Barefoot Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers Speed Review

Here I am striking a pose in the Vibram Five Fingers Speed. Yes, not only do laced Vibram Five Fingers exist, but I confess: the retro styling in black and white make them downright stylish. Mrs. BirthdayShoes already calls them the best-looking Vibram…


Back in late July 2009 we first glanced a laced Vibram Five Fingers shoe (Not to mention the running-specific Five Fingers Bikila next to it), many a fan’s mind reeled at the notion — what is that thing? Laces? Are we looking at Al Bundy’s “God’s Shoes?”

No, it was the Vibram FiveFingers Speed, all retro-styled and svelte. Today (May 2010!), I’ve gotten my feet into a pair of the FiveFingers Speed. I had to special order (Called in a favor!) straight from the United Kingdom because the Speed isn’twasn’t going to be released in the United States. Note: The FiveFingers Speed was released in the U.S. for purchase as of May 31, 2011 — see TravelCountry for one online retailer still carrying them with free shipping on orders >$99.

After the jump are photos, video, and thoughts about the novel, stylish, and ground-breaking laced Vibram Five Fingers — the Speed!

The Vibram FiveFingers Speed

The most striking feature of the Vibram Five Fingers Speed will be the shoe-like quality of having laces and a tongue, which combined with the retro sneaker styling makes for a compelling mash-up of fashion and function.

The Vibram Five Fingers Speed could be described simultaneously as both a retro-styled sneaker (or trainer) that features a mesh-like upper, steel eyelets and piped laces, subdued but slick Vibram branding, and simple black-and-white coloring and a foot friendly, minimalist, toe-loving foot glove — like any other pair of Vibram Five Fingers.

Surprisingly enough (to me), this mash-up—nay, collision of worlds—actually works, and it works awesomely (if not seamlessly).

Design Specifics — Speed Details

The Vibram Five Fingers Speed soleThe foundation at the base of the Vibram Five Fingers Speed is the running-specific podded sole that we’ve already gotten a good look at via the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila. This sole features little podded platforms that are beefiest at the forefoot. Additionally, rather than Vibram rubber at the arch, the Speed (like the Bikila) has a divoted polyurethane* arch covering.

Notably, from my initial testing of the Speed as compared to the Bikila, it seems that the Speed does not have the extra 3mm polyurethane insole at the forefoot, which means that you get a bit more ground feel in the Five Fingers Speed as compared to the Bikila. The Speed does feature the same dri-lex fabric on the footbed, which is quite comfortable.

As far as having a laced, tongued Five Fingers go, it seems the Speeds are no easier to put on than Bikilas (for me, anyway), but if I had to speculate, I’d say that the “customizability” of fit afforded via laces should make the Speed a comfier fit for individuals with higher insteps. Really, a custom-fit upper as compared to a limited stretch upper (Think: Bikila, KSO Trek, Flow, and KSO, ordered from least to most stretchy) is compelling and could open the door to many would-be fans who find certain models too uncomfortably tight on top.

The VFF Speed also has the heel cup design at the rear of the shoe (in lieu of the more common hook-and-loop as with the KSO/Trek/Flows or the velcro-heeled Flows and Sprints). Like the Bikila, I find this heel cup a huge improvement in comfort and feel. It’s great not having something pushing on my Achilles tendon. That said, the Speeds Achilles notch is a bit different from the Bikilas (See photos: Speed Achilles notch vs. Bikila).

The addition of a padded tongue and padded collar do make the Speed feel a bit more shoe-like on the top of the foot, so you won’t get as much of an airy feel as with Classics or even KSOs. As far as finish is concerned, my initial appraisal of the Speeds is that they have a nice quality to them. We’ll see how they hold up over time.

Finally, the Speeds are, as I’ve come to expect, comfortable on my bare feet and has a feel not unlike the Bikila (sans the Bikila’s polyurethane midsole and with a slightly different feel due to the tongue of the Speed). The mesh-upper is smooth on the inside (not Dri-Lex I don’t think, but soft on my foot) and the seams from the tongue are “there” but pretty harmless — at least for casual wear. The Speeds size similarly to Bikilas or KSOs. I’m a 43 in all three models.

Any further discussion of design would just leave me talking about aesthetics, which is where I think the Speeds really shine, so let’s move on.

The Vibram Five Fingers Speed is Stylish — Downright Fashionable!

A close-up of the toes of the Speed. Check the new sole design (like the Bikila) and the use of a mesh-like upper. Stylin’!

There I said it: the Vibram Five Fingers Speed is stylish — it looks fantastic. “Mrs. BirthdayShoes” immediate reaction to me taking the Speeds out of their box was, “Those actually look cool!” She’s now concluded that the Speeds are her favorite looking Vibram Five Fingers model — and this coming from someone who only caved into getting a pair of VFFs after I’d ran BirthdayShoes for about nine months!

Meanwhile, I’ve taken my Speeds out for a spin or two and the reaction has been universally positive, both from other fans but especially from strangers — would you believe that non-VFF fans are telling me they think the Speeds actually look cool? Believe it.

The black-and-white Speeds have the look of a “retro” sneaker. They have a simple, single white stripe on either side of the shoe, a black mesh-upper, and a matte-black, smooth fabric that wraps the heel and circles the tongue. The steel eyelets and white piped laces add a nice touch, too.

Lest we forget, Vibram is an Italian company—it’s great to see (per my eyes) a fashion-forward pair of Vibrams!

