Vibram Five Fingers: 4 Months Later


Just over four months ago, I wrote a detailed review of the Vibram Five Finger shoes I purchased. I must say, the post ended up being a lot more popular than I anticipated. As soon as people started finding it via Google and YouTube, I started receiving questions and feedback about them. It’s amazing how many people are interested in these wacky looking shoes!

One of the common requests I got was to do another post about them and explain how I feel about them after owning them for a few months. So I’ve decided to do just that.

The Pros

First and foremost, I’ll take a look at the positives to the shoes:

Usability

One of my favorite things about the shoes is how usable they are. They can be used for basically anything. I’ve worn them to the beach, in the water, hiking, playing tennis, and riding my bike. I also use them for basic things like running to the grocery store.

They really are an all-around shoe that adapts to whatever it is you are doing.

Durability

Another positive to the Five Fingers is the durability. I’ve worn them quite a bit over the last 4 months but they seem to be holding up just fine. I’ve washed them a few times after hiking and they look as new as the first day I bought them.

They still fit like a glove and I haven’t experienced any shrinking or stretching, which was something I was worried about. I’m anticipating that shoes will easily last another year or two based on how often I use them. Who knows, they might even last longer than that.

Comfort

The main reason I bought the shoes is because I love to be barefoot all the time. Problem is, when you live in a city it can be pretty dangerous considering there is glass and other sharp objects lying around. These shoes do an AMAZING job at protecting your feet while still being lightweight. They really fit to your feet and after a while you forget you are wearing them.

These are honestly the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. I’ve owned a ton of fancy shoes with air pocket, shocks, and all sorts of “comfort” features but none of them compare.

Reaction Factor

When I first purchased the shoes, I was a tad worried about what people would say. Turns out it’s pretty fun to wear these things around. I constantly get people who come up to me and ask questions about the shoes. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked if I’ve ever read the book “Born to Run.”

The shoes are an excellent way to get people to come up and start a conversation. Especially if you wear them out to the bar. However, from time to time I do get some fairly odd looks from people. This is especially true when going to the store. I’ve grown used to it though and no longer notice the looks I get.

Word of advice: If you don’t like being approached by strangers, you might want to think about getting a different pair of shoes.

The Cons

Now it’s time to look at the cons of the Vibram Five Fingers:

Cold Weather

So far, the biggest drawback to the shoes is that they are uncomfortable to wear if the weather is cold. My feet freeze if the temperature gets below 50 degrees. I especially noticed this in Austin when the temperatures were in the 30′s and 40′s. Even in Florida the last few days it’s been too cold for me to wear them outside.

However, there are a few different models available that work much better in cold weather. I happen to have the sprint model, which doesn’t cover much of your foot. If you do want some for cold weather, check out the KSO Trek model.

Putting Them On

Other than being cold, the only other con to wearing these shoes is they can sometimes be a tad tough to get on. They take a few seconds to get situated correctly on your foot, especially if you are just getting used to them.

I especially notice this whenever I’m feeling lazy and need to run outside to the car to grab something. I end up throwing on my slippers since they take far less time.

I Still Recommend Them

Other than the two small things I pointed out, I have absolutely no complains about the shoes. After wearing them consistently for four months, I still highly recommend them to anyone looking for some new shoes.

Best of all, they sell fairly well on eBay and Craigslist. So if you buy a pair and end up not liking them, you can always sell them off and get most of your money back.

Have a pair of Vibram Five Fingers? I’d love to hear how you feel about them.

Photo Credit: TheNickster | CC

27 thoughts on “Vibram Five Fingers: 4 Months Later

  1. Pingback: Vibram Five Fingers

  2. Ryan

    Justin,

    A couple of months ago I bought a pair of Vibrams. Actually they are the exact model and color as yours!

    I would like to add a few of my personal comments about the Five Fingers.

