet and the 42 fits like a glove. It is amount of articulation your foot gains while wearing these puppys. Cant wait to take’m to the mountains next week.

  37. Joe Says:

    It’s amazing the amount of articulation your foot gains while wearing these puppies*

  38. Chris Says:

    I purchased a pair of Sprints (in Conversation-Starter Red) a couple months ago to see what all the buzz was about. I’ve had chronic knee problems and I suspected my footwear or my running style was the culprit for a long time, and it was my hope that these ‘shoes’ would help alleviate this problem.

    The short of it is they have. The first day I wore them out for a run my arches were a bit sore, and would zing every once in a while as I came down on a foot. I walk around barefoot at home and have done so all my life, so fortunately it only took two runs to strengthen my arches to the point where this is no longer even the slightest concern.

    I found these shoes only at one store in my area, and let me emphasize the need to try them on for proper fitting. I was in the store and was convinced a size 42 felt good on my feet, but later when walking around my apartment that evening I discovered that my pinkie toes were feeling crowded and uncomfortable, especially on the right foot. If you have long toes I would recommend getting one size larger than you’re fitted to, as the heel straps (on the Sprint at least) offer tightening to a very generous degree.

    By the time I got my replacement pair I was so excited to wear these shoes and go for a run in them that I headed out willy nilly even though there was a thunderstorm brewing to the south and heading straight for the trails I was about to make my way towards. I do not endorse running in the woods during a lightning storm like I did, however I will say that was probably the most fun I have ever had on a run. Running in shoes with socks during rain is a pain – no one likes running with 5 lbs of squishing, soaked fabric strapped to their feet, but in the VFF it was more like splashing through puddles barefoot as a kid. You get wet, sure, but it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t make you uncomfortable. After the first 10 mins my arches adapted to the new demands and I could feel half a decade of clumsy, clunky running technique sloughing off as I adopted a high-cadence, springy running form, landing on the balls of my feet and gliding forward, pushing off with my toes. My cross country coach taught us to land on our heels, make long strides, LIFT THOSE KNEES BOYS!; years later my knees argue vehemently against this advice, and running in VFFs has been my antidote.

    There are some drawbacks, however. Although I no longer suffer from running-related joint pain, the soles of my feet have definitely looked better. Expect to experience your fair share of gory looking blisters and bruises – especially if you run on pavement or rocky terrain – as your feet adapt to these shoes. You will run with a softer foot, more elegantly and naturally, but after decades of having your feet enveloped in thick blocks of rubber the soles of your feet will probably not be durable enough to endure the demands placed on them wearing VFF without a few months of unattractive blisters and bruises. Having said that though, I will take that over painful joints any day …

    I have also used my VFFs for hiking now, as well. I did a moderately strenuous hike through a second growth redwood forest (~8.5 miles) a couple weeks ago. Typically the amount of climbing and descending that the trails took me on would bother my knees, but none of that this time. You also leave some pretty interesting tracks in the dirt for later hikers to observe …

  39. wade miller Says:

    I bought them for windsurfing off the beach. They filled with sand and i wish i could take them back.

  40. Steve Starr Says:

    I bought my KSO’s a little over a month ago. I wore them for a couple of three mile walks to start. Dirt and gravel were great. Hot pavement will take some getting used to.

    Supposedly, there are places in Japan where people walk barefoot on cobblestones to reduce hypertension. I have watched my blood pressure and it seems to have had some affect at lowering.

    Last month I tried my first longer hikes with a walk up to Delicate Arch in Moab, Utah. Much of this was in 100° heat on solid rock. My feet were comfortable except when I stood in one spot two long. I used Injinji’s on this hike. Next day I went another 6 miles without socks and developed a blister on the ball of my foot under my big toe at the toe/foot joint which healed quickly.

    Since then I have started running in them and am working up to a mile. I haven’t run in many years so I am taking it slowly. The KSO is quite comfortable as it doesn’t have the rubber band across the top of the foot which bothers some people. It also minimizes how much sand gets in the shoe when you are at the beach. I am definately hooked and can’t wait for a version that I can wear as “business casual”

  41. ERIC Says:

    I have been running in the vff sprints since june including several long runs over 20 miles on pavement. they really help reduce knee and hip pain overnight and you will notice that your calves get a great workout and build up fairly quickly. I recently ran a trail marathon in them-that was a mistake. I kicked every rock on the course and ended up limping to the finish. I still think they are great for paved surfaces and continue to use them for that but on the trail I need a bit more protection for the little piggies….

