CEO Tony Post talks about the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Women’s KSO Trek, Increased Production, and Sales Growth

A round-up of the recent update from Vibram USA CEO Tony Post on Five Fingers product availability (manufacturing, shipping, inventory, and restocking), sales growth, and the upcoming Vibram Bikila, and the Performa Jane

Above, two previously unseen stock photos of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in grey/red for men and grey/bright green for women!

05.06.10 – The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out!

The CEO of Vibram USA Tony Post published a note on facebook yesterday concerning “Product Availability, the Bikila, and What’s Next.” Good stuff from the super nice You may recall meeting Mr. Post last summer when he gave an impromptu interview at Vibram HQ to Raw Food World.

Anyway, go read Tony’s message, or just check the highlights:

On the Availability of Vibram Five Fingers

  • Vibram does not constrain supply to create more demand! (Contrary to some speculation!)
  • Vibram has recently opened two new Five Fingers factories; what more, two more are in the works.
  • Vibram is now flying new inventory from China to speed delivery (rather than shipping it by boat I assume)
  • Five Fingers are restocked to retailers first, then at Vibram’s own webshop. This is why it’s a rare day you’ll find product available at in stock (Hopefully, having a virtual storefront that lists major online retailers of Five Fingers will help VFFers find their shoes)

On the massive Growth of the Five Fingers line

Tony writes, “As we close the first quarter of 2010, we will have shipped 6X as much product as we did last year at this time (which, by the way, was 3X more than the year before). For Q2 we are set up to receive and ship nearly 10X as much product as we did last year.”

Let’s do the math: So way back in Q1 2008, if Vibram shipped 10,000 pairs of VFFs (this is just a number pulled out of thin air), that was 30,000 pairs in Q1 2009, and 180,000 pairs in Q1 2010.

That’s 1800% growth in two years! Meanwhile, if I’m reading this right, in Q2 2010 alone they’re going to ship 10X as many VFFs as in all of 2009! That is a lot of Vibram Five Fingers!

On the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila

I’ve gone on the record as guessing the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila would be here by mid-April. Tony Post says, “Look for the new Bikila to start hitting the first stores in late April.”

I’m an optimist, so I’m still hoping for mid-April in some stores, but now it’s just a matter of wait and see.

As for initial demand, apparently Vibram is flying over the first 25,000 pairs of Bikila. Bank on them disappearing off of shelves everywhere almost immediately.

Update on the women’s KSO Trek Five Fingers!

A stock photo of the Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek for women!

A stock photo of the Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek for women!

After a clamor of support from VFF fans, Vibram greenlighted production of the Five Fingers KSO Trek for women.

Though the goal on the KSO Trek for women and small-footed men was late March, looks like women’s KSO Treks won’t be available until May.

Hey Justin,
I passed this billboard on I-75 North of Gainesville last week and finally got a picture today. I may call this place and ask about when they will get the Bikilas.

Update on the women’s Five Fingers Performa Jane

The women’s fivefingers Performa Jane coming in 2010 is a styled and strapped version of the (available now!) Vibram fivefingers Performa.

It’s been a bit quiet on the Sprint-meets-Performa VFF Performa Jane, which was first mentioned here way back in early October, but apparently, the svelte kangaroo leather, indoor-only Mary Jane of the Vibram line will be available next month — I probably will not be testing it!

So what do we take from all of this?

Tony Post’s post was jam-packed full of information for the VFF fan community. It is mind-boggling to hear some basic quantification of the growth in the Vibram Five Fingers line, and as production has been massively scaled up, a few fans have been concerned about quality control. I can’t imagine the logistical, supply chain quandary that is scaling your business 2000% in two years.

Suffice to say there are a lot more free feet out there — the Five Fingers Facebook fan page has 36K fans! Five Fingers just may be going mainstream. Indeed, one new retailer has put up a highway billboard near Gainesville, Florida.

The excitement and buzz around Vibram Five Fingers grows — there’s a lot going on. What say the community?