Which brings me to function.

I plan to wear the Vibram Five Fingers Speed casually!

I’m sure many now wonder, “What is the point of these? If you’ve got KSOs or Bikilas or Treks, why would you want the Speed?” The answer, for me anyway, is that the Speed brings an element of style to Vibram Five Fingers. I can wear these puppies with shorts or jeans and it’s pretty easy—even for me—to match colors to black and white.

Even as I’ve been wearing Vibrams casually for a long while now and have grown accustomed to the looks of strangers at my seemingly odd choice of footwear, there are still times when I’ve wanted a more “normal” looking pair of VFFs. Do Speeds look normal? Well, no, I suppose not, but compared to other models they are much less “in your face.” And who doesn’t like retro-styled, low-profile sneakers, anyway? Another win for the Speeds is that they can’t be mistaken for “water shoes,” which is one of the most common questions I get when wearing KSOs or even Bikilas.

Here’s me attempting to model the Speeds:

Here I am striking a pose in the Vibram Five Fingers Speed. Yes, not only do laced Vibram Five Fingers exist, but I confess: the retro styling in black and white make them downright stylish. Mrs. BirthdayShoes already calls them the best-looking Vibram Five Fingers so far!

The truth is that many Vibram Five Fingers fans relegate their beloved toe shoes to “play time” when they could have free and comfortable feet all the time. The thing holding some back is the discomfort of querulous strangers. A great thing about the laced-up Speeds is that though they aren’t incognito, they look cool — even to non-VFF fans. I think this will give wearers that extra oompf they need to enjoy more foot freedom.

All of this assumes that you have more than one pair of Vibram Five Fingers, yes, but then again, a common theme among VFF wearers is owning multiple pairs. Hey, collect the whole set!

That said, if you are wanting the Speeds for active wear, I see no reason they wouldn’t perform similarly to other Vibram Five Fingers models. I’d be a bit hesitant to wear them on trails as I’d worry about gunking up the mesh with mud or snagging it to ribbons on twigs, but for running, exercise, weight-lifting, and other endeavors, they should perform as you’d expect from other Five Fingers.

So the Speed is great! Where can I get a pair?

The Speed was originally only released for purchase outside the U.S. — this was in May 2010. Around May 31, 2011, the FiveFingers Speed has made it’s way to the United States for purchase at large. Finally! You can find them typically for about $100 shipped free.

And fast forward to Spring 2012 and Vibram unleashed a whole bunch of new Speed colorways! Check’em out!

Video thoughts on the Vibram Five Fingers Speed

Final initial thoughts on the Vibram Speed

I admit I was a skeptic about the look of the Vibram Five Fingers Speed based on the initial sneak-peak from July 2009. That said, seeing the retro-styling and quality build of the Five Fingers Speed has left me thinking they will be my casual Vibram Five Fingers of choice — fashionable and functional Vibram Five Fingers!

Photos of the Vibram Five Fingers Speed

*Note whereever I say “EVA” in the video, I actually mean “polyurethane.”

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.

119 replies on “Vibram FiveFingers Speed Review”

I disagree… I think this is perfect. Especially for military peoples like myself who can’t get away with wear KSO’s or Sprints. The fact that they have laces, makes them a shoe in military standards and therefore I can now use them to run in…
Now to save up money and find a UK dealer that ship to an APO address. šŸ™

Want! Love the style. Reminds me of boxing shoes. Glad they ditched the unwanted extra padding underfoot (I’m a Classics guy).

Those actually look a lot better for guys than the other ballerina slipper-types (which has always been a bit of a turnoff)!

I want these!

I’m sure they’re comfy and functional, but the closer they try to look to a normal shoe, the more wrong they look.

I love my VFF, but I’ll just wear the VFF look “on my sleeve” and put on regular shoes when I need to fit in. The KSO Treks are about as “normal” as I think look good.

Chris you are exactly right, these shoes seem to be within the regulations of AR 670-1. These shoes are so popular among the Army right now that our Brigade CSM sent an email out to all the ROTC units with a picture attached of some sprints and said “these shoes are not authorized to wear in the APFU”. I actually saw this email as a good thing, since these future officers will be policy writers in the next 10-15 years. I do have a question for the author; I will be traveling to Germany this summer, any idea where I can pick a pair of these up in Berlin?

Mike, you’re exactly right. I see a lot of people running in them from other services… but the Army se differente. Anyways, I know they will get adapted in sooner or later, less risk of injury and the sort.
Have fun in Germany!

I’m not sure what to think yet, but my initial reaction is to dislike them. I don’t know if I have accidentally become some elitist jerk, but lacing shoes is generally the last thing I want to do now that I have worn Classics and Sprints for so long.


Don’t hate on laces! It is funny that the “Speeds” probably take the most time to put on of any VFFs because of the laces — so much for speed.

Not sure the photos do justice to these things (the video should help), but in my mind, there was no hesitation in my opinion when I pulled them out of the box (and I was definitely skeptical about the look) — they just look great and I’m thrilled to have a shoe-styled option for VFFs. Now I want a similar pair but with a leather upper and a revamped, more modern-styled (thinking specifically about the toe tips) “standard” sole to wear in dressier settings.

As I’ve just placed an order for my Bikila’s, the Speed is on the list next.

