Barefoot Shoes

Rare Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Covering some rare Classic Vibram FiveFingers, my all-time favorite toe shoes, in a crazy floral and black colorway as well as the awesomely white-soled with navy upper colorway only available in Europe.

Let me recap: Classics are my all-time favorite toe shoes.

It’s something I’ve talked a decent bit about recently (see here and here), but it stands repeating: Classic FiveFingers are fantastic. What makes them so great? Two things stand out:
  1. Classics feature a 3.5mm Vibram, razor-siped sole. Nothing more; nothing less. The sole is incredibly dynamic with your foot while still protective and still providing a good deal of “ground feel.” This is practically the most “barefoot” you are going to get with any minimalist shoe out there.
  2. Classic FiveFingers are open-topped. Being exposed on top allows your foot better air circulation while also allowing you to slide into the toe shoes without hands (with practice).
This one-two punch makes the Classic an incredible “barefoot shoe” for knocking around town, wearing to the park, walking your dog, or lazying about at the beach or the lake or anywhere. Classic FiveFingers are even good for running! Yes, you read right! Don’t believe me? Barefoot Ted ran the first Copper Canyon Ultramarathon in Classic FiveFingers! Yeah, he had the grey/orange, black-soled Classics* on the run-heard-round the world as made famous by Chris McDougall in Born to Run (read it already). Thus I find it painful to watch as people (mostly men) overlook the Classics in favor of some of the more close-topped Vibrams. Sure the new-fangled toe shoes are awesome — the ultra-light SeeYa is probably the closest new model to the Classic’s ground-feel and airiness — but I can’t put any of them on like I can the Classics. That is, like a pair of my favorite flip-flops. I’d also like anyone who finds the Classics feminine to tell that to Ted McDonald, who I’d not want to run into in a dark alley and is one of the godfathers of the whole minimalist/barefoot shoe movement in the first place! Full stop. You get the point: I like Classics and I’m not alone. Classics are the only model of FiveFingers I’ve ever heard of people collecting. It’s just that as more and more folks buy up the new hotness in toe shoes, they overlook the age-old beauty of the Classic; Vibram is then left looking at sales numbers scratching their heads, thinking, “I guess no one likes the Classic so we’ll have to pair that offering back.” And that is exactly what they’ve done. Thankfully, there are still a few options out there to score some seriously sweet Classics, which is what you’re seeing within this post — two colorways of Classic FiveFingers that are pretty rare.

Colorful Classics hard to find.

The above two pairs are rare colorways of Classic FiveFingers. They’re rare for different reasons though. The navy/white-soled Classics are rare because they can only be purchased via a handful of European retailers at a premium to U.S. prices and then shipped here (if you can find someone to do it, that is). The other is rare because it’s the only pair of FiveFingers yet to be produced with co-branding between Suomy, an Italian manufacturer of motorcycle helmets, and Vibram (which is an Italian company). I got both thanks to a friend in the toe shod community who helped facilitate the transactions. It aint easy or cheap to pick up these puppies, but I’m glad I got them.

Navy, White-Soled Classics

These clean white-toe-walled and white-soled Classic FiveFingers have a striking look to them.
These clean white-toe-walled and white-soled Classic FiveFingers have a striking look to them.
The navy/white/white-soled Classic FiveFingers colorway is a conventional Classic style in that it matches the fabric on the toe walls to the sole with a different colored upper. However, what’s probably the most strikingly different aspect of this colorway is the white Vibram sole. There are other Classics with white soles (historically available in Europe), but they’re not common. We might also get lucky enough to get some white-walled Olympics-ready flag-styled Classic FiveFingers that feature white soles this summer (in 2012). That would be sweet. I’m a big fan of light-soled Classics as the black-soled varietals tend to stand out more unnaturally against my foot. In the case of these navy/whites, the combo works perfectly — a deep blue cast against a bright white with Vibram canary yellow accents. Yes, I’m geeking out on the colorway. It’s just good! And how cool are those white soles?
There have been a number of white-soled Classic FiveFingers through the ages though none have made it to the U.S. to date.  Though the sole will show dirt (on the bottoms mostly) with wear, they still look fantastic.
There have been a number of white-soled Classic FiveFingers through the ages though none have made it to the U.S. to date. Though the sole will show dirt (on the bottoms mostly) with wear, they still look fantastic.
I was a little concerned the white rubber soles would show a lot of dirt. They don’t. Mind, I am in no way going to trounce about in the rain or mud in these puppies but that’s because I don’t want to stain the white synthetic toe walls. This color combination just works. I’d actually happily pick up other white-walled, white-soled Classics with other primary colors in the upper fabric if they were available, too.

