Barefoot Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO

Coming Spring 2014 — Subscribe to stay up-to-date on the release (And catch more upcoming minimalist shoes for 2014)!

If there was one model that brought Vibrams to the masses, it had to have been the FiveFingers KSO. When it launched, there…

Coming Spring 2014Subscribe to stay up-to-date on the release (And catch more upcoming minimalist shoes for 2014)! If there was one model that brought Vibrams to the masses, it had to have been the FiveFingers KSO. When it launched, there weren’t many other toe shoe options outside of the open-topped Classic and Sprint FiveFingers and the water-centric Flows. The KSO just had the right balance of ground feel, ease of fit, aesthetics, and foot coverage (to “keep stuff out”) that made them the “go to” for newcomers to toe shoes. A lot has happened since the KSO made waves in the barefoot shoes scene not the least of which has been Vibram’s dramatic expansion of it’s line to include all sorts of activity-centric sole designs. One of the most exciting new sole platforms has been that of the EL-X that came out Spring 2013. Vibram launched the EL-X (an “Entry-Level crosstrainer”) as a way to get a lot of ground feel at a super-affordable pricepoint (You can find them for $65!). So where to next? Come Spring 2014, Vibram will be launching a laced version of the EL-X—and you guessed it, it’s being branded as the evolution of the original KSO—meet the FiveFingers KSO EVO!

The FiveFingers KSO EVO Official Specs

The KSO EVO FiveFingers seen in a men's blue and black colorway.
The KSO EVO FiveFingers seen in a men’s blue and black colorway.
Let’s start with the “facts” as they stand now. From Vibram’s Spring 2014 catalog: Built on a platform that offers the best ground feedback in our line, the KSO EVO is one of three shoes that round out our new category: Max-Feel. A reinforced upper and speed lace allows for easy entry and a snug fit while the zig-zag patterned sole provides grip and flexibility in all directions. Feel more under foot with more versatility. WEIGHT: M43 = 4.9oz W38 = 3.5oz MAX SOLE THICKNESS: 4.7mm INSOLE: 2mm EVA + Anti Microbial Drilex Sockliner Machine Wash Cold/Air Dry
Note the “Max-Feel” category includes the EL-X (men’s only), Alitza (women’s only), and KSO EVO.

The KSO EVO Sole and Vibram’s “Max-Feel”

The Vibram KSO EVO features the same super-minimalist sole as the Vibram FiveFingers EL-X.
The Vibram KSO EVO features the same super-minimalist sole as the Vibram FiveFingers EL-X.
Thanks to already being familiar with the EL-X, we have a great sense for what to expect out of the KSO EVO sole. I’m going to pull from my EL-X review:
If you’re familiar with the original FiveFingers sole, you’ll recall that it was razor-siped, meaning it took rubber and had zig-zagging slices throughout the sole. That sole was 3.5mm thick rubber, by the way. Well, the El-X takes the original sole to the next level. First off, it reduces the total thickness of the rubber by over 20% going from 3.5 mm to 2.7 mm of “max thickness.” What’s up with the “max thickness” specification? It means that it’s most thick at the little parallelogram protrusions that pervade the El-X sole. These little guys, themselves vary in thickness and density. To my eye, they parallelograms seem to be about a millimeter thick. That leaves 1.7mm of Vibram rubber as the “foundation” of the El-X outsole. Of course, the El-X also has 2mm of EVA midsole. Add it up and you’ve got a “max thickness” of 4.7mm but a “foundational thickness” of 3.7mm. That is crazy thin.
If you’re after ground feel, the EL-X and KSO EVO sole are pretty hard to beat. I can’t speak to the Alitza, but if it’s comparable to the feel of the EL-X sole (anyone know?), the “Max Feel” moniker for this category makes a lot of sense.

Initial thoughts

When it comes to the KSO EVO, it’s all about the addition of laces. In my experience, laces have almost always improved the fit and overall feel of a pair of FiveFingers*. While I think the EL-X fits pretty well using nothing more than some painted on material over a stretchy mesh fabric, having the ability to customize how taut the upper is against my foot would be really nice. And I think aesthetically it’s a nice improvement, too. Is the KSO EVO going to be as much of a hit as the KSO? It’s hard to say but I’m skeptical—because there are now so many other options in the Vibram line. That said, if you want a lot of ground feel, I think the KSO EVO will be exactly what you want. Also, if you’re female and wanted to get the EL-X sole, the KSO EVO will be your only “in,” since the EL-X is mens only. What do you think? Would you swap your KSOs for a laced pair of KSO EVOs? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments! And see below for the various colorways (the pink and black are women’s; the rest, including black, are men’s). If you want to stay up on other new toe shoes coming Spring 2014, be sure to subscribe as I’ll be showing off more in the coming days and weeks! * I’d say the only exception to this is the SeeYa LS, which I just never warmed up to as far as the choice in upper design or materials.

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.

