SeeYa, Speed FiveFingers Back in Black!

SeeYa, Speed FiveFingers Back in Black!

Did you know that Vibram has snuck out two new colorways of the men's SeeYa and Speed FiveFingers? If you didn't, read up!

The Speeds are now available in a flat black (see above) and the SeeYas in a black/grey mash-up (also above), which is infinitely less eye-catching than the day-glow SeeYa colorway that came out last year.

In a "but wait there's more" moment, one retailer has both the SeeYas and the Speeds on sale at 20% off through 3/31/2012—and the sale includes these new colorways.

You can find both FiveFingers models at these links:

One catch: free shipping threshold is over $99.

If you'll recall, the black KSO FiveFingers were quite possibly the most popular colorway of all time (see here if you don't believe me!), so I'm sure these new color combinations are likely to please.

What do you think?

P.S. If you're looking for some minimalist-if-lightly-modified "troop" boots (and other sytlish shoes by OTZ), there's a huge sale/deal on them, too. Details here.

Women's KomodoSport LS FiveFingers Review

Leah Sakellarides holds up a pair of the Fall 2011 women's Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS toe shoes.
Leah Sakellarides holds up a pair of the Fall 2011 women's Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS toe shoes.

My experience with Vibram FiveFingers

It was about three years ago when I purchased my first pair of VFFs. It wasn’t love at first step (or sight) with my Sprints, but the more I wore them, the more I fell in love. After conditioning my legs and body to run in them, I found myself running faster and I felt more agile than I ever did in my old clunky running shoes. It was like removing the weights from my feet and I felt connected with the ground for the first time. On average, I usually run about 20 miles a week in my Sprints. I wore them trekking the Andes in Peru, do Crossfit in them, and even wear them in the water when I standup paddle surf. After all this time they are finally falling apart at the seams so I was so stoked to try out these new Vibram FiveFingers "KomodoSport LS" lace-ups!

What follows is my review of the KomodoSport LS, complete with thoughts on aeshetics, construction/materials, fit, and performance in a variety of activities.

Read my review of the women's KomodoSport LS after the jump!

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Trek LS Vibram FiveFingers Review

The Fall 2011 Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, all-leather Vibram toe shoes for everyday wear (though you could certainly do an impromptu sprint, dead lift, or tree climb in them if need presents itself!).
The Fall 2011 Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, all-leather Vibram toe shoes for everyday wear (though you could certainly do an impromptu sprint, dead lift, or tree climb in them if need presents itself!).

For Fall 2011 comes the all leather Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, a five toed shoe for men that pushes footwear trends to new levels of insanity: toe shoes for everyday wear? Wearing FiveFingers in a business casual setting? Five toed shoes as fashion-forward footwear? Toe shoes for the modern man?

What is the world coming to? Has Vibram gone mad?

**ALERT August 18, 2011** The Fivefingers Trek LS is now Available for Purchase!

Before I dive in, here is the typically perfunctory, official word on the Trek LS from Vibram's Fall 2011 catalog:

By popular demand, Vibram introduces it's first casual/comfort shoe for men with a distressed kangaroo leather upper and a casual tie lacing system. The Trek LS features the popular 4mm, lightly cleated, Trek outsole and a 4mm EVA midsole for additional comfort.

Illuminating, no? Allow me to elaborate on this description. I've been testing the Trek LS FiveFingers now for a few months and what follows are my thoughts — as well as a slew of photos — all after the jump!

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Vibram (FiveFingers) Sues Fila (Skele-Toes) for Patent Infringement

Vibram (left), the originator of the FiveFingers toe shoes, has filed suit against Fila Skele-toes (right), a maker of a four-toed varietal of toe shoes that hit the market in Spring 2011.
Vibram (left), the originator of the FiveFingers toe shoes, filed suit against Fila Skele-toes (right), a maker of a four-toed varietal of toe shoes that hit the market in Spring 2011.

BREAKING NEWS! I've just gotten wind of a press release that is going out today from Vibram — Vibram has filed suit against Fila for patent infringement. In a nutshell, it seems Vibram, the originator of toe shoes with the FiveFingers brand, believes Fila has infringed on it's intellectual property rights by creating the "Skele-toes" shoes, which have been prevalently marketed in the United States over the past few months. Here's the press release, emphasis mine:

VIBRAM SUES FILA USA FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

CONCORD, MA, JULY 18, 2011 - Vibram S.p.A., of Italy, today announced that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vibram USA Inc. have commenced legal action in the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts against Fila USA, Inc. for patent infringement. The patents involved cover footwear having individually articuable toe portions, as embodied in Vibram's enormously successful FiveFingers® branded footwear that has helped to pioneer minimalist footwear, the barefoot running trend, and its inherent benefits.

The complaint alleges Fila USA, Inc.'s (“Fila”) "Skeletoes" footwear is infringing several U.S. Patents held by Vibram. The FiveFingers Patents cover a variety of footwear designs comprising individual toe pockets.

