September 4, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers: Not Your Average Shoe


What in the hell are those? That’s what most people seem to think (and say) when they see the Vibram Five Fingers. So I decided it was time to grab a pair and see what they are all about. As it turns out, they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn in my entire life.

Quick Introduction

If you’ve never seen these before, they are a unique shoe made by Vibram. Vibram is most known for making the soles of popular hiking shoes. The reason they are so unique is because they feature five toe sections and fit much like a glove.

Here’s a quick video I put together about the shoes:

As you can see, they are MUCH different than typical shoes.

First Impression

About 6 months ago I first saw these shoes on a few websites. I immediately thought they looked cool but never really thought much about them. I think I was scared off by the $85 price tag.

However, I’ve come to learn that paying a decent amount for shoes is WELL worth it. Life basically sucks when you don’t have comfortable shoes to wear around. Just think of that one beach vacation you took where to took some brand new flip flops, only to be left with blisters on your feet from walking so much. Exactly.

Anyways, when I first saw these shoes at the store, I was pretty impressed with the build. They are super lightweight but still feel like they are well made. The material they are made out of sort of reminds me of a pair of cycling shorts I own (yes, the funny looking ones with a butt pad in them).

They do offer a few models, some feature a velcro strap while others do not. I went with the sprint model since the velcro strap comes in handy if you run a lot.

Here’s a few photos of the shoes, including one of me wearing them:


vibram five fingers botton

wearing vibram five fingers

As you can see, they fit like a glove. Which is great because after awhile you forget you’re even wearing them. It’s hard to say that about a pair of uncomfortable shoes.

One Week Later

It’s been a week now since I bought a pair and I’ve been wearing them every single day. I’ve literally worn them for at least 4 hours a day. The first two days I wore them the entire time I was awake to try and get used to them.

Besides wearing them to the grocery store, I’ve also used them to play tennis, hike, play football, and walk around town. I can honestly they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. They really do remind me of being barefoot as a kid, but without any of the cuts or scrapes.

It’s amazing how much different the ground feels when you are wearing these. You really notice the terrain more. When I’m walking on grass, it feels like I’m walking on grass. The same goes for dirt, concrete, and so on. It seems to bring you closer to nature, which is an amazing feeling.

I plan on wearing these as my every day shoes due to how comfortable they are. I’m now used to getting a few weird looks and an occasional question from a stranger so I’m no longer worried about that.

Health Benefits

Besides being comfortable, the Vibram Five Fingers are also good for your health. I’ve read time and time again that your feet tend to morph into the shape of your shoes. This is bad for a few reasons, mainly because it changes the way you stand (and walk).

The best option is to go barefoot. Unfortunately, it’s hard when you live in a city full of concrete, glass, and a whole bunch of other random stuff laying on the ground. These shoes are a great alternative.

Awesome Shoes

Overall, these shoes are a great investment. Especially if you do a lot of outdoor activities like walking, running, or hiking. I’m going to continue to wear these every day and see what happens over the long term.

I’ll be putting together a followup post a month or so from now to summarize how they shoes are doing (you can view it here). If you’re interested in these shoes, you can learn more about them on the Vibram Five Fingers website.

23 thoughts on “Vibram Five Fingers: Not Your Average Shoe

  1. therealjosh

    I got a pair about 3 months ago and they are pretty awesome. I couldn’t find them in North Dakota so I picked up a pair on my way through Portland. They have helped increase the strength of me ankle helping with issues I have had over the past couple years. Cant say enough good things about them. Totally awesome to drive in.

  2. Adam Pieniazek

    Hmm, those look really comfortable. Remind me of the Vivo Barefootand FeelMax shoes.

    And walking barefoot is for sure the healthiest way to go. I try to walk around my house barefoot as much as possible and can tell the difference when I slip on a pair of shoes and walk for a little bit.

    How are the Vibrams while biking?

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      That was one of the first things I did when I got home. I put them on and sat on my bike. They feel just like biking barefoot, only I’m not as worried about getting one of my toes chopped off in the spokes.

  3. Colin Wright

    I love my Vibrams…I have the same model and color as you, in fact.