Although I’m not in the military, an all black or all brown would be perfect to wear at my work place.
I’m sure they will come out with other color options, this will be a must have.

Thanks for teasing us AGAIN Justin!

Maybe we can form a grass roots effort to bring these to the US, similar to what was done when the women wanted Treks in smaller sizes ?????

Will the Speed version only be issued for guys? I’d like a pair too!
I wonder what sizes they’ll come in…
My son would like some too… but he hasn’t been able to wear any of the Five Fingers … his feet are too short… He wears a US size 6 1/2…and when we measured his feet with a ruler, there was nothing in Five Fingers he could wear…

They look better than I expected. From photos, they looked puffier and more like the revived 80’s style sneakers I’ve been seeing from Nike and Sketchers lately. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Personally, I doubt I’d buy a pair but then I thought the same thing about the others. I’m already up to 4 pairs of VFFs…

They look like Cthulhu shoes!

They do look surprisingly better aesthetically than I expected, but in the side view photos it looks like there is toe lift — about the same amount that we typically see in regular running shoes. Why would they do that?


I can’t say there’s really any toe lift, at least as we know toe lift in regular shoes. The feel of the Speeds per my toes is the same as Bikilas sans the 3mm polyurethane. I’d put the feel as similar to KSOs — bottom line, my toes don’t feel any lift per se.

Thanks for another great review! I was experiencing a bit of a post-Bikila lull and then BAM! Speeds!

I have been really curious about the Speeds since I first saw them on this site a while back, specifically whether they will be good for running. You said they feel like the Bikilas minus the 3mm poly, so I wonder how they would feel after a few miles. I was initially hesitant about the Bikilas, but, after some good long runs (and one washing which tightened them up just right), I have to say Vibram hit the nail on the head with the them. I also really appreciate the shoe-like heel on the Bikilas.

Because the Speeds have the same podded sole, I was hoping they would be equally good for running, but it seems that may not exactly be the case. I recall they were originally described as a walking shoe. Still, I’d like to hear what you and others think of them for running. For instance, does the lack of the 3mm poly relate to more fatigue over long distances vs. the Bikilas? Iā€™m sure many will welcome the thinner sole and additional ground feel. Personally, I love the extra thickness of the KSOs and Bikilas over distance, but not so much with the Sprints, which put a bit less between me and the ground. For me, that little bit still makes a difference.

Keep up the great work, Justin!

Hmmm… Not sure what to think. As far as casual blend in shoes, I really like my Treks (the brown suede is rugged and handsome looking, I think) and I’ve been spending a lot of cash on VFFs lately (got my first KSOs 3 Months ago, and now have KSOs, Bikilas, and Treks) and I really don’t think I can justify a pair a month like I’m doing now! They are way more stylish than I thought from the initial photos, but the tongue and laces look like they’d get stuffy to me (that’s probably why the rest is made of that mesh). I’m relieved to hear they are not heavy. That’s what worried me the most about them. I guess where I come down on these is that I won’t go out of my way to smuggle a pair out of Europe, but if they ever make their way to the US I’ll be first in line to try them on. They might make a good replacement for my Bikilas if and when they wear out.

Those looks really cool, but I’m more intrigued when you said they have a thinner sole compared to the Bikilas. They’re not worth $180, to me, but I’d be tempted to use them as an alternative to sneakers for daily use.

Nice review, as always! I just wanted to note that you tie your laces wrong. As did I once, before being enlightened:,7120,s6-240-319–12997-2-1X2-3,00.html
It’s such a simple change with such wonderful results…

Oops, sorry, scratch that last comment. The link was wrong, and I can’t find the one I do mean. It said that if your loops end up pointing up and down, rather than side to side (like yours do in your wonderful modeling picture) they will end up coming loose. You need to make only one change in your tying process to remedy this. When you have made one bunny ear and go to loop the other lace end around it, you must switch what you do. That is, go under if you usually go over, or go over if you usually go under. It will take some getting used to as tying laces is such an automatic process, but you’ll end up with better looking, more securely tied laces.

I am all about the VFF for the fact that they offer something other that the average running shoe but these are a frankenshoe to me. The are u-g-l-y and I think they are going in the wrong direction.

Just watched the video, you go over now, so you have to go under.
Also, the sticker tells you what materials the shoe’s made up of. These are pretty standard in shoes here in Europe.

Thanks for reviewing these Justin! I’m like you in that when I first saw these in pictures I didn’t really care for them much, but after watching your video and the pictures, I’m really liking them!

Great, after months of waiting for and finally acquiring the Bikilas, now I have a new VFF to lust after, thanks, it never ends! šŸ™‚

Justin, originally I didn’t want a pair, but you’ve sold me by highlighting a few reasons I hadn’t thought of.

I think these will be especially helpful for the military and persnickety gyms. I’m going to buy a pair for my brother in the Navy.

I just got the denim classics and now I need to find the flow treks, the smartwool classics and now the speeds… I’m going to be broke!

@Linda – I did see these for women on the Pure Footwear site.

I love the look of these and have wanted a pair ever since I saw the first photos of them. But I am not going to pay nearly $200 for them. I’ll wait and see if they decide to release them in the US at some point. As someone else noted, we should start a campaign to get Vibram to release them in the US.

I agree with Candice’s “frankenshoe” comment. I’m struggling to see the “why” here. I guess if you care about your shoes looking “normal” then ok, but let’s not kid ourselves here: any shoes with individual toes are going to stand out and are not going to be appropriate for business casual much less business or settings.