    First off, although these shoes are super light and fun to wear, they do come with a hefty price tag. For those that do not like to fork over + $80 for a pair of shoes, then these are not for you.

    By looking at and even touching these shoes many may think that they are not durable. They are. The rubber sole is made of construction boot grade rubber. You can step on a nail and it will not puncture it. The only other material used (other than the straps, which are found on the sprints) is spandex. Pretty simple and effective design.

    Lastly, Five Fingers do not provide any support. Their is no heal cushion and a Dr. Scholls insert obviously is out of the question. If you walk like you are wearing a normal pair of shoes then your heal will become sore. Altering the way we walk from a heal striking motion to walking on the balls of your feet is inevitable.

    When I first bought mine I went trail running. Which was euphoric btw. However, I was not used to running on the balls of my feet and having my toes free to move as they wished. The next day I could hardly walk! If people buy Five Fingers, take it slow and allow your ligaments, muscles and tendons in your feet to adjust.

    Barefoot forever!

    -Ryan

    Reply
    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hey Ryan, thanks a ton for stopping by and leaving some awesome feedback. You covered a few good points that I completely missed. I agree that they take some getting used to, especially when it comes to your toes and the balls of your feet.

      I still remember the first few times I wore them and was sore the next day.

      Thanks again!

      Reply
  3. James NomadRip

    I’m glad you put up a longer-term review of them. I had heard several people review them right after getting them, but I was wondering about a more long-term use. I finally found a local place to try some on. I all but could not get the neoprene model on my toes, but the KSO worked fine for me (it’s usually much warmer here…just not this week :-)

    Reply
      1. James Schipper

        I finally got around to getting a pair of KSOs the other day :-)

        As comfortable as I expected so far. I generally only wear flip-flops or reef shoes, as I prefer being barefoot too. Going to try them in different circumstances, and only plan on taking them and the flippy-floppies to the Virgin Islands in a couple of weeks.

        Reply
  4. Bob Redding

    Hi Justin.

    I’ve been running in Five Fingers for about 6 months now. I agree with everything you and other commenters have said.

    I routinely run about 20 miles a week now in the VFFs. I haven’t worn my regular running shoes in about 4 months. In fact, I put the ASICs on recently to go to the store and they didn’t fit anymore. My feet have changed significantly since I’ve been wearing these things. Stronger, more “solid”, just better.

    I have a second pair that I wear to and from work and during work on some days. I do get a lot of questions and strange looks from people on the bus and subway. But I don’t mind. I tell people these are the best shoes I’ve ever owned.

    Anyway, I’ll grab your RSS feed and keep reading your stuff. Feel free to drop by my blog about running in NYC.

    Take care.

    Reply
  5. Spot Cool Travel

    This are absolutely one of my favorite products. Is it OK to add a pro and con to your list?

    PRO: You can swim with these shoes on. (Especially useful for rocky rivers or coral-bottom seas).

    CON: They have a distinctive look. Expect a lot of questions and stares while wearing these shoes around town.

    Reply
    1. Justin Wright Post author

      I would have to agree with both. I wore mine in a stream while hiking and they were perfect. And I completely agree with the look…I get some weird vibes from people when they stare me down haha.

      Reply
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    Reply
  7. Ryan

    Liked the post. Just got the black VFF KSO a few weeks ago, and love them. A couple of other points.

    Availability. These things are just plain hard to track down (I am in Chicago). I tried a pair on at Erehwon one day, didn’t buy it then, and the next time I came back, 2 days later, they were sold out. If you look on amazon or google shopping, you can tell how difficult these guys are to get. Not many sizes available, and not many colors.

    On top of that, sizing is extremely important for this kind of shoe. They size their shoes with European sizing, and they have a sizing chart that will map a shoe to foot for each 1/8th inch.

    It’s pretty noticeable too, if you have one foot slightly larger than the other.

    I started out running with these guys on a treadmill, and then out on the winter streets in chicago. Agreed that they take some time to get used to, and you definitely feel it as your stabilizing muscles and connective tissue strengthen.

