Barefoot Shoes

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS – Review

A few days ago, I received a pair of the new Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS toes shoes and want to share my first impressions. So far, I’ve only taken them out on one 2+ mile run, but can already tell they perform very much like my standard Bikilas and in…

A few days ago, I received a pair of the new Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS toe shoes and want to share my first impressions. So far, I’ve only taken them out on one 2+ mile run, but can already tell they perform very much like my standard Bikilas and in some ways better. Rather than rehash all that has been said about the Bikila, which I think is the perfect hard surface barefoot running shoe (until now!), I will keep this concise by highlighting what is different about the Bikila LS.

The big differences are:

  • Speed lace system
  • Coconut active carbon upper
  • New dotted PU toe protection
  • Color choices

These changes represent improvements over the standard Bikila and I will cover each of them after the jump.

Speed Lace System

As it turns out, shoelaces date back to 3500 BC with “Ötzi the Iceman” making some major innovations (lime bark laces!) a couple of hundred years later, around 3300 BC. They are truly an invention that has withstood the test of time and Vibram has made its own improvements by adding laces to the new Bikila LS.

As you can see in the pics, the lacing system is limited in how far it can open because it’s a closed loop. So, don’t plan on being able to open them up wide and just slip in. However, when stretched open as far as they go, they are much easier to get on than the standard Bikilas.

The new Bikila LS is marketed as being able to accommodate wider feet and higher arches. I have high arches and struggle putting on my standard Bikilas. They are very tight at the top of my arch and the strap is just a decoration. In fact, after washing my standard Bikilas, I get a tingly feeling on my arch from lack of circulation. Luckily, it goes away after a couple of runs as they stretch out. For me, the Bikila LS solves this tightness problem, but there may not be enough added room for some feet.

Another advantage of the lacing system is being able to quickly dial in the perfect fit by setting the level of tightness you desire with the locking lace clamp and securing the end of the laces to a hook and loop tab. Unlike poor old Ötzi, there are no knots to tie or unruly laces flopping around. Setting the tension to my optimal fit definitely relieves some of the arch and heel pressure I feel in my standard Bikilas. Ah, the wonders of the modern shoelace.

Also, I was worried that the tongue might lay uneven against my arch. I am happy to report it’s totally comfortable and I can’t even feel it’s there.

Thumbs up on the laces!

Coconut Active Carbon Upper

The material used in the upper is completely different from the standard Bikila. The Bikilas LS uses the coconut active carbon upper previously seen on the Sport Trek. If you read my review of the Sport Trek, you know that I had a bit of a problem with this very thin and not so rugged material being used on a trail shoe. Mine ripped after just a few times out on the trails and I had to return them. Demanding stresses are put on a trail shoe and I question Vibram using it on the Trek Sports. However, on a road shoe it may be more appropriate. The coconut active carbon upper is definitely thinner, lighter and more comfortable than the standard Bikila material. They just feel great around my feet and in combination with the adjustable lacing system they literally “fit like a glove”. Ha, I think I said that in my original Bikila review. Well, these are even better. Will the material hold up to the rigors of road running? The jury is still out.

New PU toe protection

The “tear-resistant TPU toe protection” on the original Bikila has been replaced with “abrasion resistant PU toe protection” on the Bikila LS. In English, this means the old shiny toe protectors have been replaced with little raised rubbery dots. Those old shiny toe protectors were supposedly designed help prevent tears, yet my Trek Sports tore right along the edge of one. Also, they turn yellow over time. These new PU dots may rub off over time, but it beats the heck out of yellow toenails. There is also a big swath of these dots above the toes that adds protection and looks kinda cool. I’m not really diggin’ the new “PU” acronym, but the dots are an improvement.

As an aside, TPU is an acronym for thermoplastic polyurethanes. I don’t know why Vibram dropped the “T” and calls these new dots just PU. I will assume it means they are made of polyurethane of the non-thermoplastic variety. Perhaps some materials expert can help me out here.

