7

votes

Vibram FiveFingers at Work

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 24, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I hate wearing dress shoes, but I work for a fairly formal organization which has a strict "business casual" dress code policy.

Anybody try to pass your Vibrams off as "business casual"?

Or, has anybody tried to get a note from a doctor saying that you are required to wear Vibrams because formal dress shoes ruin your feet?

What's the best dress-shoe alternative to Vibrams?

Looks like the new Fall line of Vibrams includes some leather variations that look more "business casual" acceptable. Can't wait!

http://birthdayshoes.com/2011-fall-vibram-fivefingers-boots-laces-leather-and-more

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

That's funny, I've schemed to do the same thing (glue an exterior to vibrams to make them passable), but can't afford to buy the extra shoe materials for a Beta pair. Let me know how it works out!

27dae06956b5e420c5c2db8c0ffb9abf

on November 06, 2011
at 04:40 PM

why thank you :) I get many odd looks at work, I've been offered an ergonomic chair from high-up just by standing and not wanting one while others whom sit have been begging for one. Paleo-living definitely has it's perks

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 02, 2011
at 09:05 PM

Haha, yeah, why don't us women get awesome shoes too?

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:58 PM

Love this answer!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:51 PM

In all the videos and all the promotional materials that I've seen on this shoe I've seen that... IT'S ONLY FOR MEN! All the women are wearing sexist heels. Yuck.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:02 PM

KillerAbs- please take out the promotional parts of this (well, that's almost the whole thing).

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:22 AM

How do they hold up? That's pretty expensive for sanuks. I have two pairs of their shoes and they wear out really fast. I like them a lot but I'm glad I only paid $45ish for them.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on February 25, 2011
at 03:30 PM

We talked about that already: http://paleohacks.com/questions/19329/shoes-acceptable-in-a-professional-environment#axzz1Ez62FHPO

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on February 25, 2011
at 05:09 AM

I was scanning for this one - yes indeed - Vivo Barefoot made by Terra Plana. I've heard their non Vivo line (i.e. just Terra Plana) are also pretty flat and thin (and more importantly, more dressy) - but as they're all pretty pricey, I haven't wanted to find out for myself.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:47 PM

I love my Dansko's too.

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Great point! They're definitely safer than high-heels. If I wanted to shake the boat, it would be an easy argument for vibrams vs. heels, but at my organization it's more an issue of vibrams being too casual; not formal enough.

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:05 PM

These could work too. I'll check them out and compare them to the Sanuks. Thanks!

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:05 PM

Yes, I agree that asking someone in HR is essential. I actually work in a HR business of the organization, so it's important for me to comply...at times begrudgingly so. When the Fall line comes out, I'm asking about them for sure.

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Nice! Those definitely look like a better option than the standard dress shoe. Thanks

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:18 PM

Very cool! I wish they made something similar for girls :(

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:45 PM

The black KSO Trek is passable, or at least, not as noticeable. A good interim possibility until the newer models are released.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Nice, but still questionable with a suit. It's amazing no one makes a thin-soled, no-heel business dress shoe for suit-and-tie folks.

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19 Answers

best answer

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:30 PM

I would speak to your HR person or manager - show them the shoes and see what they think. I took a look at the new line up and some of them look as though they may be more 'passable' in a work environment.

Good luck!

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:05 PM

Yes, I agree that asking someone in HR is essential. I actually work in a HR business of the organization, so it's important for me to comply...at times begrudgingly so. When the Fall line comes out, I'm asking about them for sure.

best answer

4
Cd8347f1d512972a230b209419b8df4c

(100)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:41 PM

I wear Sanuk Boardrooms at work. They aren't as minimalist as VFFs, of course, but they are near-zero drop and comfy as hell. Plus, they look like dress shoes which is important. I highly recommend them.

vibram-fivefingers-at-work

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:18 PM

Very cool! I wish they made something similar for girls :(

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Nice! Those definitely look like a better option than the standard dress shoe. Thanks

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Nice, but still questionable with a suit. It's amazing no one makes a thin-soled, no-heel business dress shoe for suit-and-tie folks.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 15, 2011
at 12:22 AM

How do they hold up? That's pretty expensive for sanuks. I have two pairs of their shoes and they wear out really fast. I like them a lot but I'm glad I only paid $45ish for them.

