Great barefoot shoes for concrete/asphalt/tarmac running. Looks goofy no doubt, but don't judge a shoe by its look. Although a big issue for my parents, I've never really cared about how it looks as long as it delivers. Function over fashion!
It feels like running on bare feet but with protection at the same time. Learn from my experience and don't go through the hassles I've been through. My advice: TRANSITION SLOWLY FROM TRADITIONAL SHOES TO MINIMALIST SHOES. Please follow Vibram's transition guidelines.
It takes a lot of time to strengthen those leg muscles and learn to use proper running technique, just be patient. It took me about 9 months!... but in the end it beats a year in surgery recovery after a stress fracture. I can't stress that enough. Take your time, progress slowly; enjoy every stage of the transition. Also be aware of any signs of pain and adjust accordingly. Continue to gradually increase your distance, speed, and frequency of your runs...listening to your body every step of the way. It's ok to feel some soreness when you fist start using your VFF but if you feel intense pain, stop immediately! Take some time off until the pain goes away, then get back to it. Once you've completely strengthened all the muscle groups that involve barefoot running, you can go running everyday with your VFFs, effortless, painless, injury free.
I had trouble putting on these shoes at first, it took an awful lot of time. After a few weeks I became an expert on that matter. Before using these shoes I had very sensitive feet. I easily got all ticklish whenever I touched my feet. My toes had no flexibility at all, and now I know that the traditional shoes I wore as a kid were responsible for all of this. These so called normal shoes were actually harming my feet, weakening my muscles, making me more prone to injuries when exercising, causing me a bad posture which negatively affected my whole body, and bringing lots of health problems with it. That's why I'm glad I came across information about barefoot running and the health benefits it brought with it. I want to thank the many who contributed to the barefoot revolution. I see myself wearing minimalist shoes from now on or even going unshod. The invention of these toe shoes are, in my perspective, the biggest step for promoting foot health to date. Orthopedists, generally discredit the capabilities of barefoot shoes and label them as dangerous. Don't trust everything you read.
At first, it was literary painful to spread out my toes or flex them using my hands. After acquiring a pair of VFFs and after regular use, my feet desensitized. I'm now able to withstand more types of surfaces such as uneven and rocky surfaces. However I'm still not ready yet to walk on red-hot glowing charcoal, broken glass or hypodermic needles, but soon I will. If you have ultra-sensitive skin on your feet as well, then wearing VFFs regularly will help desensitize them, the way they should be. My toe coordination has improved as well.
As far as the sizing goes, I have a normal instep (not too high, not too low), I don't have a high arch, I don't have flat feet. I don't have morton's toe. I had never been so self-conscious about my feet in my entire life (what's with my little toe anyway?!) I have my little toe curled a bit inward (possibly the result of a lifetime of using shoes with a narrow toebox), my foot width is standard I suppose because I followed Vibram's sizing chart and it fits perfectly. Curiously my right foot is slightly larger than my left foot. [The length of my right foot is 10 1/4" without socks (my feet should fit in a size 40M), and 10 3/8" using toe socks (so I rounded it up for size 41M which corresponds to a foot that is 10 ½ inches long). They fit very comfortable and haven't had any trouble with them so far.]
I can't say if these shoes are comfortable for the flat footed. Neither can I advise those with morton's toe. I own an old pair of TrekSport Size 41 that I use primarily for trail running and it has no significant fitting differences from the Bikila Size 41, besides the Bikila being slightly less flexible (contrary to the reviews out there). To my personal experience, the Bikila offers more support and feels snugger on the instep than the Treks, not uncomfortably snug btw (it features a nice stretchy upper mesh that should fit most instep heights, for higher insteps you can get the Bikila LS.), and it keeps your foot from sliding inside the shoe, thus making a great running shoe. Unlike the TrekSport, where the hoop and loop strap goes over the instep and around the heel, the Bikila's strap only goes across the instep (longer than the strap used on the TrekSport), but given the snugness of the shoe itself, your feet won't move when wearing the shoe thus making the heel strap unnecessary.
I'm pretty sure that there is a break-in period for the Bikila as for any type of shoe and so far I've been using them regularly for about 3 months. Note that these shoes were meant to be worn without socks. You can tell by how comfortable they feel when you first try them on, completely seamless on the inside. However, I opted to wear toe socks for hygiene reasons. I believe that if you use your vibrams sockless more than once, it would be just like using a pair of socks more than once and they are subject to funk. If you use them on bare feet eventually they will catch foot odor, trust me on this. By using toe socks you avoid having smelly Vibrams and the extra work of having to wash them. To prove my point, I must say that I haven't washed my TrekSports in over 6 months months of use!, basically everyday, and believe me that they don't have a funk to them. That's why I encourage the use of toe socks with VFFs. Additionally, using toe socks protects you from getting blisters when running and adds a little more cushioning without compromising the barefoot feel. When you run with any shoe, there is always some degree of friction, and the sock acts as a barrier against constant rubbing, thus avoiding getting blisters or developing hotspots. If you're worried about getting cold feet in the winter, toe socks are a must. The toe socks I use are from Injinji. The downside to using socks would be putting them on which is time consuming, but with some practice you'll be able to do it faster, as with putting on your vibrams.
Albeit, if you're into minimalist running you gotta have a pair of these Vibram Bikila's which are designed specifically for running, but any Vibram model will do. Note that they are not for everyone, given that everybody has a different foot anatomy. Made from quality materials, super durable, super comfy, efficient, I give it 5 stars. It also comes with the added benefit of making everything more fun. Even taking out the trash is a fun activity when you're wearing Vibram FiveFingers. Hope this helps you make up your mind to get a pair of these. If you're looking to buy a pair of Fivefingers to use as an all-around walking and running shoe, the KSO might be a better choice because it's very flexible, so you get a lot of ground feel. In my opinion the KSOs are the most versatile shoe from Vibram. You can use it at the gym, for asphalt running, light trail running, watersports, it's virtually an all-terrain shoe while the Bikila is strictly for running and working on your running form. I'm now saving money for my next Vibram Flow designed specifically for watersports, besides it can also be used for snow running.