Color Choices

The biggest change here is the added choice of a black/grey option for those who want that speedy Ninja look. It’s available in both men’s and women’s. I’ve yet to get in touch with my inner Ninja, so I opted for the green/grey. It’s not all that different from the palm/grey in the standard Bikila except the green on the LS is a bit less drab. You see very little of the green on them, so it’s pretty much a grey shoe. Boring perhaps, but it suits my style (or lack of it!).

There is also a nice teal blue option in the Women’s Bikila LS.

If you want to be “out there” with wilder colors, the standard Bikila may still be way to go. The men’s sky blue and women’s magenta, in the standard, still win the head turner award.


So, Vibram replaced the strap with laces and made a few other tweaks. No, big deal huh? Well, I think it’s great that they have been able to preserve the feel of the original Bikila while giving it a more adjustable fit and accommodating those folks with wider feet and higher arches. Good work Vibram!

Have you recently purchased or are you considering the Bikila LS? What do you think about them?

By Britt

Hailing from College Station, Texas (Home to Texas A&M!), I grew up running cross country. Believe it or not, I gave Justin the name for this site back in early 2009 but I didn't jump on the toe shoes bandwagon until a year later. I am also really into quadcopters and drones and have a blog called

54 replies on “Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS – Review”

I have high arches and will be checking these out.

Do you think they would hold up if I used them to run on dirt paths and occasionally trails or are they supposed to just be used on roads?

thanks for the review! One thing that strikes me after reading it is that there doesn’t seem to be much advantage to the standard Bikila. My originals fit me just fine, so I have no reason to trade ’em in before they wear out, but if you were buying a new pair and had to choose, is there any reason NOT to go for the LS? Seems like even if the original fits you fine, aren’t the laces a step up anyway?

I purchased the Bikila LS several weeks ago, and have had a chance to run several five mile trail runs in them so far (I live in a winter climate, but we had a few days of high 40s, so I was able to get out in them before it snowed again). I have been running in the KSO’s for almost two years previous to getting the Bikila LS. I would agree with the above review, that people with high arched/high volume feet may still have difficulty getting into them. I have a fairly low volume foot and didn’t find them much easier to get into than my stretched out KSO’s. But I love the laces for micro-adjusting the fit. And I love everything else about the Bikila LS so far. I can’t wait for the ground to warm up so I can get more use out of them. I do wish they had some brighter color options. But I settled for the grey/green. Sizing is comparable to KSO’s, just like recommended on Vibram website.

Great review, you have answered a couple things I wasn’t sure about the Bikila LS. The upper is coconut carbon and the PU toe protectors. I thought these were mis-information on the VFF website, glad to see it’s all true.

I like the LS much better than regular Bikilas. My feet don’t sweat as much in them during a day of wear as much. And my feet stay much cooler when running using the LS.

If VFF ever come out in the Bikila sky blue/yellow/gray color option in the LS…I’m all over that shoe! I have the black/gray LS and I am very happy with them! Very light weight for sure!

I wonder how the new toe dot thingys will hold up for toe stubs on the street (when the toe trips and goes under the foot).

Hurts like hell for folding reasons, but the scrapes are almost as bad. I’ve only done it once myself in a year and a half, but I know lots of new toe shoe runners that seem to do it all the time.

I’m also curious if the rubber soles will separate from the rest of the shoe during the 2-8 week time period like was all too common with the bikilas, for which yes there is a return policy, but no I never got around to learning about the return policy until it was too late. 😉

I’d prefer that the soles remained attached without having to send in a defective pair. I’m guessing that Vibram USA would prefer that too, so please do provide a quick update in a few more weeks if you get a chance!

Thanks again for a great article/review.

I just hope Vibram has solved the sole separation problem. I will be waiting at least 6 months to see if there are reports of the dreaded glue failures. Fingers crossed.


I personally wouldn’t use them on trails for fear that the material on the upper might tear. Also, I have problems running heavy trails in Vibrams, because of rubbing and hot spots around my toes. Dirt paths shouldn’t be a problem.


I like the laces because they help with the tightness around my arch, but if the standard Bikilas fit well you may want to stick with them. The laces do give a more fine tuned fit though.