3
F4aff43df6a8a49a1c3879c1233ee560

(459)

on February 25, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Take a pair of your old dress shoes, cut the soles off, and use the top of the shoe as a cover for your vibrams. No one will notice as long as you stand real still.

2
41469a6274b450fa1f8580eb13944362

on February 24, 2011
at 11:27 PM

Try the Vivo barefoot line of shoes. Great construction and they give the same benefits as VFF's while maintaining a more conventional look. I am a barefooter and they are my go-to shoe when I need to wear shoes,

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on February 25, 2011
at 05:09 AM

I was scanning for this one - yes indeed - Vivo Barefoot made by Terra Plana. I've heard their non Vivo line (i.e. just Terra Plana) are also pretty flat and thin (and more importantly, more dressy) - but as they're all pretty pricey, I haven't wanted to find out for myself.

1
27dae06956b5e420c5c2db8c0ffb9abf

on October 14, 2011
at 11:27 PM

I bought and wear the Merrell Barefoot Tough Gloves at work and purchased them for this sole reason. They look like a pair of Diesels with the added benefit of a Vibrams sole. Since I've completely converted to a standing desk, I also purchased an Air Step Anti-Fatigue mat to ease the burden on my feet from standing on that hard work floor all day. Good luck with your decision!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:58 PM

Love this answer!

27dae06956b5e420c5c2db8c0ffb9abf

on November 06, 2011
at 04:40 PM

why thank you :) I get many odd looks at work, I've been offered an ergonomic chair from high-up just by standing and not wanting one while others whom sit have been begging for one. Paleo-living definitely has it's perks

1
95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on February 24, 2011
at 07:45 PM

There is another discussion thread regarding work shoes with a lot of useful information:

Shoes acceptable in a professional environment

1
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on February 24, 2011
at 07:38 PM

I did some Googling and came across several forums where the general recommendation was to go with minimalist driver style shoes.

I also found a review for Flexible Footwear Shoes. They're a bit pricey ($400), but custom fitted/custom made, and have neutral heels. They also actually look like dress shoes. There was some concern expressed about how well padded the soles were, but the description sounded a lot like my Crocs- and I can tell you that after a few weeks that thick feeling is gone as the sole shapes to your foot. Crocs start out at about an inch thick, and become closer to a quarter inch thick after you've worn them long enough. This shoe sounds thinner to start with.

There were also numerous suggestions to take your existing business shoes to a cobbler and have the heels removed and the soles replaced with something more flexible. If you can find a cobbler in your area, that might be your best option. At least until they come out with formal VFFs. :-)

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on February 24, 2011
at 07:12 PM

I wore KSO's at work for a while, but I work in a Creative depeartment so I got a pass. Then I tried RunAmocs, but could not find a size that fit me well enough. They looked like clown shoes with the big flat toe box.

I currently wear THESE around the office. They let me walk as barefoot as possible, but they look "normal" and are comfortable as heck, plus only 35 bucks. In fact, I plan on experimenting by glueing Vibram sole material onto the bottoms of a new pair so I can wear them outside. I have everything I need on order.

One of these days when I have nothing to do I want to design and make my own minimalist shoes.

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

That's funny, I've schemed to do the same thing (glue an exterior to vibrams to make them passable), but can't afford to buy the extra shoe materials for a Beta pair. Let me know how it works out!

1
1b53eabf4124ccf000720a5fe3027795

on February 24, 2011
at 06:49 PM

I wear either the KSO or the Treks to work everyday and have so for over a year. The safety commission had an issue with them in the science labs but I pointed out that they are safer then most of the shoes the women wear.