There is nothing in the army reg which say the shoes must have laces. Although it is up to the unit commander to determine if a clothing item is unfit for wear with the IPFU. Since getting my Bikila’s I have worn them to PT everyday (w/ injini socks) and aside from the regular ridicule of my soldiers for my “ninja shoes”, the commander has embraced the benefits.

Upon first look the speed isn’t my cup of tea..i dunno maybe i just need to be exposed to it more. Or, maybe it’s because the bikila just released and i’m lovin the look of it so much.

My question is, if vibram is aiming for a casual shoe why name it the “speed”.. unless it was meant for a different purpose.

One thing i do love is the mesh like material. I’d be pretty dope to see that material on a kso/bikila like five finger..

I think I’m an addict!
Went to the UK website and ordered a pair; I like them. 10% off nearly paid for the shipping, so with the strong dollar, not a bad deal. No more VFFs until the smartwool classics!

hey jason, i love these speeds. can you talk the vibram folks into selling them in the states? i read someone’s suggestion that the speeds should be offered in black or brown…make them somewhat acceptable in the office. of course, i wear my brown treks to the office…i get some “looks” too!

I agree that they perhaps should not have made it look so close to a (running) shoe, to keep sense that Vibram five fingers is a “foot glove” not a shoe with toes.

However, laced closing is probably a good idea, the custom fit is better than the other solutions. Making a shoe that works for running long distances without blisters, sliding around etc is not easy, so I’m glad to see that Vibram tries out different solutions. Over time, we’ll see which solutions that become most successful.

i unexpectedly found a pair in tokyo. they have them at victoria in ochanomizu, for anyone else that’s in town. they had both men’s and women’s sizes.

i found the fit to be pretty snug all around – more so than my kso’s and sprints. i’ve only been out running in them once so far, but because of the lack of straps around the achilles I’d say they’re more comfortable to run in than kso, sprint, or the flow.

I was a little worried that my feet might get hot in them easily but they felt like they breathed better than the other v5f models. maybe that was just because of the new sock-like lining, though.

Considering the amount of fakes out there, it would be nice if Vibram could focus on the inventory and distribution of the basic VFFs. As opposed to overextending the Euro styles into North America. I’m in Toronto and I had to wait 5+ months just to get a pair of (legit) KSOs.

The Speed looks fine but I’m still waiting for Treks to hit my part of the world.

I have ordered my first Treks and KSOs. Waiting for them to come in. I do absolutely love the speeds. I have got to find a way to get some. If any has any luck with getting your hands on them please let me know.

You, sir, are a madman. One I am very thankful for, given the plethera of information you have posted here. Vibram should really be sending you shoes to test and review for free, given all the time and effort you’ve spent, not to mention the whole section on cheap knock-offs (thanks for that – I almost bought a pair from the UK e-bay site, and saw others listed on the Canadian e-bay site as well (masquerading as a stock-clearance from a shoe-store buyout) but your tips to look at the materials, and sample photos really helped me determine that going with one of the e-bay options wasn’t an option.

Cheers, and keep up the good work.


If you start a petition to get the speeds over here, they will sign it. But i don’t want to become a member of some social networking site to sign. You might think about having it on here. You can count on me and about twenty of my friends to sign it. If anybody agrees with this post your support.

Seems that Vibram is trying to create shoes that look a little more mainstream… but I’d be willing to try them out (if they weren’t so darn expensive)!

Just ordered a pair from Pure Footwear the other day. Unfortunately they are backordered until July. They do ship internationally and right now they are offering 10% off regular priced items (including the Speed). Depending on the conversion they are around $140 with shipping to the US.

I like my Vibrams and have been running in the KSOs for over a year now. My main complaint, however, is the toes. When doing longer runs, especially at a relatively fast pace, I find that I get blisters between the ball and big toe of my feet. I also run barefoot, (usually 7 to 8 mile runs on pavement but I have gone as far as 16 miles barefoot. I have run a half marathon in 1:28:00 barefoot.

I actually recently cut off all of the toes except the pinky toe of my KSOs (a difficult task since they are almost indestructible). No more blisters! Very comfortable! I can run longer distances without blisters and without having to worry about the pads on my feet wearing down.

The Vibram Speed look great, but I would really love to see a Vibram with a modified “toe-pouch” or something resembling a normal shoe. This would have two benefits: reducing blisters and makng them easy to put on. I also wouldn’t have to wear the toe socks which my wife thinks are the least masculine-looking thing a man can wear!

Honestly, with my experience running barefoot, I don’t think the toes really need to have their own little slots. I push off on the ball of my foot and the outside of my foot when running barefoot. The toes are not essential.

Thanks for the great review of the Speeds. Lucky Europeans!

Even the cheap knockoffs from China are doing five-toe shoes with laces:

These are pigskin leather. I think they look pretty awesome actually. But I won’t buy them because 1) “PRSports” is violating Vibram’s copyrights and 2) the store is misrepresenting them as Vibrams.

All these knockoffs are due to Vibram’s production problems not being able to keep up with demand. In addition, they are not selling the Speeds in the USA because they think we have no fashion sense. Unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers look for exactly that type of problem to capitalize on. Get your act together Vibram!

Well I have a pair of these .. Just arrived in the post today. So far I am liking them. They have a really nice snug fit and look quite good. My VFF skeptic girlfriend even likes the look.

