Comment from: dirk verelst [Visitor]
dirk verelst

The blue orange looks kinda cool, but if this is a shoe that is even stiffer than regular Trek shoes, no thanks... I think the Trek LS already does quite a good job for rainy weather...

10/17/12 @ 16:09
Comment from: Edh [Visitor]

I need a pair of water resistant VFFs as my Komodo LS are useless when it rains. I'd like to see the Lontra LS and decide between the two. The regular Lontra holds no interest for me.

These look good, like the brown/yellow combo.

Good review. Thanks for dunking them to test water resistance.

Maybe a better real world test is to put on some gray or tan Injnji socks, pit the shoes on, stand in 1 inch of water, then see how wet the socks are when you take the shoes off.

10/17/12 @ 16:30
Comment from: [Member]


I guess the added pressure of standing in the shoes might degrade the water permeability and the toe socks would help show water in the shoes (if any), I'll tell you straight up -- no water got in these from this testing (and I actually tested it twice, once per shoe -- first video was messed up!).

Thanks for the feedback!


10/17/12 @ 16:32
Comment from: EdH [Visitor]

Yes Justin. The other thing the socks would show if there was any water anywhere, like on the very edge of the 3rd toe for example.

Just a thought for the next review.

Meanwhile, I guess I will have to wait. Did a quick check and no one that I can find has the XC in brown size 43.

Not a huge deal for me just yet, but I'd like to get them before holiday travels. That is normally when I have to deal with rain. Living in SoCal, not so much. :-)

10/17/12 @ 17:07
Comment from: I want the navy but [Visitor]  
I want the navy but

I really want a pair of the navy xc's but I don't want to commit until I know if they come with extra laces. It would be awesome if they had a set of orange laces.

10/17/12 @ 18:42
Comment from: water? proof! [Visitor]
water? proof!

my guesses about why vibram used the trek's sole is, well, hmmm, because:
1. it's a very practical outdoorish sole
2. they just got stuck with many trek spare soles

10/17/12 @ 19:02
Comment from: Steve [Visitor]

The Speed XC looks better than the Lontra's IMO, and I think i will be picking up a pair! Blue/Orange for me.

Interesting to read your comments re the Trek sole.. I don't find the sole uncomfortable at all (and I regularly run in Speeds, Seeyas and Trek LS). I think the Trek sole is the perfect fit for these shoes for running in slippery conditions and mild trail use.

10/17/12 @ 19:46
Comment from: Dylan [Visitor]


The only reason the Trek sole is used is that it offers the most thermal protection so making it the best option for colder climates. With 4mm of EVA and 4mm of rubber it creates the best thermal barrier, very focuses shoe for cold wet climates.

10/18/12 @ 01:16
Comment from: Mr. Leigh [Visitor]
Mr. Leigh

I prefer the look of the Speed XC over the Lontra, but I doubt either of these will be for me. I am not a fan of the Trek sole. The water resistance would be a nice feature for rainy days, but I currently use Vivo Barefoot Hydrophobic mesh for those instances.

10/18/12 @ 10:40
Comment from: Kirk [Visitor]  

I have a pair of Speed XCs that I received the day after they came out.

I have worn them in 30 degree, wet weather with mud and light snow, and in 45 degree weather with brisk (20+MPH sustained) winds and rain while running a 1/2 marathon.

I really like them. They keep the cold out admirably well, are easy to wear, and are comfortable. And while the Trek sole is something of a behemoth, especially fresh out of the box, it absolutely excels when one's running enters rugged terrain with a lot of rock and gravel.

During more serious cold weather, I will probably wear my Lontra pair more, but the Speed XC is so easy to get on (the Lontra, for my feet, is NOT), and comfortable, that I can see mine getting worn very heavily this winter, especially when I am running.

10/18/12 @ 14:17
Comment from: Gene [Visitor]

Kirk: I'm curious about your fit for both XC and Lontra. Justin said he was on the edge of recommending going up a size on the XC because they were a hair too tight, but then he decided that they worked just fine. How was your fit for each one?