  42. Matthew Says:

    I recently bought a pair of VFF Sprints and cannot say enough about them. I was on a business trip in Atlanta the first time that I wore them, and the looks that you get take some getting used to, but are worth it. I have seen that several people claim to get relief from chronic joint pain, and I have to say this was true for me also. I ran a couple miles in Atlanta, and then 4 miles two days later and the only part of me that hurt was my calf muscles, since I was using them in a whole new way. I have suffered from knee and ankle problems for years, and the relief was almost immediate. I do alot of trail running, and seriously recommend them, because I ran through streams, in sand, over grass, etc. I think that running on pavement with them will take some getting used to, because the balls of my feet were sore after running through downtown Atlanta. I will say that if you come to a gravel patch, slow down!! I learned the hard way that you will feel the gravel through the shoes. That is really the only negative thing that I can say about them. I am curious since I just bought them, how long are they supposed to last me? I hope that I do not have to turn around in a couple months and buy another pair at $80 a pop. It is amazing to me that these were not designed as a running shoe, because I could not imagine running in anything else now.

  43. Joel Says:

    A friend just turned me on to these, and I absolutely love the idea. Im looking at the KSOs, and wondering how many people have used these for backpacking? I refuse to wear boots or heavy shoes while hiking because I dont like the insecurities of foot placement in clunky footgear, especially with additional weight on my back. As a result, I’m constantly on the lookout for the the smallest, lightest shoes possible. does anyone have experience regarding backpacking in these? Also, how are the soles in regard to long-term durability? Thanks.

  44. Edgar Says:

    I’m interested in walking, jogging and playing tennis with these “shoes”. I have not seen any comments on what they’re like when playing tennis. Has anyone played tennis with them? I also live in a very hot climate. How much of the pavement heat penetrates through? It seems like that would happen relatively easily.

    thanks

  45. AW Says:

    Bought a pair of KSO’s for myself and a pair of sprints for my wife. She has had plantar fasciitis and have read good things about VFF and PF. Took a 1.5 mile walk in them last night, and she only complained of pain in the ball of the foot. The fasciitis did not bother her much at all which I find quite interesting.

    I had taken a short 1.5 mile hike the day before after a good mountain bike ride earlier in the day. Note that I ride and hike often and 1.5 miles is a short hike. I usually go on 5+ mile hill climb hikes 4-5/week, and several bike rides. I noticed that my calves were sort the second night out which I thought was interesting. We did the 1.5 hike with together, and I went on an additional 2 miles. Big mistake. After the the first additional mile, but heels hurt, but I had to get back home. By the time I got home, blisters had started on the bottom of both heels. Today, my calves are quite sore.

    What is the lesson – start slow. I thought I was it fairly good shape but I learned a hard lesson. I like the idea of strengthening all of the foot muscles, muscles that get weak with modern shoes. I’m not going to give up on them, but I think I’ve been set back a number of weeks because of my initial more aggressive use of this new footware…

  46. Martin Says:

    I am thinking of buying these soon. A lot of people comment on these being good for jogging, but are they any good in sprints ?

  47. Alex Says:

    Martin I find them great for sprints. Not that I have done many but I got back from a few miles in my KSO last week and carried on to a grass field near me and did a couple of flat out blasts up and down. I’ve radically changed my running style since converting to them though (look for the Gordon Pirie free PDF book and that is what I’m now running like).

    Unlike some who have taken 2 runs I’ve been slowly converting for three months building up to my mileage ready to start a marathon build up. So if you have mainly done your distances in trainers for 10 years don’t expect a two run conversion.

  48. Shar Says:

    How are these for non-athletic types? Moms ambling after kids as they ride their bikes, carrying infants around the house, playing in the backyard, mowing the lawn, etc? My achilles tendons have been threatening to do something bad to me for months, and I’m not sure how to prevent that from happening. Different (or no) shoes? Wearing my sneaks from the second I get up until the second I lie down seems to help a great deal. Thanks.

  49. Billie Says:

    Shar, I bought a pair of classics about two months ago and love them however I would not recommend them for activities requiring protective footwear, Mowing lawns or running after kids who may be dropping things. Where as these are the best shoes I have ever put on there are times when you need to put on shoes to protect your feet. All other times I wear the VFF.