I am pretty sure the dots will wear off eventually. It is too early to tell about separation, but mine seem to be glued well and I think the coconut carbon probably sticks better to sole. On the other hand, it tears easier.

I’ve got a question about the fitting…

On my original Bikilas, on one foot, I have a problem with it being slightly loose at the heel. Due to foot irregularity. It’s literally 2-3mm but it totally offsets my footing and I can’t use the bikilas.

Have they found a way to fix this, by being able to somehow adjust from the back of the heel? or any other solution I can’t think of


went for my first run in my new Bikila LS and I love them, I had been running in Sprints, but like you said these are like a glove and a very comfortable one at that!

Great review, thanks. As I have very high insteps
and wide feet I think these might be the ‘full foot’ VFF’s I’ve been waiting for. I’ve only ever been able to fit in Classics.

Does anyone know if there’s anywhere in the US selling these that ships to the UK?

Women who have switched from Bikila to Bikila LS… how do they compare in size? I read a review at citysports that said a lady had to go a size down for the LS. I love the original Bikila but am finding lately that the top of one of foot is hurting with the strap as loose as it can go… so I thought the LS may solve that.

I am wondering the same thing – i had my feet measured in REI when I got my first pair of bikilas and measured a size 38. Just got my new bikila LS and I feel like they’re a little more roomy in the toes…except for my fat pinky toe which hits the end – not sure if i should go down a size or not – there’s prob about a 1/4 inch of room in the middle toe to the big toe – the other two toes fit perfectly. Also, the chart says you’re the same size in both bikilas. help! ps, I love the hot pink color on the original bikilas and am pretty sad they toned it down – i mean, we are wearing toe shoes, might as well go all out – the comments, stares and questions are gonna come regardless 😉 i love it.

Did my first run in them yesterday. All was great (typical calf soreness) except a hotspot on the outer half of my left forefoot. Didn’t appear to be anything in the shoe or a seam at that point. Has anyone tried a dab of vaseline until the foot fully adjusts? Other ideas for avoiding this?

As a practitioner of parkour and freerunning, I have to say that the new bikila ls vibrams are my favorite now. Perfect fit excellent support and better material make these vibrams triumph over my other bikilas. So now I will
Mainly be wearing these the komodo sport and the speed, gosh vibrams I love you <3 excellent work guys

Im glad it allows higher arches. The first thing I did to my KSO was to cut the strap with a scisor. It looks a bit raw without,but much more confy.

I love my Bikila LS. Got them in the mail 2 weeks ago and used them for the Great Aloha Run. I’ll keep wearing my Bikilas, but I alternate them with the LS. The LS are much easier to put on and fit, and they fit me very well. I did pass another man who was wearing LS during the GAR.

I have wide feet. Anyone here know how fittment is on wide feet for the Bikila LS mens? I don’t want to purchase a pair if they wont fit me right. Thanks.

I just bought the bikila ls and the komodosport. I had the bikila since last week of Nov 2010, but the seams started to rip open right inside the arch at the ball of the foot, where the seam is! So, I returned them (REI) and can’t decide btwn these two. The LS fit just like the old bikilas, so they feel more “normal” to my foot. They are both 38s, and the komodosport feel tight, esp in the big toe. I will try running in them on the treadmill tonight and see which I like better. Just walking around the house, the bikila LS get my vote. komodosport in black and bikila LS in blue/gray…its what they had in my size! I have run over 5 mi in the bikilas and felt like I could run farther…but in the morning my calves were KILLIN me! Also ran with them on the beach…I’d rather run barefoot…the bikilas felt better on the road. Sand got in them on the beach…argh!

i think this is a good shoe
and i want to buy it for my father
but is ti can be used for a flat foot person?

@RJ I have wide feet, made even wider by not having an arch. I have run in the KSOs for the past 2 years and wore them out. I went in and tried on all the new fivefingers (treksport, komodosport, bikila) and the Bikila LS fit the best, even better then my KSOs!

@hansen I have terrible flat feet (flexible flat feet) and I just bought the Bikila LS. I find that by alternating using shoes works well. But when I use shoes I constantly think about running as if I had the fivefingers on.

Great review!

