Vibram FiveFingers KSO
I really like these minimalist shoes for trail running, paddling, and casual wear. They take time to get used to, but once I embraced the minimalist mindset in footwear, they have become a regular part of my outdoor gear.
- Adaptability to multiple sports
- You can feel every rock and pebble... sometimes too much
I purchased these shoes when I took up trail running. I had previously purchased and worn minimalist shoes for road races and half marathons and liked how they felt and functioned. I decided to take them on a river canoeing trip last spring and wore them all day, everyday. In my opinion they are the ultimate water shoe as well and worked perfectly on the river and while portaging my canoe.
I strongly recommend finding a reputable dealer that has experience fitting people for this shoe and once you find the proper fit they will serve you well. Break-in time was pretty minimal and I was surprised at how fast my feet adapted to the new feel and style of this shoe.
While wearing them during my canoe trip I was pleased at how well they gripped and felt on the riverbed while entering/exiting my canoe and the support they gave me even on rocky terrain.
The hook and loop design allows you to obtain a custom fit across the top of your foot compared with other minimalist toe style shoes that are only of a slip-on design.
The one drawback I experienced with them is that they left my feet extremely hot and I feel that there is little ventilation in these shoes so once you come in from a run or from the river with your feet kicked up on the gunwales of your boat, your feet may tend to feel sweaty.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80
I put over a thousand miles running and hiking on my first pair before they finally wore out, and my knees have never felt better.
- Light weight
- Reinforce proper walking biomechanics
- Not even a little waterproof
- Sizing crucial
My first pair was the basic Trek KSO, and I ran and hiked over 1000 miles in a year before I finally wore holes in the soles. Standard running shoes rarely get half the distance before falling apart. i picked up a second pair for running and grabbed one of the many later variants with deeper lugging for hiking.
These take a while to get used to, i admit. a new user really needs to ease into them, but i no longer have patellar tendinitis thanks to these shoes. just be careful to purchase shoes that fit like a glove - no room for slipping and slopping - and run without that damnable heel-strike.
A word on water: not at all waterproof. not even a little. walk across a wet parking lot after the rain has stopped, and you'll still end up with wet feet. that said, i've run in rain, sleet, and snow. Injinji makes wonderful toe socks, some even using Smartwool. toe socks help keep the feet sufficiently warm while moving, and the extra layer has so far been total guarantee against any blistering, which claim i could not make with regular running shoes or hiking boots.
Over years of use, these shoes have reinforced a more biomechanically efficient and natural movement, which has helped to rebuild my fallen arches. i just had to *pay attention* to how my feet are working, and the way i feel the ground through the minimal sole forces me to do that, so. easy. i've only ever once stubbed my toes, and that was near the end of a twelve mile run; i was very tired and just not paying attention.
I love these things and recommend them to anyone who is in decent shape looking to get into great shape.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
A year ago I joined a hiking club and i REALLY love wearing fivefingers. I have collected four pairs for my own (KSO, Speed, Bikila, Sprint) and I have bought two pairs for my wife.
Personally, I love the KSOs most. They are so comfortable, the best design for running. I like running, 3 days a week in KSO five fingers.
A week ago, I ordered a black/black KSO to my partner (club) for his birthday. Indeed we're big fans.
Price Paid: $75
I got these last season for camp shoes while hiking and they won me over. On a pretty long and arduous hike my boots failed miserably and the KSOs came through. The Vibrams carried me over approx 20 miles of the Sierra Nevadas worst, water crossings, a couple thousand feet of ascent and descent, I was amazed.
When used with injini outdoor socks I could walk right through water and keep hiking, they dry out and you stay on the move. There is a few tears in the fabric but the sole wears long all in all these are great and your feet just keep getting stronger as you wear them.
Materials: nylon / mesh upper
Use: all purpose
Break-in Period: a few weeks
Price Paid: $65
I've had these shoes for about a month and have used them for a multitude of applications. I like how versatile and lightweight they are.
The only reason they do not get 5 stars is because when hiking through moist areas your feet will get wet and they will remain wet until you hang them to dry. This is the only flaw I've found with them.
For runners, you will need to adjust your stride but I haven't found it all to hard to do. Overall, I've found my running to be smoother an more fluid although I can't run near as far as I used to.
For hikers, you do notice more of what is under your feet. You need to be aware of where your feet are going and I advise not hiking at night with these (I did and walked into a stump. No protection to your toes) but they are super lightweight so they feel like your wearing nothing.
I've taken them up on the Appalachian Trail in Southwestern Virginia and as long as it hasn't rained recently they performed excellent. Since they were so lightweight I noticed my pace was also a little faster while wearing these.
For boaters and swimmers, they are excellent. Nice they fit like a glove, it makes them great for swimming in lakes and rivers where you can't always see what is on the bottom. Also, since they fit tight, they do not fill up with extra water like other loose fitting water shoes do. I'd say this was probably their best use.
