As soon as I put one foot into the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSports I knew they were going to be good. They are designed to be an all purpose running/cross training VFF. I’ve been hiking, trail running, and doing Crossfit in them for two months now and I’m hooked. I even hiked to the top of Yosemite’s Half Dome in them and would do it again in a heartbeat.
The design of the KomodoSports doesn’t come across as sleek as some of the lace-up VFFs, but for a Velcro system they’re not too bad. My pair are light gray and black with some lime green highlighting in between the toes. There’s a mini honeycomb pattern on the straps with subtle areas of reflective tape (in the shape of three lines). I’d say they come across more techie than anything.
Materials and Construction
Fabric and Comfort — These are the most comfortable VFFs I’ve ever worn. This is a KSO (keep stuff out) model so the entire foot in enclosed. The upper is super stretchy and forms amazingly well to my foot. The interior is extremely soft and porous.
Footbed — There’s a soft 2mm seamless footbed that appears to be removable but it is partially glued in. I haven’t taken it out since it looks like it might destroy the fabric in there. They fit me perfect with the footbed, so I haven’t had a need to remove it. It looks just like the footbed in the Vibram KomodoSport LS that I reviewed (The "LS" is the laced model of the KomodoSport).
Closure — There are two Velcro straps. One across the top and one around the back of the heel.
Outsole — The tread on the bottom is the exact same as the KomodoSport LS. It’s low profile yet robust. The design is good for all purpose use for everything from off-road trails to concrete.
Weight — They are very lightweight at a mere combined weight of 10.3 ounces via my postal scale.
Cleaning — My VFFs usually get extremely dirty from the trails. I’ve thrown them in the wash several times (with the insert) and they came out looking like brand new. They just need a few hours to completely dry.
Fit, Feel and Performance
The Vibram KomodoSports fit true to (FiveFingers) size. I wear a size 38 and they fit me perfect. Not too small, not too big. There’s enough room for my toes to breathe and expand in there which is important. I haven’t had any pain or hot spots after breaking them in. The first few days I took these out for a run I had a small problem with my big toes. There seemed to be some excess fabric in there from the upper seam causing some red marks and minor pain. It felt like a blister wanted to form, but it never did. It eventually went away after a few runs on the trail. Guess they just needed a little breaking in.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how much I try to tighten the heel strap there is always a very small opening around the back of the foot. Small pebbles and dirt tend to fly into the heel cup causing some friction. Also, as time goes on and the fabric stretches, I’ve had to tighten the strap around the heel more and more causing it to almost overshoot the loop area to secure it. The end of the strap hangs about halfway off but it hasn’t been a problem so far, it still stays secure. Eventually, I may have to perform surgery on the Velcro and sew it to a new spot. These things haven’t deterred me from wearing them though. It’s more of an annoyance than anything.
Feel/Performance — As for the performance, I couldn’t be happier with the results. Even though the tread is a little more rigid than say the Sprints, I still get great ground feel and dexterity. It’s definitely in that Goldilocks zone between the Sprints and the Treks. Just like the KomodoSport LS, the soles have amazing traction and I can turn on a dime on asphalt. As expected since this style is enclosed, it does wear a little hotter than the open style of the Sprints. There are some breathable areas on the top of the shoe and porous fabric on the inside to help the heat escape.
Hiking Half Dome
I put the tread to the ultimate grip test. I know these weren’t meant to be the ultimate trekking FiveFingers, but they did an amazing job and I wouldn’t do this hike in anything other than VFFs. Yosemite’s Half Dome was an intense 17-mile day hike taking around 10.5 hours to climb up to 8,800 feet in elevation. In the beginning there are an endless amount of rocky stairs that run alongside some massive waterfalls, then it turns into a regular dirt trail through the forest.
The final 400 feet to the top is the most famous thing about this climb. It’s an ascent on solid granite on about a 45 degree angle while holding onto nothing but two steel cables. It’s definitely dangerous if you are not careful and don’t have the proper gear. I saw people slipping and struggling in their boots at this steep angle, but my KomodoSports didn’t slip once. I was amazed at how well my soles gripped the granite. I felt like a gecko. The whole time people were asking me how I liked my shoes and wished that they had worn VFFs too! (Disclaimer: Don’t do this hike without training or knowing your limitations . . . it’s tough!)
I’m addicted. I throw them on for any type of workout because they do everything so well and are extremely comfortable. Don’t be afraid to use them at the gym, running on trails, hiking/trekking, and for cross training, they can handle it. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear these again for even longer and more intense hikes than Half Dome too. My feet love the KomodoSports and I’ll probably wear them until they fall apart!
Pros and Cons
- Extremely soft and comfortable
- Grippy tread for all terrain
- Flexible toes and material
- Porous interior
- Easy to wash
- Perfect all purpose Vibram FiveFingers
- Wears slightly hotter
- Pebbles fly into back of heel on occasion
- Velcro strap around the back overshoots the area to secure it by about halfway
- Not as attractive as some of the other Vibrams
KomodoSport vs. KomodoSport LS
When deciding between the two, it's really a matter of personal taste and what you will mainly be using them for.
If I were to choose one over the other I'd pick the KomodoSport not for looks, but mainly because I'd feel more comfortable wearing them on longer trail runs and big hikes (which I do more of). There's less chance of debris getting into the top of the shoe since they don't have any laces. They also have the adjustable strap that goes around the back of the heel, which I like.
The LS definitely looks better, but I think they are best for going to the gym, cross training, and for short runs and not necessarily for higher mileage on dirt trails. Since the tongue is not gusseted, they may be prone to getting more debris trapped inside the laces.
It's hard to choose only one since they are both fantastic cross training VFFs. They're built with the exact same outsoles and are both extremely soft and comfortable...
Essentially, it just boils down to aesthetics and fit.