Barefoot Shoes

Review VI-B Vibram FiveFingers

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…

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!


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!

By Eva

I’m studying towards my Master of Social Work in Austria – but with the mountains so close, for most of the time, I run. Paws bare since 2012. Trails are my favourite terrain and ultras my favourite distance. Besides mountains, I love music, fresh fruit and long friendships, people and places and playing outside, backpacking, coffee and campfires, and the wide wild wilderness. If you like, [url=]find me on Facebook[/url].

9 replies on “Review VI-B Vibram FiveFingers”

I may be alone in this but i still really wish they made this model in Men’s sizes. I would totally own/wear those. It looks like a better, air-y-er classic, basically.

These are by far my wife’s favorite pair of VFF’s… They quickly replaced her favorite black classics. As for rain protection, just be thankful that they dry very fast 🙂

I might actually get a pair as a sort of slipper or even a water shoe. As much as the KSO or similar styles work (and they do work well) they don’t let my feet breath or dry as easily as I bet these would. Basically, I’d use them as something to put on my feet so I can walk outside for some menial task, or to the pool/beach, without fear of the smallest pebble causing pain and/or minor injury (tiny cut ect). They might also work well as a around-the-house slipper too. Would have to try to find out.

I own a similar version of this pair: it is ultra thin and light, but it doesn’t have those huge pores/holes in it. I think it looks tacky and reminds me of those 80’s t-shirts that have holes. I hope they still have them, because they are my favorite.

Hiya, great review!
I’ve got a pair of those in the blue version. From the online pictures one might think, that they are quite bright, but in RL they’re not. And when you start kicking up some dust, even less so.

I also wear them casual – shopping, sightseeing, meeting friends… Any kind of sports (apart from chasing the train) is out, though. And I can confirm the abrasion on the heels, but only when riding a bike…

A note on the sole: it is exactly the same as the KSO EVO. Exactly. I just went to my shoe cabinet and checked!
The nice thing is (about both those shoes), that they are finally making shoes for narrower feet. The classics et al usually have a centimeter of shoe on the pinkie toe side, that my feet just don’t fill. But here we are: finally some cute summer ballets and a cute, discreet sneaker. Woohoo!

Coming from a guy who wears a size 6.5-7. I usually have to buy womens five fingers cause they dont make a size that fits me in mens. That said, I bought me a pair of these in black and LOVE THEM!!!!! I agree, they should offer these in mens too, but it probably wouldnt affect me anyways.

Just got my new Vi B’s in the mail last night. I can just fit the largest Women’s size they make. It would be great if they offered these in larger Men’s sizes, there seems to a consensus that guys would like these. Ordered and got them in only 4 days…pretty good.
Love the open mesh sides/top. Much cooler than my old Seeyas. They still need a good stretching to make them really comfortable. I foresee some issues as the instep is also mesh (it probably shouldn’t be) as that part rides on the ground so thistles and small stones are going to be a problem.
Love the open air look of them!

Thanks for the review!
I am 37 in regular shoes, but I wanna use this for running, so im thinking about ordering this in 38. But won’t it slip?

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