29 January 2010


Peter just reminded me that I had promised to do a write-up on Vibram Fivefingers!

Ok... not me personally: he linked to Labrat at Atomic Nerds, but it reminded me that I had meant to do a piece myself.

Beginning to think that I should go back through the archives, and make sure I haven't missed any other ideas. Then I wouldn't have to worry as much about my muse!



Purchased a pair of the Vibram "KSO" shoes a little less than a year ago. My main plans for them were: a) a work shoe that would be more comfortable and durable; b) a shoe that I could have in the saddlebags, but which wouldn't take up too much space. With that in mind...

I will admit, they take some getting used to: if you're used to walking around in modern shoes, the feeling of being barefoot is odd. Comfortable at first, walking around in an urban setting WILL start to hurt your feet after a bit. Vibram suggests slowly working up to wearing their product all the time, and that's a VERY good suggestion.

Being me, I ignored that: wore them that night when Spoon and I went for a walk. After five miles, my feet HURT. But were fine the next day. And the pain gradually got less, until wearing them all day didn't bother me in the least.

As for my intended purposes...

Using them as a work shoe was interesting. Took my bosses and coworkers quite a while to get used to them, and I was still getting complaints when I finally stored them in the closet (they are NOT a Wisconsin winter shoe!). However, once I had adjusted to the "barefoot feeling", a couple effects were shown (for me, at least):

- felt MUCH less fatigued in my legs after the day was over
- noticed an enhanced level of coordination and balance

How'd they fare as a shoe to change into after riding?

Given their size (VERY compact, take up about the same space as a pair of tube socks), they were able to basically live in my saddlebags. It was nice to be able to take off the heavy armored boots when I arrived at a destination, and wear a comfortable shoe (also cooler: vintage motorcross boots are HOT in summer).

Do I have any complaints? Well, a couple... but they're minor.

First off: I REALLY need to get a pair of their Flow model, and see how it handles cold weather. They had a "boot" version called the Surge, but it's been discontinued. If I find a pair in my size, I'm snagging them.

You also REALLY want to get several pairs of toe-socks for these. Gives you more versatility, temperature wise. Since ordering socks to go with the shoes, I've taken to using the toe-socks as "liners" even now (Coolmax fabric actually between your toes GREATLY reduces the feeling of "sweaty feet". Just sayin').

So... would I recommend them? Not just yes, but hell yes. Honestly, after my riding boots, these were probably the best footwear purchase I've made.


Obligatory FTC disclaimer: Vibram Fivefingers did NOT in any way reimburse the author for this review. The product in question was purchased by the author, and the above review was written entirely as a public service.

Not to say I would turn down a pair or three for "review purposes". Just sayin'... ;)

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