The Best Vibram FiveFingers Running Shoes Reviewed

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Searching for Vibram Fivefingers? Take a look at the best Fivefingers of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store

There are a few attributes that all of the best Vibram Fivefingers running shoes share in common. For one, they’re fantastically lightweight. For another, they give runners a more natural feeling running experience – you can really feel the ground that you’re pushing off of, and you can feel your foot flexing the way it was originally designed to by nature. In a market that’s been dominated with “the bigger the better” running shoes, Vibrams offer a welcomed alternative.

SeeYa LS
  • SeeYa LS
  • 5 out of 5
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  • Soft TPU midsole
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KSO EVO
  • KSO EVO
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • XS TREK stability tech
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Vibram El-x
  • Vibram El-x
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy on/off design
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They’re simple and sleek-looking, but some may be surprised to know that the cool look is actually backed up with technology that creates increasingly lightweight, flexible, breathable, and supportive yet less restrictive shoes. Vibrams really appeal to serious runners looking to challenge themselves and try out the minimalistic running experience. Many never look back.


1. Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS

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SeeYas are a tiny bit heavier than the KSO EVOs, but they still maintain their deserved place in the ultra-minimalist category of shoes. If you’re ready to hit the streets and you’re craving that near-barefoot, highly natural running feel, go for the SeeYas. Their pros are numerous:
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Comfort / Stability

The TPU midsole gives these shoe a more natural and flexible running experience, which if that is what you desire, making them a comfortable pair of FiveFingers shoes with minimal mass. Some reviews say that the toes tend to be a bit tight, making them a little uncomfortable to run in. Like any shoes that you buy, it is always a good idea to try them on before making your purchase, especially if you plan on ordering the online.

Quality / Durability

They do, however, have some reviews which suggest that the durability was disappointing to some.

Cost

When shopping around, you will find that the price of these shoes varies a lot. They are available on Amazon for a decent price.
Pros
  • Breathable mesh upper for cool and dry feet
  • Great ground feel
  • Polyurethane insole protects foot for long runs
  • Seamless collar reduces irritation and protects against debris
  • Soft TPU midsole reduces weight and thickness for that natural, flexible running feel
Cons
  • Tight on toes


2. Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO

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If you thought Vibrams couldn’t get any more lightweight, prepare yourself for the KSO EVO. These babies are a shocking 3.5 oz. (W) and 4.1 oz. (M). If you feel like running on air with minimalist arch support and zero heel-to-toe drop, your near-barefoot running experience is just waiting for you. These are one of the best Vibram FiveFingers running shoes because they allow the foot to move naturally while still providing stability and comfort.
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Comfort / Stability

There are some reviews that complain about the toes being a little too tight, resulting in an uncomfortable fit. However, as different people have different feet, that too seems to be a fairly relative issue.

Quality / Durability

Like some of the others, it may be due to the lightweight and low profile minimalistic construction, but these shoes also reportedly have some issues with low durability when put to heavy duty use.

Cost

They are available at a reasonable price.
Pros
  • Breathable upper
  • Great traction for various surfaces
  • Shed water quickly
  • Strong toe grip for climbing or parkour
  • Thin sole for flexibility and natural foot movement
  • XS TREK technology for stability and comfort
Cons
  • Takes some time getting used to the way the toes feel


3. Vibram El-x

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As the name implies, these shoes are multifunctional and can easily move from the trails to the streets. The XS Trek Outsole keeps the foot well-protected while the light weight and zero-drop features keep this shoe perfectly minimalistic. In particular, the El-x cross training shoes have been lauded for their comfort, ease of use, and highly minimalistic feel.
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Comfort / Stability

As these shoes have very thin soles, allowing a much more barefoot feeling, the comfort would really be more relative to the runner who is wearing the shoes. With minimalistic type shoes in general, they are not known for being filled with a lot of cushion.

Quality / Durability

Maybe having something to do with the minimal design and construction of the shoes, they seem to have some issues with durability and longevity.