So I wanted to add my two cents here. I have extremely high arches, and these are the ONLY fivefingers that have worked for me. The Sprint was very uncomfortable in the achilles and pinched a lot, and the KSO was comfortable, but the strap wouldn’t even velcro it was so stretched out by my high arches! So that wasn’t going to work. But the Bikila LS is AMAZING. I love the adjustable laces and the tongue doesn’t rub at all. I don’t feel any pressure on my arches from the top. If you have high arches, these are definitely the fivefingers for you.

i bought the bikila ls and the next day after my first run i had blidters on both big toes and on the right foot the topline of my foot was very sore i think this may be from the lacing

I just got these in yesterday and I Love Them.
the comfort and feel is amazing… I highly recommend these to anyone who loves to go barefoot but just needs a little extra protection. Before i purchased them I read some reviews before I bought that said they tend to be a little smelly after use. I have a leather pair of olukai’s that I love but make my feet smell horrible after just an hour of wear… I was worried that these might be the same… Yesterday after about 8 hours of straight wear there was no bad smell at all. Bottomless… These are my new feet!

Hoping someone can help with this in the next day or two…

I just bought a pair of Bikila LS’s, but haven’t used them yet–I can still return them.

It wasn’t until after picking them up that I’ve read about this business of them being designed to accomodate wider feet/higher arches. I just went for the laces because, hey, it seemed like they could offer a better fit overall than the single strap.

My feet aren’t particularly wide, nor are my arches particularly high, so my question is, would I get a better fit from the standard Bikilas? I’m wondering if I should exchange them.

I wasn’t able to try the standard Bikilas on at the store because they didn’t have my size.


I think you are fine either way. I kinda like the way they replaced the clear toe protectors on the LS with the dots. The clear ones on the standard Bikila get yellow over time. Also, the laces assure you get a good fit.

I know that the LS accommodate people with wider feet and higher arches, but are they suitable for all foot types? I am a man, with fairly average width feet and low arches – will these fit me? Or am I best going with the regular bikilas?
This site is awesome btw.

I live in canada and in my city i’ve only been able to try on the trek sport and komodo sport. i’m very interested in the bikila ls.

I have a pair of ecco biom minamalist runners that i love, but after getting them and realizing how much work my feet are doing i became interested in Vibram’s.

I have one question to anyone who is using them, for running purposes would you recommend the komodo sport or bikila ls?

My main problem is i don’t have high arches, the span of my feed a bit wide, however the heel of my feet are narrower in comparison, so if i went with the LS would it be suitable?

I can buy the komodo sport in the store and check the fit, but the LS i have to purchase off the web and can’t check the fit before hand which is why i’m concerned!

Any feedback would be great 🙂

Bought these 2 months ago from REI, love the feel and the run. Within about 100 miles the toe tread on two of the toes was worn out. I took them back and got a new pair, about 125 miles later same issue, diffrent toes though. Should I try the KSO instead?

Hi Aaron. I don’t have an answer about KSO wear vs LS as I just bought a pair of mens Ls from REI today. I will walk around for a few days before I run in them. From your experience with LS wear I wonder how mine will do. This seems like premature wear to me.

How do these compare to the new Speed? I have freakishly high arches, and both sound really good.. just not 100% on the differences

How does the sizing for the Bikila LS compare to the Jaya LR? I am an 8.5 U.S. and have a pair of Jaya LR 39.

Just got my 1st pair m358 bikila ls. Broke them in at disneyland for 5 days 1st 2 days my feet were very. Fatigued but as I kept wearing them my feet adjusted. Today I went out for a 10 mile run on street and sidewalks with hills.I have never done well on hills but today I just powered up them with eaze I’m not sure about a marathon but I will keep training in themat higer mileage and see. Calves are a little sore but that’s 10 miler this season if the materials hold up that will be a bonus.lovethem 1st run a 10 miler I’m pretty stoked keep the rubber side down abe

This is perfect. I have been seriously considering purchasing this exact same pair and you convinced me to do so. Thanks!

