Using tape to add strength, durability, and even style to the Vibram Five Fingers KSO (and KSO Trek) straps! [modification]

A drawback to the hook and loop Vibram Five Fingers KSO strap design is that the bend in the loop can cause friction that may ultimately degrade the nylon and break the strap. Use tape to add style and strength to your KSO Vibrams!

Jason a.k.a. “marley mission” on the birthday shoes forums came up with a stylish way to fortify the straps of his KSO Five Fingers in order to minimize strap wear on VFF KSOs. I asked Jason to share some photos of his Tape-Modded VFF KSOs on the main blog. He graciously agreed.

The Marley Mission VFF KSO Tape Mod

Hey all. Justin asked me to send him some tape mod pics of my VFF after seeing me post some pics on the forums. As I totally love the site I replied that it would be my pleasure.

Now of course the starting reason to do tape mods of the straps was to add protection to strap areas where the strap looped through across the front of the shoes. As you might have seen from previous comments on the forums regarding VFF straps — they tend to fray and can even break from constant strap loop contact.

Basically, I also noticed this with my VFF pairs (I have 1 treks and 3 kso’s) as the plastic piece in the loop area does act as a “saw” of sorts against the fabric of the strap. As I run around 60 miles a week now between all four pairs – I decided to do some preventative taping in the loop areas on the straps. One thing led to another and I decided to tape mod the entire strap areas on all four pairs.

Brown KSO Treks Tape Modded:

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I did these with Realtree Brown 2″ Duct Tape from The duct tape sticks real well so no crazy glue was needed to further secure tape seams. Other notes from the treks pics are that these pics were fresh from a 2 hour trail run in the snow. I have also used crazy glue around the edges of the sole area where the sole connects to the shoe material — in both a repair situation and preventatively.

Orange / Black KSOs Tape Modded:

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I did these with Orange Camo 2″ Gaffers Tape from I also used no glue here with tape seems as the tape was suffieciently adhering to the strap material. The different tape material choice had to do with the desire for the orange camo design which I only found in Gaffers Tape – not duct. As you will see next with blue camo tape I also made a material switch to Hockey Tape – as this was the only tape material that i saw having a blue camo design.

Blue Camo KSOs Tape Modded:

Click for the larger image! Click for the larger image! Click for the larger image!

I did these with Blue Camo 2″ Hockey Tape from I used some crazy glue on the tape seams here as the hockey tape seemed to need that reinforcement in the seam areas. Obviously, since the pieces of tape carry only a 2″ width – several pices are needed to loop around the straps. Each piece cut varied in the length but no pieces—even in the thickest area in the loop section of the strap—measured more than 3 or 4 inches. I was careful to take my time in wrapping the straps so they fit nicely against the strap material.

Black KSOs Tape Modded (aka – the screwed up pair):

I did these with White Duct Tape from a local convenience store. These did NOT come out like I had hoped. Using traditional duct tape that had a white color I initially thought would look good but this particular tape turned out difficult to work with with and the black and white contrast did not give the result I wanted. The tape also did not seem to go on as smoothly though it is holding strong. I then tried to add a “zebra design” with a black sharpie only to learn that the sharpie began easily rubbing off the duct tape material so I stopped mid way. I will probably leave them as is as I don’t want to put too much tape on and the tape itself does the job by protecting the strap. You can check these out at the forum thread dedicated to this mod.
Thanks Jason for this contribution to the Five Fingers fan community!

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.

2 replies on “Using tape to add strength, durability, and even style to the Vibram Five Fingers KSO (and KSO Trek) straps! [modification]”

My KSO’s straps were almost worn completely through after about 350 miles and 9 months. I just came back from a shoe-repair place, and they just completely replaced the old straps with new ones for $20, and the new straps are twice as thick and presumably twice as resistant to tearing. I posted about it at: along with a photo. Hope this helps someone.

Hey, my KSO’s straps started to fray after its 2nd wash(delicate cycle – only owned them for 3 weeks. I was reading through your article but I didn’t see any mention of how the tape handles being washed? I like the simplicity of your solution, but I’m worried about its longevity.


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