Cost

The price tag on the EL-x widely varies, depending on wear you find them. The are usually able to be found at a reasonably decent price on Amazon.
Pros
  • Close-to-barefoot feel
  • Easy on, easy off
  • One of Vibram’s thinnest soles for great feedback
  • Simple and comfortable, a standard Vibram running shoe
Cons
  • The thin material of the sole may wear more quickly than some others over rougher terrain

4. Vibram FiveFingers Treksport

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These are extremely light, comfortable, and affordable for a neutral running shoe. Treksports have a simple and quick upper Velcro fastening system for a good, secure fit. The insole is just thick enough to protect the foot from the elements and hard terrain. What’s more?
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Comfort / Stability

It is recommended to purchase this shoe in a size larger than what you would usually wear. Overall, the general comfort and stability of the Treksport is pretty good.

Quality / Durability

There have been issues reported by users regarding their durability, stating that they tend to break down quickly. In all, the general reviews regarding this issue seem to be pretty mixed. I may depend on the specific activities that these shoes are worn for.

Cost

Especially if purchased on Amazon, the cost of these shoes is really affordable.
Pros
  • Stretch-mesh panels for breathability and protection from debris
  • comfortable
  • Excellent ground contact
  • Super lightweight
Cons
  • The fit is strange at first, if you are not used to these

5. Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon

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Like the KMDs, Spyridons have a lot of the classic attributes that are found in common with many of the other FiveFingers shoes – they are super lightweight and the heel-to-toe drop hits zero. Also, the shoe contains mid-sole armor plating which effectively protects the foot from some pretty rough terrain, as well as fairly significant impacts. Because of this, they’re an awesome choice for those who venture out on exciting mountain treks, and even parkour in the city.
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Comfort / Stability

These shoes are frequently chosen by mud runners because of their good traction and stability in rough terrain. There aren’t many major comfortability issues except for those who have wide feet.

Quality / Durability

The quality and durability of this model tends to be what attracts the obstacle racers and mud runners. They seem to hold up pretty well.

Cost

As mentioned above, they are comparatively more expensive than others, however they can be found for a decent price on Amazon.
Pros
  • Flexible
  • Protective
  • MegaGrip for great traction
  • Balance of stability and flexibility
Cons
  • A bit less breathable than some of the others from this brand

6. Vibram FiveFingers KMD LS

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Vibrams can be minimalistic in their design as well as, unfortunately, their color options, but the brand has proven that they can spruce things up with the introduction of the KMD LS Cross Training Shoe. These shoes keep the well loved minimalistic design, but add splashes of much needed colors such as blue and lime green, making them some of the best choice of Vibram FiveFingers running shoes out there for someone looking for style and quality alike. Just a glance at the KMDs and you can tell they’re really quite minimalistic, but in a good way, (5 oz. W, 6.7 oz. M, zero heel-to-toe drop). Here’s what these FiveFingers cross training shoes have going for them that makes them a popular choice for many:
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Comfort / Stability

The slightly thicker sole offers a little extra support, without taking too much away from the minimalistic experience that these shoes are meant to provide. Overall the KMDs have excellent reviews with regards to their comfort and stability. There are a few complaints about their lack of breathability.

Quality / Durability

There are mixed reviews, however there are some which suggest that the overall durability if these shoe doesn’t go for very long. That may be related to the type of activities that they are used for.

Cost

They are available with a reasonable price tag.
Pros
  • AEGIS Microbe Shield prevents odor and athlete’s foot
  • Decreased underfoot friction thanks to polyurethane footbeds
  • Quick lacing system for a custom fit
  • XS TREK compound for flexibility and stability
Cons
  • The upper could be a little more breathable

7. Vibram FiveFingers Lontra

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Oh, man these are light! Like, really light – 5.4 oz. for women and 6.7 oz. for men. Not to mention they’re classic minimalist running shoes with zero-drop heel-to-toe movement, made with a limited amount of material. Lontras are a particularly beloved model because, even though they are such a minimalistic and lightweight design, even more so than some of the others, they still really able to protect the feet from the elements. Believe it or not, for some, they are cold weather ready, and even snow-ready, because they have been built with grip and a considerable amount of protection. Plus, as a welcome bonus, they are also waterproof. Here’s what makes runners love Lontras:
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Comfort / Stability

The neoprene upper provide a decent amount of insulation during those cold weather runs. The down side to that, however, is when wearing them in any other climate it will result in a sweaty pair of feet. Other than complaints that they are difficult to put on, for some, they don’t too issues with comfortability and stability. These shoes, in there overall design, are quite stable for most environments.