10/19/12 @ 01:09
Comment from: ?_the_riddler_? [Visitor]

how many chinese factory workers does it take to make one pair of vibram FIVE fingers....?

10/20/12 @ 04:22
Comment from: spray&forget [Visitor]

there's some water-proofing SPRAYS for shoes. spray any shoe to get a water proof layer. woun't last forever but give it another good spray and you're good. a nice option for people looking for a fair solution giving the fact their shoes weren't "born" water-proof.
guess it works like paint varnishes-
but since your shoes get scraches, tears and bumps (and paintings usally don't),
this material needs to be re-applied.

and justing-thanks for that initial
review. it's rich in images, covers
anything you could think of- great!

10/20/12 @ 12:34
Comment from: Justin_P [Visitor]

I *love* the Trek soles. I think these will be great for trail running in the mountains! Especially in the winter (in Northern California) when it's rainy.

10/23/12 @ 12:23
Comment from: chad [Visitor]

Just started wearing the speed xc in navy. They did not come with an extra pair of laces (bought from REI). They are a bit stiffer, and I wear them all day long in the hospital - so 8 to 10 hours at a stretch. They felt a lot better on day 2 - but still need some breaking in - unlike my other pairs. And for me they actually seemed a little bit bigger than my others in M43 - so the opposite as Justin described - but still feel great - this is correct size for me - going up or down would not work. I wear a 43 across the board (the only pair that are a little snug are my smartwool classics). I also wear these with injinji socks - again since i wear them for work. It is the start of rainy season in Northern Cali - so they will get daily wear. The navy goes a lot better with anything I might wear for work. My feet are definitely warmer than anything else that I wear - and after a days wear my socks were fine - they were not moist at all - since there is more insulation and less breathability. But again - this is just after a few days of wear.

10/23/12 @ 14:34
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

@Gene, I would agree with @chad. The Speed XC, if anything, runs a little big. I normally upsize my shoes, because of my foot shape, but I think I probably upsized too much with my Speed XC pair. On the other hand, the Lontra is quite snug, and if I had not upsized as much as I did, I would be unable to wear them.

For reference, by the sizing chart, I'm an M40, but most of my shoes are M42, especially if I intend to wear them with socks. I have a pair of M41 KomodoSport shoes that are comfortable and well broken in (the tread has worn smooth in places), and they fit like a sock already, so wearing socks with them gets snug. With the Speed XCs, though, I'm sure that I could have gone with an M41.

10/23/12 @ 15:52
Comment from: [Member]


I wonder if arches have anything to do with this -- do you consider yourself to have a high arch or instep? I could see this making certain VFFs with less expandable uppers (than say the Speed XCs) feel snugger.

10/23/12 @ 16:12
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

@Justin, it's completely a consequence of having a high instep. Some VFFs work better with that than others.

Anything with laces works fine, though I have to cut out the speed lace system and replace it with normal laces, as they speed laces just aren't long enough. The shoes with straps, though, are more tricky.

The KomodoSport works well with a high instep. The Trek is more challenging. I cut the strap off because it wasn't long enough, but the material, after a little break-in, is comfortable, secure, and fits well to my foot.

10/23/12 @ 16:54
Comment from: Gene [Visitor]

@Kirk & Justin
I have a really high arch and short blocky toes. The sizing chart puts me at W38, but W39 is a perfect fit with Bikila & KomodoSport. KSO's in W38 were real snug at first, but they stretched to fit quite nicely. I tend to like the snug fitting no-socks look. The thing is, I really don't like most of the women's colorways. So I'm always on the lookout for M40's that fit real snug. I may have a shot at Lontra M40, but it's looking like I'll have to go with XC W39 or W38. The XC will be perfect for work - if I can deal with the colorway.

10/24/12 @ 01:17
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]  
Kirk Haines

The one saving grace is that the women's Speed XC design aesthetic has relatively muted color selections, compared to most of the shoes in the "women's" sizes.