These are awesome running shoes, I am Station oversea in europe and paid $100 for them and worth it. Bought them for my next deployment.

I got them last week from (10% off) and love them! (i’m from London UK btw)
They are much more comfortable than the Sprints. I found it easier to put on and I had an impression there is more space for each toe.
Sole is bit ticker so you don’t feel the ground as much as in Sprints but they are definitely better for running. I went for a 7.5km run yesterday and it felt wonderful. They hold the ground very well.
the only thing I don’t like is the white inside. The yellow one got dirty pretty quickly so the white one will be even worse. Maybe it’s time to invest in some socks?

I purchased the Speed from PureFootware and have had them for a few days. One huge difference compared with the Bikila is that many components of the upper do not stretch. The Bikila is the opposite, stretching without offering much resistance. Even with a wide foot and substantial bunions, the very stretchy Bikila conforms to my foot. Not lacing the bottom holes on the Speed enables them to also conform, but in doing so some of the length is lost. The ends of my big toes press hard, whereas in the Bikila (and also the Trek)they lightly touch. I’m hoping that the Speeds stretch a bit, as the next size up (45) would be much too long (as per my experience with Treks, which I have in both 44s and 45s).

My older sister and I (both of us own a pair of KSOs, and I also have a pair of Sprints) were talking about VFFs one day, and we decided a pair of VFFs colored to look like a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars would just be the bee’s knees. Just the idea of the retro-sneaker styling on our favorite shoe made us smile.

Then I stumble upon these marvelous creations and and blown away. These are at least as good as anything I had imagined for a retro-VFF. I will certainly be picking up a pair of these when I’m in Europe next year. That assumes I can wait that long and don’t find an international vendor or call in a favor from a friend.

Thanks for the great review and thorough look at these shoes. I really love the look of the Speed after getting to know them better. At first I thought they were just too strange… Five Fingers with laces?!

It’d be great to see them made available to North America as a whole, as I haven’t seen any trace of them in Canada either.

Any confirmation on whether the speeds are definitely closer to ground at insole, bypassing the raised bikila?

Last week I received my second order of the Speed from Pure Footwear.
I’ve been wearing my second pair of the Speed–this one a size larger than the first–to the office every day for the past week. The larger size is very comfortable.
For the past month I’ve been using a size smaller Speed on the treadmill for an hour or so each workday. While the lack of stretch of the uppers makes them tight, (relative to the Bikila), the combination of limited use, using the new ultra-thin Injinji liner socks, and leaving the bottom two or three holes unlaced has made wearing these pain-free.
The laces provide a firm anchor for my Polar footpod, which earlier flopped around giving wild speed readings when attached to the instep strap of the Bikila or KSO Trek.
I use these in a Navy gym where I’ve seen half a dozen patrons with various models of FiveFingers. They’ve started to be worn by the trainers.

Ok so I got mine sent to my house while I was in Iraq. Next to going crazy waiting to see my wife I couldn’t wait to get home and throw on my speeds. They are by far the most comfortable shoe for day to day wear. Today I just got my first injinji socks and while they felt a little snug with the socks on I have to say I actually prefer it. Its not too tight and I don’t loose any sensitivity to the ground. Definitely going to buy another pair just to have when these get worn out.

Hey Justin
You’ve had the Speeds for a bit over 3 months. Just curious how the have been holding up?

I have the KSO’s. Great shoe.
I have the KSO trek. Awesome, love the K-Leather.
I had the Bikila and tried 2 different sizes. The smaller size fit better but was a bit tight on longer runs. Then the toe peel began. I returned them to REI (can’t say enough good things about REI) and dropped the $$$ for the Speeds from
I’m anxiously awaiting their arrival this week.

Speeds arrived today.
I have KSO Treks in 47. I went with the Speed in 47. Room around the toes is similar.
The Speeds are a shade more narrow AND feel much more comfortable than the Bikila, especially around the heel.
I could not get the Bikila to fit in a 46 or 47.
Just as comfortable as the Treks too.
I also have KSO’s in 46. VERY pleased with all 3.

Can anyone tell me how long it took to receive your VFF Speeds from Pure footwear or I mean specifically from the day that it was dispatched?

Great review.
I’ve seen these on the websites but thought they would look wierd, after this review I definitely want a pair.

Hi guys,
Bought a pair today, awesome. See the Henk Sipers test. I left a post there about the sizing. They fit tighter than the KSO’s in the same size. If you plan on wearing toesocks you might consider the next size up.

Thanks to this website, I purchased the classics and I love them.

Today, based on your above review, I decided to import the Speeds. I’m certain that Vibrams will become my shoe brand of choice from now on. Thank you so much for your reviews and information, they’ve been beyond helpful. šŸ™‚ Hopefully they’ll be in soon. If I remember correctly, standard airmail takes 7-10 business days, barring no customs issues.

For those of you interested, to ship from Pure Footwear, it cost me Ā£97.09, which when you look at it cost close to the same as those overpriced nikes with the springs in the bottom, only these will not only last longer, they’re better in just about every way.

I really like the way these look, and I’ve decided they will make a great first pair of minimalist shoes. I’m in the Army and I hope my commander allows their use for PT, but either way I will still use them for my own PT. I’m hoping they really do strengthen calf muscles, as this will help my drumming a ton I’m sure.

