"They feel like I have a toe massage ... well not when I first got them, they stung a little when I first got them."
What follows is a guest review by a new blogger for BirthdayShoes — Alex! Alex has been testing out Vibram's KSO Kids FiveFingers for the past month or two and despite some adjustment (the "stinging") now would recommend them to his friends. Photos, video review by Alex (best review in months!), more after the jump!
Video Review KSO Kids FiveFingers
Note from Alex's dad (The interviewer above): In the video review, Alex and I erroneously mentioned that the soles aren't non-marking, but according to the Vibram website, the soles of the children's KSOs are non-marking. That's means they are good to go for tennis or basketball courts.
Review of the KSO Kids FiveFingers by Alex's Dad, Geoff
As a parent who drags my children along with me on all sorts of adventures, my two favorite things about kid's Vibrams are their weight and their performance.
The Vibrams weigh about 5.5 ounces — that's nearly half the weight of a typical pair of kid's shoes. That means my seven year old son Alex can cover a lot more ground — and I mean noticeably more — before he's worn out.
Regarding performance, most children's shoes are climbing impediments, but in his Vibrams, Alex is able to scamper up and over all sorts of things (trees, boulders, kitchen cabinets) that he'd normally prefer to tackle barefoot. He's also more agile — I may be imagining it, but he seems to have far fewer trips and falls while wearing his Vibrams than while in his heftier footwear.
The Vibrams are not without their challenges: Alex experienced the same irksome rubbing on the tops of his feet that a lot of people seem to have with a new pair of Vibrams (he described it as "stinging" in the video). Also, when he first got them, Alex had a difficult time getting them on. Even with my help, it was a challenge. The first time around, we spent an uncomfortable 15 minutes trying to shove each toe in its proper slot. Alex couldn't do it on his own until at least the fourth or fifth wearing, and he couldn't do it quickly until very recently. As he mentioned in the video, this was initially a problem at school, where he often needs to take shoes off and put them back on.
If you get these for your child, I'd encourage you to refrain from sending him or her off to school in them until the discomfort has gone away and he or she has mastered putting them on. If your child wears them everyday, that may take a week.
A more lasting negative is one that the Vibrams share with all kids' shoes: I don't know how long he'll fit in a pair. He's been in these about two months, and he may have another three or four months before he outgrows them. This is especially painful when, at $60, they cost about 50% more than the play shoes we'd normally buy for him.
Sizing and Being a Super Hero in Toe Shoes
If you are ordering some children's KSOs online, they seem to run true-to-size.
Lastly, when other children notice the FiveFingers, expect your child to be elevated to super hero status. Children think these things are amazing. This is actually a small problem in our home, as Vibram doesn't have a size that fits my four year old daughter. She's a pretty good sport about it, but whenever Alex dons his, she'll wistfully remark, "Someday, I'll be big enough to have my own Vibrams."
About the authors — Geoff is the founder of GuildQuality and an Atlanta-native who has put over 500 miles on his bare feet running around Atlanta. Geoff organizes barefoot runs in Atlanta via meet-up. If you're local to ATL, check out his site FreeYourFeet.org. Alex is a growing seven year old who has just begun a career in blogging!