10/24/12 @ 07:30
Comment from: Gene [Visitor]

You're right about the saving grace on women's Speed XC. And that will be the ticket for my purchase as soon as it's available.
Justin, your reviews continue to be the best I've seen for any footwear product. And I'm glad we got you for all the scoops on VFF's!

10/24/12 @ 14:10
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]

I've had the Speed XC for a few weeks. They fit my wide bunioned feet much better than the original Speed. In these I can wear the appropriate length, whereas in the Speed, (and only the Speed), I have to wear a size larger to accommodate my foot width.

I dislike the knobiness of the Trek sole, and would far prefer that these use the same sole as the Spyridon. On trails the knobiness is fine, (not that it helps any, and it has no traction on rock or wet logs), but it's uncomfortable walking on hard floors or sidewalks (which is probably where these will get the most use).

For wet or snowy trails I'll probably use the Lontra with its tight-fitting gaiter-like neoprene cuff. In my experience, low cut waterproof shoes typically end up full of water which is then trapped inside the shoe.

I wore them a few days ago when I spent a quiet day sitting at a meeting. After a couple of hours my feet felt too warm even though the air was cool enough that I wore a jacket.

Wetness from perspiration when doing multi-hour mountain hikes is a potential concern. Eventually I'll test this, but until the weather deteriorates I'll continue to use a pair of the Spyridon.

10/25/12 @ 19:38
Comment from: A C C [Visitor]

Wow, looks like Vibram finally has their "muted" colorways fixed up a bit...but there's still a yellow accent. Nothing a black sharpie, black laces like the Vibram website one, and some dirtying up won't fix I guess. For some reason they always make the sole a different color than the upper. Trek LS/Bormio still are at the top of casual VFFs. Sorrentos aren't available in the USA.

Is it me or does it look brown instead of dark grey?

As I emailed them last time about the Bormio/Trek LS having the Trek sole the only reason it is used is because of the better thermal insulation due to having less ground contact. dylan posted about it earlier, see above.

Personally I feel a Spyridon Sole with 2mm thermal insulation instead of the coconut mesh probably would have better ground feel. Seems all their casuals are Trek soled.

10/31/12 @ 15:47
Comment from: passanis [Visitor]

Would love advice from the community here. I would like to purchase a pair of Vibrams for hiking. I love the sole on my Speeds but feel they are a little thin for hiking terrain, plus I hate getting my feet wet when crossing streams and mud puddles. I've been anxiously awaiting the Trek Pros but I'm wondering if these would work well for hiking. I'm also open to the old model Trek but thought the water resistance was worth waiting for. Thanks.

P.S.- I don't like the look of the Lontras so I have crossed them off my list.

11/05/12 @ 20:45
Comment from: EdH [Visitor]

Definitely brown. I just got mine and immediately swapped out the laces for the yellow. Looks good.

Justin is right about the size. I wear most VFFs in a 43, except the Mocs (44) and KSO Treks (42). I got 43 and they are fine for walking around in as that is all ill do in them. No running in these for me - prefer my Luna sandals.

I needed something that would keep my feet dry as my Komodos sure don't.

If I was running in them though, I'd have returned for a 44. The extra packing for the water resistance makes it tighter overall.

That said, these are fine and I love the look, and the real laces vs the stretchy string on othe LS models,

11/05/12 @ 21:06
Comment from: Tyler [Visitor]


I'm right there with you; I spend a great deal of time outdoors hiking off-trail + scampering through streambeds. For me, the trek sole is essential - period. The Bikila/thinner soles simply are not durable enough for underbrush + rock faces; also the grip on wet surfaces can be very tedious. In these situations, I find increased ground sensitivity to be a hinderance + a practical mismatch w/wilderness usage.

I wear VFF everyday-all the time for over 1.5 years, workday through weekend. My KSO Treks + TrekSport Multisports are great for outdoor activities; however I too am interested in these Speed XCs + the Lontras (still waiting!) for increased insulation + water-resistance. Even w/Injinji socks - even the Outdoor weight - my feet get COLD! Depending on your use + activities, I encourage any VFF fan to consider this. The philosophical concept of "barefoot running" does not negate the reality of cold weather! As Justin mentions, the Trek sole does also alleviates conductive heat loss by raising the foot from the ground (relative to the other soles).