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Great point! They're definitely safer than high-heels. If I wanted to shake the boat, it would be an easy argument for vibrams vs. heels, but at my organization it's more an issue of vibrams being too casual; not formal enough.

1
B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:42 PM

I wear SoftStarShoes RunAmocs, look a lot more subtle, and achieve the same thing the VFFs do, for the most part. No one has yet to even ask about them.

vibram-fivefingers-at-work

61ff86be603d2508d10eedb1997b3532

(400)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:05 PM

These could work too. I'll check them out and compare them to the Sanuks. Thanks!

0
D990f7c439b1b9570ecb216f9189050d

on March 06, 2013
at 03:19 AM

I really dislike the Merrell tough gloves. They are extremely narrow. I can wear the Merrel Bare Access because they're mesh and my toes can spill out. I don't like the Vivo's at all. The soles have no heel but they're like a hunk of tire and are not even close to the flexible feel of the vibrams. This is crazy. There has to be someone who makes a simple, business casual shoe with a vibram sole.

0
9c215d66a663fbae3a16cf5515889d7f

(260)

on February 25, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I've been wearing Merona Rollin driving mocs from Target for several months. They're $35, and if you rip out the insole and heel insert, almost totally flat. The sole is extremely flexible, and my feet have plenty of room to spread. The only problem for me is that they only come in black.

0
F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on February 24, 2011
at 11:13 PM

I'm normally barefoot in my office. Luckily it's very quiet and I don't think people even notice...

0
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on February 24, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Been wearing them to work for nearly 3 years. Engineering companies in the valley are very tolerant.

0
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on February 24, 2011
at 08:38 PM

I wore brown KSO Treks to the office most of last summer. We're a tech company, with a biz cas dress code, and since I'm in Legal, if HR had an issue with it they would have been coming to me anyhow ;).

Some of the sales guys thought they were pretty funny-looking, which is true, of course, but I got no actual flak for doing it. Since it's winter out now, I've reverted to normal shoes, but as soon as the snow melts I'll be back into the Treks.

0
Medium avatar

(3259)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:11 PM

Dansko clogs at my standing desk.
vibram-fivefingers-at-work

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:47 PM

I love my Dansko's too.

0
922038b6c0ca6a051cc4858218931456

(392)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:26 PM

I work in a doctors office, now a part of a large hospital, and rotate between black KSOs, black Treks, and pink classics with my scrubs. No one has ever said anything to me. In fact they all think they're pretty cool, if a bit "strange."

My only fear is that when we switch to uniform scrubs in July that they will enact one of those silly "all white shoes only" rules. I will be distraught. I may try to make my Sanuk's I have try to qualify in that event.

0
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:18 PM

I wear a set of the brown leather KSO Treks to work Monday through Thursday. We're a "business casual with jeans" kind of office, so we're less formal than a lot of places and it's not a problem for me.

I consider the leather Treks to be my business casual Vibrams. I have a set of regular KSOs that I use for playing outside and getting dirty.

-2
F77c6462cf6596fe6dabeeb5931821ab

(365)

on October 14, 2011
at 09:27 PM

Hi Ryan,

I hope these are the shoes you're been searching for. We set out to create a shoe that looks indistinguishable from the most conservative Oxford. A shoe you could wear through a job interview and into a black tie affair, without compromising barefoot comfort. And in that end, I believe we've succeeded =) I'd love to hear your thoughts.

vibram-fivefingers-at-work

You can learn about our story, product features, and more at thePrimalProfessional.com, and find us on facebook.com/thePrimalProfessional

If you help us spread the word to reach our $50,000 pre-order goal, they'll be ready for you early 2012 =)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:02 PM

KillerAbs- please take out the promotional parts of this (well, that's almost the whole thing).

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on November 02, 2011
at 08:51 PM

In all the videos and all the promotional materials that I've seen on this shoe I've seen that... IT'S ONLY FOR MEN! All the women are wearing sexist heels. Yuck.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on November 02, 2011
at 09:05 PM

Haha, yeah, why don't us women get awesome shoes too?

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