Comment from: Jacob Morrison [Visitor]
Jacob Morrison

I was wondering if you had to modify the gators that you used in the picture above?

11/01/10 @ 11:14
Comment from: robb. [Visitor]
robb.

feelmax makes a thicker wool toe sock. it is called the tundra. i would link to them, but that's against policy.

i have used them and found that for how i like my VFFs to fit, most any socks are too thick.

11/01/10 @ 12:47
Comment from: Zephyr [Visitor]  
Zephyr

Thanks for your post, I've found it very interesting and also of help in my particular case.
Regarding your comment:

"...I think there is room for a sock that is slightly thicker than what is out there, made of a wool/synthetic blend, even if it means bumping up a size in VFFs and having a designated colder weather pair."

I reckon from you have been wearing regular Injinji Performance socks mainly made of Coolmax fabric. There is also an Injinji Outdoor line: Nüwool (Micro-Fine Merino Wool, Australia) 70%, Nylon 30%, and Lycra 5% in Crew and Quarter lengths. In some extend they also seem thicker than Performance Mini-Crew.
Curiously, Injinji Performance (Coolmax) in Crew length feel to me slightly thicker and warmer than Mini-Crew, perhaps not so thick as Outdoor line.
I've just checked and Injinji Outdoor in both lengths and different colors are available at REI for $16, and only Crew length and forest green color at KayakShed.
Personally I wouldn't recommend KayakShed because they have recently decided not to ship VFFs out of North America any more.

I second your petition for a FiveFingers waterproof option. I recently purchased a pair of Trek Flows and it was disappointing to learn that water could enter much more easily than in a regular pair of neoprene diving socks, probably water enters through the seams.

I would like to know whether you decided to size up when you ordered Flow Treks respect to your KSOs or Sprints. I didn't have any occasion to wear them for a good test. I've just tried them on twice or so and I've found that the length is OK, but I noticed an overall compression on my feet. The seams left marks in my skin after wearing them without socks for a few minutes. I also tried them on with Injinji Performance socks. In that case I could hardly move my toes, I felt as if they were crammed together by the neoprene toe pockets.
At least I didn't feel pain and it wasn't really uncomfortable either. The blood flow didn't seem compromised, probably due to the high elasticity of neoprene.

I've read in other posts on VFFs Flow that you need more time to break in and neoprene will eventually stretch, could you confirm that? On the other hand, I know of other users deciding to size up when ordering Flows.
For comparison: These Flow Treks are size M40. I wear M40 KSO, Trek and TrekSport, whereas in Sprints my size is M41.

11/01/10 @ 15:13
Comment from: EdH [Visitor]
EdH

I would have thought the KSO Treks would have been perfect given the leather (warmth, resistance to wind, quick drying if they do get wet) and the superior traction for hiking.

Good article though. I too am wearing VFF's to new places all of the time.

11/01/10 @ 15:21
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
Richard

Hello - to reply to the comments so far:
-To Jacob, I did not modify the gaiters at all. I was happy to see that they worked as is but took some more maintenance -pulling up, adjusting- than they would if Vibram designed a clip to hold them in place. But even as is they worked very well.

To Robb: thanks, I will check that out.

to Zephyr: Yes I discovered those Iniji Outdoor socks after my hike and have ordered them but not yet received them. Will be interested in trying them out. As for sizing, I ended up purchasing the exact same size in KSO, Flo Trek, and TrekSports (47). On my first dayhike with the Flow Treks I did wonder if they were too small because they did feel a bit tighter on my toes, but I think a three day hike was the true test: the size was right (and I was even wearing socks). But I think this is such an individual thing so I don't know if this is true for everyone. Maybe they did stretch over time, I am just not sure. In case this helps, my feet and toes are long but not wide - not overly narrow but much more long than wide.
-Rich

11/01/10 @ 15:35
Comment from: Zephyr [Visitor]  
Zephyr

Thanks for your reply regarding Flow Trek fitting, including the invaluable info on the shape of your toes. I feel now more relieved.

Amendment about KayakShed sales policy:
Personally, I won't recommend ordering to KayakShed because KayakShed has recently decided to change their shipping policy and not to ship VFFs out of North America any more. Ironically, they still keep claiming to appreciate my business. In contrast, a few other retailers such as REI and CrossroadsOnline don't turn their back to former overseas customers.
This kind of policy doesn't help American economy at all. The benefit generated by overseas trading remains in US in addition to an extra share related to post and courier service.
The only thing they are helping are those inefficient distribution systems that cause paying extra $35-$55 in shipping fees more affordable than ordering locally (supposing you are lucky enough to find that particular article for sale).

11/01/10 @ 16:46
Comment from: Marnee [Visitor]
Marnee

How much did your pack weigh?

