Barefoot Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers KMD EVO Review

Vibram has expanded their “EVO-fication” of the FiveFingers line with the release of the FiveFingers KMD EVO, which is what we’ll be reviewing today. Other “EVO” VFFs to date include the KSO EVO, the Bikila EVO, and the Bikila EVO WP (the waterproof…

Vibram has expanded their “EVO-fication” of the FiveFingers line with the release of the FiveFingers KMD EVO, which is what we’ll be reviewing today. Other “EVO” VFFs to date include the KSO EVO, the Bikila EVO, and the Bikila EVO WP (the waterproof ones!). Backing up further, the KMD EVO is an evolution of what was originally the KomodoSport back in Spring 2011 and the KomodoSport LS, which added laces. (“Komodo” branding became “KMD”). Today I’ll be taking a look at the KMD EVO. Read on!

About the FiveFingers KMD EVO

What to say about the KMD EVO? Let’s take a look at it in Vibram’s own words:
The new KMD EVO defies gravity (and conventional wisdom), allowing athletes extraordinary freedom for dynamic movement both in the air and on the ground. For fitness fanatics without boundaries, the KMD EVO transcends traditional sport, making it the ideal leaping, climbing, balancing shoe for those seeking a minimal shoe experience with maximum flight potential. Max Sole Thickness: 11.8mm (6mm EVA Midsole +2mm insole +3.8mm Rubber Outsole) Insole: 2mm polyurthene insole +anti-microbial drilex sockliner
If you’re like me, a few things will jump out at you about this product description. First, there’s a lot of mention of words that almost imply the KMD EVO is meant for flying—”in the air,” “leaping,” and “maximum flight” all jump out. What’s the story? If I had to guess (and I do), I’d intuit that they’re talking about parkour. Reaching way back in the BirthdayShoes archives, I remember this post about parkour traceurs using Sprint FiveFingers with some great results. The photos are worth re-sharing: I’m going to runfly with this idea and assume that the KMD EVO is aimed at parkour. And that assumption leads to a bit of an explanation for what also jumps out about the KMD EVO—it’s got a pretty serious stack height for a pair of FiveFingers at almost 12 mm thick. That’s almost half an inch of thickness. More to the point, it makes the KMD EVO one of the thickest-soled FiveFingers around. The original Komodo/KMD (still available on Vibram’s site, incidentally) was only 7 or 8mm thick, so this is a 40-50% bump in sole thickness for the KMD EVO. I’ll talk more about this in the sole section. For now, here are some photos!

The Soles and Ground-Feel

I always thought the original KMD/Komodo sole looked wicked. Those sharp lines and jagged cuts in the rubber just look neat; the KMD EVO evolves that look with updated rubber treads that are evocative of the older version while still being similar. Indeed, the rubber part of the soles are 3.8mm for the KMD EVO and 4mm for the KMD Sport / KomodoSport (LS) (whatever you want to call it). But in many ways, that’s where the similarities stop. Functionally, the rubber tread cuts on the KMD EVO are more aggressive, making them overall grippier. This is particularly noticeable at the toes as the KMD EVO strongly notches each at the joint. Where the KMD EVO really departs from its predecessor is in the addition of 6mm of EVA in the midsole—there was no midsole in the original KMD Sport / KomodoSport (LS). Not surprisingly, this addition is by far the biggest point of difference you’d notice when comparing the old to the new. And it’s also the feature that I like the least about the KMD EVO. There are two detractors to the EVA addition in the KMD EVO. For one, it makes for an overly squishy/disconnected foot-feel. It’s not that you don’t get any ground feel through the soles; rather, you get a mushy/muted feel from the KMD EVO soles. I’d also like to point out that I don’t have the same experience with the Bikila EVO, which feels much, much more connected to the ground despite still have 4mm of EVA. I wouldn’t have guessed that 2mm of EVA could make such a difference, but to my feet, it does. Where the effect is particularly pronounced is in stability. For whatever reason, my feet feel more wobbly in the KMD EVO. If I had to guess what’s going on, it’s that the EVA portion of the sole wraps up the sides (see the neon yellow sidewalls in this photo—that is EVA). EVA is an interesting material because it’s foam, which gives it structure, but it’s a structure that readily collapses under load. So as my feet exert pressure on the KMD EVO EVA sidewalls, they collapse, which I think gives my feet this sense of “there’s something there … no there’s not!” Wobbly. Is this a dealbreaker? No. It’s just something you’re going to notice. You may or may not like it. For me, I don’t really like it. I’ll also add that I preferred the lay-on-top PU insole of the original to the sewn-in PU insole of the KMD EVO. Whatever material was on that original insole just had an amazing feel on the barefoot; the KMD EVO feels just fine (not bad in any way). Given the aforementioned possibility that the KMD EVO could be targeted to parkour, I actually could see how the extra cushioning of the EVA midsole might be aimed at alleviating some of the impact you’d get “flying” about over hard surfaces (concrete!). I can’t speak to this with any authority but I do seem to recall in ages past mention that some minimalist shoes were more suited for parkour because they had a little more cushion in them.

