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Vibram Soles

rated 2.0 of 5 stars
photo: Vibram Soles footwear product
Version reviewed: Masai sole on Altberg Kisdon G

Vibram Masai sole on Altberg Kisdon G fit size 9 from Taunton Leisure.

EDIT:

Having not owned these boots for less than one year now, about 10 months, I've found the soles to wear quickly.

The wear started at the outside corner edges of the heal and forefoot. Then gradually wore right across making the grip/tread dissappear and so they have become slippy on wet mud and grass slopes. The grip just isn't their anymore. The uppers are still holding up fine as far as I can tell with just some very tiny hairline cracks along where your toes bend along the edge of the rubber rand. Their doesn't feel to be any depth to the cracks though.

I would like to get them re-soled. I have worn them most days since owning them. Just had a little break from wearing them during the hottest days of summer which wasn't many. They're still waterproof.
I wouldn't say I did an excessive amount of walking on hard surfaces either. It's maybe that I'm a heavy guy at about 21stone in weight.

Pros

  • Hard wearing
  • Grippy
  • Long lasting
  • Replaceable
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • None so far

These are great for muddy conditions as the tread grips really well. Plus, they're hard wearing and should last a long time.

Tried these on some ice and they stick fairly well. 

I can't understand all the bad reviews. There's definitely nothing wrong with my soles.

Edited review as I'd got carried away thinking I was reviewing the actual boots and not just the Vibram soles.

Background

First time experience of a Vibram sole.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £233.99

I don't know how Vibram soles got the name of being something special. Over the past 15 years I have bought multiple different brand boots or some kind of hiking shoe and with every shoe either a slip on boot lace up etc. the damn sole has had issues. I did send a pair of Vasgue Sundowner boots back to have the outsoles repaired, but it wasn't long before dissatisfaction set back in. I'm no cobbler or sole expert but maybe Vibram should start using a better rubber and glue formula, that's always been the problems I've had.

Pros

  • They will repair the sole for free or use too.

Cons

  • rubber and the glues

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200

Just bought a pair of Scarpa all-leather boots with Vibrâm sole. No problem walking on wet concrete paths—not one slip. I had to walk in ankle high water and feet were still dry. Maybe there is a cheap fake being sold to shoe manufacturers.

Pros

  • Completely waterproof up to ankle high.

Cons

  • I had to pay $300 for the boots. Could have better arch support.

Background

First genuine waterproof boots I have been able to find.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300

Slippery Slope to A&E

Pros

  • The leaflet looked good

Cons

  • You know ice skates? Like them, but not as elegant.

I've slipped over and landed awkwardly twice in the last two weeks. Once in a town centre and once on a paving stone laid down next to a picnic bench. 

£181 Salewa boots—and they stick this nonsense on the bottom rendering it useless. 

They really should come with a health warning. 

And some people have said above that the grip is great—mine was, on some surfaces. Then BAM faceplate into concrete. Twice. 

Background

I've worn lots of boots and walked in lots of areas and environments, but none have really swept me off my feet like these. Unfortunately, my old joints are slow to heal nowadays, so it's not actually a good thing. Could be literally lethal.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £120-ish in a sale

Vibram durability is superb. Even on hard surfaces they are unsurpassed! Vibram soles will offer foot support and comfort beyond expectations!

Pros

  • Incredible longevity
  • Superb comfort
  • Superb support
  • Absolute practicality
  • Saves you a lot of money longevity

Cons

  • Poor grip on wet smooth surfaces
  • Hard compounds comprimise grip

I walk hundreds and hundreds of mainly tarmac miles. The Vibram soles wear and wear and wear, and can give me up to 2 years of service. This saves a fortune, as other lesser soles will not get anywhere near this longevity. I would guess I get around 1,500 miles per pair.

The comfort and support are superb, the foam and 'Vulcanised r'ubber work together to cushion the step, and provide decent grip overall, but be very careful in the wet, on smooth surfaces, they can slip very readily. (This is due to the chemically hardedned rubber.)