By the way, doing calf raises (standing on ball of foot, going back down and repeating – making sure to go both up and down SLOWLY is the key) on my own has been making me a much better runner, just as a tip for those of you who are trying to become better runners. Just do them randomly, all the time! It helps!

Anyways, I really cannot wait for them to arrive – these are going to revolutionize playing my bass drums šŸ˜€ And they look standard enough to shoes that I’ll be able to play them without everyone and their mother knowing I’m using minimalist shoes when I play my live shows!

I will post back here when I get them with my personal review of the shoes themselves, how they do for running, and what they’re like for drumming as compared to playing shoeless or with wrestling shoes for those drummers out there with the same idea of utilizing these.

I still find it odd I havn’t been able to find any review of any minimalist shoes for drumming – I know I’m not the first one to think of the idea. Oh well, I’ll be the first I know of šŸ˜€

Just found a pair a guy was selling b/c they were too small for him. I cant wait to get them on. Ive been holding off on getting a pair of VFF until I found these. Hopefully they want disappoint!

I have a brand new pair of Authentic VIBRAM SPEED…in black and white and they do not fit me…..size 41…I will offer them for $90.00 OBO… to just let them go…..I can fed ex them to someone…Thanks, Alan šŸ™‚
[email protected]

I found a pair listed on ebay. Brand new. Seller bought them but they were too small. WOW, after reading the comments I was lucky to find them. They arrived today and yes, they are awesome! Color: Black and Red.

First of all, thank you for the thorough review. I am very interested in purchasing some Vibrams. I had thought my decision was final for the KSO’s until I saw this post. These are much more stylish! What is your opinion with a comparison between the KSO’s and the Speed? From the picture it seems as if the Speeds cause the toes to be elevated, while the KSO’s keep the entire foot more level…is that the case?

Are these available in the US yet? I have a black pair of Tresports in 47 that I like but these look so much cooler for bouncing around town. My Treksports are getting a bit worn so I’d like to get a pair of Classics for working on the beach and running (unless someone can recommend another pair for such?). I like the idea of 2 similar yet different “shoes” to cover everywhere I can get away with wearing them. Unfortunately, big Army has ruled against them (even though some Air Force and Coast Guard guys run their PT tests barefoot!) so I’ll have to look into the Merrells or something for that. I don’t have a problem with that besides having to buy even more shoes but I have a very hard time finding shoes that fit my wide toes, especially on my left foot. Keens and Patagonias (whatever model I had was SO light and comfortable otherwise!) don’t even work.

Omg I jst recently heard about the toe shoes! My neice got a pair of the speed style in pink and they are the absolultly awsome! I’m lookin now to find a pair for myself! Thanks for creating such an amazing looking shoe! I will have a pair within the next week! Love ! Love! Them! says that the Speed’s are being released on June 1st, and they are available for pre-order. I just ordered mine! For women they come in blue with white accent, or white with blue accent.I like the white with blue, they look similar to the sneakers I have now. Thanks for the review about them! They seem to be the best of both worlds, bikila bottom with regular “shoe” style on top!

I just ordered mine today and can’t wait to get my hands on it! On your review you talk about the other models pressing on your achilles, I have horrible pain on my achilles when I wear sprints and classics. I tried to find other people with the same issue but I’m unable to so I thought it was just me until I read your post. Is it a common occurrence for the pain with vibrams? Do you think the speed will solve the problem? Thanks!!!

I love the speeds! Does anybody know if they are actually on sale in Canada as of yet? I have looked at several online retailers but they all seem to be sold out.

I just got my SPEEDS yesterday! I’m sooo in love! I will definitely be using these for casual wear only. I got the White with Blue accent. So, I’m not getting these babies dirty. They are comfortable and make my life more pleasant. I’ll stick with working out in my Komodos! But, these are fantastic and very stylish.

Would anyone care to compare the Speeds to the New Balance Minimus Life? Beyond the single-toe design Of the Speeds, they both seem like stylish shoes that would work for everyday wear, maybe even for the office.

I saw Justin say he’s been wearing the Life’s causually a lot lately so wonder how these compare for the same kind of uses.

So wished they carried the black in women’s. I love these shoes but don’t really care for the color options in women’s…..


This VFF Speed is simply awesome. It is my first pair of VFF. Initially wanted a Bikila LS but opted otherwise and no regrets so far.

I use it for my run and as leisure wear. The retro design goes well with jeans and shorts.

The reflectors on both sides of the shoes provide a good visibility during night runs.

I own a few pairs of vibrams, including the komodo LS’s. I am female and have slightly odd feet… my pinkie toe is a monster. So much so that it just barely has room in the Komodo’s. (It really is an alien toe.) But not so in VFF Speeds! This model has been by far the most comfortable, best fitting vibrams I’ve ever tried. Just as comfy as my Komodo LS’s while maintaining better ground feel. These also seem to have molded to my feet better than other models. No insole == AMAZING. I’ll never buy an insole’d model again!

I’m getting a pair of these soon, asking for them for Christmas (: I own a pair of KSOs I bought on a 23-day camping trip across the country, and I never got tired feet/legs again on that trip šŸ˜€
I was thinking, after watching the vid and seeing that the toe-bending was haltered by the pods, that maybe if you used a razor to take some of the edge off the side of the pods facing each other, giving it room. I’ll probably try it after I have owned these for a little while, unless the inability to bend them bugs me too much.