Although I understand some folks prefer across-the-board minimalism, I for one am excited that Vibram is trying to address everyday, pragmatic situations for footwear both on the pavement AND off. I love the outdoors, so I'm thrilled these + the Lontras are coming for cold weather - and, later in the year, the Maiori + Signa for the beach!

11/26/12 @ 09:14
Comment from: Sergio [Visitor]

Hi. I bought a pair of Bormios M 40 like a year ago and they didn't fit so I returned them and never bought the correct size. I know that they are sold out and discontinued, but I still want them. Is there anywhere you guys know I can find a pair on size M41? I was able to find a pair of M41 Trek LS and went ahead and bought them. Any help would be apreciated. Thanks

11/27/12 @ 12:59
Comment from: koffeekev [Visitor]

I have a love/hate relationship with my Speed XC's. Most of my 16 pair of FF's are KSO based with the exception of SeeYa, Classic and these.

I love the fact that they are warmer and drier than any others I own. I sized up as Justin recommended and there is plenty of room. My toes feel as if they are spreading more and I really like it. However this feature also falls into the "hate' category.

I hate the fact that they feel as if I'm a mile off the ground. There is almost no ground feel due to the thickness of the soles and insoles. They don't seem to be breaking in at all which gives the toes a stiff feel. I'm sure it has to do with the materials needed to make them water proof/resistant.

I love having them as an alternative to my Vivo BF Aguaeos boots for the cold wet weather here in CT and i'm sure I'll grow to love them with Injinji Nuwool socks but cold wet weather is all i'll wear them for. They feel like snow boots.

12/02/12 @ 14:27
Comment from: Dirty Harry [Visitor]
Dirty Harry

I´ve got my Speed XC´s two days ago. They are just now available in Germany and i went in a shop to try them on after reading this review. I´ve got a pair of KSO´s which are fine in summer.
So, what can i say, i like these Five Fingers. On the first day it was snowing, raining about 32 degrees. They are really water tight at all.
Today in the morning it was about 28 degrees. During movement with very thin socks from Injini it wasn´t a problem. But tomorrow the forecast is 21 degrees and I´m going to by a pair of Mohair socks to keep my feets warm. I like the Grip of the Trek sole. Great shoes.

12/06/12 @ 10:10
Comment from: Gene [Visitor]

I FINALLY got my Speed XCs after waiting for 3 different online retailers to come through. I just put them on a while ago. I got a pair of W38 and W39 to compare, in light of Justin's experience. I also own W38 in KSO & Bikila, and W39 in Komodos. I tend to like my VFFs to fit snug all the way around as long as my toes have enough room to move. Wearing the SpXC 38 on my left and the SpXC 39 on my right walking indoors, I can immediately feel the increased ground feel of the SpXC 38 over the 39, and I do indeed like the snugness of the 38. The 38 felt a bit cramped initially, but over the first hour, it no longer feels cramped, it feels more like the second skin that my KSOs feel. The stiffness of the Trek sole is noticeable, but not bothersome just for walking around. I have more comparing to do, but I'm leaning toward the 38s just like I did with my KSO's. These are destined for use at work (hospital) and cold weather hiking/short runs.

12/06/12 @ 19:00
Comment from: MJ [Visitor]

Just got my Speed XC today. I have worn them in the house only at this time. Putting them on with no socks are no problem. The toe pockets are snug, but not uncomfortable. When I put them on with Injinji socks the toes are real hard to get into the toe pockets. I have to use force scuffing the front of my toes on the carpet into the pockets. Once I get the toes in, the toes feel very, very tight. Will the toe pockets loosen up at all?

12/11/12 @ 19:30
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]
Kirk Haines

Mine have loosened/softened a bit with wear. I wear them both with and without socks, depending on the weather. The relative lack of breathability in these shoes does mean that if you wear them without socks, periodic washing is especially important.