Quality / Durability

The overall quality and durability of these seem to be quite good.

Cost

Although they are said to be a little on the expensive side, for what they are, they do make minimalist running during the winter months more doable.
Pros
  • Flexible fit
  • Great grip, even on wet surfaces
  • Multi-layer laminated upper that’s water-resistant and insulating
  • Neoprene heel cuff keeps debris out
Cons
  • A bit expensive

8. Vibram FiveFingers Speed XC

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So, most of us know by now that Vibram running shoes tend to be pretty minimalistic in design, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a great hiking shoe as well. Their Speed XCs are so popular because they bring a new sense of lightness to the hiking experience, a lightness that has been missing for so long with mostly excessively large and heavy hiking boots consistently being introduced to the market. If you’re looking to really tackle the trails while traveling light and keeping yourself from running out of energy so fast, the Speed XCs are a great choice which can help to get you further down the trail than before.
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Comfort / Stability

Like with most minimalist shoes, there normally isn’t much cushioning. But, that is what we are normally looking for, as wanting to be able to have a more direct feeling of contact with the surface below, especially when hiking variable terrain. The tread grips surfaces well, providing a good amount of stability. Additionally, the water resistance of these shoes works pretty well unless completely submerged.

Quality / Durability

The quality of the construction seems pretty good, there aren’t many reviews that suggest otherwise. However, the one big complaint is the odor that these shoes can produce when consistently worn without socks, which is how most people wear them. It seems that the odor issue is partly due to the waterproof properties, which reduces breathability just enough.

Cost

Although FiveFingers shoes tend to hang around similar price range, for what you get they may be considered a fair price for the product.
Pros
  • A breathable Nylon/Poly mesh upper
  • Lycra fabric flex zone
  • Non Slip Nylon Lace 10 eye system
  • Great ground feedback
Cons
  • Sizing runs small

9. Vibram FiveFingers Bikila Evo WP

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Although these particular FiveFingers were originally designed to be worn for long-distance road running, they can easily transfer over to be used for long walks and casual, daily use. Even though they are made to meet a very minimalistic design, these shoes are totally jam-packed with great features that make FiveFingers such an overall lovable, reliable and trustworthy brand:
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Comfort

With taped seams and waterproof properties, these shoes will keep your feet dry and comfortable during your off-road runs.

Quality / Durability

These seem to hold pretty fairly well, especially in wet terrain, although there are some complaints on the longevity of the shoes after continuous heavy use. Also, they do tend to heat up, as the waterproof membrane construction slightly takes away from their breathability.

Cost

You can usually find the Bikila Evo for a fairly reasonable price.
Pros
  • Abrasion-resistant Tricot Lining
  • Provide great grip and durability, even on ice
  • Tri-Layer Stretch Waterproof fabric is flexible and protective
  • Zero-drop sole for the true minimalist
Cons
  • Despite great traction, these are not ideal for cold weather

10. Vibram FiveFingers Trek Ascent LR Light

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With its neutral colors and thick, traction-friendly outsoles, the Vibram FiveFingers Trek Ascent looks almost like a hiking boot – plus the classic FiveFingers look. The Trek Ascent fits the minimalistic bill as it share some common attributes with the others in its class, but it is one of the best Vibram FiveFingers running shoes because it also adds more support and protection to help make the minimalist runner more trail-ready. Thanks to its build of Kangaroo leather and hemp construction. These shoes are durable, flexible, and breathable. Here are a few more of the top features that can be found in these shoes:
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Comfort

Being that these shoes are built to a very minimalistic design, they do not contain much cushioning. However, that is what we are looking for in this type of shoe. The lacing system does well to keep the feet properly situated in the shoes. Also, they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping the feet comfortable over rocks and rough terrain, while maintaining a decent contact feel with the ground. It is recommended to buy a size up from what you may normally wear.

