The outsole of the Bikila EVO is slightly thicker than its predecessor in an attempt to better protect the barefoot runner. Vibram uses its rubber XS run outsole material to provide a strong grip to the running surface. Runners just beginning the transition to a more barefoot shoe will appreciate the added material found underfoot. More experienced barefoot runners should still approve of the grip and protection of the outsole found on the Bikila EVO.
The Bikila EVO has an EVA midsole to give greater support and protection without adding much additional weight or heft. The arch of the foot will feel well supported with this setup. Barefoot runners
often report the midsole as the most likely place to experience pain, and Vibram has taken that into consideration with these shoes. However, runners who crave extra support in this area of the foot should probably look elsewhere for options that have a more substantial midsole construction.
The upper portion of a barefoot shoe needs to be thin enough to allow airflow while still protecting the ankle area from stray rocks or dirt. The Bikila EVO relies on a polyester mesh upper to keep the foot cool while wicking away excess moisture. Runners should have no issues with overheating due to the breathability of these uppers. Compared to other shoes with individual toe pockets, the Bikila EVO has a very light and breathable upper that also allows for plenty of airflows through the toes.
Like most Vibram shoes, the Bikila EVOs are quite lightweight. However, these really fall more in the middle range of Vibram’s lineup when it comes to weight. A men’s size 10 weighs in at about five ounces. Runners will appreciate the minimal construction and freedom granted with these shoes. The lightweight construction makes these versatile enough for fast 5Ks but rugged enough for half-marathon training as well. These stack up very well when it comes to measuring them up against other lightweight running shoe options.
Breathability won’t be a major concern with these shoes. The polyester mesh upper allows for ample airflow to keep runners cool on even the warmest runs
. Breathability is really key with any shoe that is designed to be worn without socks. As barefoot shoes tend to create a lot of foot sweat and moisture, it’s really important that their breathability is top notch. Having said that, runners who frequently run on wet trails or in frigid climates may want to try a shoe that offers less breathability than the Bikila EVO.
Vibram has done a lot to ensure that runners will have a comfortable stride with the Bikila EVO shoes. As stated earlier, there is some additional support added from the original Bikila (8.5 mm of cushioning
versus just 7 mm on the original). This adds to the comfort, especially for runners who are new to the barefoot feel. The support found throughout the shoes will add to the comfort for most runners.
As far as barefoot shoes go, these are pretty stylish. Unlike other Vibram shoes, they come with a more traditional lace-up system versus straps or bungee cords. The material on the heel of the shoe dips down to expose a bit more ankle than your typical running shoe. This helps make the shoes easier to get on and off but also adds an element of style. These shoes also come in a variety of bright colors so you can stand out from the crowd even more. If you're a fan of brightly colored
running shoes, the Bikila EVO is for you.
The Bikila EVO shouldn’t have much trouble in the durability department. Although, any shoe that is this light and breathable won’t be as durable as a traditional running shoe. Runners should be particularly careful with the material found in the toe pockets, as this tends to be the most fragile part of the Vibram’s construction. The sole of the EVO is thicker and more substantial than the original Bikila. This should increase its durability and help it sustain more mileage.
Protection was a major concern for some runners with the previous Bikila model. In response, Vibram increased the thickness of the rubber on the outsole as a means to limit the feel of larger rocks or roots found on the run. This should give runners more confidence when running through terrains of all types. The EVO is certainly not a specialized trail running shoe. Runners looking for serious protection should probably entertain other options.
Vibram prides themselves on their ability to create thin, lightweight running shoes that allow runners to better connect with the running surface. Even with the thicker outsole, these shoes are very responsive. The toes are able to splay out in their natural stride and feel a strong connection to the road or trail. Runners who are used to more restrictive shoes will enjoy this newfound sense of responsiveness.
The Bikila EVO offers more support than its predecessor. A thicker outsole paired with some mid-foot EVA foam cushioning should be enough support for the average runner. Of course, most people turn to barefoot shoes, because they lack support and want to give the foot the opportunity to land in a natural way. Overpronators or runners with gait issues may want to look at other options. But true barefoot enthusiasts will really love the support found in the Bikila EVOs.
These shoes are designed for hitting the pavement. Sidewalk and asphalt should probably be the main running surface for these. Soft trails should be fine, but I wouldn’t recommend these for serious trail runners
. Roots and larger rocks will easily be felt through the outsole. Runners looking for a shoe for more extreme terrain should look elsewhere. Some runners have complained about excess dirt or sand entering the shoe due to the low heel dip along the ankle of the shoe.
Vibram offers very unique shoes and they price them accordingly. Sales can sometimes be found, but most Vibram shoes fall into the upper tier when it comes to pricing running shoes. The Bikila EVO is no different. Ultimately, you get what you pay for and Vibram has included some great technology in these shoes that surely warrant the sticker price.
The traction found on the Bikila EVO should help runners get through wet grass and some slick terrain. However, there aren’t any large lugs here to help you get through the mud. Most runners will want to keep these shoes on dry, even pavement. If you’re looking for barefoot shoes with more traction, Vibram offers some other options. Those looking for specific trail shoes
would likely be disappointed with the traction on the Bikila EVO.
Flexibility won’t be an issue with these shoes. Even with the thicker outsole, these shoes respond very well and will flex through most running strides. The flexibility on the EVO is very similar to the flexibility found on the original Bikila shoe. Another positive is the portability and packability of shoes, as they can practically be folded in half and crammed into a small space.
These aren’t the most stable shoes offered by Vibram. Some runners complain about the heel dip found on the uppers. This makes the shoe easier to get on and off but does make the shoe feel less stable around the ankle. The quick lace system seems to improve upon the strap found on the original Bikila’s however. It really comes down to personal preference on whether or not you prefer the strap or the laces. Most runners shouldn’t have an issue with slippage or instability, but if you’re used to more traditional laces, there could be an adjustment period.
Like most other Vibram shoes, the Bikila EVO has a 0mm heel-to-toe drop. The 0 drop lets the runner really connect with the running surface. Some might complain about this feeling, and it definitely takes some getting used to. If you’re looking for a shoe with more substance in the heel, the Bikila EVO isn’t for you. Some runners swear by the 0 drop and others prefer something with a little more lift.
Key Features of the Vibram Fivefingers Bikila EVO
- Lightweight design for barefoot runners
- Innovative lace-up system
- A little more heel support than other Vibram shoes
- EVA midsole cushioning
- 0mm heel-to-toe drop
- Toe pockets for maximum connection with road
- Easily machine washable
The Bikila EVO takes many of the positive things of the original EVO and improves upon them. This shoe isn’t for you if you’re looking to hit the trails. However, the Bikila EVO makes for a great everyday running shoe if you typically stick to the sidewalk. These shoes will also be right at home in the gym
during weightlifting sessions. Vibram has done a lot of things well here and barefoot runners would be wise to try the Bikila EVO, especially if they were fans of its predecessor.