11/01/10 @ 16:58
Comment from: Mary Omodei [Visitor]
Mary Omodei

I wear VFFs Speeds for multi-day hiking. Gaiters clip into the laces on the Speeds. However I do travel light. My Full Skin Out Base Weight is under 7 lbs which allows me to run the easier trails.

11/01/10 @ 17:39
Comment from: Patton Gleason [Visitor]  
Patton Gleason

Richard,

Did you have any creek crossings or very muddy sections? In my experience when trail running the thinner soled Vibrams tend to collect less mud than those with thicker soles.

Another suggestion to the sock gods is to for any of the waterproof sock companies to make a toe style of sock. I have used this in regular backpacking boots and had great luck with a moderate amount of moisture.

11/01/10 @ 18:11
Comment from: rst [Visitor]
rst

I've day hiked with KSO Treks in Fall in the Pacific NW. Trail was fairly muddy but these were great. My feet got a little cold. I had hiking boots along and switched back and forth. Much prefer the VFF.
I tried a pair of Injinji socks and found that my toes were too cramped. I tried going up a size in the VFF but the problem for me wasn't the length of the shoe but the circumference of the toe slots in the VFF. Maybe I have fat toes? anyone else have this problem?
I second the vote for a Goretex or other waterproofing for VFFs. I intend to try backpacking in drier, warmer weather.

11/01/10 @ 23:24
Comment from: Madoc [Visitor]
Madoc

Thanks for the review - Didn't know that the Flow Treks existed - I think those would work pretty well up here in the PacNW, although my KSO Treks seem to do fine.

+1 on the weather resistant upper - I think Vibram could take a page from some of the really high end gear manufacturers and do a combo hardshell/softshell upper with hypalon reinforcements - eVent fabric would be my choice over Goretex.

11/03/10 @ 14:16
Comment from: Josh C. [Visitor]
Josh C.

I would simply suggest one use caution when hiking in VFF's... Personally, I've injured my foot on a hike (in the VFF's), which has been healing verrrrrry slowly (the incident happened in mid-September, and my foot is still sore).

In my case, it was a leaf-covered jagged rock which lodged its way up into my mid-foot which caused my injury. Not fun.

Still, I do love the VFF's... Just probably won't be hiking in them again any time soon.

11/05/10 @ 08:22
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
Richard

Hi all

I agree with all the comments - like I wrote I think in order to hike and even moreso backpack in VFFs you have to be very cautious with your footing - this was my biggest concern going in. But I think in the end it can be a real benefit by forcing us to reground ourselves and be aware of our footing, as long as the learning curve is not too painful!

About the various VFF models, I am sure it is true that models like KSOs with thinner soles would collect less mud, but I would not consider hiking with weight on my back in those unless I were only hiking on dry and relatively flat ground. I wouldn't give up the extra traction that the Flow Treks provide (or TrekSports). I hike crossing creeks and walking through mud quite a bit and have not found mud sticking to them to ever be a problem. I am sure the KSO Treks would work well too - I avoid leather when I can although I would have bought a pair if the others weren't available.

fyi for those interested in the Flow Treks, I bought them from Primal Lifestyle Limited in the UK for 119 pounds (yes pricey) and had them shipped to a London address, where a relative received them and brought them over for me. I was very happy with their service, although I can't vouch for how well intl shipping would work or what it would cost.

-Richard

11/05/10 @ 12:44
Comment from: Zephyr [Visitor]  
Zephyr

What is the "eVent" fabric like? I went to their website and couldn't get an idea. There's mo info about that in general info sources. I guess that part of the problem to find info is tat Event is actually a very common word.

11/10/10 @ 15:55
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]
Chris

I have done a few slot canyon (wet) multi-night hikes mostly wearing KSO's. Carrying a ~30lb pack largely over sand, rock and sandy bottom stream does take a toll on the foot muscles over the course of a couple/few days, but it far beats any other footwear for constant wet situations. Buddies in water shoes or sandals were bleeding, I was fine. The only other observation I have is with the open toes, on tight grassy trails, you will tend to quickly pick up weeds and grass in between the toes, and the stickers do not feel great. Also, stubbing your toes against a trekking pole kindof sucks too. I will be doing another trip next month, overnighter in the 12+ mile range, and will be wearing VFF's. Thanks for posting the article.

04/08/13 @ 16:58
Comment from: Shakti O'Melveny-Rupp [Visitor]
Shakti O'Melveny-Rupp

Hi, I loved your article! I am a true Fivefingers addict! If you want better socks, I found the Smartwool ones are the best; phd run toe sock is my favorite because it is thin enough to not cause me to need a larger shoe. My problem is I can't find gaiters that fit my Fivefingers; do you know of any?

09/14/13 @ 18:24