The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila has Landed!

BREAKING NEWS! I have gotten word from the good people at CitySports that the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila has landed!Specifically, the City Sports on Boylston Street — the same one where the barefoot running clinic will be held Saturday —…

Updated 10PM EST, 4/15/2010 — first photos!

BREAKING NEWS! I have gotten word from the good people at CitySports that the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila has landed, at least sort of landed!

It’s like a mini-landing. Read on!

The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is showing up sometime today at City Sports on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachussets! (I took this photo from the Hancock Tower circa 2003)

The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is showing up sometime today at City Sports on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachussets! (I took this photo from the Hancock Tower circa 2003)

#VFF Bikila has arrived! Very limited supply to start, get it... on TwitpicSpecifically, the City Sports on 480 Boylston Street — the same one where the barefoot running clinic will be held Saturday — has received a “quick strike” of very limited quantities (none for women yet and only in grey/red! H/T VFF-Friday) of the Bikila that should be available sometime this afternoon or evening! I’m sure they will go very fast and per @citysports, you can only get them at this specific store (no holds or transfers!). Hey, what did I say about the Bikila arriving “just in time” to blow your tax refund?

Note 1: This doesn’t terminate the free Bikila giveaway contest yet! The contest will terminate when City Sports carries the Bikila online! You can still participate by subscribing by email! I expect City Sports will have them online for general purchase in the next few days!

Note 2: If you attend the clinic Saturday, be on the look out for 5-foot logo stickers! They should have a few to hand out to attendees!

Exciting times! The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is finally here! Woot! Er … Foot!

Read on for the update!

Update 10PM EST, 4/15/2010 — first photos!

Wishing a very happy birthday to Rich, who got his birthday shoes some birthday shoes — new Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas! I asked Rich to pass on any photos he could of his new kicks and here’s what he sent my way:

Here’s what Rich had to say about his new Bikila Vibrams, as well as the Boston City Sports carrying them:

  • it is only that City Sports that has them
  • they are selling fast
  • they have the crazy electric blue color as well as the red and grey
  • they don’t even have boxes for them; the Bikilas came straight from the manufacturer, and City Sports received them in individual plastic bags

They’re really nice and hopefully will be widely available soon!

Thanks for the intell from the front lines, Rich! And again, Happy Birthday!

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.

41 replies on “The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila has Landed!”


What size is that kid holding?! They are huge! Either that or he is small.

I wonder if anybody will be running Boston in them. If so, I would love to see a review on this site.

I contacted Crossroads in Alabama yesterday. They were taking pre-orders for a projected shipping date of 5/1. By the time I got my order placed (about a minute later), they had sold out and the next projected shipping date was listed as 8/1. These things are going to go crazy fast.

Holy crap. I live in Boston and today is my birthday. I’m so leaving work early and going over there. 😀

Now the question is, when will we be getting them everywhere else? Can’t wait to go for a run in them!

Check out the Crossroadsonline link to the right. Holy Cow! Did anybody know about the KSO Trek Sport? It’s as cool as the Bikila and right around the same price.

I definitely need more disposable income.

Woah! Guess I’ll have to try and get downtown before the Barefoot Clinic this Saturday. If they aren’t sold out already on Saturday I’d imagine that they’ll sell out quickly when eastern Massachusetts’ entire barefoot/minimal community descends upon city sports.

First of… WOO HOO!!! second, really, no women size? what kind of crap is that????? I don’t live near Boston, but why women always last? Not FAir Vibram… !!!!
Yes, the BIKILA SPORT are super HOT!!

Brandon– are you running FLYING PIG by any chance? I running my very first marathon May 2nd in Ohio.
I was really countingon having my Bikilas by then, but it’s not a go 🙁 I’ll have them for Chicago though 🙂 WOO HOO!!! I have my fimgers crossed to win CIty SPorts drawing!!!

Good luck everyone geting a pair this week 🙂 PLease post comments . ow you liek, sizing vs KSO or Spints…etc 🙂 Thank you guys


Just got my Bikilas and they are VERY cool. They are much different from my KSOs in many ways. The most significant difference that I can report having only worn them a little bit is the stiffness.

They have a much stiffer sole that is also a bit thicker than the KSO (and others). They are thickest at the balls of the feet into the outside of the foot. If you are looking at the photo of the gray and red ones I am referring to the darkest region of the tread. Also, the piece at the arch is very stiff compared to the KSO.

I took them for a brief spin around the block (I didn’t go that far since I’d already taken my run) and they felt very good. The surprising thing is that there is some measure of arch support due to that stiffer arch piece. It seems to me that they would be easier to wear covering longer distances, especially if you are relatively new to minimal running like me. The stiffer shoe also provides for a good amount of spring when pushing off from your toes.