Quality / Durability

There are some mixed reviews on this shoe. There are some that say there is visible glue on the toes and the stitching tends to come undone. Then there are those who say that they seem to hold up well to heavy use in multiple environments.

Cost

Compared to other FiveFingers shoes, the Trek Ascent has a reasonably lower price tag. They can be found for a good price point on Amazon.
Pros
  • Anti-microbial Drilex Sockliner for a fresher environment
  • Great traction for various terrains
  • Partially water-resistant
  • Thick rubber underfoot for optimum protection
Cons
  • Not minimalistic enough for some runners
  • Sizing runs a bit small

 

Our ancestors could run for miles and miles without thick-soled, clunky and heavy shoes, adorned with the latest in style and now, far off in the future, we’re reaching back to learn from them. Vibram FiveFingers running shoes are some of the best minimalistic, near-barefoot shoes that are currently available on the market.

They’re stylish, sleek, true-to-fit, and backed up with breathable fabrics, durable yet extremely flexible soles, and zero-drop, lightweight features. Whether you’re looking to hit the trails with lightweight yet protective and high-traction hiking shoes, climbing rocks, where the feel of the surface is imperative, or maybe even navigating city buildings for parkour, the flexibility and high-grip will help.

Or maybe, you just want to take a stroll through different terrains such as snow, mud, dirt and sand, Vibram has a shoe that you may find suitable for each of your specific needs.


The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of The Best FiveFingers Shoes

The barefoot running boom that started a bit more than a decade ago has been growing with the years with Nike, Brooks and other major shoe manufacturers jumped in with both feet to design the best running shoes. It was Vibram, in 2006, the company that brought up the concept of minimalist running when they launched the FiveFingers shoes.

The whole concept of minimalist shoes relies on going back to the basics of human nature, that we have been walking and running around the planet for longer time without trainers than with them. So, shoes that provide protection but allow your foot to move in the most natural way possible, are called minimalist shoes. FiveFingers are the most extreme version of them.

To understand more about Vibram FiveFingers shoes and barefoot running we prepared the following guide to help you understand more about the topic. If you feel FiveFingers are for you, we can help you to find the perfect pair for you showing you everything you should know about them.

 

What are the FiveFingers running shoes

They are those very light running shoes designed with individual pockets for each of your toes. They are designed to provide a barefoot experience while still providing protection from the terrain you run over. FiveFingers are designed with thin and flexible soles with zero drop from heel to toe. If you buy the right pair, they will fit like gloves to your foot, allowing a better range of motion while still protecting you from the road.
fivefingers-legs

Minimalist running

Vibram claims that wearing their FiveFingers running shoes can make you healthier happier and more connected to your body. However, the brand also say that FiveFingers technology is only one alternative from the multiple out there that you can choose from. Vibram puts a lot of weight on how is is necessary for you to make that change in the way you run.
The science behind the minimalist run is that a Midfoot Strike, -which is when you land on the ball of the foot, landing below the hip, and the heel may or may not brush the ground- reduces the force of the impact using your body as a natural absorber of it, is more efficient and healthier than a Heel Strike and a Forefoot Strike -both, claimed to be caused by using regular running shoes-.

fivefingers-strikeLearn the technique

Barefoot running is a technique that you need to develop with time, and that it may or may not work for you. We all run in different ways, going barefoot running requires training to do it successfully. If you are someone who suffers plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, flat feet, bunions or hammertoes, you will need to check your doctor first before trying barefoot running.

There is a whole technique you’ll need to develop with time and patience. What is recommended is to acclimate your feet first, by just standing and doing minimal workout with your FiveFingers shoes, then move to short distance runs on a soft surface; then moving into a repetition of the mechanics of the barefoot running, like landing on your mid foot, not over striding, and keeping your foot parallel to the ground; finally what is recommended is to gradually increase the distance of your runs and alternate, every time for less time, between your FiveFingers shoes and your old running shoes.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting Vibram FiveFingers shoes

There are some general recommendations that can help you deciding which Vibram FiveFingers running shoes to buy.

