FiveFingers sizing

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How to determine the right size via measuring your foot

The appropriate starting point for selecting the correct size for the various Vibram FiveFingers models, aside from just trying on every size until finding one that fits, is to measure the length of your feet at the longest point from heel to longest toe on your largest foot. This measurement must be made standing up as feet are at their maximal length when they are fully weighted.

Below (as taken from the sizing chart below) are Vibram's measurement instructions[1]:

Measured in inches

  1. Stand with your heels flush against a flat vertical wall.
  2. Slide a ruler under each foot and measure the distance from the wall to the tip of the longest toe.
  3. Take the longer of the two foot measurements.
  4. If the foot length varies more than 1/6 in. it will be difficult to get a precise fit for both feet.
  5. If your second toe is more than 1/6 in. longer than your big toe it may be difficult to get a precise fit.

Once you have your longer measurement, match it to the chart above and that's the best place to start. Note that the same size does not apply across genders or across all models. Also, though it is generally recommended that if you are between sizes you should size up, that's just a rule of thumb and may not work in all cases.

This is the sizing chart from Vibramfivefingers.com. It matches foot length to fivefingers size for men and women based for Classic, Sprint, KSO, KSO Trek, Moc, Performa, and Flow models. [1].

Getting sized at a local retailer

This is the big red foot you'll find at your local FiveFingers retailer.  You can use this to figure out your size, though users have reported mixed results.
Even if you plan on going to a local retailer to get sized, you would be well-served by familiarizing yourself with the FiveFingers sizing chart above, and predetermining your size.

Though Vibram trains local retailers on how to properly size FiveFingers, some shoe store employees often fail to realize that there are differences in sizes depending on gender (Male and Female FiveFingers sizes do not correspond with foot lengths) and depending on model (You may be one size in KSOs and another in Classics).

If you go to get sized at a local retailer, said retailer should be equipped with the "big red foot" (see image), which is a Vibram FiveFingers-specific shoe sizing tool. You can place your feet in this measuring device and follow the lines left or right to your gender and size. Note that users have reported mixed results with this device and this device does not take into consideration variations in sizes between models.

Okay I think I found my size, but how should it feel?

Most importantly, your toes should not be pressing against the end of any toe pockets. If you can feel your toe pushing on the end of a toe pocket, you should consider sizing up. If you see your toes bending within any toe pockets, you should consider sizing up. The general rule of thumb is that your toes should be right behind the toe pocket.

Additional Sizing Considerations

Differences between models

Generally, FiveFingers can be broken into two categories:

  • those FiveFingers models that expose the top of the foot:
    • FiveFingers Sprint
    • FiveFingers Classic
    • FiveFingers Moc
    • FiveFingers Performa
    • FiveFingers Performa Jane
  • those FiveFingers models that enclose the top of the foot in a fixed manner:
    • FiveFingers KSO
    • FiveFingers Flow
    • FiveFingers KSO Trek
    • FiveFingers Bikila
    • FiveFingers Speed, Flow Trek (Europe only)
    • FiveFingers Trek Sport (Fall 2010)
    • FiveFingers Surge - discontinued

Due to the variation in feet, including the height of the arch, girth of the foot, etc., models that enclose the top of the foot make sizing and fit more complicated, particularly for those individuals who feet aren't "average" in shape. Also, be aware that there are reports of sizing discrepancies among different colored KSO models.

Gender differences

The numerical sizes for FiveFingers differ between genders. For example, a size 42 in men's Classic FiveFingers is not the same as a size 42 in women's Classic FiveFingers. You can determine if any particular pair of FiveFingers is men's or women's by locating the alphanumeric combination underneath the big toe of the sole; this will either have an M or a W (Read with toes pointing to the sky). "M" denotes men's and "W" denotes women's. Be aware that not all retail store employees realize this and may attempt to convince you that numerical sizes are the same across genders. They are not!

Women's FiveFingers models are more narrow than men's models. Per communications with Vibram USA regarding sizing differences between the male and female models of FiveFingers, the following response was received[2]:

[T]he woman’s shoe have a more narrow fit in the heel and the ball of the foot. The men’s widths are wider.

Despite the difference in width across genders, many have tried on sizes or purchased FiveFingers sized for the other gender (e.g. men trying women's sizes and vice versa). From these experiences and observations, it is generally concluded that sizes are interchangeable.

Granting the interchangeability between genders, there is increased ability to get a more precise fit if one is willing to ignore whether a pair of FiveFingers is intended for men or women. For example, if a male foot measured 9 7/8" at the longest point, and he wished to wear Classic FiveFingers, he would be between sizes: either a 38 or 39 per the Vibram chart[1]. However, if he is willing to wear a pair of women's Classic FiveFingers, he could try size 41, which would match precisely to his foot length.

For more information on differences between male and female models of FiveFingers, see Gender Differences Among FiveFingers Models

Wide feet

Aside from gender differences in width (see above), there are no additional sizes available for wide feet. However, due to the flexible, non-rigid nature of the FiveFingers design, it has been reported that individuals with wide feet are able to fit in regular FiveFingers without problem. From one such individual[3]

I normally hang glide (4000+ flights, 2009 US National team member) barefoot, but I can't in Australia and west Texas where the terrain is too harsh. I went to Scheels in Sparks, Nevada to check out wrestling shoes (I needed small thin soles to fit in the hang gliding harness), but they didn't have EE widths. The shoe sales guy brought me wrestling shoes, then said try these (KSO Five Fingers) when it was clear that the wrestling shoes were too tight. Five Fingers fit great right away and felt great.

Morton's toe (Second toe longer than first)

Morton's toe, also called "long toe," is a condition where the longest toe is not the biggest toe (See this wikipedia entry for more information on Morton's toe). Though the FiveFingers design follows the more common footprint whereby the second toe is as long as or less long than the big toe, VFFs can accommodate Morton's toe: the size selected simply needs to accommodate your longest toe. In fact, Vibram USA's CEO Tony Post apparently has Morton's Toe but is able to wear (and run in) FiveFingers[4]

Unusual feet/toes, high arches, tall feet

high arches
The more atypical your feet, the more likely you will need to try on a pair of FiveFingers in order to determine:
  • the correct size for your feet
  • if a given model will fit your feet

If you have high arches or tall feet, note that closed-top models may be harder to fit properly as the upper fabric may feel tighter against your foot. Here is an example of what high arches or high instep may look like in profile:


Sizing for socks

In most situations, there is no need to change sizing to accommodate for wearing five-toed socks (e.g. injinjis) with FiveFingers[5]. However, if you find that your FiveFingers already have a very snug fit, toe socks may make your VFFs too small. Also, if you find you are between sizes and size down, socks may make your VFFs too tight.

Ordering online

See tips on ordering FiveFingers online.


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Sizing chart taken from vibramFiveFingers.com as of 12/17/2009
  2. See this FAQ postAre VFFs any different between gender styles? at the birthdayshoes.com blog
  3. See the birthdayshoes interview with Davis Straub
  4. See the FAQ post on Morton's Toe at the birthdayshoes.com blog
  5. See MC's sizing and fit review at begin2dig.com

--Justin 20:53, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

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