Comfort is a real delight in itself, and the Vibrams mold themselves to your foot shape, so with each step the rubber is supporting the foot, moving with the foot, and preventing aches and pains from long walks in the foot, ankle, legs, hips, and joints.

100% Fantastic, Vibrams are the best, don't bother buying any other sole !

Background

I have owned many pairs of Merrell Moab Ventilator shoes with Vibram sole, also one pair of Karrimor Aspen shoes with Vibram sole

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £72

Version reviewed: Vibram Masai rubber

A slippery assumption...

Pros

  • Hard wearing

Cons

  • Slippery and can be dangerous

I knew little about footwear for outdoors other than you usually get what you pay for. Living a half a mile from the Welsh coastal path and using it quite frequently, I needed some half decent boots. Settled on Altberg Fremington walking boots (extra wide fit) with Vibram Masai rubber.

The boots themselves fit well, are warm and dry, and the little use I have had they are comfortable. Sadly they live in a cupboard now.

The huge downside is the Vibram soles. They look and feel like they would last forever, but from my house to the local village is a walk through woods with a path with exposed stone here and there. Wet stone is incredibly slippery with these. Wet wood roots are a nightmare. Ended up going over twice.

Luckily the only casualty was a box of biscuits which ended up broken and a bit muddy. Tried to roughen the sole a bit, but they are just way too slippery for anywhere except wet soft grass as the tread pattern helps there. Any hard surface is a definite no-go.

If you just hike grassy or paved paths fine. Far too slippery to be used on the coastal path though. Some parts need care, and there is plenty of exposed wet stone.

Would not recommend.

Background

Frequent walker and hiker.

Source: bought it new

There are hundreds of different Vibram soles. Some are better than others.

So you need to be specific when you are talking about outer soles. The Vibram on my Saucony Xodus 4 is super long lasting. The one on my Merrell is quite different and not so long lasting. Both grip great on wet surfaces. 

Background

Wore various shoes with Vibram soles for years.

Source: bought it new

Dam right dangerous, they should be illegal on hiking shoes.

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Useless in the wet
  • Potentially life-threatening on wet rock

Never buy them.

Source: bought it new

Vibram soles on my boots caused me to slip on wet grass and break my ankle.

Avoid if at all possible.

Source: bought it new

Vibram used to be a quality sole brand but now produce a lot ultra slippery soles that should be illegal because of the health and safety hazards they create. The boot in question is a Kathmandu Mornington.

Pros

  • There are no pros. These boots could kill you

Cons

  • The soles are so slippery that I couldn't walk the path to my house without slipping in the wet. I could walk it fine in normal running shoes. What gives, Vibram?

Nothing more to say. Just don't trust this brand on its history. They have changed their ethos. Please test any boot with the Vibram logo carefully before purchase.

A preliminary test is to wet the tip of your finger and rub your nail against the base of the sole. You will notice the denser, less flexible rubber grips your nail even when wet. The softer rubber will slip quite easily. This is exactly what it will do on a wet rock or tree root.

Want hiking boots that could kill you? These are the soles for you...

Source: bought it new

Vibram soles slip on wet surfaces and come away from the shoe in less than a year to allow water into the shoe/boot... Goretex or not.

Pros

  • Cheap to manufacture in China

Cons

  • No traction on wet sufaces.
  • Sole comes away from shoe, not waterproof

My first experience with the Vibram sole was when I bought Merrell hiking shoes. The shoes felt very comfortable and I was happy until I slipped over on damp sandstone rocks while hiking. Not only are they dangerous in the wet but my 100% waterproof shoes became water logged as the soles separated from the shoes after about 6 months of normal wear.

I bought another pair of Merrells thinking I was just unlucky with the first, but sure enough soon found exactly the same thing... the glue separating the Vibram sole from the shoe. I now have Teva (no Vibram sole) and they are perfectly dry and non-slip in all conditions and 100% waterproof two years later.

I heard some Teva boots/shoes are putting Vibram soles on them now... for god's sake! Please don't use these cheap inferior soles on a quality boot. If it's not broken don't try and fix it.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $250

God awful, and a waste of money. Never again!

Pros

  • None at all.

