Vibram FiveFingers Speed XC
Offer more support and protection than "regular" Vibrams.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $67 on clearance
Offer more support and protection than "regular" Vibrams. Very cozy fit and slip on easily for a FiveFinger. Great for the occasional shallow puddle that you can't easily avoid. Much warmer than KSOs if you get caught in the rain. Be prepared to both let the shoes break in and allow your feet to adjust.
- Lighter than KSOs at about 11 oz. for the pair.
- Water resistant to about 1 inch.
- More padding + less rock bruising than Vibram KSOs.
- Much easier to put on than the Vibram Lontra.
- Great with Injinji socks for ultralighting.
- Lightly insulated.
- The high backs rub the achilles when going downhill.
- Insulation seems to make the toes tighter than KSOs.
- Do not breathe at all. I recommend Injinjis.
- "Boot Hikers" are going to laugh at you.
I needed some water resistant Fivefingers after years of wearing KSO's. After discovering that the Lontra is too hard to put on, I tried these. They are great with a few caveats; the top of the shoe at the back rubs against my achilles and requires some moleskin when going downhill, and the big toe space seems to be a little tighter than my KSOs. I
have been hiking in them twice, and these problems will probably disappear after more breaking in. I have not found the insulation to be too warm with Injinjis for hiking in 60 degree weather, and these shoes are much warmer than other Fivefingers if you are hiking in the rain. The best part is that I can now step in a half inch of water without contracting the "Vibram wet-toe disorder".
Also, they have much more padding than the KSOs and that really helps on rocky trails. With the KSO, rock bruising in the arch is a real problem for me, but these are much more protective in that regard.
I would recommend them to the ultralight day hiker or backpacker. All Fivefingers are great for hiking if you are the "hardy" sort because they are so light and my calves don't burn like they do when wearing heavy hiking boots. However, be warned...if you are new to "barefoot-ish" shoes, do not wait until your feet are sore to turn around on your hike. You might be fairly crippled by the time you get back to the trailhead.
I suggest wearing Injinji socks with them for a month or two until your arches can adjust and carry a pair of regular shoes in your pack for the first season. Start with a mile and build from there. Wonderful shoes!