With water-resistant Vibram FiveFingers and the SeeYa LS on tap for Fall 2012, Vibram is already thinking ahead to Spring and Summer of 2013! What might we expect at the bleeding edge of toe shoes technology early next year, you ask? How about some watersports-focused Vibrams? Or how about updated versions of the Classic and Sprint models? Want a FiveFingers sandal? Want to see the Europe-only FiveFingers Sorrento make it’s way across the pond? If you can respond “yes” to any or all of these questions, you’re in luck because all these options are on tap for early 2013 — that is, if you want them — and that’s where you actually get to help drive the future of FiveFingers. How? Read on! Vibram has asked BirthdayShoes.com to provide a sneak peak of the 2013 Spring and Summer FiveFingers line with the specific hope of having you, the readers, provide feedback on what you think about these new model designs! How will this work? Well, it’s pretty much as easy as sharing what models you like via popular social services you’re already using — Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ (Sorry LinkedIn!). There are share buttons tied to each new model below that allow you to effectively “vote” what you like. Just share whatever it is you’re digging and help shape the future of Vibram FiveFingers! Meanwhile, comment away in the comment section if you have specific thoughts you’d like to make known. So what’s to like in 2013? Plenty. Below are listed all the upcoming Vibram FiveFingers models slated to release for Spring/Summer 2013 (note: you can see what Vibram FiveFingers are coming Fall 2012 by looking here). In each linked sub-article you’ll find photos, official descriptions, and the corresponding like/share/pin buttons.  

New Vibram FiveFingers for Spring 2013


Vibram FiveFingers El-X (men’s only)

Official Product Description::

The EL-X is a thin, breathable and lightweight shoe perfect for low impact and light fitness activities. Our 3mm TC-1 rubber outsole provides slip resistance and great ground feedback while the EVA insole provides plating protection and comfort. The breathable mesh upper with stretch fabric external support ensures a snug yet flexible fit. PU toe protection and durable Coconut Active Carbon between the toes allows the shoe to double in its appeal to both casual wearers and first timers alike. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the El-X Sole:

El-X Colorways:

BirthdayShoes’ Take:

If you could mash-up the original FiveFingers Classic (Which is rapidly going the way of the dodo) and the incredibly popular KSO, you might get the Vibram FiveFingers El-X. The El-X is billed as being for “casual fitness” or “multi-use.” While it’s not billed for running, I see no immediate reason it couldn’t be used in that way. The El-X is undoubtedly what FiveFingers inventor Robert Fliri was holding up and talking about in this video interview seen here a couple weeks back. Fliri had this to say about them in that Q&A:
So it’s always trying to stay on the functional side … this is just function. It’s really flexible due to all the lines. It creates a good grip as it has many, many small edges to work on. It still has enough surface to uh guarantee a good grip on slick conditions and the best thing for me is that it’s really thin. I don’t tell you the thickness because I don’t want it copied before it goes to the market but it’s thin.
Just how thin is the Vibram rubber sole on the El-X? I’m hearing 3mm (plus another 2mm of EVA — the same as what you get with the KSO). 3mm in sole thickness is .5mm less than the original, razor-siped FiveFingers sole. Of course, unlike that original sole, the El-X sole has a more grooved mold, which would reduce the total rubber in them and reduce weight. Perhaps they even improve the sole malleability (despite the addition of EVA). The El-X looks like it might be the lightest men’s Vibram FiveFingers to date, even lighter than the SeeYa. This is due to the reduced rubber in the sole, the loss of the bungee, and the use of what looks like a super mesh-like upper (similar to the SeeYa?). It’s the EVA and the extra instep coverage of the upper that makes me think of the El-X as a mash-up of the KSO with the Classic. Meanwhile, the El-X lacks any bungee cord or strap to keep the FiveFingers in place on your foot. Looks like there are these external “bands” that help on that front. I am incredibly excited about this new model. I’ve been wanting a reboot of the Classic for some time and while I doubt I’ll be able to put these on without using my hands like the original, they still should be super easy to slip on and off. The extra foot coverage should eliminate the exposed, oft-considered-feminine aesthetic of the Classic, too, lending it a wider appeal. What do you think? Like’em? Do you think you might grab the El-X as your first pair of toe shoes if you were new to the market? What about as your 10th pair? If you dig the El-X, share using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers Maiori

Official Product Description::

The Maiori is an update to our popular water sports model, the Flow. Suited for more intense water activities and with added ankle protection, the Maiori performs in the toughest water sports environments. The neoprene upper provides a secure and warm fit, while the pull-tab and adjustable straps allow for easy entry and adjustability. The high top construction helps keep sand and debris out when walking in the swell. A 3.2mm TC-1 flat textured sole provides the perfect balance of excellent grip and board feel. Lastly, the connected fourth and fifth toe ensures additional protection. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the Maiori Sole:

Maiori Colorways:

