Vibram FiveFingers Jaya LR Review
I have to say I wasn’t sold on the Jaya LR at first. Why spend the money on a pair of VFFs that can’t do everything that your KomodoSports can do? After giving them a shot, I can see why I'd buy them. The Jaya LR is an awesome secondary pair to have for activities like low impact weight training, yoga, exercising at home, or even walking around a campsite. Perfect for when you don't need something so robust.
Read the full review after the jump!
Looks and Design
Since they don’t have any straps or laces, they definitely look like slippers to me. There’s a leather stripe pattern that runs from each of the toes all the way to the back of the heel. It’s not as noticeable on my all black pair as much as it is on some of the the lighter colors that they come in. This may add just a little bit of extra protection to the top of the foot, but I think it's mostly just for looks.
My black and yellow pair remind me of a bumblebee with the yellow spotted design on the bottom of the outsole. Buzz. Buzz.
Materials and Construction
Upper — Stretch polyamide with leather overlays and slight perforation at the back of the heel for ventilation. It’s simple, stretchy, and hugs my foot perfectly.
Sole — It’s a 5.5mm EVA outsole that is more flexible and not as rigid as some other models like the FiveFingers KomodoSport (or LS). It has a distinct pattern made up of simple contact points. One on the heel, five oval ones on the forefoot, and one small oval one on each toe. Each one is made up of a series of small holes ranging from 1 to 2mm in diameter.
The simplistic design is nice since you don’t need all the added protection for low-impact activities. The thinner outsole allows for greater flexibility, more ground feel, and it even lightens the overall weight.
Footbed — It’s made of a soft antimicrobial microfiber. You can throw the entire shoe in the washing machine to clean it and let it air dry.
Weight — These are one of the lightest models of VFFs available. My women’s size 38 weighs 3.4oz. each (6.8oz. pair). Good to know for packing light.
My 38 fits true to size. Since they’re slip on, they have a more relaxed fit than the adjustable VFFs. There seems to be a little more room in the back of the heel
area so they could be prone to slipping right off if they don’t fit right. They don’t have an extra layer of soft perforated fabric on the inside like the KomodoSports do, but even without it they’re very comfortable. The upper polyamide is stretchy and forms well to the top of my foot. Also, I haven’t felt any hot spots and my toes have plenty of room to move around.
Feel and Performance
Due to the simplicity of the design, I didn’t think the Jaya LR would perform as well as it does. I wouldn’t go running in them or anything (I need something adjustable), but I’ve worn them for all kinds of low-impact activities like going on short walks, light weight lifting at home, yoga, and throwing them on to get the mail. This is essentially what they were made for.
When I first put them on, I could immediately tell that these have a lot more flexibility than a robust VFF like the KomodoSports. My foot and toes can flex a lot more since the outsole isn’t as thick and rigid (check out the photo where I folded them in half). The KomodoSports feel more rigid throughout the entire length of the foot whereas the Jaya LR allows for a little more range of motion. I can move my toes completely which is a nice change.
I’ve been throwing them on for my less intense indoor workouts and quick two mile walks and they’ve exceeded my expectations every time. I thought they would slide right off the back of my heel, but they haven’t at all. I’ve been doing all kinds of exercises like squats, kettle bell swings, push ups, sit ups, and even jumping rope in them.
I’m surprised at how great the traction is even though they don’t have a wild tread pattern. They grip really well on asphalt and I can walk the dirt trails just fine. I also feel a little more connected to the ground like I do in the Sprints. What surprised me the most was that they actually have awesome traction on carpet too! I’m able to do yoga right on my floor without having my feet slip ... it's perfect. If you’re using a yoga mat, you get twice the amount of grip as you do with just your bare feet. That could be a good or a bad thing since the mat may tend to get really bunched up! The only place I slid a little is on hardwood flooring ... but it wasn’t even much at all.
The Jaya LR is perfect if you’re looking for a comfortable VFF with a more relaxed fit. Think of it as a slipper with great traction. They’re great for when you want something simple that you can throw on for walking the dog, light workouts at home, yoga, stretching, or to just change into at camp after a hike. It would also be good for those who want to strengthen their feet or slowly transition over to VFFs. I’m not one to hit the grocery store in them, but hey, you could definitely do that, too.
- Great for low-impact activities
- Easy to put on
- Greater range of motion in the toes
- Great traction and connection to the ground
- Come in lots of different color combos
- They may be prone to falling off the back of your heel if they don’t fit properly