How I wear’em

Kicking back and relaxing with Navy and White-soled Vibram FiveFingers Classics
Kicking back and relaxing with Navy and White-soled Vibram FiveFingers Classics
the cutting of my jeans up the sides helps make them lay down over my toe shod feet - this works with all FiveFingersI should probably also have some photos of me wearing these with shorts. If I take some, I’ll add them. You’ll notice that I tend to wear the Classics casually; they’re a little hard to pull off in non-casual environments. Meanwhile, I find that “boot-cutting” my jeans — cutting up about an inch on either side of the hems of my jeans (as in the picture on the right) — does wonders to make my jeans lay down on my feet, “easing” the vertical lines of my legs into the right angle and horizontal lines of my feet. The boot-cutting also helps to extend my pant legs over the tops of my feet a bit making them feel a little less “naked” to the world. See?

Suomy, Floral-print Classics

The Suomy/Vibram co-branded FiveFingers feature a crazy floral print that leaps over the toes and into the insoles of these toe shoes
The Suomy/Vibram co-branded FiveFingers feature a crazy floral print that leaps over the toes and into the insoles of these toe shoes.
These are the probably the most double-take-inducing toe shoes Vibram has ever produced. Save (maybe) for the Carezza’s. What is going on here? Well, it’s basically a pair of black Classic FiveFingers dressed up with a beachy, bright-orange and grey floral print and orange sidewalls to match. They feature a “Suomy” embroidered logo on the right shoe. FiveFingers fans of old will recall that Vibram (once upon a time) only put a Vibram stitched logo on one shoe and not both (and prior to that, not at all). The word on the street is that the Suomy Classics are the only co-branded FiveFingers ever produced and are likely the only ones we’ll ever see again. Picking up a pair on these grounds is a bit fanatical and honestly, I could do without the extra logo, but I’m pretty sure these unusual Vibrams would not exist but for some kinship between Vibram Italy and Suomy. Why I like them. I confess that I wasn’t sure about these Suomy Classics at first sight, which was quite awhile ago. They grew on me though each time I saw them and at some point I just thought: I think these things gotta be awesome. They’re crazy loud and fun, which when you think about it, isn’t saying much in the context of the articulated toe market. Toe shoes are already loud by nature. Adding a beachy Hawaiian print isn’t going to change things much on that front. Also, I’ve come to realize I like it when FiveFingers employ tricks of the eye in their uppers that “meld” the toes together. The KSO Remix is a great example of that as is the old blue camouflaged KSO. The Suomy’s take the floral printed upper and extend it over each toe so that the toe cuts almost melt away. It’s a very slick effect and one that is being reproduced in the Olympic Classics (so it seems). I’ll also say that while no one really sees the insides of your FiveFingers unless you take them off, the print on the insole is a nice touch.

How I wear’em

Tear-up the sides of a pair of jeans so they lay down better over your feet makes any pair of toe shoes look a little more natural. That's definitely the case with Classic FiveFingers with their low-cut instep.
Tear-up the sides of a pair of jeans so they lay down better over your feet makes any pair of toe shoes look a little more natural. That’s definitely the case with Classic FiveFingers with their low-cut instep.
Again, worn with jeans though I’m finding I also like to wear these with some black shorts. Because they’re so loudly colored, I think you could probably pair them with just about anything and “get away with it” — whatever that means in the Suomy’s. Live wild and kick the Suomy’s around town. Expect people to stop and ask you questions. Wear your toe shoes with confidence!

Wrapping it up.

There’s not much else to say here. I mostly wanted to share some photos of some rare Vibrams that you’re not likely to see often, if ever. If you think these are incredible, well, the best thing you can do is share this post far and wide on the Internet, with Vibram, with your local retailer, and on and on. Tweet it. Facebook like it. Google+ it. Shout the URL from the window-tops. Let your voice be heard so we can get some more awesomely colored Classic FiveFingers! * My first pair, as first reviewed some 1,400 days ago and read by some 350,000 people. Crazy.

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.

34 replies on “Rare Vibram FiveFingers Classics”

I want to like the classics. I really do. They just don’t fit me right. The heel fit is just… Off. It’s either sloppy or pinching, depending on whether info up or down in size. I dunno, maybe it’s the shape of my foot, but most other vibrams fit me just fine.