The two colorways are available for both men and women

BirthdayShoes’ Take

It’s interesting that Vibram opted to update the Flow with the FiveFingers Maiori model (Maiori is an island off the Amalfi coast of Italy). I say that because I never got the impression that, outside of it’s use as a way to run in colder weather, the Flow was all that popular — mind, watersports make a ton of sense with Vibram FiveFingers and I’ve gone whitewater rafting with my Flows and they performed admirably. If you’ve been around the FiveFingers world long enough, I’m sure the Maiori will also remind you of the Surge as the Surge was very similar to the Flow, but with added neoprene up the ankle. I personally don’t consider myself the right use-case for these FiveFingers, but I am intrigued by their sole. It’s apparently about 3.2mm thick and reminiscent of the old FiveFingers Moc and Performa soles. Meanwhile, the Maiori connects the littlest two toe pockets to protect the littlest toe (Note: while this is evocative of the Skeletoes single toe pocket for the littlest two toes, it’s a bit different in that here it looks like each toe still gets a separate “home”). What do you think about the Maiori? Have a need for some insulated water-related toe shoes? What would be your use case? If you dig the Maiori, share it by using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers Signa

Official Product Description:

Whether kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding or simply walking the rocky shores all summer, the FiveFingers Signa is the shoe for you. The segmented Coral outsole made of Vibram performance rubber ensures ultimate grip and protection in the water and allows natural foot flexion when swimming. Small perforations in the sole encourage water drainage, minimize weight, and speed up drying time. The upper is built with a combination of synthetic and abrasion resistant fabrics to protect the foot. The Signa is finished off with a structural hook-and-loop strap for a secured fit. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the Signa Sole:

Signa Colorways:

One colorway (all black) available for both men and women

BirthdayShoes’ Take

Like the Maiori above, the Vibram Signa is another watersports-focused toe shoe, though perhaps one geared for more general use as it lacks the neoprene upper, which should make it breath a little better (though not be insulated). Unlike the Maiori, the Signa doesn’t connect the littlest two toes. It also has a different sole. What’s neat about the Signa sole is that is two separate pieces of Vibram rubber — one at the forefoot and one at the heel. The sole under the arch is fabric of some sort. Also, not unlike the BodyGlove 3T Barefoot, the Signa has perforations in the sole to allow it to drain water. What do you think about the Signa? If you had to pick between the Signa and the Maiori, which would you choose? How would you use them? If you dig the Signa, share it using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers Entrada (women’s only)

Official Product Description:

A sleek take on our original classic, the Entrada is the perfect choice for those seeking a minimalist option. Built for light fitness activities and casual use, this shoe uses an intricately designed 3.5mm TC-1 rubber outsole. This sole provides slip resistance and great ground feedback while protecting the foot. The EVA insole provides a bit of plating protection, and the mesh upper breathes while soft against the skin. Coconut Active Carbon fabric between the toes and PU printing on top provides durability without sacrificing flexibility. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the Entrada Sole:

Entrada Colorways:

BirthdayShoes’ Take

The Vibram FiveFingers Entrada looks like a straight reboot of the Classic — though it’s only being made for women (or small footed men!). It also looks to have a lot in common with the Alitza (talked about below). It also looks like the Entrada will be replacing the Fresca FiveFingers, which were released Spring of 2012. For the males who wonder why they get the El-X as a Classic reboot while women get the Entrada (and Alitza!), I’ll just say that from everything I’ve observed here at BirthdayShoes HQ, women were just bigger buyers of both the Classic and the Sprint whereas men tended to go for more foot coverage. I know, I know, you love Classics (or Sprints) — I do, too, which is why I’m sad both models are disappearing — but anyway, there are reasons for these descisions, even if we don’t like them. Back on the Entrada. You’ll note the sole is not unlike the El-X sole except the Entrada/Alitza sole actually has a bit more thickness to it — the old VFF standard 3.5mm. The Entrada also has the 2mm EVA midsole, another Vibram “sweetspot” (so far as I’ve guessed) for compromising between more ground feel and less comfort over terrain like gravel. The Entradas (like the El-X) are geared towards casual wear and fitness. Note the Entrada uses a mesh-like upper and is incredibly lightweight. I’m liking how Vibram is hoping to push out five colorways of the Entrada (and as a guy, a little jealous of having so many options). For the women out there, what do you think ? Is there a place in your five-toed footwear line-up for an open-topped, ultra-minimalist pair of FiveFingers? If you like the Entrada, share it using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers Alitza (women’s only)

Official Product Description::

Built for today’s active lifestyle, the Alitza is a cool, casual crossover, providing a fashionable look for everyday urban activities. The transparent mesh upper is soft and comfortable against the skin, while the elastic straps ranging across the instep enhance style, comfort and fit during fitness activities. The 3mm TC-1 rubber outsole allows for superior ground feel while providing slip resistance and flexibility. Micro suede accents provide upper structure, while the straps help hold the shoe firmly against the foot. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the Alitza Sole:

Alitza Colorways:

BirthdayShoes’ Take

The Vibram FiveFingers Alitza with it’s Mary Jane-like straps over the top of the foot make me think they’re a reboot of the original Sprint FiveFingers and like the Entrada it’s only being made for women (or small footed men!). I hashed it out above, but my hunch is this is due to women being the primary buyers of the Sprint model, which would explain why Vibram would design a Sprint-like replacement in the Alitza geared directly towards women. Also like the Entrada, the Alitza is focused on a multi-use casual or fitness application. If you got them, how would you use them? For the women out there, what are your thoughts on the Alitza? Dig the laced up style (I think it’s great, personally)? Would you go Alitza or Entrada (or both)? If you dig the Alitza, share it using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport Sandal

Official Product Description::

Breathable but protective, the TrekSport Sandal is the perfect shoe for your weekend excursion. The lightly cleated 4mm Trek outsole made with Vibram TC-1 Dura rubber delivers increased traction on a variety of surfaces. The padded tongue and synthetic upper with “windows” makes this the most breathable and versatile FiveFinger to date. Other features include a speed lace system, reflective surfaces and an EVA midsole for plating protection. From light hiking to hitting the links, the TrekSport Sandal is bound to make you feel more connected to any activity, making it the perfect multi-use FiveFingers model. Machine Washable. Air Dry.

About the Treksport Sandal Sole:

Treksport Sandal Colorways:

Predominantly black version only available to men; Teal version only available to women; other two available to both)

BirthdayShoes’ Take

The FiveFingers TrekSport Sandals. What do we make of these? Let’s start with the obvious. For one, they’re built on the now “classic” Trek sole, which is probably the most prolific Vibram sole to date. Why is the Trek sole so popular? I like them well enough but my only guess is that they’re easy to build on and fairly popular. Of course, now that the Spyridon sole is available (see the Spyridon LS or the laceless Spyridon), one wonders why we’re not seeing more Spyridon soles. Regardless, the big question about these is: why a sandal? And while in the official description cites these as the “most breathable and versatile FiveFinger to date,” I can’t help but think, “How could it be more breathable than a pair of Sprints?” I also wonder about using them light trekking, would there be an issue of things getting inside the shoes (and not getting out)? I actually like the idea of a super minimalist FiveFingers sandal, but I’m imagining something that uses straps for the upper (the toe pockets would still have to exist somehow). I’d not have guessed the first FiveFingers sandal would look more like a Keen than a pair of huaraches. I’m on the fence on these — it’s just hard to imagine a first-run VFF sandal simply by looking at a photo. I’m certainly curious about how the TrekSport Sandals would function. Maybe they would be super breathable. Who knows! If you dig the TrekSport Sandal, share it using the buttons below. Thoughts or comments, go here.

Vibram FiveFingers Sorrento (men’s only) — long-shot release for the U.S.!

Official Product Description:

Great for traveling, light walking or casual wear, the Sorrento is an ideal choice for the FiveFingers® enthusiast who wants to enjoy a barefoot experience while relaxing. The leather upper is perforated for breathability and has an elastic gore at the topline for a secure fit. Completely lined in leather, it feels smooth and comfortable against your skin.

About the Sorrento sole:

BirthdayShoes’ Take:

About a year ago I got a pre-production pair of the FiveFingers Sorrento. It wasn’t long thereafter when I learned they weren’t slated for U.S. production (Actually, for awhile I didn’t think they were going to be produced at all, anywhere), which is why I never reviewed them. Then Vibram went and made them — available for sale in Europe. What I can tell you is that I have really enjoyed the Sorrento FiveFingers. They pair really well with a pair of jeans and can be dressed up a bit or down for casual wear. What more, they’re comfortable and are suede on the outside and a smooth leather on the inside (excepting the footbed, which is a canvas material). As for the soles, the toe pockets are completely separated allowing for an enormous amount of toe dexterity. As a toe shoe you can wear all day casually, the Sorrentos are a compelling option. I’d actually liken them to Birkenstock clogs, my favorite footwear of old. What else can I say? You either will appreciate the Sorrento’s aesthetic, which I personally feel is a little hard to “get” fully from the stock photos, or you don’t see the point. What’s your take? If you have been hoping to grab the Sorrentos ever since you first laid eyes on them a year ago, you’ve got to share it using the buttons below. It’s a serious long-shot that these will come to the U.S. By comparison, the Capris mentioned a few weeks ago — don’t expect those in the U.S. any time soon, but with the Sorrentos there’s a chance, albeit small, so if you like them, rise up! Thoughts or comments, go here.

That’s a wrap … for now!

So what’s your take? Dig what’s on tap for 2013 from Vibram FiveFingers? What’s missing that you keep hoping they’ll produce? Let’s hear it in the comments. Also, please share this post — the more folks who get in on weighing in on these 2013 FiveFingers models, the better the feedback for Vibram, and the better our options will be either in the Spring and Summer or even later in Fall 2013 and beyond! Finally, if you want to stay on top of what’s new in the minimalist/”barefoot” shoes community, there’s no better way than by subscribing by email to birthdayshoes.com!