  50. Trav Says:

    Bought a pair of VFF KSOs about a week ago. Been running relatively short distances in them this past week (1-3mi). Got some Injinji socks for them since I was feeling a blister slowing forming on the bottom of my big toes. Socks solved the rubbing issue and I’ve had no other issues with them. Previously had plantar fasciitis after spending a good chunk of change on some “nicer” running shoes. No issues in the heel dept so far and from the way your foot strikes the ground in these I’d expect not to in the future.

  51. Chris Says:

    Hi Laura,

    Hope you’re still enjoying the FiveFingers. I certainly have. Unfortunately they seemed to have a defect though and have started to fall apart! I wrote a review to explain here: http://www.christopherrcooper.com/blog/4/barefoot-running-in-the-vibram-fivefingers.html

  52. Mike Says:

    I’ve had my Five Fingers KSOs for about 6 weeks now (or as my wife calls them “my gorilla feet” and I’m on my way to becoming a full-fledged evangelist.

    I have flat feet, and wore motion control shoes and an orthotic for years. I’ve been plagued with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and (my favorite) a detached facia on my tibia which resulted in a tibial stress fracture. I’d rest for a while so that I could heal, but it seemed that every time I’d get to the point where I could run 15-20 miles a week, I’d get a new injury. I tried stretching, varying my training, new shoes, new orthotics, etc. but with the same results. I’d gotten tired of the injury cycle, so had switched over to cycling for the past couple of years with a short run thrown once or twice a week.

    I saw a pair of these at a local outdoors store (Hudson Trail Outfitters) and after doing a lot of research I decided to give them a try. I’ve had a lot of success with them. Like other posters, I found that there was a learning curve in how to run with these shoes. On the downside, I got a nice crop of blisters the first time I went over 5 miles, and I’ve gained a new appreciation for my calves and the amount of muscle pain they can generate.

    But… I can run again! I managed 25 miles last week with only minor aches and soreness. I’ve shortened my stride, and my times seem lower by about 30 seconds per mile as a result (although some of that is attributable to the fact that I’m able to train more without breaking down). And – I finally retired my running shoes a couple of weeks ago. The reason – they hurt too much when I ran :)

    I’m getting ready to run in the Reach the Beach Relay race this Friday (I was a last-minute replacement) and my confidence is pretty high. My contribution should be about 18 miles. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this 2 or 3 months ago.

    By the way; I also do a fair amount of hiking in the Shenandoahs, and while I might consider bringing these along for a fire trail there’s no way I would hike with them on a technical trail or use them for trail running over rocky ground. The vibram protects my feet well enough from gravel, pebbles, stones, and stubbed toes, but I can’t see them protecting me from the rough terrain on the Raven rocks hike for example.

    Hope this helps some of you on the fence…

  53. heesinjones Says:

    hey ERIC, you’re using the sprints but what about these:

    http://barefootrunningshoes.org/vibram-fivefingers/men/kso-men/

    I heard that they work pretty well even in more rocky running landscapes, what do you think?

  54. John Says:

    My KSOs have been returned for warranty manufacturing issues… but… That doesn’t sore me on the experiences I had in those few glorious weeks. These “shoes” are excellent for fishing(slippery submerged rocks?-no prob) and I particularly like them for trail running, even with a heavy pack on extreme terrain. I know people seem to balk at their use on rocky stuff but I have done 16 mile round trippers in Yosemite with 4,000 ft elevation gains and then losses of the same on switchback heavy, full on granite boulder fields. No problems. One thing I don’t like is how grass and pinecones get stuck between the toes…. no biggy.

  55. jason heathrow Says:

    Great information, I’m glad to see that the ksO’s work well on rough terrain as that is the reason why I decided to purchase one. The only question is, has anybody tried the nike frees and compared them when it comes to outdoor activities? I feel it could protect you a bit more. I found this review randomly about how the 2 compare.

    http://barefootrunningshoes.org/2009/10/08/nike-free-versus-vibram-five-fingers-10-points/

  56. Deanna Sweeney Says:

    I have been suffering with shin splints for about 4 months to the point where I could not walk. Nothing seems to work, I have tried every kind of sneaker, doctor gave me orthodics which I dont think work either. I have been forced to not run due to the shin splints for about 3 wks and they are still very painful.. And I do not have stress fracture either. Do these shoes work for shin splints?

  57. Barbara Says:

    I would like to buy the Vibram Sprints for my husband who loves running but now has knee problems. A lot of the comments I’ve read, from people on other websites, indicated that they are great for running UNLESS you have knee problems. In that case, they reasonsed, the Vibrams would not give the runner enough support. Do you think the Vibrams could be harmful to a runner with knee pain? Thanks!