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

13 replies on “CEO Tony Post talks about the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila, Women’s KSO Trek, Increased Production, and Sales Growth”

Well hopefully birthdayshoes members will be able to get the bulk of the bikilas. Assuming some retailers allow for pre-orders, I won’t be surprised if stock sells out before the plane lands.

Which I knew how Vibram was going to distribute them, ie the larger resellers of will there be some portions allotted to the smaller outlets.

I wouldn’t count on too many pre-orders here stateside (at least not online), but who knows — if there are, folks will definitely hear about it here.

I’m on TWO different waiting lists for Bikilas. I said go to your current local distributor and asked if they could add your name to list of people wanting a pair to get the first call. I’m in Charlotte, NC, i know they are going fly out the stores whne they arrive. If orders arrive during working hours, count on me getting “sick” in order to get the first pair & avoiding the chaos 🙂 Both stores know me enough to call me at work & give me th eheads up… I’m still waiting Vibram!!!

As more and more people get into the minimalist running movement I think a how to transition guide is essential for five fingers. I personally know 2 people who tried to switch after seeing my success only to get injured. If all stores that sold five fingers paired them with a guide it would save a lot of injury ridden futures of runners. Justin have you thought about putting your guide on the market? I think it would go perfectly with a new pair of vff’s. As would a copy of Born to Run, haha, but I’m guessing most people buying vff’s already have that.

There have definitely been quality problems. I had to return no less than three pairs of women’s black VFF KSOs for defects before finally getting a good pair. My friends who bought before the boom had no such problems.

Anyone who is buying VFFs now should buy in person at a store with experience fitting them and a good return policy, if at all possible. Then wear them for a good solid hour indoors while checking for fit problems: discomfort from rubbing seams, too short toe pockets, and any twists, folds or other issues caused by sewing or gluing defects. Staying indoors for your tryout makes the shoes much easier to return, especially if you leave the tags on.

I ran into the following defects: poorly sewn toe pockets that made at least one pocket too short and caused it to twist and pull up; sole pieces glued incorrectly, causing a buckle on the side of the shoe (painful!); seams badly trimmed and glued into a raised lump (also painful!); one pair with fabric tops that were either for a smaller size or were sewn on with too generous as seam allowance, making them noticeably tighter than other shoes of the same size.

The salespeople at the store where I buy them are now telling customers that each pair is different and they should try on several in the same size before choosing one. That’s good advice.

Wen, would you mind sharing which stores you know will have them? I’ve been told by a friend that Charlotte Running Co will have them. What other stores should I keep my eye on?

Why isn’t Vibram looking to start manufacturing these shoes in the US. Flying them from China sounds really bad. I would really like Vibram start up some factories in the states and be more conscious and sustainable about their business.
My first pair of VFF will arrive tomorrow!!

I noted one NC post. REI in Durham (but not Cary or Raleigh) carries VFFs and combined with their members (you need to be a member, great deal) return policy I have navigated into a wonderful pair of Sprints (away from KSOs due to my preference).
I returned one pair for a gluing issue but most of the rubbing/blistering I have encountered is from my funky newbie form.
Luckily (I guess) for me I can’t buy another pair until September so maybe availablity will be easier by then.

Just ordered my new ‘Killas’ from City Sports in
Manhattan. I agree with Atilla the Pagen- Tony, if you’re reading this- please start making these shoes in the U.S. I for one would be happy to pay a little extra for that(I mean I’m already paying $100+ for about 3 or 4 dollars worth of plastic and fibers) And I’ll speak for most of us in saying that we’d also love to see the FF’s come in organic and/or recycled materials. But make them here! Doesn’t take long for a backlash in THIS community. I’m just sayin’…

I have multiple pairs and love them I have the brown sawed ones also I wondered if you are going to get any casual dress styles. I also wanted to know if you could make agood sticky soul one for chefs in black I would be your test dummy. I have a design concept for a pair I would like to share with you.


Matthew Smith.

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