12/12/12 @ 13:28
Comment from: Gene [Visitor]

Well, I just couldn't reconcile with the stiffness of the XCs. I really wanted to like these VFFs, but I couldn't convince my feet. Although, they were a very welcome solution to the desire to wear VFF's outdoors all winter long, they were just too uncomfortable to wear. And I don't think they will limber up enough to be significantly more wearable -- at least for me. For work, I have found new love in KSO Treks. KSOTs are probably the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. For work and for casual, they can't be beat.

12/13/12 @ 17:44
Comment from: Lucius Verinus [Visitor]
Lucius Verinus

I just got mine. The stiffness is comparable to the Lontras. It is much easier to get on than the Lontras and doesn't cause the chafing at the top of my foot like the Lontra does.

The only negative part is the heel cup is extremely uncomfortable, it is causing blisters. I will have to figure out a way to fix it.

12/20/12 @ 12:38
Comment from: Kirk Haines [Visitor]
Kirk Haines

I think what this shows is that feet come in a wide range of configurations. I find the heel cup on the Speed XC's to be very comfortable, and have used them with and without socks on runs as long as half marathon length, with no blister issues at all.

12/20/12 @ 15:14
Comment from: Anonymouse [Visitor]

By the Vibram sizing chart, I'm an M43 in both KSOs and Speed XCs. I have a pair of the M43 KSOs and they fit fine, with some space in front of the big toes, and quite a bit in front of the little toes.

So I ordered a pair of M43 XCs. They fit quite snugly, and my big toe bumped into the front when walking downhill. I didn't want to send them back, so I wore them anyway for the first snow of the year.

I'd been planning to stay out for 4 hours, but after 2 hours the backs of my ankles were stinging and I had to go home. Turns out they were bleeding into the fabric on both sides and the shoes now could not be returned.

I got a pair of the M44 XCs and took them out for a 4.5h walk the other night. These are more like the proper size and didn't bother my heels, although I did have moleskin on them. I'll try it without the moleskin once the cuts have healed.

The toe pocket for the right little toe rubbed on the top of the toe and took off a layer of skin there, although it seemed to be partially dependent on how I was walking, and between getting used to the fit of the new shoes, and them wearing in a bit, it stopped doing that after an hour or so. If it comes back, I have more moleskin.

You can barely move your toes in these, due to the stiffness of the material. The feel of the shoe makes the epithet "foot coffins" which people apply to traditional shoes quite ironic, although they still feel more sure-footed than my Vivo Neos (M43 fits fine there) due to how these are molded to the foot.

They are warm, and don't breathe much. After walking for 4.5h in 32F weather with no socks, the skin on my feet was well wet. I used a ThermicDryer to dry the shoes out afterwards; a Peet dryer would probably work too.

I'll see how they go from here on.

There should be versions of the KSOs with,
- Everything the same except rubber on the sidewalls of the toes instead of mesh. They would breathe almost as well, and you could wear them on wet pavement without instantly getting groundwater in your shoes. Practically speaking, I never have water "drain" through the sidewalls, I just have it seep in, and they never dry because it seeps in continually.

- Rubber on the sides of the toes plus a tighter hydrophobic mesh on the top, like the Neos have. As it is, I have to switch to the Neos as soon as the wet season starts anyway.

01/04/13 @ 19:52
Comment from: Reticuli [Visitor]

Bought a 41 in these. Never had issues with 41s in authentic VFFs before. Left foot's little toe pocket is substantially tighter than the right's, and yet I know my right foot is the larger foot. Just looking at them, it looks to me like the right little toe is slightly visibly shorter. Anyone else notice such sizing irregularities? I also notice the trend of the KSO and Trek soles (the latter used here and on the Lontra that I also got) are not sized larger than other 41s anymore. They're exactly the same on these two new waterproof models as the Bikilas, Sprints, Classics, etc. So Vibram seems to have standarized their sizing now, but the slight irregularities that must happen during normal manufacture seem to be a more serious issue with these Trek soles that are obviously not going to stretch over time let alone conform to your foot right off the bat. If they're too tight on any spots, you'll really notice it. For the record, though, my Lontras seem to be uniform and perfect.