For work I travel a lot and these shoes are great for packing in a suitcase. They pack down very small and again their weight makes them nice. I've worn them out exploring New York City and Baltimore. When walking, they are not the most comfortable though due to low padding on the heels. It's not noticeable while walking in the grass or on dirt but when you walk for hours around NYC, your feet become a little uncomfortable, but never enough that a 5 minute break doesn't cure.
Overall, I really like my KSO's and would like to try their dedicated running shoes out and see how they perform.
Price Paid: $85
I have been wearing my Vibrams for four years. I can hike a mile upriver on a wooded trail then float down through class 1/2 rapids. They form to your feet making it safer to climb on rocks which can be slimey and slippery. You could jog or run in them, but it is painful on the feet when there are rocks, ie gravel roads.
- Good grip on slippery rocks, rock clmbing, water walking
- Hard to get toes into the slots quickly
- Rocks can get caught between the toes
I bought this product four years ago and still wear them whenever I go kayaking or for a float down the river at our house, basically any water sport where you don't want your feet to touch the earth. They are great for climbing over rocks in the water or rock climbing.
The only drawback is they can be difficult to put on, getting each foot into a separate slot. They are waterproof in that they won't be ruined by the water but you will feel uncomfortable wearing them hiking immediately after getting wet.
I bought a cheaper pair, a Vibram knockoff, before this pair. I had to return because the seams became undone. The Vibrams with hard wear and tear in the river have not had a hole or split in four years.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130
From an oldish dude with two scoped knees...two thumbs up!
- They improve your balance
- They strengthen your feet
- They force you to walk and run correctly
- Help with back and knee pain (see above)
- You have to learn how to put them on!
I'm 65, had both my knees scoped in the '80s...I can tell you something about knee pain believe me.
I've been wearing 5 Fingers for years...must have 7 or 8 pairs around, Classics, KSOs and Treks. I've worn them to concerts, backpacked in them miles and miles (40 lb pack)...they are my footwear of choice.
They were originally designed as deck shoes btw...explaining the razor cut soles...and yes they're great for that as well.
After reading Chris McDougall's "Born To Run" I had to try the 'barefoot' way of life...and I've never looked back.
I do a 100-200 miles a year in the Sierras and unless I know we're headed into a lot of that fist sized granite I'll be wearing my 5 Fingers.
Check out "Wired; 5 Fingers" on YouTube...food for thought!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $69-110
Love these shoes. These are about as bare as you can get. I wear these for jogging, yoga and the gym. Not meant for marathon running. Not resistant to rain.
- Heat from the soles
I prefer to not wear socks, ever. These shoes are very comfortable and fit snug, which I like. They are not meant for more than light running, yoga or at the gym. I also find them very comfortable the day after a night in my heels. I would recommend to break them in a couple of times for your toes to get used to the new space if you have never owned a pair before.
I am on my 3rd pair and I will definitely buy more. I wear mine almost everyday and have to buy new every 4-6 months. But I really do wear mine a lot, more than I've ever worn any other tennis shoe. They have bare traction which is why marathon runners should keep looking. I do not wear them for tennis either because the soles become very hot with side-to-side movement.
Bare support for ankles and not water resistant. But all-in-all if you prefer to be barefoot and need a great shoe for mild exercise I would hands down recommend this shoe.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $89-110
Great minimalist shoe, most minimal Vibram Fiverfinger they offer.
- Awesome ground feel
- Easy to stub toes
I use these more as a training aid in my trail running than as an actual trail running shoe. I use them on hard packed and smooth trails, because they are definitely an injury waiting to happen if you're tearing down a technical trail at a sub 7 minute mile pace. I wear minimalist shoes, but a rock plate is a godsend on the rocks and cedar routes of the 'Dacks.
These shoes fit very well, if your feet are shaped the same as they are. I have no problems and I have pretty long toes, but I can see an "oddly" shaped foot having a hard time with them. If you have very short pinky toes, they may come out of the toe pocket.
These provide absolutely no support, you are essentially running on top of a very thin layer of rubber.
They are not water resistance, and your feet will get wet with the littlest bit of morning dew.
The traction is better than anticipated, especially on rock. Your feet form to the surface and provide better traction than most knobby trail shoes in my opinion.
My feet stay very cool in these, they breath very well.
The durability isn't bad, but it isn't great. They are basically a thin sock with a rubber sole. The construction is top notch as are all vibram products but the materials aren't the most sturdy in an attempt to keep comfort and lightness a priority.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70
One of the most versatile shoes ever created. If you are looking to experience walking in a new comfortable way then purchase a pair of these. Highly recommend.
