REVIEW: Vibram Five Fingers KSO Shoe - The Barefoot Runners Choice

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment Reviews' started by ASEGSEA, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    Updated with pics!

    I've been using the Bikila's and honestly have yet to notice a difference in stability.

    As I can't squeeze more than 6 pics onto one post, additional pictures (15+) at me, ClampXVII, and ECS123's new gear review website TrialByFireMMA.com. Nonetheless, the full review is below these pics


    So, from the below pics you can see my KSO's are maxed out. Limit breaked. Overddrive reached. Whatever the euphemisms used to define death, these are it. And suprisingly, I say they are completely worth the cash. Any other shoe would look even worse, and that's because they could've have done half the stuff I put those shoes through. From hiking the Dragoon Mountains to lifting to MMA to everything else my lifestyle includes, I got my money's worth.

    There are issues, and Vibram needs to address them before they become a perfect 10 product, but all in all, awesome pieces of equipment. Ask away for any questions, and sorry it took a few months, but at least you know I put them through a mean test!



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    Bonjour amigos,

    With growing attention on Vibram's and continual questions about them, I've decided to post my review of my own pair. Pictures will come later: I'm at work, making that money writing you up reviews. :D

    Thus far, I've been rocking climbing, trekking, crowd-surfing, rolling, sparring, running, walking through offices, campus--the only thing I haven't done in them is use them in water, but I think it's more the Arizona environment than my lack of willingness. Thus, my review will include their durability, their practicality, and their comfort, all on land.

    I'll make it a point to address the initial draws to the product--the things that made me want to buy the shoe.

    Barefoot Running:
    I love these for running. I haven't done endurance running just yet in them (10+ miles), but I have used these sprinting and distance running. I have flat feet and I feel like they're better for me than my orthopedics. In fact, I choose these over any $300 pair of customized sole's someone could offer me. The Vibram's allow my flat feet to stay on the toes and balls more, an area that doesn't subject my back and shoulder's to the pain heel-running provides. With Vibram's, I've noticed my calves have adapted to the lack of cushion. Also, I've noticed by arches may not have developed like some third-party claims, but my feet are stronger. And most importantly, I've noticed the shoes are more comfortable in the long run than normal jogging shoes. One would think that the soft gels of Asics would be better for you, but I've found my calf-muscles learning to land softer due to the development of the muscles is a better system for my entire body to be subjected to more than mere rubber.
    Vibram funded Harvard research on barefoot running

    Desert Environment:
    The desert has everything bad that would steer one away from thin-layered shoes like this: cactus, scorpions, thisles, mesquite tree's, goat-heads, tumbleweeds, and sharp gravel. In fact, wearing these shoes I've have a cactus needle shoot through the bottom. But I haven't been deterred from wearing them out here. The bottom is thick enough where jagged rocks won't bother you, but it's thin enough for you to be more in tune with what's beneath your feet. And logically speaking, just because I'm wearing gel-bottomed running shoes doesn't mean I'll go looking for cactus and whatnot--Vibram's just teaches me to be more in-tune with the environment, visually and through feeling with my feet. Also, I do not find I get sand in my shoe any more or any less than the average shoe.

    Mountain Climbing:
    These shoes are perfect. I can fit my toes into little nooks and crannies to give myself a boost an ordinary shoe wouldn't normally provide. I feel faster on the ground. I have more ankle range of motion. I feel less restricted while still feeling the shoe is secure. Most importantly, the grip on the bottom is sufficient. Sometimes I feel the shoe grip will not be enough to keep to a moss-covered rock, but it's kept me safe. Therefore, Vibram's KSO's are practical, benefitting, and safe on the mountain side, at least for bouldering.

    Weight Lifting:
    When I perform squats, deads, and lunges in these shoes I feel I have more range of motion. I have not noticed any detrimental effects caused by the lack of heel support most bodybuilding forums claim is important to squats. If anything, my legs are stronger as more range of motion for my angle causes me to use more muscle. I now wear these everytime I go to the gym.

    MMA:
    I'm not the only one who wears these while rolling on the mats: one of my instructors, various students, and strangers at my local lifting gym wear these during their sessions (the strangers bring the mats out onto the court). The shoes just feels natural. The velcro has yet to snag while rolling, the shoe never pops off. I never need to adjust it or re-tie it. Sure, there's no extended ankle support like wrestling shoes, but that's the point: Vibram's is meant to safely simulate the barefoot experience. I prefer rolling barefoot, but for the self-conscious fighter looking to cover their nasty feet, I recommend this for your rolling needs.

    Negative Things:
    The only negative comment I can make about the shoe is the smell. Initially, the shoe had no stink. In fact, even after weeks of use and no washing, they still have no stink. But they make my feet smell, and it's smell that doesn't normally occur. Gross, I know, but heed me out. I beleive this to be attributed to the shoe for two reasons: the anti-bacterial microfiber the inside a pair of KSO's wicks away the stink, which is why the shoe itself doesn't smell. HOWEVER, the sweat isn't bled through--regardless of the mesh--and thus the sweat keeps to the bottom of my feet. THIS DOES NOT impede my ability to run nor climb, as there is not actually a pool of sweat. I do not actually feel any slipperyness. I do, however, find my feet stink in the shoe without socks. So if you got a hot-date and you plan on taking the shoes off, be sure to wear the finger-socks.
    [Edit: After purchasing the product "X-Bionic," a sort of UnderArmor-like workout gear, I've found the cause of Vibram's stink issue. The issue arises from the shoe's tight fit collecting sweat. This collection the sweat to crystallize. This crystallization results in stored bacteria that not only mixes everytime you put your sweaty foot in the shoe, but also the crystals release when water is introduced, which is why many users have claimed the shoe continues to stink even after washing.
    My solution to this is to either wash these shoes in hot water and detergent weekly, or leave in in vinegar/water overnight, preferabbly both. This will cure the shoes of their stank.[/Edit]