Classics are by far my favorite model as well. I was saddened to see all the color choices disappear, leaving only black. I have the Suomy Classics. I also have the Denim Classics, which unfortunately have a black sole. I too prefer the other sole colors over black. I really want the Navy/White/White. I am envious to say the least. I have feelers out to get a pair in my size when/if they are available.

So say one wants to aquire a pair of Euro spec vibrams, with all the sites that sell fakes, how do you tell they a liget Euro model and not a fake?

I have to say I too am a fan of the classics. My two favorite styles are the classics and kso’s. I love the classics because they are to me what a flip flop is to most others. I like that they truly are minimal yet give just enough coverage. I hope they come back with some more colorways even if for a limited time for those who like to collect them

Nice! I love the blue and white and the other reminds me of those Chinese slip on shoes…same kind of print/color scheme. They are both very nice!

I really want to like these too – I’ve nearly every other Vibram model except these. My wife wears flats, which unfortunately I can’t overlook the similarities. I’m sure they’re awesome for every reason explained, but I just can’t go there!

I’ve only owned a pair of KSO’s so far. Though, now that I’ve finally worn some holes in them after nearly 2 years of constant wear, I’m looking to expand my collection.
I really love the KSO’s because of their multi-use and always thought the classics just looked like a house slipper type deal to me. Not good for much more than lounging around and running errands in.
I do LOVE these colors though and hearing a male’s perspective on them is quite refreshing. I typically only hear them referred to as the girly fivefingers.
Great post! Might have to track some down myself.

2 factors I can’t get over compared to the newer models.

1. The strap doesn’t work and the sizing overall is not as stable in my experience
2. Once they stink they are useless. They seem to get there faster than the newer models because the upper does not clean as well in my experience.

Bring back the laser cut sole but fix the uppers.


There’s really no easy way. I utilized a connection I have in the Netherlands — it was a favor that he handled this all for me (transacting with the retailer in Germany and the ebay seller whereever he/she was I don’t recall). Wish there was an easier way.


Flats are crazy narrow and pointy — FiveFingers are foot-shaped and wide and have toes. The open-top is sorta moot point, don’t you think? It’s getting fixated on a tree and not seeing the forest.


They’re really not girly. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say “nice girly fivefingers” or otherwise mocked them as being feminine. The only place I heard it really come up was online. Back in the good ol’ days when it was just KSO, Classic, and Sprint, the Classic was just the Classic. One of three options (ok I’m ignoring the Flow).

Actually, shortly after I got my first pair (2008), a CrossFit instructor who was training me got his first pair — also Classics. Guy was a black belt in BJJ and could break me in half. We both thought we looked funny in our toe shoes but that was it.


I think the Classics fit is a little hard to dial in. My hunch is that most fit issues with the Classic (and the Sprint) stem from getting them in too big a size where there’s not enough tension between the rear rubber, angled heel and your actual heel/foot. This leads to too much rubbing and that causes irritation/discomfort. The apparent fix then becomes tightening the bungee which irritates the top of the foot. The solution is getting a pair that fits pretty snugly (without your feet pushing out the toe pockets) sans tightening the bungee.

Either that or there really are in between/half sizes of Classics.


See my above comments to Rich on the sizing. I could do without the bungee myself and usually just take it off completely (don’t really need it anyway).

As for stink, I don’t have this issue with my Classics. My oldest Classics are kinda beat up but they still smell fine. Go figure.

These look amazing!!!! Too bad theyre out now and nobody wants the classics : the black/black ones arent bad, but after seeing the grey/orange… But still im lovin the olympics!!!!

Justin, thank you so much for this article! I’ve been lurking and reading on for a while now trying to decide if I wanted to try VFFs and which ones. I wanted something easy to put on and wear everywhere especially for walking so I could transition into VFFs before I bought a pair of KSOs for dog agility. This article has decided me on the classics and answered my questions about fit (no local retailer sells them so I have to buy them without trying on). Thanks again.

I just ordered from the last site Dirk listed. The AlexFactory one. I went with a size 43. I can wear a 42 or 43 in the classics. I find the 42 to fit better length wise but the toe pockets can feel tight. The 43 can feel a little long but the toe pockets feel better. A size 43 pair with a pair of thicker toe socks makes the fit just right. I had been looking for a Suomy classics for awhile now. I almost bought a pair off eBay but the seller flaked out one me and quit responding to e-mails.