I have these, and I love them! I have a high arch and my foot is not necessarily big, but just really tall, so these are perfect.
I had originally bought the KSO’s, and I loved them right away, but they didn’t accommodate the height of my foot and left red marks and dents in my skin. So I reluctantly returned them and tried the Bikila LS’s instead–perfect. They became my new favourite shoes on the first day I had them.
I’m new to running, so I can’t say I’ve done marathons in these shoes (one day I will though!) but I wear them both for running and for everyday footwear, and I love them.

I bought these about 4 months ago and have since bought a second pair. They are a revelation for running – I am currently running 25 miles a week and they have been fabulously comfortable. I have high arches and wide feet and for me, the fit is perfect. I also have a pair of Komodo Sports which i wear in the gym, and the fit of the Bikila LS is definitely better for me. If you are going to try any VFFs for running, I would certainly recommend these.

I just replaced my old, worn out Bikilas (the shoe material was pulling away from the sole very VERY badly after a year of runs) with the Bikila LS in red (which I think is awfully snazzy without having to go to that hideous magenta offered in the standard version). I told my friend, “the old Bikila felt like a glove built out of a shoe, whereas the LS feels like a shoe built out of a glove.”

It’s all I can think of to explain the difference. I loved my Bikilas to death (and, really, beyond since they should have been replaced a couple of months ago), but these are such a better fit and are my first pair of VFFs that I can literally forget I have on. I am hoping the new fabric will be as durable as my previous FiveFingers, but, other than that, these are so much more perfect.

Hi guys
For those questioning the bikila LS vs. Komodosport, I’ve been trying on both pairs for a while before making my decision. In my experience, the LS generally has a tighter fit and seems a little lighter/more flexible. As I understand it, the komodosport is made for crossfit and fitness, while the LS is specifically designet for running. I do not have high arches, but the LS fit me better – especially since I have a high heel, and the komodo seemed to slip off my heels a little whenever I went up on my toes to set off. The LS has a better grab around my heels, and that makes a huge difference. I guess the LS is not only for wide feet or high arches, and if you are looking for a runners shoe with the tightest fit, I recommend the LS, or at least that you try it on.

Update from my earlier comment. I have continued to run about 20K per week in these, including treadmills during the winter. I pulled a calf muscle running on a treadmill about a month ago and have reverted to conventional running shoes, without problem. Anyone else had calf trouble with VFFs? I am cautious about re-starting in my Bikilas since I don’t want to aggregate the injury.

So im trying to decide between these and the speeds and the komodosport ls for a daily wear around shoes and for running about twice a week. Any comments on durability? Or advice overall? Thanks.

Thank you for your post. I began running in the Bikila LS a few months back. I am still integrating them into my long runs. The longest run I’ve done with them is a 16 miler. Still building tough feet, lol. I did make a complete review of my experience with the VFF Bikila LS which can be found here:

I am glad that I took the plunge into barefoot running as it has completely changed my running form and allowed me to feel closer to the earth. I think of running as a form of meditation and the Vibrams only enhance that experience.

Ok, so I just got my hands on a pair of the original Vibram Bikilas. Woot had a deal on them for $28 so I jumped on it. Unfortunately, the deal is over now. I had been running in the Bikila LS for a few months now and always wanted to try their predecessor. I like them but do see how people think that they are tight. Not too much though, and it actually can be a good thing. Check out my review here
If anyone is trying to decide between the two shoes, I say they are both winners! Thanks and happy running!

Oh man, my pair of Bikila LS’s from the Cyber monday sale just arrived and I spent ~1 and a bit hours wearing them walking to/from work (And at work).
They’re awesome! (With short toe socks, it’s summer here)

I am a runner and run anywhere between 4-10 miles, occasionally farther. I have been wearing the vibrams for 4 years now. I started with the KSO, Trek Sport, then the Bikila, Speed, Bikila LS and also tried the See Yas. I really prefer the Bikila which it looks like they do not make anymore. The Bikila LS doesn’t seem to be quite as sturdy as the Bikila. The See Yas put blisters on my feet and were not as comfortable. The speed were ok, but the toes seemed to be longer which made me feel like I would trip over my toes while running Which model has replaced the Bikila?

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