Cons

  • No grip,
  • short lasting

I bought a pair of North Face walking boots 1 year ago with these Vibram soles and Goretex uppers for GBP 80. Fine, and comfortable when dry, but in the wet, hopeless.

I walk here on Dartmoor where we have quite a lot of cattle grids, and I'd have been safer on sheet ice. These soles ought to carry a health warning.

As for the uppers,well my feet get wet (funny kind of Goretex). The problem is that too much of this kit is being churned out in the Far East where it's cheap to produce with the inevitable result. It's tat.

I'm now back to my old trusty 10 yrs old European-made Berghaus.

Vibrams? YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: GBP 80

#1276 Sierra soles, nitrile compound, made in MA, USA. I put these on my everyday walking shoes. Traction is good in snow and wet surfaces. Very durable soles.

Pros

  • Long wearing. Nitrile is awesome for durability.
  • Good traction in various weather conditions

Cons

  • Heavier, denser in weight

Been using it for a year or so in my everyday shoes. Have not gone hiking in the mountains with these. I have used it over snow, ice, wet pavements. Durability and traction is excellent.

Of course, concerning ice, no soles are effective unless you have metal spikes or chains incorporated in it to break the ice.

Source: I installed it over my Spira shoes myself.

Version reviewed: Wolverine boots

I bought a pair of Wolverine boots, which is a brand of boots that I really. But the soles of them really disappointed me.

Pros

  • The boots are great and fit great on my feet

Cons

  • The soles that are made by Vibram are so soft that every step I took the soles squished up all around the soles and even rubbed off in big chunks

I'm very upset with this and I can't even take them back to where I bought them because of the bottom of them are so bad just from putting them on and walking 20 feet in my own house.

Background

Never had a problem with the brand of boot this is the first time and I've been buying the brand for 10 years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $129

Slipped a few times on Vibram Soles (Merrell Moab, women's) and finally the final slip gave me a badly sprained ankle and fracture of the posterior malleolus. Almost rolled off a cliff too. Do not buy; it's dangerous.

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Slippery and dangerous

Background

Sprained ankle

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $150 (Merrell Moab hiking shoes)

Don't get a shoes without these!

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Dries quickly
  • Supportive

These are by far the best soles you can buy. I would never not have them on my hiking shoe. I have never had a blister with them or anything. They will leave your foot feeling great after a long day of hiking! 

Source: bought it new

Incredibly dangerous! SOOOOO slippery!

Pros

  • Literally none

Cons

  • I WILL end up in hopital if I continue wearing these. Just a matter of time.

Just pure dangerous. I do not now how the owners of this manufacturer can sleep at night. One has to wonder how many people have been seriously injured, or have died, as a direct result of wearing these soles.

Slippery

Pros

  • None

Cons

  • Slippery

I broke 3 ribs wearing these for the first time. Seriously, 3 ribs and I am 60 and have never before broken a bone in my body. These shoes should carry an extreme health warning. Luckily it was ribs I broke, not spine or head!

Background

Aufull

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Can't remember too much obviously

Vibram might last forever, but they are very slick on rocks, both dry and wet. I can't understand Vibram and their material. What's good if your sole wears a lot time if the boot doesn't?

To me it doesn't matter how long it wears if it ruins the hiking experience and is actually unsafe for the public.

After decades of wearing Vibram soles for safety at work a new pair of workboots with Vibram soles, no longer grip slick surfaces. What used to be the best safety soles I could find, are now DANGEROUS!

Are they now made in China also? I'd appreciate a REFUND!

Price Paid: $167 On sale

I would literally wear anything else other than Vibram for walking in.

Pros

  • There aren't any

Cons

  • Near-lethal

I have had Vibram soles for many years on loads of different boots. All the boots I buy are really high quality Italian boots, like Zamberlan and Andrew etc. The boots I cannot fault, but the Vibram soles are literally not fit for purpose anymore. I cannot get down my steps at home in them without having a near death experience yet literally any other footwear I have never had a problem with the same steps. It's a shame as this sub-par product is attached to just about every decent pair of walking boots/ shoes on the market.

Background

I walk everyday in various conditions (dog walker).

Source: bought it new

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