The Vibram Five Fingers KSO Kids [Barefoot] Toe Shoes
It's only natural for parents who are Vibram Five Fingers fans to want to put their children in footwear that allows their feet to function naturally. There are some pretty biomechanically awful sneakers and shoes being marketed towards kids these days — "awful" in the sense that they restrict these young feet from moving dynamically and force unnatural gaits upon their wears—just like us adults, but on kids who are
much more prone to buy into marketing hype.
So VFF fan parents have really been stuck without a ton of options. Robeez and other moccasin-styled footwear for toddlers has been one solution. And Soft Star Mocassins - for youths - are worth serious consideration, too, but outside of these somewhat niche offerings, the bulk of children's footwear is either stiff-soled, supported, padded, and/or high-heeled (often with lights or wheels in the heels). What's a parent to do outside of just letting their kids run around barefoot (something I got away with until I was maybe six!)? Staying barefoot as much as possible for as long as possible is a great way to go, but at some point, society (likely in the form of school) is going to demand you have something on your kid's feet.
Thankfully, Vibram is taking a stab at solving this foot freedom problem by releasing Vibram Five Fingers for kids in Spring 2011. The VFFs are actually called Vibram Five Fingers KSO Kids. For sake of simplicity — "Kids KSO."
Here are the technical specifications on the Five Fingers Kids KSO from the 2011 Vibram Five Fingers catalog:
"By popular demand, Vibram has designed a line of FiveFingers footwear so our younger friends can experience the same benefits that our customers have been raving about for years.
"The VFF KSO for kids features many of the same benefits as our traditional KSO: thin, abrasion resistant stretch nylon upper, a single hook and loop closure for a secure fit, and a non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber sole—razor siped for a sure grip. Machine Washable, Air Dry."
Below you can get a close-up look at a boys and girls color offering of the Vibram Kids KSO:
Thoughts on the Vibram Five Fingers KSO Kids
I haven't gotten my hands on a pair of the Kids KSO as of yet, but given that it's built on the standard Vibram sole most of us have come to appreciate as the gold standard of the Vibram line, I think Vibram is off to a good start with the Kids KSO. I think going full-coverage as with the KSO was definitely the smart move for the entry kids line — the KSO is the reigning champion of the adult Vibram FiveFingers line (1) and (2) kids are always getting into stuff, so "keeping stuff out" of their toe shoes seems like a good idea.
Though my daughter is only one (Today, actually, Happy Birthday Avi!) and I plan to keep her barefoot as much as possible, certain questions about the Kids KSO readily come to mind:
- What sizes will they be available in? Sizes: 29-34, which is the US equivalent of T11.5-Y3.5
- How much will they cost? Retail $60
- Won't my kids feet grow out of them quickly? If I had to guess, I'd say "yes!" though this is really a problem for most kids shoes. Buy them too big and you risk your kid tripping up and falling. Buy them just right and they end up being too small quickly. It's a quandary!
- Will my school let my kid wear them? Impossible to answer this one, but I think the bigger problem might be that they could cause such a stir from being so freakishly cool that teachers might ban them. Like slap bracelets. Let's hope not though.
- Some unforeseen event and/or unintended consequences ...
Kids are unpredictable — you just don't know what kind of crazy stuff they'll get into when left to their devices — which makes Vibram's decision here pretty bold in my opinion. For that reason, I applaud them for taking a chance on a VFF line for children and I really hope it works well. I wish I had had some Kids KSOs when I was eight!
What say you? Sound off in the comments here!