The inside of the shoe is pretty luxurious. It is very soft and there are very few seams facing the foot (I had read that there were none, but that is not quite the case). The ankle piece is very comfortable.

A note on sizing: compared to the KSO they seem to run a little narrow. I even considered going up a size, but ultimately decided not to.

I am very excited to take them out for a more substantial run, and I’m definitely going to feel like one of the cool kids when I wear to them to the barefoot running clinic on Saturday.

I am curious to see what more hardcore barefoot enthusiasts have to say about them. To be sure they are definitely a step closer to a traditional shoe than any other VFFs that I have ever tried on or worn. I suspect that many will defer to these shoes only when they are running longer distances. I also think they will make good shoes for somebody trying to break into barefoot running.

@wen: The half-marathon I’m doing is in Providence, RI.

@Jesse: Your review is what I was worried a bit about, that the Bikila had more structure than the previous VFF models, especially in the arch and padding. I’ll most likely still give them a shot though and see if they work for me 🙂

@wen Good luck at the Flying Pig!! I ran that a couple of years ago its a great race. Hope you like hills 🙂

These look exciting, it looks like it might have enough tread for some trail use too.

The flying pig was my first marathon, ran it the first year Cincinnati had it. it is NOT flat, there are some evil hills, but it was a blast.

Second Impression:

I just returned from my first five miles in my Bikilas and I thought I’d give a second impression of the shoes for anyone interested:

The interior is way less abrasive than the KSOs while running. Even fresh blisters that I have were not irritated at all.

The design is pretty clever. In a traditional running shoe they encourage a heel strike by prioritizing the heel for padding. These shoes seem to take a similar approach with the forefoot. Since the sole is a bit thicker at the balls of your feet it doesn’t take too long before your feet just want to land there. Without exaggerating, I do believe that these shoes may be very effective over time at helping people develop a forefoot strike.

I miss the ground feel of my KSOs while running in these. While the increased padding and tread in the forefoot has some advantages, the feel of the earth below my toes was what attracted me to VFFs in the first place, and that sensation is very altered in these.

For fun I walked around a little with a KSO on one foot and Bikila on the other. I wiggled my toes around and noticed that with the Bikila you virtually cannot bend your toes downward, only up. This is likely because one doesn’t tend to bend toes downward while running. I didn’t notice any deficit because of this while running, but I can imagine that many other activities you might want to do in VFFs might be difficult because of this (that slacking article form the other day comes to mind).

My run was great and the shoes felt awesome. They will not replace my KSOs for every day use, but I do anticipate that they will help improve my stride and I’m glad to add them to my collection. I’m pretty curious what they will be like when I wear down the soles from use.

Very curious to hear impressions from other folks who are trying them out!

Hi I am from india and have no option of getting the vibrams here. However I do travel to Germany and sometimes to US and was considering picking up something.

For Germany, please advise if you are aware of any stores in Hamburg or Munich ?

IN US which is the flagship store of vibrams and in which location which stocks all the options and sizes so that my visit to the US will not be wasted.

Thanks a lot !

Some of these reviews have left me scratching my head a little bit. The beauty of the Vibrams is their minimalist nature. Now I start to hear terms like “increased padding” for select portions of the foot, “less ground feel” and “only have the ability to bend your toes up.” Starts to sound like a running shoe.

Sounds like the Bikilas are more geared towards targeting those “transitional” type runners, and less the minimalist. Not saying this is a bad thing, but so far the reviews haven’t left me eager to ditch my KSO’s and try these out. The release is probably more intended for Vibram to target a different (and larger) market of runners. The Bikila certainly is sexy looking…and I’m sure it’s great, but reviews sound like if you can already run long distances in the KSOs, there probably isn’t much to be gained from going to the Bikilas.

A question for those who’re lucky enough to have themselves a pair: any ideas on how the durability will end up? i run 30-40 a week and i need a “shoe” that won’t burn out on me in a month. I know it’s a bit early, but those who have experienced them may be able to give me rough estimate. Thanks.

The official word from the Vibram rep is that 3 stores in Boston received the Bikila this week for the Boston Marathon. The 3 stores are Marathon Sports ( on Boylston Street, City Sports on Boylston Street, and the Tannery on Boylston Street. Only the men’s Bikila made it in time for the weekend, but the women’s should be along within the next week or so. Each store received a limited supply so go buy them soon!

Is it just me, or does the toe next to the big toe look longer? I’m looking at the photos posted and then looking at my KSOs, and I think I see a difference, no?

I took my pair out for their first run today, a four miler. So far I am impressed but here are my thoughts.

First off I will say that I am a “tweener”; I fit between sizes so, unfortunately I have no option but to wear socks with them, otherwise they are too loose. I wish I could ditch the socks but the same size I wear in a KSO is way too small.