Other considerations

If there’s one thing I really like about the KMD EVO, it’s the upper. One thing that makes it great is that it’s been designed in such a way that it looks camouflaged. The fabric uses some form of knitting that gives it both design and texture at the same time. I joked via an instagram feed (follow @bdayshoes) that they double as gym floor camo:
Sidenote: I highly recommend those Jabra Revo wireless bluetooth headphones—best Christmas present from the Mrs.
Incidentally, there’s a black and grey version of the KMD EVO that looks like my photo above available. The upper also ditched all the painted-on stuff that detracted (to me) from the originals. That’s a step forward! Fitwise, I’d say the KMD EVOs fit about the same as your typical size of FiveFingers. Compared to a pair of same-sized 43 Bikila EVOs, I might say the KMD EVOs are slightly larger/roomier from front-to-back. As for wide feet, I’d guess these would do fine, but it’s very difficult to predict this.


I really like the uppers of the KMD EVO. I hope to see more of the knit upper design in future FiveFingers models! I also like the rubber outsole. Where things fall apart for me is in the overly plush midsole, which just isn’t my cup of tea; however, I’d be curious to hear from anyone who wants a bit more of a plush ride in their FiveFingers; and if you’re into parkour, perhaps these are the FiveFingers you’ve been waiting for (anyone out there care to comment?). If you’re wanting to give the KMD EVO a try, you can find them at Zappos or TravelCountry. Fair warning: they MSRP for $160. Why are they so expensive? I’m not sure—must be the fancy upper!

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.

8 replies on “Vibram FiveFingers KMD EVO Review”

I was concerned that Vibram was going to “EVO” the popular KMD LS a bit too far away from its first generation iteration.

Nearly 12mm of stack height is a bit much for a model that was most popularly used as a gym shoe.

For me, 12mm would be too much for a winter boot or a trail shoe!

BUT, that’s just one kind of consumer. I’m sure this will be a great first vibram shoe for those that would like to transition into minimalism. It’s still thinner than typical running shoes and provides a zero drop platform to move away from heel striking.

The sole looks super grippy though, much more suited for quick movements, jumping around, and–I suppose–parkour over the Bikila EVO.

Awesome recommendation on the Jabras!

For a lightweight bluetooth headset for running that you wouldn’t be afraid to toss around, I would recommend the Motorola S305. It weighs 50 grams, is comfortable for trail and road running, and has very good sound–for its price (30 bucks).


When I read the title I was so thrilled! The KMD LS were my first Vibrams and wonderfully comfortable. And now they made a new version – hurra… Wait a second… 12mm stack height? Are they insane!? It’s a step backwards!
The original KMDs had that (unintentionally) removable insole. And the other EVOs came with a wonderful MaxFeel sole. Why did they feel the need to make these more cushioned? I am aghast!
I love the look of the upper, but that sole is a no-go!

