Sorry in advance for the long post, I know it rambles on and seems sort of whiny. Basically, I have the same problem as many other first time five finger buyers of not being able to find a good fit.
My whole life, I've always hated any shoes more substantial than flip-flops/sandals, mainly because of how they hold your toes together, so when I found out about VFFs about a couple of years ago I was really excited. I've never been a big runner, but when I have run, it's pretty much always been barefoot. Over the year or so after my discovery, I would try to find a pair that fit comfortably. At some point in the below history of that year, I found a store that had a few in stock, but they didn't fit and weren't really any help in fitting. Also, at least one of the pairs I "returned" I think I actually just resold at a small loss on ebay or something.
I couldn't find any locally so I tried to order online; I measured my feet and ordered a VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS SPRINT CASTLE ROCK 41, which I thought would be about the right size. Somehow, they felt really uncomfortable and I thought the size / design was probably bad, but I can't remember exactly why anymore.
So I returned them and decided to order Vibram Men's FiveFingers KSO - Grey/Palm - 40 instead. I remember why I didn't like this pair - they were way too tight, my toes were pressed up against the end and it took me about 20 minutes just to squeeze my feet into them.
I knew there was no way they would get comfortable, so I returned them and a while later got Vibram Five Fingers Bikila - Men's Light Grey-Red 41 , right after the Bikila were launched. These sort of seemed to fit better, certainly better than the size 40 KSO, but they were way too tight on the top of my foot. I don't think of myself as having a raised arch or some kind of tall foot, but these were really cutting into my foot on the top. I especially remember that whenever I would move my big toe around, the tendon on the top of my foot would have to pop back and forth over the bone that it was being pushed up against, and make a snapping sound accompanied by a strange pain. So of course, I returned them too. What I thought I'd learned was that I should probably stick to the open-topped kind.
So next, I tried a Vibram FiveFingers Classic Smartwool - Men's Charcoal-Black 42, thinking maybe a size 42 would actually fit better despite the chart / measurements. The toes felt great, but it was much too large, would just fall off my feet when I tried to put it on. So, I returned it and got the same model but one size down.
When, about a year ago, I got the classic smartwool 41, I thought they were pretty comfortable. The toes seemed a little too short, but I knew any bigger was impossible, and at least trying them on around the house, it seemed very tolerable. The tab in the back was a little uncomfortable but not horrible, so I thought I had at last found some that would work for me. For the first time, I wore a pair of VFF out, when going to a college class one day. I walked about a mile to class at a leisurely pace, sat in class, then walked back to my apartment. On the walk back, that tab in the heel was starting to hurt, but I knew that the gravel path was uncomfortable to walk barefoot, so I thought it'd be fine for the short walk home. When I did get to my apartment, and looked at my feet where I thought the tab was just rubbing it sore, the tab had made deep cuts into both of my heels. I was bleeding, etc., on both heels, although it didn't really hurt too much, I certainly didn't want to continue wearing them. Frustrated, despondent, with a renewed cynicism about the possibility of comfortable shoes, I just put them back in the box and wrote the expense off as a lesson learned.
A few weeks later, I got curious and tried to see if these tabs were bothering anyone else, and found a thread on this forum about removing / modding the tab. I pulled out the box, cut off the bloody tabs, and tried them on again to see if they were any better, but I still thought they would probably either hurt my heel or, if I were to cut more, not have enough of a back to stay on my feet properly. So I just put them and the snipped off tabs back in the box and gave up on VFFs.
Now about a year has passed, and I still have some small scars on the back of my feet from the one pair I wore out for a single class. But, I was thinking maybe I'd like to try again to find a pair that actually fits. Does anyone have any advice for me about how to find some that fit? Is there any model that someone could recommend to me given the nature of the trouble I've had so far?
Thanks in advance for any help...