    The process of getting used to them for me entailed first blisters, then crazy muscle soreness, then bruised cuticles (gotta keep those toenails short). I think I’m at the point where I run 3-4 miles in them a few times a week, and thoroughly enjoy it.

    Reply
  8. Meg

    I just completed surf city half marathon in vibram ff. I have done a couple of them before also with regular running shoes but this is for the time that I completed one w/o injuries. I’m so happy as I not only did better timing wise but I finished it strong w/o any pain. Sole of my feet feels sore as during my training I had only done 6 miles max in vibrams but I’m already beginning to feel better. I feel that my running is much more efficient as I don’t have any extra drag that comes with normal running shoes.

    Reply
  9. Jay

    I tried my KSOs for the first time this week. I did a three miler and then a six miler. They feel great!! I use the Injinji toe socks though because I have tried the VFFs without socks and got some blisters. One of my feet is a tad shorter than the other the socks help fill the gap. I might have to consider getting one size larger and having to wear the current size on one foot and the larger size on the other…

    I probably won’t use them for the Lake Chabot Half Marathon coming up in June, but once that half marathon is done I’ll be using my KSOs rain or shine.

    I started preparing myself for the transition to VFFs earlier this year by running with a bit more of a forward lean, which in turn forced me to mid-foot strike. After three months of that type of running, I was more than ready to handle running in the VFF KSOs.

    I’d be interested to know how many total miles people put on their VFFs. Because I run like a Clydesdale I can trash my pair of Mizunos in about 350 miles. I’ve got 9 miles thus far on my KSOs and anticipate 9 – 12 miles next week.

    Reply
  10. SabraJoy

    I loved this post. I am a mom of 7 and absolutely love my VFF Sprints!!! Last spring (2009) I discovered my arches had fallen and my feet were completely flat to the floor. A couple of weeks later I discovered I was pregnant with baby #7 and knew I had to do something for my feet. I had been reading about barefoot running which led me to VFF shoes. Three months after purchasing them my arches returned and have been completely healthy ever since. I wear my VFFs exclusively and love how they protect my feet from rocks and debris outside (in and out of water) as well as Legos inside! Let me tell you, nothing hurts worse than stepping barefoot on Lego pieces. One year later, I feel the price is worth it as they are still in fantastic condition despite constant outdoor use all last spring, summer and fall and use as indoor slippers all winter. I was shelling out more than that in cross trainers per year prior to that.

    I definitely recommend trying them on because simply converting UK to US sizing didn’t work for me (my pinkey toes made the difference.) I also found out I can wear one size smaller in the Classic size. Though they took a little getting used to putting on, now my feet slip into them with no conscious effort on my part. My husband and I chuckle when I come in after working in the yard because there will be weeds stuck between my toes. The only con I have is the smell of the VFF after wearing it barefoot every day. I have laundered my current pair a few times now (air drying them) and that helps, but the smell quickly returns. I plan to purchase another couple pair to see if rotating them helps with this.

    I gave birth 9 weeks ago and yesterday took my first 3 1/2 mile walk/jog since in about three months. My legs feel worked, I am aware of the muscles on the top of my feet, yet am able to move freely to complete my normal daily tasks. My lower back (the reason I was spending so much on cross trainers in the first place) feels amazingly good and after resting up today I will be good to go out again tomorrow. I am addicted to my shoes!

    Reply
  11. BRAD SUSKIND

    You mention that you played tennis in you Vibrams. How are they for side to side stability? Do you feel your feet slide around at all?

    Reply
  12. Tim

    I got my pair a week ago today and I LOVE them. You are right, if you wear them out into public you will get some strange looks, and alot of people approaching you asking about them, but as long as you are ok with that these shoes are AMAZING.