I can confirm the loss of ground feel with these compared to other models. The pads and extra padding inside definitely make it feel more like a shoe. But, this doesn’t mean that it has any support to it, because it doesn’t. I found that I had to keep my form the same as if I was unshod. I did some tests and I could heel strike a bit without the same instant pain as when barefoot and I could also run through some rocks and even though I felt them, they did not hurt at all.

I wouldn’t say they are aimed at transitional runners because I feel that you need to have the correct form before using them, otherwise you are going to get in trouble. Even though they are more substantial than other Vibrams they still lack any type of real padding or support and therefore I think they are more designed for the serious barefoot or minimalist runner who wants a shoe to protect their feet, give them some traction and yet doesn’t come with all the downsides of a traditional running shoe.

Picked up a pair Sunday night, so they are not sold out and I got the impression they had some in every size.

The “electric blue” is not too crazy, looked more like a girl’s color, light baby powder blue. Yuk. I wanted something brighter, and ended up with the boring grey/red models.

They felt roomier than my KSOs (even wearing socks) and I think what I don’t like about them is the ankle strap. There is none, so I feel my heel lifting out of the shoe. I tried on the next smaller size but they were way too small with my toes pressed against the ends. I think this will be less of a problem when running, but we’ll find out in the morning.

I am curious how the sole pods will wear, they don’t seem like they will last as long as traditional VFF models, but that is just pure conjecture on my part.

Ok, so I am a bit confused about the Bikila sizing. It seems that some people are going up a size and some are going down a size from the KSO. For those of us who will be ordering our Bikilas on-line, this becomes a big issue. Can anybody shed some light on the sizing issue or, better yet, post an official sizing chart (if there is one)?


I think the sizing is intended to be the same as the KSO, but it sounds to me like it could vary in “feel” on a person to person basis.

Wish I could say more but just don’t have the info yet — will post more when I know more!


I if anyone in the Washington, D.C. area is looking for a pair, Chinatown City Sports (right next to the Verizon Center) says they should have 250 pairs in stock by the end of the month. Not sure about other D.C. locations.

Picked up a pair on Friday, and had a chance to test them out on a 5 mile run over the weekend. Couple first impressions:

– The toes are considerably less flexible thank my Classics, especially bending down; they are also angled slightly up. This is presumably to facilitate a striking surface on the ball of your foot, and to avoid dragging/stubbing the big toe when running (something I’ve had problems with).

– Though the pads aren’t very thick, they do give you a big less ground feel than Classics or KSOs.

– There is a bit more arch “support,” but it feels very different than a normal running shoe. The structure actually felt like it tipped me further forward into a “proper” barefooting position, and when I tried to heel down (just to test) it was actually somewhat uncomfortable.

Overall, this feels much more like a “purpose-built” shoe than Classics or KSOs. I really loved them for road running, and indeed liked them better than my Classics for that activity. However, these probably shouldn’t be the only VFFs you would own, as they lack the versatility to go from running to casual wear to hiking.

Went to City last night, only had 1 pair of the bikila’s (red/grey) in 47 and it had a seem issue inside the big toe.

Marathon is out of size 47 and the Tannery said they didn’t carry the bikila’s yet.

I hit up the NYC City Sports at the Rockefeller store the past 2 weeks to check in, and they said next week (April 31st) or the following week in May. I’m very excited for these since all I can do is road running and these sound PERFECT for that! I got a nasty bone bruise from a big chunk of concrete about 2 months ago when I was in my KSO’s (not the KSO’s fault of course, I shouldn’t have tried to hop over the rock). It’s encouraging to hear the slightly thicker areas are there will help reduce the weird sensation when you run over gravel, uneven concrete, and cracks. I even do the toe drag sometimes *shudder*

Anywho, I know there has to be other people from my area looking, figured I’d spread what I heard 🙂 I’m not sure about the 5th avenue store!

I have my eyes on the Magenta/Orange 😀 <3 LOUD COLORS!

thoughts on Bikila sizing

I have been using a M41 in KSOs and M42 in Classic so I listened to the VFF folks and bought M41 in the Bikila. They felt fine (although my big toe does touch the front of the big toe pocket). After just running the Lake Placid Half I realized i had the dreaded black toenail on one foot. That let me to think that i might need a size M42 before I run the NYC full marathon. Got an M42 pair and rain with them…the big toe fits fine but the smaller toes barely get in the toe pockets and the heel feels a bit looser..wondering if I should go back to the M41s


Peter, I have the exact same problem, and adding to it; my right foot is a bit bigger than the left. My big toe def touches the end, but all the others a perfectly sized. You guys who order online – don’t! It’s been a total nightmare with sizing on the Bikilas…

I just got a set in 42s I wear a 43 sprint and followed the size chart they dont quite fit like the ksos but I have to return them because the glue on the side started to come apart only after 7 miles

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