    Final Thoughts:
    The shoes sell themselves when worn in public. Yeah, some people think they're absurd. Most others are astounded by the wow-factor and I've had strangers come up to me and ask about them, or to wiggle my toes. I tell them the shoe is perfect for all outdoor activities, they're as accessible as a sandal but more comfortable and secure than the average shoe. I also tell them that if I could, I would where these everywhere I go, and that I'd never buy a different brand of shoes again. But I can't, because they're not work appropriate. Pshaw. If you travel a lot and don't want crocs, if you are outside a lot and want freedom and security, or if you are looking for something innovative, fun, and eye-catching, then the Vibram's KSO are the perfect shoe for you. I highly reccommend these shoes. I will actively own a pair for the rest of my life...as long as they prove to be durable in the coming months. Additionally, these shoes are purchasable for 90$, so look around before dropping $120 for them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2011
  2. BrokenNose

    BrokenNose Orange Belt

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    Great review, cant wait to see the pictures. I've been wanting to get these for a while, but I may have to set them back after I get everything else on my list :(

    How well would they work for boxing? Is the grip too much to pivot and whatnot, or will it let me slip and slide around the ring with ease?
     
  3. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    I've used them on a myriad of environments. As you read above, everything from the mountain range to the boxing ring, and the shoes haven't made me slip.

    I was cautious using these when wet, but the grip actually becomes stronger and harder to pivot on wood-grain services.

    I've moved around fluidly in the ring with no hiccups in my step because of the shoes.
     
  4. LyotoM

    LyotoM Brown Belt

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    i wear them inside the house (hardwood), concrete, grass, track (sand), and school!

    they bottom doesnt get dirty : ) and i wish i could use them in mma
     
  5. ECS123

    ECS123 Purple Belt

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    Nice review, and I am interested in seeing the photos, also. I think "Brokennose" was asking, if the rubber was too sticky, to allow you to step and drag / slide during boxing footwork. Trying to move and slide your rear foot, only to find they grip too well, and your rear foot won't slide, could be a concern.

    On a footnote: I would imagine cryptozoologists, and bigfoot investigators are quite pleased that these shoes have a distinct and unique tread pattern. With people who have really large feet, running all over the woods in these, it could really throw a "monkey" wrench into their studies. No pun intended.

    :icon_chee
     
  6. Mitchell

    Mitchell Yellow Belt

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    You failed French class didn't you.
     
  7. Cannon_6

    Cannon_6 Green Belt

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    You slept through your punctuation lessons, didn't you?

    Buenas noches, mon frere.
     
  8. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    Guten morgan comrades,

    Let me state clearly that I've never worn those boxing/wrestling shoes. My boxing coach allows anything not a street shoe or boot. I always figured the wide applicability the Vibrams holds over the wrestling shoe made it a buy. But I'm not able to compare and contrast.
     
  9. shootermcgavin7

    shootermcgavin7 Blue Belt

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    I have had a pair of vib 5finger KSO flows for almost 2 years I think. My shin splints have completely disappeared. I use them for lifting and outdoor conditioning, my training and indoor conditioning is already completely barefoot.

    They have held up really well, except the back strap has started to fray. I think this is because they are actually a little too big and I had to overcompensate by overtightening the back strap. They fit perfectly in the store, but being in european sizes (at least in 2008), it was hard to size perfectly. If I had gone one size down I may not be having these problems.
     
  10. Nijoe

    Nijoe White Belt

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    How would these work for a colder climate?
     
  11. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    I'll let someone else answer this since I live in the desert. Cold for me is 60 degrees.
     
  12. They won't keep your feet warm.
    There are Toe Socks available to wear with them.

    I've posted this before but the problem I have with mine is that my Toes are longer on my Right Foot so the fit isn't as comfortable.
     
  13. mikiemike87

    mikiemike87 Blue Belt

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  14. BrokenNose

    BrokenNose Orange Belt

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    Law Bob you live about 2 hours from me.
     
  15. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    You from Scotsdale? If so, those ballet leather couches gave you away, rich boy. :D
     
  16. shootermcgavin7

    shootermcgavin7 Blue Belt

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    Badly. I have the kso flows, and unless they have changed them in the past two years, these are still the most "cold weather" shoes. Your feet will freeze if you use them in the winter. I live in the south and do not use them outdoors in the winter. I just run inside.
     
  17. BrokenNose

    BrokenNose Orange Belt

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    Hahaha, no. I'm at Vail, which is technically just a small part of SE Tucson. :icon_chee
     
  18. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    Pfft

    I went to Paris in February and spent about 6 hours a day outside in them.
    I went up the tower and everything (that was cold I will admit. Nothing but steel below my feet for 3 hours). Only place I didn't take them was the Louvre.
    I was fine.

    I did go about in the snow etc in them and they were chilly then I must admit.

    These were classics.
     
  19. ASEGSEA

    ASEGSEA Guest

    Good gracious. You have sasquatch feet, stomping through freezing cold environments.
     
  20. AboveThisFire

    AboveThisFire Green Belt

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    I have two pairs of bikilas and they're goddamn wonderful.

    Also, using at the gym = chick magnet; I kid you not.
     

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