  58. jeeftor Says:

    They aren’t supposed to give you “support” rather they force your leg to build up the natural muscles you evolved with to support itself. This is why you start slow.

    The issue with heavy support shoes is they make your muscles weak because the shoe does all the supporting not the foot. I.e. work slowly into the shoes and you should be fine.

  59. Kara Says:

    Barbara…not sure if you’ve already bought the shoes for your husband, but if you haven’t yet, my husband was plagued by knee issues for a long time. He was a delivery truck driver for several years plus lost a lot of weight by running. Between running heel to toe and jumping up and down from the truck, his knees used to hurt a lot. A couple years ago, we got the Nike Free shoes (5.0) and began running more on the balls of our feet. Even though at the time the Nike’s were still supporting our feet more than we realized, he noticed a big difference in knee pain. Basically, there was none. And when he worked on the truck he didn’t come home with knee issues either.

    Now we both run in the Vibrams (or barefoot as much as possible), and I’ve not seen him take any pain meds for the knee or complain about it at all. It’s like the knee pain never existed, and it was just poor running style to begin with.

    Your husband must understand though, that the Vibrams are not meant for heel to toe running. It essentially is impossible because it hurts (it’s supposed to, our bodies were meant to absorb running impact through forefoot striking and not heel striking, but ‘normal’ running shoes try and absorb the impact for you).

    I’ve been running in the Vibrams for about two months and though I never had running pain before, I can attest that I am able to maintain a faster pace for longer by running more efficiently. Running is now fun instead of so much work. Essentially I look forward to it instead of having to push myself to go only two miles.

  60. Esther Says:

    Hi, I just a pair of KSO. Love it BUT I had blisters at all the wrong places after the run. The blisters appeared at the side of both my toes and near my arches. It seems like the piece of material holding up the strap is cutting into my feet. Is this common or is my shoe defective? Anyone encountered this and have a remedy?

  61. matt Says:

    I got a pair of KSO’s a few weeks ago and they were u=just a hair small, so I sent them back for the next size. My first run in them was 4 miles, and by half way through I was feeling it in the calves. By the end, and for 2 days after the run I was very sore in the achilles tendons and calf muscles. I figured this partly due to my heel now being on the ground instead of on top of 3/4- inch of padding- thereby stretching the calf- and the forced running style of landing more mid-foot and taking up the shock with the calves. A week later I ran six, and was only moderately sore, and a few days after that ran 4 again and was fine- except for some blistering- I think Once I sweat I’m more prone to getting blisters. My right foot was okay- but my left instep got a blister from the seam like Barbara complained of- It is either fit (by left foot is slightly larger) or there’s something asymmetric about my running. Either way- a band-aid should do the trick!

  62. Jessica Says:

    I was wondering if anyone could give me some guidance. I am 31 yrs old, and have not ran in 2 years, due to having 3 knee surgeries on the same knee. 2 of the surguries have been in the past 3 years. I am very interested in the Vibram Fivefingers. I was thinking that since I’m pretty much a newbie to running due to my absence, that I should just start out in these. I’m in the military, and will be deploying in Feb. 2011. (I hope these meet army standards) I am about 25lbs overweight. Would the Vibram Fivefingers be a good choice for a overweight newbie to start training in? Thanks, for any help you can give me!!!

    By the way the knee surgeries I’ve had are: The first one was a Meniscus and ACL. The 2nd was a Mediscus and the 3rd was Meniscus and MCL.

  63. Jacques Says:

    I am looking to buying some Vibram KSO trek shoes near to Los angeles, preferably to the south. Can anyone tell me where I can try some on. I am only in the USA for 2 days. My trek size 44 unlike the others seems just slightly big, but I am concerned that 43 will be too smal so would like to try on. thanks for the advice. I am staying at Palos verde about 20 miles south of Los Angeles Airport. thanks Jacques

  64. JakeP Says:

    I am not much of a runner, but I LOVE my vibrams. I think your toes are there for a reason, and if they didn’t have any purpose for tacticle feedback, grip, balance, etc. then humans probably wouldn’t have them (as they run a risk / cost of breaking, stubbing, straining, etc). Vibrams may look a little funky and grab some attention, but I think they do a better job as shoes IMO … and make you more aware of your feet and what you are walking on. It is actually kind of fun to ‘feel’ the different textures / surfaces you walk on … and hiking doubles as a foot massage :)

    PS: You’d probably only wear awkwardly large, padded, function-limiting mittens in environments like the extreme cold. Why should one’s shoes be any different?

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