    I’m about to go play some tennis and see how that goes, already been hiking and running in the woods. I never wear my normal shoes anymore. Don’t be scared off by the pricetag, if you were a kid who never wore shoes and always went barefoot, you will LOVE these shoes. 10/10

    Reply
  13. Georgina

    I’m quite not sure about the idea about these Vibram Five Fingers because they definitely don’t look fashionable to me. But in case they’re made for comfort, I guess they’re worth a try.

    Reply
  14. mitch

    nice blog Justin.

    i recently purchased a pair of the black kso and i have to say that its been one of the best purchases ive made in a long long time. when i first went for a run in them i felt like i was a kid again! running just for the sake of running and feeling free. people under estimate the power of the feet and a good pair of shoes.

    i wish i could wear these to work, unfortunately i work in an office and i dont see it happening (maybe in 10+ years when people realise how important these shoes are).

    hands down the best shoes on the market, anyone reading this and hesitating to grab a pair, go out and get them now. i have nothing bad to say about them (they do gather some attention but its all part of the fun). you know shoes are good when you can wear them for 2+ hours and instead of feeling uncomfortable you forget you’re even wearing them!

    Reply
  15. Beta

    I was hesitant to buy these just to try them. I came across a little extra cash and decided “what the hell”. I bought a pair of Trek Sports about 6 weeks ago. I wear them literally whenever I’m not at work or on my motorcycle. They’re extremely comfortable and do everything they’re stated to do. The first things I noticed immediately were my feet, calves, and thighs being worked the way they’re supposed to because your heel is actually on the ground instead of raised. My standing posture has been greatly improved. I stand tall instead of slouching. I’ve also gotten to the point that I don’t need to even use my hands to align my toes (because your toes get a great workout too). I simply slip my foot in, separate and wiggle my toes and they slide right in. I’m now considering getting a second (different) pair. I’ve actually grown to highly dislike standard footwear.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: FiveFingers as a gateway to Paleo - Vibram Five Fingers - FiveFingers Shoes

  17. NailFungusRelief

    You have to admit that when you first see these you have to chuckle a bit. I think they are pretty cool. I see too many people walking around in flip flops these days and the Vibrams are nicer

    Reply
  18. eric doucet

    Ive had issue with 4 pairs 1 pair bikila 3 days toes unglued. 2nd pair bikila same thing sole separate right off. for my 3rd pair i exchange for kso instead no toe separation but pull tab came stitching came apart after 2h . 4th pair kso mailed to me same size but material is so tight i manege to get foot in i can only where for 5 min and my foot goes lil numb am tired dealing with the company not sure i will buy another pair seems a lot factory defects and inconsistency i am pissed off at them and i want my money back
    such peace of garbage and no i am not a spammer or getting paid for this i am a pissed off consumer and will wright this where ever i can find a revue don’t buy this crap

    Reply
  19. Kris

    I bought a pair of KSO’s last weekend to use for Taekwondo (martial arts) training. They felt good on my feet and I was able to do most piveting with ease. One problem I had was the cuticle on the big toe of each foot bled from all the kicking (on partner’s chest protector). Obviously, I had some pain on the top of my big toes. I’m wondering if my feet just need to toughen up or if KSO’s aren’t the best choice for martial arts?

    Reply
  20. Donita

    So, have you read Born to Run? :)
    I found your blog looking for average mileage on these and enjoyed reading this review. I’m on my 2nd pair of sprints in 2 years. My first pair, I had 200 running miles on them but I wear them EVERYWHERE so there are a few more miles than that.
    If people have trouble getting them on, the sprints are SO MUCH easier. They don’t have that mesh over the top of the foot.

    Reply
  21. David

    i love these shoes. i have the same black KSO’s as you do, and while i don’t get to wear them as much as i’d like, they’re awesome for running (in situtaions where i’m unable to run barefoot) and weightlifting, etc. i’ll never workout in “regular” shoes again. nothing beats being barefoot but this is the next best thing!

    Reply

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