- Light weight
- Can have odor — wash often
You will experience walking, running, hiking, and everything else you do in a new comfortable way. Once your feet get use to these shoes, about a month wearing any other type of shoe feels weird and restricting. These shoes are easy to put on, fit great, and even easier to clean. Simply drop them in the washing machine and allow to air dry.
I have been wearing these shoes for over a two years now and have taken them on many trips. Recently to Utah for some slot canyon exploring, to colorado for hiking an river crossing, and lastly to Africa where the shoes met the streets and hot sands of Egypt and Ghana.
The construction and durability has held up well. Everything is working great, no holes or tears.
There are many different styles to choose from, each providing something unique to the shoe. I feel these KSO's are the most versatile out of all the five finger possibilities. You can do just about anything you want in these shoes.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
A unique pair of minimalist shoes. These held up for over a year for me.
- Fantastic ground feel
Fit is a bit difficult for many people. If you don't have average shaped feet I would look elsewhere. I found the KSO comfy out of the box and they only got better as the soles got thinner.
Walking/running thorough water? Your feet will get wet. The thin soles and separation between the toes means any water deeper than the thickness of the soles will get in.
I literally could not run without my FiveFingers. I had tried for a year and always got hung up with knee pains at the 1 mile mark. Thanks to FiveFingers (most importantly it's them forcing proper running form by preventing my heel strike) I’ve been running at gradually increases distances since August of 2009.
It’s the only ‘shoe’ I run in and I have almost 500 miles on my first pair.
What’s important to note is that not everyone ‘needs’ barefoot or minimal running…some of you developed great natural running form and being shod doesn’t seem to effect technique. For those who didn’t develop great technique…the journey that fivefingers can take you on will teach you much about your body and your ability to be a runner. At the end of the day it’s great technique that will keep people running for a lifetime!
Price Paid: $75
The FiveFingers are a good shoe. I have worn them 20 times or so and they are ripping along the seems and have cuts through the soles from stepping on rock while running trails. When I run with them it hurts my achilles compared to running with no pain completely barefoot. Running with these shoes is not running barefoot.
They are good for hiking and trail running, and are really bad for rock climbing, equal or slightly worse traction even than climbing barefoot I would say, and nowhere near the performance of climbing shoes.
They are very comfortable though, and I do like them. The price is very steep for how easily they fall apart. Would've given them 5 stars if they cost 40 dollars or so.
Use: trailrunning, short dayhikes, riding bicycles, bouldering/climbing, water, mowing lawn
Break-in Period: a few wears
Price Paid: $80
I have used these shoes extensively over the past three weeks. Everything from running to swimming. I have yet to hike a long distance (10+ miles) in them but feel that I have an understanding for how they will do.
First off, let me tell you that they are indeed like walking barefoot. You feel the gravel under your feet as you walk. After running in them, my legs were burning like crazy for the next two days. I honestly viewed this as a good thing because I knew right away they were working the muscles in my leg in a more natural way. I can honestly say that I would prefer to wear these shoes over just about any shoe that I own.
The only reason for giving them a 4 star review is this. The fabric on the top of the shoe that is designed to keep stuff out is made up of two types of material. My shoes have repeatedly torn where the materials are stitched together. Nothing huge, nothing that I couldn't stitch back together in a few min. My friends however, use their shoes in the same way and have not experienced this problem.
Overall, I believe that you should try these out. I believe you will truly be satisfied. I never stop talking them up to my friends and those who ask me questions. And believe me, with shoes like this people will look and ask all day. When all else fails, I tell them they are my ninja shoes.
Get a pair today......never get lost....
Use: running, around town, hiking, swimming, sporting
Price Paid: $80 - ebay
As a children how many of us did not need any shoes and were happy running around barefoot even if it meant to get some blisters here and there? Later on, when we had to put shoes on and go to school and then work and so on, things changed and it would be considered inappropriate to one day show up without any shoes on. I wonder how many of us feel happy with what they are wearing on day to day basis on their feet and how many of us is actually comfortable?
The Vibram soles is revolutionary innovation as far as comfortable shoes can be, which is based on the age old methodology that being barefoot helps your balance and will make you feel aware of the nature around and ground beneath your feet. Be it grass in the spring, mud in the autumn or rocks in any time of the year.
Thin, abrasion-resistant polyamide stretch fabric was design to feet any feet perfectly. Breathable material absorbs moister as well as antibacterial footbeds keeps skin on your feet healthy. Vibram FiveFingers will protect your feet with a resistant thin rubber soles and will allow you to experience barefoot freedom. That’s why Vibram soles can be used for a wide range of walking situations
The running shoe first originated as leather upper with a leather sole, which not only could not keep moisture out but also did not provide a good support. Besides, toes design to be spread apart and by forcing those to be stuck together deformation of the feet develops, which of cause affect posture. Vibram soles have individual toes fittings, which keep toes apart and helps improve posture.
