A common problem for those who have switched to wearing minimalist shoes such as Vibram Five Fingers or Terra Plana Vivo Barefoots is that the wearer quickly discovers that lacking the lift provided by the copious heels of their regular shoes results in their pants or jeans dragging on the ground behind their heels. Next thing you know, your jeans are covered in dirt, wet, and fraying.
This can be an annoying problem*. Though it’s great to feel the ground beneath your feet, it’s irritating to feel the hem of your pants under-heel.
Fortunately, there is a cheap solution — under $5 — that’s accessible to anyone.
Using an S-Biner to lift your pant leg hems and keep them off the ground
The quick fix to your pants-on-the-ground problems is the S-Biner:
The #2 S-Biner is 2″ long and lightweight. It has two hinges for ease of attachment to any loop on your shoe. Then, using the secondary, lower hinge, you can simply slide in the hem of your jeans or pants. This creates a lower limit anchor point that holds up the hem of your pants off the ground.
Here’s what it looks like when attached to a pair of KSOs from underneath — note the S-Biner doesn’t actually stick out as it looks here, it’s only doing this as my hem has risen (knee bent):
Of course, the question remains: does it actually keep your pants off the ground? Yes! And it’s incognito, to boot. Putting the S-Biner in place is simple, and thanks to the double-hinge, it is pretty easy take off. Mind, your pants will now be attached to your shoes, but since the S-Biner can rotate around whatever loop it’s attached to, when you sit down (causing your pant leg to rise), it affords enough upper extension so as not to cause a problem with pulling on your jeans.
Using the S-Biner with other VFFs and Minimalist shoes
The S-Biner can also be used to hold up your pants while wearing other Vibram Five Fingers models as well as other barefoot shoes — the only requirement is that there be some attachment point at the heel.
Here’s the same S-Biner hack used to hold up my jeans when wearing the Terra Plana Vivo Barefoot Aquas:
And here are examples of how you can attach the S-Biner to various shoes including the Vivo Barefoot Aqua and the Vibram Five Fingers KSO as well as the Flow, KSO Trek, Sprint, and Classic (So long as you haven’t removed your Five Fingers Classic strap**!):
If you want to pick up a #2 S-Biner, there’s a great chance you can find one at a local store — I found these at a gas station of all places. If you’re hunting online, here’s a link to where you can get them at Rock/Creek (Get the #2).
Finally, there are other ways to accomplish this hem-holding minimalist shoe hack. The most obvious, indeed my original solution, was a simple caribiner. So simply for completeness, the caribiners (also each about 2″ long) to the right will also get the job done, but not as eloquently or as minimally (or as non-obviously!).
Now you have one less excuse to wear your Vibram Five Fingers out and about with your normal everyday clothes! And if you’re still considering forgoing this mod, I’ll just leave you with a (at least somewhat) tune by a fellow Atlantan, General Larry Platt:
* Terra Plana has even developed the “Trip Clip” to help ameliorate the issue — Click here to see a photo. But at $15 plus shipping, the Trip Clip is a bit out of reach for most of us — simply not worth the bother.
** I find I don’t often wear my Classics with jeans or pants due to the mismatch between the hemline and the short upper vamp of the Classic, so this really isn’t a problem for me.