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    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

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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KSO Kids FiveFingers for Running a Kids Marathon

Skye, a 7-year-old girl in Germany, running her first Kids Marathon in her KSO Kids FiveFingers.  Looks like she's having a great time!
Skye, a 7-year-old girl in Germany, running her first Kids Marathon in her KSO Kids FiveFingers. Looks like she's having a great time!

How cool is this girl? She recently ran a race in Germany sporting KSO Kids Vibram Five Fingers! Check it out:

This is Skye she is 7 years old. She recently got her first pair of kid KSO vibrams. The picture of her is running her very first America Kids Run marathon in Ramstein, Germany. She enjoys hiking, running, and playing hard in her vibrams. In fact she even tried to wear them to ballet class :)

Apparently, prior to picking up her Kids KSOs, Skye was running in New Balances. In her mom Toni's words, Skye "really loves the vibrams." And just in case you're wondering, the "Kids Run marathon" isn't 26.2 miles. These races start at a half mile and go up to a 5K. Skye ran the mile this year and will get to run two miles next year.

I asked Toni to share a bit more about how Skye and the family got into toe shoes and what she's been doing in them since the race. Here's what she had to say:

My husband is stationed in Germany he bought a pair of 5 finger speeds about a year ago, he swore that these were the best shoes he had ever owned. He put them to the test by running a relay marathon in Bahrain. When he saw that they were going to make them in kids sizes he jumped on the opportunity to get our daughter a pair. When we heard that they were hosting America Kids Run which is a tribute to children of military families Skye decided that she wanted to run in it and run with her Vibrams. She began training by running with our small dog Paris which is perfect size for her. She ran the America Kids Run Run on May 21st in Ramstein Germany and join with military bases all around the world who were running. She is planning on running in American Kids Run again next year and will run for breast cancer awareness in October.

After running the in the American Kids Run she has become addicted to her Vibrams. She wears them everywhere! She even tried to wear them to ballet. She loves that they can be thrown in the washing machine. Skye loves to hike in her vibrams. She says that she climbs better and run faster in them. As a parent I was impressed that after a couple hours of wearing them they had molded to her feet and she was able to get them on by herself with ease. These shoes are great because they are so durable. So glad that vibrams could make her first run a success.


This kinda thing gets me really excited about VFFs — it's awesome that kids have a choice in footwear that is not only fun to wear, but incredibly functional.

Now if only they were cheaper!

Thanks for sharing Toni and good luck on your future running, dancing, and play, Skye!

Teva Nilch Review (Barefoot/Minimalist Shoes)

The Teva Nilch is a recently released thin-soled (6mm) "water booty" from Teva.  Will it work as a barefoot/minimalist shoe?
The Teva Nilch is a recently released thin-soled (6mm) "water booty" from Teva. Will it work as a barefoot/minimalist shoe?

When I first saw the Teva Nilch on the Teva website I immediately thought of Terra Plana’s VivoBarefoot line and Justin's review of the NB MINIMUS Life. Though the Nilch are sold as "water booties" these looked simple and nice enough to pass as a nice casual shoe with a pair of jeans. They jumped right to the top of on my To-Buy list. Fortunately, thanks to a little help from KayakShed, I was able to try a pair (as well as a pair of the Teva Zilch which James reviewed recently).

Does the Teva Nilch stack up to those other guys in terms of quality and comfort? Would it be fair to call the Nilch a "barefoot" shoe? Follow me after the jump to find out.

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Unshoes Wokova Minimalist Sandals Initial Review

Presenting Unshoes Minimal Footwear - the Wokova Minimalist Sandal
Presenting Unshoes Minimal Footwear - the Wokova Minimalist Sandal

Minimalist Sandals Like Huaraches, But Simpler to Put On (That Remind Me of Minimalist Chacos)

I recently learned of (another) new minimalist footwear company that is making a splash on the "barefoot shoes" (or sandals in this case!) scene: Unshoes Minimal Footwear. Founded by Terral Fox about a year ago, "Unshoes" take Vibram soles, climbing spec webbing (the nylon/spectra straps) and a huaraches-inspired strapping mechanism to make a sandal that is at once reminiscent of Chacos but incredibly lighter, less rigid, and more comfortable. Oh and you can run in them if you like. Just in time for the summer heat, I'm happy to strap into a new pair of custom-cut-soled Unshoes Wokova minimalist sandals thanks to Unshoes USA.

Photos, thoughts on design, and review after the jump.

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Army Says No to Toe Shoes

Army Says No to Toe Shoes

The U.S. Army has officially, unequivocally banned the use of toe shoes. Read the relevant part of the ALARACT and weep: "Only those shoes that accomodate all five toes in one compartment are authorized for wear. Those shoes that feature five separate, individual compartments for the toes, detract from a professional military image and are prohibited for wear with the IPFU [Improved Physical Fitness Uniform] or when conducting physical training in military formation."

We had posted before about the Army banning Vibram FiveFingers but there was some debate (nearly 100 comments on that post) about the veracity of our report. Hard to argue with this release as it makes the Army's thoughts on minimalist running shoes pretty clear — there can be only one compartment to rule them all*.

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Breaking In a Pair of Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Breaking In a Pair of Vibram FiveFingers Classics

New Vibram fan Katie wrote in the following about her recent discovery of FiveFingers Classics:

While still deciding whether or not to buy some VFFs, I browsed the web extensively, finding mostly running and hiking stories. I was looking for an example of Vibrams being great shoes for every day use, since I myself am not a runner, hiker, jogger, etc. I found enough on birthdayshoes.com to convince myself that a pair of Vibrams would be perfectly fine to have for mostly casual use. I bought my Classics (and my husband a pair of KSOs) in late May 2011, and I haven’t worn any other shoes since! I wear them to family cook outs, work, the grocery store, the mall, church—you get the picture. I have tried running in them, and I must say running is a much more enjoyable experience in Vibrams.

However, the first few days of wearing them were discouraging. My big toes were cramped and in pain, and the back of the heel (on the Classics) hurt me with every step I took. I would find myself not even moving in them and having to take them off because of the discomfort (I might have just gotten a size too small). I was so excited about them that I just couldn’t not wear them. I’m glad that I didn’t give up, because, as the clerk at the shoe store told me, they do loosen up with wear. It’s gotten much easier to move my toes around while wearing them, and now I can but them on as quickly as any other slip-on shoes. My heels rarely give me trouble anymore, and my left big toe only occasionally feels strange (remember, I haven’t been wearing these long). I feel very comfortable in them now, and plan on taking them to the beach and maybe walking the cobble stone streets of St. Augustine Florida this summer!


P.S.: My husband loves his KSOs. They never gave him a bit of trouble.

Glad you stuck it out! I think Classics do seem to break in a bit after a few days of wear. One trick to speeding up the process is to invert the heel.

I hope you keep enjoying your new toe shoes, Katie! Certainly a good time to have a pair of open-topped Classics with the summer heating up!