I stumbled across the VI-B this spring while looking for a new pair of trail paws – and instantly fell in love. Having said that, the VI-B is everything but a trail shoe! It is light and thin and delicate and sylphlike and, to say it with Vibram’s words, simply elegant! Read on for my full review!

Meet the VI-B FiveFingers

The VI-B FiveFingers is a women's-only, ultra-minimalist VFF that is reminiscent of the old Classic FiveFingers.
The VI-B FiveFingers is a women’s-only, ultra-minimalist VFF that is reminiscent of the old Classic FiveFingers.
Vibram describes the VI-B as:
Lightweight. Breathable. Flexible. Words used to describe all FiveFingers products, but elegant is an adjective we feel we can add with the VI-B. Inspired by ballet flats, the VI-B brings the element of comfort and elegance to form a slim fitting ultra breathable women’s shoe.
The VI-B is basically made of air and comfort. That’s why each of my size 42 shoes only weighs 3.7oz (105g). It comes in three different colours: a salmon-ish pink (“red”, according to Vibram), a bright baby-blue, and simply black as reviewed here. The shoe’s upper is a light mesh of synthetic fabric which makes them very breathable and keeps the feet cool on hot days or during light exercise. Also, I feel I don’t sweat as much in them as with other Vibrams like the (discontinued) Classics.
Only between the toes there’s non-mesh material which I think feels more comfortable than the mesh would. A thin strap of fabric on the outside and a strap of soft leather on the inside support the heel of the shoe—probably to stop it from slipping down. Overall, my foot snuggles nicely into the smooth, stretchy upper while resting on Vibram’s traditional, soft, yellow antimicrobial microfiber footbed.
The VI-B comes with Vibram’s Classic Fresca Sole. A very slim mid-foot section combined with the thin performance rubber sole bring a great feel for the ground beneath your toes and maximum flexibility, while the sole is still thick enough to provide protection from everyday dangers like pebbles or even shards of glass. And due to the serrated design, you’ll have a firm grip even on wet surfaces (e.g. wet cobblestone).

Fit, Feel and Function

I’m normally a size 41 and my size 42 Vi-B sits snug and comfortable. Despite being slip on, with no laces to adjust them, they feel firm and even a casual run to catch the bus won’t make them slip off. Only in the beginning, I had some abrasion at the heals which stopped as the leather got softer. The shoes totally look like ballet flats and I find them very suitable for everyday use! I’m sure they are great for light exercise like yoga or gymnastics, too. I wore mine all the time, with all kinds of clothes, all summer long – and they even go well with a Dirndl!
The only tiny downside is, that they don’t bear up against rain or wet ground at all. I suppose normal ballet flats would provide at least some protection. But due to the VI-B’s super-thin, super-flat sole and the mesh material your toes get wet instantly and the rest of your foot not long after. Though as a bonus, like for most of Vibram’s FiveFingers, you can throw the shoes in the washing machine at low temperature and let them air dry—and they dry quickly, too!

Summary

Overall, the VI-B is a very light and breathable toe shoe that provides maximum flexibility for the whole foot. Even though the relatively small amount of fabric and material might lead to wet feet in rainy weather, the sole provides a firm grip on even wet surfaces and protection from small, sharp objects. You might get some small abrasion at the heels in the beginning until the shoe is broken in (as for most new shoes I’d say), but regardless, the shoe feels very comfortable and is great for casual wear and everyday use. Want a pair? You might try finding them in one of the many Vibram FiveFingers shops (check those listed here), but they seem a bit difficult to find online. So, Dirndl or yoga wear? Let us know what you like to combine your FiveFingers VI-B with!