Love the white bottom, boy do I wish they were making the classic style with more options! I have a pr of Sprint’s and just got a pair of Jaya and Kamodo and was a bit disappointed to find that the bases were so different. I really like the base of the Sprint (same as Classic) and it seems to give much more contact with the ground (the point) but wanted something open at the top without the strap. Without more Classic choices I don’t have any choices. I expected the Jaya to have less support not more now I’m not sure what to do.

I really want a pair of Classics, and the fact that they are only producing them in all black now is the only reason I haven’t bought them. If I can get my feet in a pair of the grey/oranges and the blue/whites, I will be extremely happy.

I love the VFF Classics. My all time favorite pair of VFF’s is the SmartWool classics. The grey color makes for a great understated appearance (I’m a simple guy, I like simple colors), and the SmartWool material seems to wick moisture better than the standard material. The footbed in particular.

I like them so much that when they got discontinued, and places started discounting them, I bought two backup pairs. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I wear through them, but so far they’re holding up well enough that I should have plenty of time to find an alternative.

When I’m not at work, they’re my “go to” shoes.

Thanks for the sizing insight Justin. I might just not have tried a small enough size. But, I have a suspicion that I’m really just between sizes, and the classics (unlike, say, the KSO) are unforgiving in that regard because of the rubbing on the heel that you mentioned.

Sweet island print on the classics.
On a mission now to find some.
This might help some:
Adventure Megastore in Australia sells legit fives in hard to find colors (classics as well)
there not cheap but they are real and i’ve ordered from them several times and there really cool dudes. Ask for Ollie.

My first VFF’S were the orange/grey classics. They still look great after 3 years of being washed and chucked in the machine to remove the pong. Am goin to try and get hold of a pair of the Suomy. They are beautiful. Thanks Birthdayshoes for the heads up on these.

I love the classic I am just not sure what’s the application I can used, I tried cycling (just a short 30km), followed by a run. It works but it’s not really mean for them. The heel felts loose although I follow the size chart (1 size larger than KSO)..


FWIW I wear the same size in Classics as KSO. If I sized up for Classics they would be too loose on me but the same as KSO is “just right.” Sizing Classics right is a big issue in that if you go too big, they will fit sloppy, cause rubbing, and other issues. IMO a right-sized Classic won’t require the bungee cord for most wear situations (walking being the main one). As for what to use them for, they’re really awesome everyday toe shoes.


I have no problem on it, but can forsee if I wear them on prolong period it is gonna cause some rubbing problem on my heels.

On a side note, I wore my VFF Spyridon for the second time during a trail race.. the lace totally sucks.. It seems going to worn off after second time wearing it..

I did end up biting the bullet and getting the Navy/White/White Classics. I just could not let them slip beyond my grasp, as the color will match a lot of things in my wardrobe. I have a lot of MN Twins apparel and these will look even better than my Navy/Aqua/Camo Classics. Now, next on the must have list is the US Olympic Classics. I can’t wait. It is definitely going to be a Classic summer!

my spyridon now is ultra cool after replacing the original non function lace with a elastic bungee lace

I am also a fan of the classics, ever since I got my first pair in 2007. I also have a Sprint, KSO and a pair of Bikilas, but the Classics are my favorite. Now, I have been complaining in email to Vibram US and Italy about the color (or the lack thereof) but never received a response.
Unfortunately, my taupe colored Classics broke last year and I had to buy black ones, but they just don’t look as good on bare feet as the lighter colors do.

I think Vibram has produced a self fulfilling prophecy with the black Classics. I am certain that they will not be very successful, because frankly, the color sucks.

I want my old taupe and orange colored Classics back … 🙁 *snif*


What’s the shipping cost from the adventuremegastore in australia? in their site there is no option for international shipping or the options they have in their website they have AU$10 for registered mail.

I love my grey smartwool classics. I’ve had them for years and I’ve only just started getting into running. I did c25k and now I’m doing bridge to 10 k. I ran 5 miles this morning in a rain and snow mixture with no discomfort. I’m kinda worried that when these fall apart I won’t be able to find another pair.

Cerco le fivefingers sprint, mi trovo benissimo e non le trovo più e gli altri modelli non mi soddisfano, la prima pecca è la suola interna che mi fa sudare molto il piede…

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