    One thing I’m still trying to figure out how to do is attach my Nike+ sensor to them. Since there are no laces, all of the third-party products I’ve found don’t help me. I’m thinking of attaching velcro to the button of the sensor and wrapping it in the tightening strap, but I’m a bit concerned that then the shoes won’t be tight enough. Thoughts?

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hmm that’s a tough one. I’ve never used the Nike sensors before so I’m not sure. Is there a way to attach it to the outside of the velcro stap? That way you could still pull it tight.

    2. Michelle

      I bought a pair of Vibram KSO’s about 3 weeks ago and have been running in them with the Nike+ sensor attached. Here’s how I did it: I cut a piece of elastic a couple of inches long (the elastic should be as wide as the sensor, about an inch). I wrapped the elastic band around the lower strap and used a safety pin to hold together the two loose ends of the elastic band). I inserted the sensor into the elastic loop beneath the shoe strap (just make sure it fits in there snugly; adjust the safety pin if needed). The velcro strap still closed on the shoe securely, and the sensor did not bother me while running at all. I did try this first without the elastic (I just stuck the sensor underneath the strap), but it fell out while running. Has worked great with the elastic!

      1. Rachel

        Hi Michelle,

        I have just bought the KSO and saww that you have tried to attach Nike+ sensor to the shoe. Do you mind sharing a picture on how it is attached? I tried to put in the shoe and I realised the reading is not as accurate as I put it in the Nike shoe.

        Thank you very much.


  4. Stacy Harp

    Hi there… I just found your review of these shoes and noticed you said you wore them to play tennis. I play tennis a few times a week and I have weak ankles, can you tell me if you think playing tennis in them is way easier than regular shoes? I have the most difficult time finding comfortable shoes and I’m thinking this may be good. Love to hear more.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hey Stacy,

      Thanks for stopping by. As far as tennis goes, they seemed to work okay for me. However, it does feel a lot different because it’s almost like being barefoot on the court. So your knees and ankles take a lot more shock than normal.

      The other thing I noticed is they don’t grip the court that well. It seems like the court might eat up the bottom of the shoes over time.

      So you might be better off finding some really nice tennis shoes. Hope that helps!

  5. Stacy Harp

    Thanks, that’s exactly what I needed to know. So maybe I can get them to wear as daily shoes and try them and if they work well then use them. I know my tennis coach yelled at me once for wearing high tops on the court, as opposed to tennis shoes, so maybe I’ll invest in a really really good pair of those too. 🙂 Thanks for getting back so fast!

  6. Marty

    Great Review, Justin! I’ve been surfing around and have had trouble finding the color scheme you have pictured and in your video (grey). Where did you pick up your pair?

    Thanks for the great information.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Hey Marty, I ended up getting mine at Whole Earth. You might be able to find them online as well. I believe they call them the Taupe-Clay color. Hope that helps!

  7. Steph

    They look amazing- almost like bare feet! I guess that the idea is to mimic walking barefoot. I may try to get hold of a pair and try them, I have heard good things about these.

  8. Dan F

    I had knee problems, switched to the Vibram shoes (KSO model), they are awesome and my knee problems went away. Though I had to get used to them (start with small runs and build up as different group of muscles are working (calves) and you have to develop them). Bottom line: awesome. For the Nike+, I bought a Marware Sportsuit Sensor Case for Nike ( but 1/2 price on Amazon). This works really nice as you can just velcro it around the Vibram’s strap.

    From what I understand, it seems that running shoes make you hit the ground more with the heel part of the foot, which sends all the impact directly to the knee. With bare-foot running, you run on the front part of the feet, and the impact is dissipated by the calves (simple mechanics). My running stance changed more into a “Chi running” stance as described in the book (“Chi Runnning”). You can also find quite a few YouTube videos on both Chi Running and Barefoot running.
    Hope this helps.

  9. Pingback: Vibram Five Fingers Review

  10. Frank

    I recently bought some nike frees, which have a similar “bare-foot” approach to it (but with more cushioning I can imagine), and I found that after long runs, my feet end up more sore than if I ran with my asics kayanos. Since the VFFs are even more minimalistic than frees, how would they be more comfortable? I am skeptical in the design as the foot striking impacts would not be reduced by whatever cushioning this may have.


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