 

Level of minimal heel-to-toe drop

The arches on your feet should be balanced by your heels and your toes, creating stability that gives you an ideal body posture. So look for the kind of show that make you feel stable and comfortable at the same time.

fivefingers-toes

Flexibility

Try to get the most flexibility from your shoe, having a greater range of mobility is very important to avoid injuries and have a more efficient barefoot run.

fivefingers-flexibllity

Toe box 

Go for a comfortable wide toe box, it helps you to use all of your toes gaining stability, balance and also propulsion (power).fivefingers-snow

The right thickness

The more you feel the ground in which your are running on, the more your body learns to adjust to your natural running form and personal running technique. The thiner the and firmer the shoe, the more ground feel. You also need to have in mind that sometimes, depending on the surface you run over, you need more protection for your feet. You create your personal balance between grand feel and protection needed.

fivefingers-terrain

FAQ

In order to help you figure out if these shoes are for, and finding the right pair, we have gathered some frequently asked questions that others asked. Hopefully these will help ease the search.

Q: How do I get the right FiveFingers fit?

A: FiveFinger running shoes, when worn, should be feel like a glove on your foot. The best judge of size is your own comfort level, every person has a different foot shape and structure. However, Vibram has a size chart you can refer to if you want to find out whats your FiveFingers running shoes.

Q: How long do FiveFingers running shoes usually last?

A: Vibram FiveFingers shoes are no different than other shoes in terms of lasting, and as well as any other brands and kinds of shoes, it depends on the use. FiveFingers also are  also designed with a specific activity in mind, so if you are used of running off-road you should get one of the outdoor pairs rather than the training ones.

Q: Is there a difference between the male and female models?

A: Vibram offers specific shoes for male and female, and the difference between male and female models is that the male ones are slightly wider and longer than the female models. If you are a woman with wide feet, you can try the male shoes, it may work for you.

Q: Can I run on my FiveFingers shoes during the winter?

A: We do not recommend wearing FiveFingers running shoes in very cold conditions. It is possible for you to slip in the ice or get frostbite. If you are planning to run during the winter, we recommend you to get other minimalist shoes with a better protection for cold conditions.

Q: Should I wear socks with my FiveFingers running shoes?

A: If you are going to wear socks, make sure to pick the right socks, ones with individual pockets for your toes. Socks help absorbing sweat, provide warmth and can reduce friction that generates blisters. Wearing socks is a personal preference.

Q: If I suffer from plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, flat feet, bunions, hammertoes or/and the conditions, can I wear Vibram FiveFingers running shoes?

A: We strongly recommend you to check with your doctor first before trying any barefoot running shoes.

 

As a final recommendation, remember to start gradually training your body to your new Vibram FiveFingers running shoes. The muscles in your feet, calves and legs need to get use to the new way of running. If you don’t do it correctly, you can injure yourself very early in the process. We recommend you follow the guides for barefoot running and consult with an expert in your nearest shop before you get your brand new pair of FiveFingers.

 

 

Vibram FiveFingers running shoes aren’t just for anyone. They’ve got an immediately recognizable look with the five-finger design that separates the toes for a unique running experience. By the hundreds, runners are turning to more minimalistic designs to challenge themselves, slice seconds off their race times, and to tap into that freedom-filled barefoot feel while still keeping the foot protected from rough terrain and debris.

If you’re tired of heavy shoes with fat heels and excessive support – so much support you’re more aware of what you’re wearing than the ground you’re running on – Vibram FiveFingers will really improve your running experience. According to many runners, they’ll drastically change it for the better.

Whereas minimalistic shoes are sometimes mistaken as strictly running or training shoes, Vibram has brought the minimalistic style to the trails, mountain climbing, and parkour as well. You better believe it: lightweight shoes aren’t just for sprinters anymore.

fivefingers-sole


Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:

We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are clinical sources, some are brand specs provided by manufacturers, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in particular information which is relative to our subject.

Sources

  1. Runner's World, Four Features of an Ideal Minimalist Running Shoe, Running enthusiast website, Jan 01, 1970
  2. The Washington Post, Is barefoot running better for you? , Online news publication, May 09, 2014
  3. Built Lean, Barefoot Running Research: Why You Should Run Barefoot, Online fitness publication, Feb 20, 2016
  4. Vibram, FiveFingers Education Page, Manufacturers site,

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