“Before Vibram FiveFingers were introduced, there was no minimalist footwear constructed with individual toe pockets that encouraged natural, barefoot movement, while at the same time providing enhanced grip and protection. Vibram pioneered the minimalist footwear category,” said Tony Post, Vibram USA's President. "Vibram launched the concept in 2005, and public reception has grown tremendously since, now the entire footwear industry has responded by entering the minimalist category. In fact, Vibram has even partnered with Merrell and New Balance to create minimal/barefoot like sole platforms that are complementary to our Vibram FiveFingers."

Post added, “Vibram innovated the technology and earned the patents. With our success, copyists and counterfeiters have come out of the woodwork. We will continue to take aggressive action against all who infringe our intellectual property. These infringements are not only damaging to Vibram, they also hurt our retail partners and the public trust. Vibram will work diligently to bring such action to a stop.”

Vibram® is recognized worldwide as the leader in high performance soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’ s greatest climbers and athletes. Time magazine named Vibram FiveFingers one of the best inventions of 2007 in the category of health. Vibram® soles have set the standard since Vitale Bramani created mountaineering’s first rubber lugged sole in the late 1930’s. Vibram® soles have gone on to conquer Mt. Everest, K2 and a host of the world’s tallest peaks. Today, the company works with premium brands including Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Merrell, Red Wing, Scarpa, The North Face, Timberland, Vasque, Wolverine and many more. For further information please visit www.vibram.com or www.vibramfivefingers.com.
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Justin here: Yowza! I'm not sure what to make of this and no, I don't have any of the details surrounding which patents in particular Vibram has that Fila has allegedly infringed. What we have here is a clash of the "toetans" — couldn't help myself. In all seriousness, Vibram has had an insane problem with counterfeit FiveFingers coming out of China (my list of fake FiveFingers retailers is something like 500 websites long!). That said, are the Fila Skele-Toes violating Vibram's intellectual property rights?

@bdayshoes And so, it begins. My boys and I noticed this on t... on TwitpicWe've reviewed the original Fila Skele-Toes here and the Skele-toes 2.0 here. Anecdotally speaking, I can recant countless friends and family members telling me, "Oh I saw your shoes on a billboard on the highway [here in Atlanta]," leaving me correcting them that, "No those are the Fila Skele-toes — they're a good bit different than FiveFingers." That said, confusion over toe shoes probably isn't grounds for lawsuit (Legal Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer!).

I believe Skele-toes are pretty markedly different than FiveFingers — they are stiffer soled, have four toe pockets instead of five, and have an overall feel that isn't very comfortable to me — relative to the comfort of any pair of Vibram FiveFingers. Of course, I chalked the problems with Fila's introductory toe shoes product up to lack of experience and refinement.

All of that is moot, of course, when it comes to how a court will rule on intellectual property rights.

And what say you? Since we can all play armchair lawyer here, do you think Fila has infringed on Vibram's rights? One thing is for sure, Vibram was not kidding when they published this ad back in 2010 in Footwear Plus magazine:

The back of Footwear Plus magazine, Vibram has a special message "to anyone thinking about infringing on any of our 200+ patents and trademarks."
The back of Footwear Plus magazine, Vibram has a special message "to anyone thinking about infringing on any of our 200+ patents and trademarks."

What say you? Let's hear it!

Huaraches - Review of the Original Minimalist/Barefoot Sandals

This photo was taken after my first run in my first pair of huaraches made from an Xero Shoes kit.
This photo was taken after my first run in my first pair of huaraches made from an Xero Shoes kit.

Vibram FiveFingers opened my eyes to minimalist shoe running and ever since, I've been on a quest to find the best balance of lightweight protection and comfort without sacrificing flexibility and ground feel. After VFFs, my next stop was at Xero Shoes where I purchased a kit to make my first pair of huaraches, running sandals worn by Tarahumara and featured in Born to Run. From there I began to experiment with different lacing materials, soles, and tying methods. Now, I maintain a huarache kit with all of the essentials needed to whip up a pair in a moment's notice.

This article will provide an introduction to huaraches to help get you started along with some tips I've picked up after making a few dozen for myself, family, and friends.

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KomodoSport LS Vibram FiveFingers Review

The Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS (laces!) - new toe shoes from Vibram for Fall 2011
The Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS (laces!) - new toe shoes from Vibram for Fall 2011

Note: Available now! Also, see the women's KomodoSport LS FiveFingers Review!

I've been testing out a sneak-peak, pre-mass-production version of the upcoming, yet-to-be released KomodoSport LS Vibram FiveFingers. In a nutshell, the KomodoSport takes the speed-lacing system of the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS, which was released earlier this year, and the sole structure and design of the KomodoSport Vibram FiveFingers, which were also released earlier this year. I know at least a few Vibram fans prefer their KomodoSports to their KSOs.

How does this feature mash-up function? Well, if you like a laced upper and the KomodoSport-style sole, it almost goes without saying that these puppies are for you. I have been finding them exceedingly comfortable (particularly in the "forget you're wearing them"/"forget to take them off around the house" departments). What follows is my run-down and review of the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS. Though they aren't out yet, they'll be out soon enough (looking like August 2011).

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