I would like to order a pair of VF speed.
What size should I order? Never tried any VF before. My normal size in running shoes are US 9.

I have two pairs of the Komodosport LSs and wanted to get a pair of “casual” VFFs that I could wear with jeans. Love the styling of the Speeds, but the lowest eyelets put some pressure on the top of my foot. Think these would be better served with an LS format lacing system for comfort.

Just wondering if genuine Speeds offer mesh on the horizontal white stripe between the laces and toes that has the yellow vibram logo? Reason I ask is that I’ve seen a lot of them on ebay as well as trusted suppliers. Thanks in advance.

No they don’t — no mesh where the tongue hits the top front of the shoes — though early stock photos of the Speeds used mesh there, that wasn’t in nor has ever been in final production versions.

Thank you. Now I can be confident in knowing what to order. All that I’m waiting on is my fake Komodos that I ordered prior to finding your site, then it’s just a matter of opening a counterfeit case. Unfortunately, I apparently purchased an M3648 as mentioned in the thread “Fake VFFs and Dubious Sellers – Post Your Questions and Warnings Here”. Thanks again, Justin.

I got mine yesterday after having to return my classics, a 43 was a little too big and 42’s were a little snug but the smaller sizing meant the cord eventually digging into my foot. Since I really didn’t want to cut it out and void any return I went to see about a swap. As soon as I put these on I loved the look. Having only worn KSO and classics I was unsure about the thicker soles but I love the extra bit of padding. They’re not as airy as my KSO but they keep my feet warmer which is nice because it’s the dead of winter in upstate NY. I have a feeling once the warmer weather rolls around my feet wont have much trouble in these since the mesh isn’t very thick and they do allow for some air flow. Haven’t drummed in them yet, I’m sure I’ll find them just as easy to play in as my KSO. Bottom line, these look the most “normal” out of any Vibram’s. They seem like they’d work for everything I could think to apply them to except maybe when around mud, then you’d probably want some trek’s or something that keeps moisture out. I love VFF’s and these are just another reason to keep loyal to them.

Hi, Justin! I’m about to buy my first pair of Vibrams and enter the world of minimalist running. At this point I’m trying to decide between the Bikila LS and the Speed. I like the design of the Speed much better and would love to wear them casually, but I’m worried that the lack of the 3 mm poly insole might make them less ideal for actual running. (Right now I do mostly roads and paved trails with the occasional unpaved running trail thrown in the mix.) What do you think I should do? If it sounds like having the 3 mm poly is a very good thing for running, then I’ll just get some Bikila LS’s. Thanks for any advice you (or anyone else) can provide!

FFor me they were a bit tight when I first got them but I stuffed them with newspaper to stretch them and it worked pretty well. Before that the lacing area dug into my feet. They will stretch a little just not a lot. I’m going to keep them stuffed again overnight after I take them off to see if I can make a little bit of room on the tops. I have a high rise at the tops of my feet and most models of VFF have been a little bit tight. My komodos and my ksos expanded a little to fit my feet but were far stretchier. Good luck to others who have larger feet.

My wife and I tried a pair of these on two days ago and bought two pair instantly. I spend 12-14 hours a day on my feet at work and they feel great. I have thin, bony feet and the speed feels like a soft, light glove on them. If you want a light everyday shoe that lets your feet breathe, then these are perfect. The lacing lets you customize the fit. I tried on a pair of Bikila’s and they didn’t feel right. These were perfect. Last night we ordered two pairs of the leather trek ls shoes and can’t wait to try them on. Two days, and we have already begun our collection. These may just replace our everyday shoes. Wonderful!!!

I love my Speeds.
I use them for casual wear all the time and for street dance practices. They are the best street-dance shoes I’ve had in 20 years of performing.
If I could get them in all-white I’d wear them for performances as well as practice.

I am thinking of getting a pair of Speed as my first VFF’s.. And I want to go for Indigo/Blue pair because they look way cooler and will blend in more with a pair of jeans. What do you guys think ?

Do you know if they sell these black ones for women in North America? I saw that in Europe they have them for women.

I wear a 4E width in standard US sizing, and have a high arch, too. I have yet to find a VFF I can get into, including these Speeds.

Yes, the laces open them up some, but barely enough to allow my arch height. The laces do not start until a cm or two behind the widest part of my forefoot (where those knobby bones are), so they don’t really contribute to allowing wider widths. The shoe’s width is fixed at this point (probably at about a D width, I’m guessing).

Oh, well. FiveFingers seem like a great product, but not one I’ll be able to enjoy until they offer width choices. Happy trails!

I was so excited to get my new speeds. I have a pair of sprints in womens 40 which are slightly too big but nothing major and with the heel strap it isn’t a big deal but I should have gotten 39. So looking at the size chart if I wear sprint 39 I should wear 38 in speeds but no go, They pull in between my toes. The bad part is I got them on clearance at river sports outfitters so they are non returnable! Guess I will try again with a 39

Idk if this has been mention before, but Speeds are definitely not for VFF noobs (I consider myself among the many VFF noobs). Its very hard to manipulate your toes into the right pockets (excluding your big toe but lets face it it is the easiest out of the five toes to get in any VFFs), for whatever reason, if you are new to the shoes you are always gonna face some troubles getting them on, your toes are use to one big slot or no slots (if you go sans shoes) but with VFFs there is a slot for each shoe and it will become very apparent to which side your toes point when you put them on.

