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Vibram FiveFingers: which models have you tried and liked (men's and women's), esp. "multipurpose" models?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 02, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Which have you tried and particularly which ones are good all-purpose models (that I can use for road/trail-running, walking around, and going to the gym)? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks, all!

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7 Answers

3
Aa5154ef908fc4a5c255c552f32e334e

on November 03, 2012
at 12:13 AM

I have worn Bikila, KSO, Treksport, and Komodosport over the past three years. I run, train, and every day wear my Five fingers. Of the ones i have tried, i highly recommend the Bikila and Komodosort as the most versatile and user friendly shoes for literally all occasions. These two models share the same soles, just different upper construction. These feel the most natural and neutral on all surfaces and terrain. Yes, you are still acutely aware you are wearing shoes, but they do not compromise your barefoot gait, feel, mechanics. By the way, I run marathon miles on asphalt, trail run, and walk/stand 14 hours daily on concrete floors 5 days a week in my Five Fingers. The other styles I have tried were good at one thing, but not another....as in, they felt good for daily wear, but sucked at trails and asphalt or were good for trails, but sucked at asphalt and daily wear. Believe me, you can seriously feel the tread pattern of the sole construction based on the terrain. The Shoes that share the Bikila/Komodosport sole are the most adapted to any and all surfaces IMHO. YMMV.

3
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on November 02, 2012
at 07:12 PM

I own a Classic, a KSO, and a Bikila, and I prefer the Bikilas as an all-purpose outdoor shoe.

Bikila

  • Perfect thickness for pavement running and general gym activities. The KSO is a little thin. Not sure if it'd stop a glass shard. The KSO's padding also rubs off faster.
  • Easy to don and doff. The KSO has a strap along the back of the quarter that makes it harder to don. The Bikila only has a top strap.
  • Warmer, but not too warm. The KSO has mesh on top, while the Bikila has a 1mm synthetic upper.

KSO

  • Lighter.
  • Dries a little faster. I use it for windsurfing.
  • A bit more secure on the feet, even though I've never had my Bikilas slip off accidentally.

Classic

  • Easiest to don and doff. However, it doesn't feel that secure, and you need to get a very accurate sizing or it'll slide all over the place.

Whatever the case, I highly recommend you grab some Injinji toe socks. VFFs are infamous for their stench when you wear them barefoot (even with regular washing), and wearing socks is the most effective way to prevent that.

2
F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on November 02, 2012
at 10:19 PM

I have a pair of TrekSports, their sole is more rugged for trail and off-road stuff. Even though it's a pretty aggressive sole, I still get plenty of ground-feel, more than with my Merrell barefoot shoes.

I love them, but I have major difficulty going downhill in them. After I wore them for a Warrior Dash, I lost two toenails from the toes constantly banging against the toe protectors. From what I've seen, the toe protectors are just as robust on every model of Vibram FiveFingers, so I'm thinking there's no point in trying all of them to fix that issue. But it doesn't sound like everyone has this issue anyway, so I'll just accept that perhaps they're not for me for all purposes.

I love them in the water kayaking, rafting, and such.

As for stink, you can also put some powder in there if socks aren't working for you.

2
8de9776490016df60d49e03f23d656af

(596)

on November 02, 2012
at 07:06 PM

I wear women's KSOs as my everyday shoes, but I had to get a pair of Nike Frees for the treadmill--I need just a bit more cushion on my heel than the KSOs provide. I ordered a pair of Biklas and a pair of classics the other day and am looking forward to wearing them.

2
125d32aea89e7249575e104196c11648

on November 02, 2012
at 06:39 PM

I love how comfortable the original KSO's are but be warned - do not use them for more than leasurely strolls or weightlifting that doesn't involve much impact/movement. The original model has a strap on the side that rubs against the harder plastic of the sole, creating a saw like motion that will rip the strap very quickly. I have gone through two pairs in two months and all I wore them for was 30 second hill sprints for half an hour a week. I figured they were meant for running before I purchased them but, then after this problem, I came across a slew of similar comments both online and from salesmen at stores that carry them. As I mentioned, I love the fit and feel of the KSO's (especially because they are the most minimalist as Loris mentioned) but, based on what you'll be using them for, look at the models that do not have this multi-piece strap.

2
B5bd19e76142cca78c869d146ba4182a

(120)

on November 02, 2012
at 06:29 PM

Between me and my bf, we've tried four different models. Our favorite is the KSO, because the sole is thinnest. Other models add extra rubber 'pads,' sometimes to the extent that I felt like I was wearing regular shoes -- this makes it too easy to get lazy and revert to walking heel-toe, and heel-toeing in Vibrams = injury (for me). If you are a winter runner, those extra rubber pads (such as on the Bikila) might keep your feet warmer, but I prefer the KSOs with wool socks. I have found that the KSOs, even without socks, will keep my feet warm (as long as I'm jogging or exerting myself) down to around thirty degrees Fahrenheit.

The only downside to the KSO is that it's a tiny hassle to put them on (especially if you're wearing socks with them). But I've worn them for long periods of time doing a variety of things and have not had problems with them.

My advice, though, which I'm sure you've already heard, would be to acclimate yourself to running totally barefoot (skin to road) to develop your muscles, fat pads and callouses. Once you have nice, fat feet, it won't matter what kind of Vibram you get -- your foot will withstand almost anything. I am able to trail run over harsh stone and gravel in worn-out KSOs only because the infrastructure of my foot is solid.

Happy walking!

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on November 02, 2012
at 06:45 PM

I have a pair of Biklas (grey/red) and a pair of KSOs (black/black), the latter of which I like more (even more minimalist feeling). I don't use either of them daily, but I've found them more or less interchangeable for use. I keep the Biklas in my gym locker and occasionally wear them for squats or speed and mobility drills, but not always, and I also occasionally go outside for short runs and some sprints as well. Truthfully though, I prefer barefoot sprints on grass or sand, and Vibrams get a little sand in them on beaches, I've noticed. To my surprise though, I most enjoy the KSOs as deck and sailing shoes as a more sporty alternative to (Sperry) Topsiders.

There a few guys and a girl at my gym who wear them all the time-they're becoming more and more mainstream- and so they do not look out of place when you see a fellow gym-goer with a pair.

AT first they can be a little annoying trying to get your feet in them, but after a while I've found a system that works (pinky toe first). I consider them more as a training tool, and not an everyday gym shoe.

Oh, and both pairs are men's.

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