01/24/13 @ 16:31
Comment from: Jon [Visitor]

I have a problem where the seam at the Achilles heel eats into my feet on the Speed XC (literally scrapes through skin). It's not clear why the seam is exposed on the ankle side (more lateral thread showing than with other fivefingers). Curious if my pair were incorrectly stitched this way, or if others are having a similar issue? Also, this shoe does not seem to breathe as well as others -- I assume due to the water resistant fabric. The fit in the toes is small, similar to what others are saying -- but my typical size is working, even with the Smartwool PhD toe sock.

05/06/13 @ 19:36
Comment from: Meagan Carey [Visitor]
Meagan Carey

i bought my speed xcs a while back from my local vibram store to prepare for running in the cold, wet weather. i had been training for a half marathon and really didn't want to skip out on road training because of ice and slush, so i was all set to get myself the lontras (even though i really couldn't stand the look of them - they really need to come out with better, or at least muted, colorways). when i went into the store i spotted the xcs, and after hearing that they were water resistant and cold-weather resistant, i picked up a pair in W40. they're definitely more aesthetically-pleasing than the lontras, so i was thrilled.

i'm a W40 in every pair of my vibrams, but sometimes i have problems with my ring finger toe on my left foot getting used to the whole idea of being inside toe pockets. the shoes felt completely fine in the store, but trying to wear them around is a nightmare - i definitely should have sized up to a 41 as the toe pockets are far too snug, but i (stupidly) kept thinking that they would break in and fit perfectly. once while i was out in colder weather just walking around the city, i took my left shoe off to give my toe some reprieve to find that all of the color was completely drained from just that toe. took me a good half hour or so of sitting indoors and working on my feet to get the color back. fast forward to nearly 6 months later, and the shoes have not broken in at all despite multiple 5+ mile runs in them when i had to due to the weather. it should be noted that running in them does not appear to affect my toes and feet as much as just sitting around or casually walking does, which doesn't really make any sense to me, but.

i really love these shoes and they're the most "normal"-looking and aesthetically-pleasing vibrams i own apart from my silver paillettes, but i fear that they might wind up getting tossed unless i can find a good solution for stretching them. as always, any advice is welcome ;)

05/10/13 @ 08:58
Comment from: Ted_S [Visitor]

It is possible to slightly stretch the Speed XC. I did this on mine to make room for bunions.
Stretching individual toe pockets is more
challenging in that there is no device marketed for this purpose. You'd need to find or make something the right size and clamp it in place, using enough pressure to stretch the fabric but also being careful not to puncture it or to rip a seam. You're probably better off purchasing a larger size when they're on sale.
If you want them for the style, you might like the almost identical-looking Speed LR. REI had these, and they are still available in their stores. The stores can order them for you from any other store that has them in stock. They only came in men's sizes, but they might have come as small as a 40.
Another option is the Speed XC Lite, which will likely be available in a short while.

05/11/13 @ 16:24
Comment from: AndyB [Visitor]  

Has anyone done any additional waterproofing? On my leather Trek LS(s) I used Nikwax and plan to use aquaseal along the edge. What kind of waterproofing would be appropriate for the upper material (maybe the stuff for GoreTex?)? I wear VFFs every day I can so more water resistance would be great. I love the Trek sole but after summer in the old Speeds (not sure what that sole is called), I did have to adjust to the thicker, less flexible sole.
I've worn my Trek LS in quite cold weather but nothing helps the toes. I actually used a stick on chemical warmer and wish they made one shaped for toes!
Thanks, AndyB, NH.

12/20/13 @ 13:00
Comment from: Maurice [Visitor]

I am interested to buy but I need an important information: they stink like the other models?

02/08/14 @ 22:15
Comment from: Maurice [Visitor]

I am interested to buy but I need an important information: stink they like the other models?

02/08/14 @ 22:17
Comment from: Chuka [Visitor]  

I've always wondered, what does "XC" stand for?

03/17/15 @ 10:16

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