I’ve had a little difficulty with the Bikila LS but with each day they got easier and easier to put, but I liked them and were a lot of fun running around, running around Wal-Mart and getting questioned and running around playing Ultimate Frisbee but after 3 days I had to trade them in, they had a defect as one of the pods treads were coming off which probably shouldn’t happen after 3 days, I’m glad I bought them at my local Luke’s Locker which allowed me to trade them in for the similarly priced Speeds.

My first impressions are as follow:
-Love the color choices (Black with Black Laces)
-The sole feels similar to my Bikila LS I had
-The upper has a more textured feel than the Bikila LS
-they were tighter than the Bikila LS
>I have a high volume foot so with most normal shoes I have to go with wides but I have a normal arch and instep, but since its high volume I can’t wear the Komodosport LS nor the Spyridion LS (the speed laces are too short and won’t allow my foot past)
-Manipulating your toes into the correct pockets are much harder
>getting the right toe in the right pocket can be a frustrating thing for some people and even make some people just give up on the shoe all together

But all in all I still like them and I’m gonna keep on wearing them, eventually I’ll get them to slip on easily it takes practice and practice and ppractice and etc.

Oh btw if y’all do have a high volume foot like I do, don’t let them trick you by saying you won’t ever be able to fit in a pair of VFFs, try going a size or two up (Size 42 in most VFFs but wearing size 43 Speed) or go with a different style

I’d also like to know how they work in water. Say for example if you had to run over a stream. Do they dry fast? Do they soak up much water? Do they take any kind of damage from it?

Not a runner, here, but I’ve played outdoor and indoor Ultimate in Sprints and then Speeds for over a year now. Apart from a few times when sprigs would have been nice on soft grass they’ve been fantastic, and have changed the way it feels to have contact with the ground.

Those two styles work for me because they can accommodate a high instep/vamp. My KSOs require 10 minutes with a shoehorn to put on, and leave me with puffy ankles. Not fun. So it’s not just the look of the Speed, but the ability to tweak the fit. Once they’ve settled to your foot shape the Speed style is also pretty quick to put on.

I do also have the Merrill Pace, which I’ve heard described as a “Onefinger”. It’s a handy shoe for casual wear/exercise overlap, and I’ve taken it travelling with me for that. I’ve gone back to the VFF Speed for sport, though, because it gives me more of a sense of stability and being able to use my toes and the different parts of my forefoot to balance and turn. For me it really is a gloves vs mittens thing: I like the way it feels to move when I have individual toes father than a “block of foot”. I wonder whether this might matter less to runners who are predominantly moving in straight lines. Thoughts?

While my current pair of Speeds is holding up well I’m aware that styles change and I’m currently looking for a backup pair while these are still produced. I’m currently checking out the local retailers hoping to find some of the old colours, since the new colours have gone very “liquorice allsorts”. šŸ™‚

I want a pair of Speeds so much! I have a pair of KSOs, and this is what I want next. Love this site!

I used these shoes as directed and still injured my foot. VIBRAM refused to help with my medical bills or even talk to me about it. I could not walk for four-six months.

These shoes are great for young people but if you are older that 18 do not buy them. My doctor says a now have a severe case of “premature arthritis” in my right metatarsals. I’m in immense pain and I can just now walk again slightly normal. The doctor could do nothing as I suffered in pain.

Don’t be the nest VIBRAM VICTEM

I totaly disagree with the comment above, iam 26 and iam doing fine with the speeds. As a matter of fact, i shatered my foot while skateboarding. Went for surgery for four times cuz i athrodese in my middle foot bones. The bones are now gone in a way that they are connected with the bones on the left side of my foot. Could not walk for 6 months after each surgery, went through a hell of pain.

Got different custom made shoe inlays “for the best stability”. Did that for a few years finding out that nothing realy helped, my foot was weak and painfull. If i stepped down from the sidewalk, a really sharp pain would strike down my foot. I even walked with a stick sometimes, a 26 year old with a walking stick? yep and i hated it. Untill a friend of mine came with the idea of getting rid of the shoe inlays and start walking barefoot. In the beginning i was realy sceptic about walking without my shoe inlays. After a while i started noticing that my foot became stronger and less painfull. The friend who said that i had to get rid of the shoe inlays now said that i had to run on my bare feet! After a lot of talking and reading facts about why its better to run barefoot.

At one moment i bought swimming shoes just to try. After a month or so i bought my first fivevingers speeds, i went running for really short distances and slowy building up. All i can say is that my foot became stronger and stronger, even less painfull that before. Now, i use the speeds for running, hiking through the woods, climbing on a wall or even mountains. The speeds really changed my way of life in a very good way.


not sure if this is the right spot, but I have a question about the speeds:

is it possible Vibram will be discontinuing these, and stock is running low? I’m having a really hard time finding a new pair. I’ve tried several online shops but none seem to have them in stock. Even trying the Vibram website tells me ‘this item is currently unavailable’. What gives?

I would like to buy a more dressier pair of VFFs, since I’ve changed offices and could now get away with wearing them to work. However my bikilas are a bit too flashy, I don’t wanna push it. The brown or black speeds would be perfect!


I have several VFF pairs. This laced one looking like sneakers is the only pair I’m allowed to wear at work (I work in an office with no contact with clients!). So it’s the best compromise to wear VFFs all the time! Even if they are not used as running shoes šŸ˜‰

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