I love this shoe. Mainly for gym and high impact sport of racquetball. I’ve had a lot of versions of VFFs and this pair are most forgiving for hard stops while moving about the court.

The upper is so comfortable. I wear socks and love how it stretches around the foot.

I just received my pairs of KMD EVO and KSO EVO today.
Could you, or anyone else, go into a little detail on how the heel feels and/or should fit?

I wear a size 42 KSO Trek, and a 44 Trek LS, and the place that I got them from no longer carry any FiveFingers. Springfield, MO went from having 5-8 retailers down to one. The employees here are “salesmen”, they don’t have the knowledge or experience that employees at a more specialized store (fitness/athletics/sports) would have. So I’m stuck with mail delivery so I can only go by what other people on the internet have to share for specific models.

I’m trying to decide if I need to exchange my size 43 KMD EVOs for the next size (44).
I have slight Morton’s Toe (10 13/16ths inches) when my toes are under pressure from stepping or pressing my toes flat. My longest toe barely touches the end when under pressure, so I believe my KMD EVO size is correct for shoe length. My toes don’t touch the end of my previous models unless I force my foot forward, so I have wiggle room but I think this means they are one size too large? This is why I got size 43 first.

My question is, how should the heel feel? Compared to my previous models, it feels like the heel cup/sole area of the KMD EVO is more of a “loose” fit, and I think they may not be wide enough for my heel. Like I might loose balance and twist my ankle or roll my feet on their side/edge.

Could this feeling be intended with the soft foam (mid?) sole?
Everything else feels right, snug like a glove, but not tight.

The heel area of the KSO EVOs I got, same size (43), feels identical to the KMD EVOs, but the KSO EVOS are definitely one size too small.


the time comes up i cant wear any fivefingers anymore: this yellow inner material which is included in nearly all newer models is worn through after a few km. my old kmd works over 800 miles. this new stuff starts peeling off after less than 50 miles. this is a mix of reduced quality and to make costumers buy more shows to increase profit.

I know they have the Spyridon MR (and now MR Elite), but how do you think these would stack up for an OCR/mud run? I really like the possibilities of these outside mud runs. I really like my old KSO’s and KSO Evo’s but I’m looking for something a little different from my Vibrams.

The thing I would be worried about is the upper being cloth as you said it is a “knitted” material. Would this be washable and would it actually hold up to the mud and water of mud runs? Also, the thicker sole might hold water if they get wet as well.

What are your opinions on this?

These are by far the best looking vibram’s out there right now. They look great.

But.. They feel like I am walking on fluffy sponges all the time and this is a feeling that is very hard to get used to if you like feeling connected to the ground.
If they re-made these with a proper thin vibram sole like that is on the KMD (or thinner) I would get a pair.
Vibram. What are you doing ?

I am a big fan of VFF using them for gym, running on and off road, walking, hiking and casual (pretty much everything but surfing). One thing I noticed is that when walking long distances with the most models my feet tend to burn during the walk and feel very sorrow afterwards almost to the point of injury. The Spyridon MR are great for running at the beach, and now the V-trail seems even better for off road running, the Trek Ascent are great for hiking off road, Bikila and V-run are great for road running and KMD Sport LS are great all around shoe but none of these gives you the cushioning needed for long road/sidewalk walking to absorb the impact both in the heel and forefoot. Not to mention KSO EVO and EL-X which are far to minimal for long distance walking. That is why I believe the KMD EVO stack height and extra cushioning is what makes it a very good, and my favorite VFF model for road/sidewalk walking. Because mine are little bit loose on the heel I use them with Injinji Run socks and I find it very comfortable even after 10km intense walking. What do you think? Anyone has a good experience with other VFF models for long distance road/sidewalk walking?

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