Vibram is the world leader in high performance rubber soles and compounds. Vibram shoes enter market only after approval from the tester team. The tests performed by the tester team guarantee that the soles of Vibram can be used for various surfaces and will keep your feet protected. That why Vibram soles can be used for Hiking, Climbing, Water rafting, Running, Fitness, Fishing, Travel, just name it, so by purchasing one pair you may cover many activities.
When you think of the range you can use these shoes for, you can’t help it as too think about the financial aspects of it as well. To purchase a good quality shoes that will last you for more than a season you will probably spend around $100 to $200. And if you involved in more than one outdoor activity, you will probably need more that one pair of shoes. The cost will add to at least $300, although it will range depend on the brand and your criteria.
However, the cost of Vibram soles is range from $75.00 to $99.00 per pair, so you might be savings significant amount of money. But that is not the only benefit you are getting. What can be more important than comfort of your feet plus pediatric support?
The Vibram Soles FiveFingers is uniquely enjoyable products I have the pleasure to use. Every so often innovating product will come up on the advertising and it feels like we are fooled in to thinking that this is the best one and I got to try it. Well, the interesting part about Vibram is; they do not need commercial advertising, how often do you see them on TV or any other commercial advertising? Word is spread by actual users. That is how good this product is. The Vibram Soles is the first shoe that makes me feel comfortable and helps me to perform much better than I use to in my daily activities.
I would recommend these shoes to every person who value comfort and performance.
Price Paid: $99
These are great! I decided to try them for running after having an injury (IT band syndrome from too much hiking and running too soon last summer), reading a lot about how running barefoot rather than in big padded shoes is the ideal way to run, and experimenting successfully with barefoot running on an indoor track.
These shoes allow the feet to function pretty much as they would if bare while providing protection from sharp objects on the ground. The mesh/nylon upper keeps sand, twigs and gravel from getting in and causing irritation.
No socks required, although there is the option of using toe socks if you want to add a little extra warmth. I have worn the shoes with and without Injinji toe socks and both ways work just fine.
I have not gotten any blisters from the shoes; so far I am up to 30-45 minute runs in them. Which brings me to a very important point: it is critical to build up slowly to running in these if you are used to regular running shoes.
When you run barefoot or in shoes like this, your foot works differently and there are a lot of muscles and tendons that are working more than they do in regular shoes. Working up gradually allows them to adapt and get used to working as they were designed to do (they have gotten lazy if you have been wearing shoes all the time).
As mentioned, I have been using these for running on trails, roads and on grass in parks. I feel that my form is better and I definitely feel more surefooted and agile. Hopping from rock to rock across streams and balancing on fallen trees/logs is great fun in these shoes.
I may very well try doing some of my hikes in them this year, and will likely bring them along as camp/river crossing shoes on backpacking trips as they are light, comfy and have excellent traction. Plus, they (unlike the Crocs knockoffs I have carried for camp/river shoes in the past) could be used to hike in if there is some problem with the boots.
Vibram claims these shoes can go in the washing machine (but not the dryer). I have not yet tested this as I have just washed them out by hand when they get dirty. One thing to be aware of is that they can get smelly after a while. Soaking for a few hours to overnight in a vinegar/water solution (about 1:3 vinegar to water) and then rinsing well seems to take care of this.
Make sure you look carefully at the sizing chart if you are ordering online; the fit is quite precise. Also be aware that a couple of the models differ from each other in sizing.
Materials: thin Vibram rubber sole, mesh upper
Use: trail and some road running
As a professional kayaking guide I planned to use these shoes for on water guiding because of the low profile and when I teach, to keep out pebbles and such.
The material dries much quicker then that of the Flow's and the KSO's have a thinner sole for more feel of the ground. These are also great for camp shoes.
Price Paid: demo
Rub blisters and HOT toes.
- Fabulous ground feel
- Unique idea
- Hot, uncomfortable toes
- Stiff toe pockets
- Blister makers
Not as comfortable as Stems (now Leming Footwear). I'm getting blisters, blisters, blisters from the women's KSO Fivefingers. I have blisters on both heels, and even my toes seem to be getting blisters, and I haven't even tried running in them yet, just been walking around.
They're also surprisingly hot — I live in Texas, and these shoes absolutely bake your toes! My Stems have a super-wide toe box in which I can freely wiggle my toes. The Vibrams actually kind of have stiff toes. The ground feel is better in Vibrams, but I'm not sure this makes up for the bound up, sweaty, hot toes. Stems (Lemings) have a pretty good ground feel.
I'll probably go ahead and keep one pair of Vibrams just for novelty and they might be fun to hike in (in the winter) because of the awsome ground feel — that is, if I can stand all the blisters.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $54
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