33 replies on “Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO”

This is exciting news! I love my KSOs but am not liking how snug that upper/strap is around the instep. The marriage of the KSO design with the generous Bikila LS lacing is perfection.

I will certainly be picking up a pair of these. Wow. I’ve been searching the webs for any info on these ever since you mentioned them in the Bikila EVO post, because they just really sparked my curiosity. Now that I can see them, I’m VERY excited for them. Don’t get me wrong, I love the KSO and it’s a shame that it’s following the footsteps of the Classics, but this is definitely a worthy “evolution” of it. Can’t wait to wriggle my toes into a pair, for sure.

That’s fantastic. I like my pair of EL-X, but with my wide, high arch foot, they at the edge of the envelope for what the painted stretchy material will accommodate. With the sole exception of the Komodo Sport, which seems to be just fine with the elastic strap, every Vibram that I’ve tried (which is almost every one that is for men and isn’t water-sports-specific) fits better in a laced version, even if I sometimes have to cut out the speed lace and replace it with standard laces to get the shoes to fit.

I’ll be near the front of the line to get a pair of these when they become available.

I can’t wait for these. I just order the CVT LS yesterday and will pick these up in the Spring when they become available. I liked the original EL-X well enough, but never purchased them. I was unsure about the upper and my thick/wide feet. Although they felt fine initially, they might have felt tight over time. I think the lace system will address that nicely and I think these are slightly better aesthetically speaking. Looking forward to their arrival.

I have 7 pairs of VFF which i love, but none with laces. I feel that laces on Vibrams remind me too much of CLOWN shoes, especially when in bright colors with lots of zigzag designs. I love the plain elegant velcro strap closures, they fit comfortably for me, and I’ll likely never buy lace-ups.

and…How come men always get the better color choices? Does Vibram think all women wear pink or lavender? What is this, kindergarten…are we Barbies? More primary and nature/stone/beach/earth colors for women!

I wish they’d make sports-orientated models that better accomodate tall feet. All the extra fabric and stitching around the laces makes the uppers much less stretchy around the ball of the foot, and none of the lace-up models I’ve tried ever fit because that part is always too tight.

I wish Vibram would also put more R&D into developing a better glue for the FFs. I was heartbroken when my KSO’s upper part just peeled off from the sole. No tears or anything. Besides me taking good care of it, I haven’t even owned it for more than 2 years!

I hope these new ones will be better.

I love my EL-X’s and they fit great. Not sure why i would need laces. Maybe if i was running in water or mud i would need something that was more securely attached to my foot.

I have put almost 400 running miles on my EL-X’s and they still look great with little wear. Hoping to put 600 more before year end.

All I wanted was a thinner Bikila LS and this might be the closest thing!

I’ve put about 500 miles on my Bikila LS’s and they have pretty good ground feel, but the toes are still a bit stiff.

I hoped that the EL-X would have been the fitting replacement, but they just didn’t feel quite right with my wide feet.

THIS looks very promising. I’ve never been a fan of the velcro straps of the KSO or the Seeyas and I found that the lace system really helps dial the shoe to my foot. Straps only seem to tighten up one section of the shoe, leaving everything feeling a little sloppy–this was especially true of the Seeyas heels.

1 oz less than the Bikila? Sounds great. I only wish they were a little wider!

Oh I want them soooo bad.
Can’t wait, I want them now.

Especially the RED one. Oh this will look good on my feet.
And it will be the eye catcher. finally a colorful shoe fur guys.
I like it as I loved my bright yellow flat soled trainers.
the blue soled is nice to.

But as vibram churns out lots of new models, I miss the classic.
So I might be forced to order fake knock offs, as vibram just does not want to take my money.

the classic is so nice in spring to fall and during winters I use them indoors.
I get tan feet with them and all new models are closed or for women.
and I don’t want the sandal.

dang vibram

Fantastic news! This is what I’ve been waiting for and asking for. My first pair of VFFs were KSOs, but they are so difficult to get on, and once on become constricting as my feet swell. I have three pairs of Bikila LSs, and I love the laces, but have always wanted the KSO soles instead. I cannot wait for the KSO EVO now. I might even replace my Bikila LSs with an extra pair of KSO EVOs.

“The KSO EVO is one of three shoes that round out our new category: Max-Feel”

If the EL-X is one of them, then what shoe is the third shoe in the “max feel” category?

This can be interesting. Would this third show use the same platform? What else would you use a sole like this for, beyond the el-x and the kso evo? Perhaps a trail running shoe?

Hell yes.

They just need some CVT LS style colors (without a white sole) so that they stay discreet.

Black EL-X I almost bought (best sole for flat floors) but the upper’s cut is below my inside arch (the navicular I believe). Also the upper is kind of scratchy.

I use the original KSO for running / river shoes. I wear the El-X as my everyday shoe, and I love it. However, unlike the original KSO type of sole, the heel cup in the EL-X has a “lip” on the back which I have gotten used to. 1) does anyone else experience the “lip,” and 2) does this new KSO have the “lip”?

I wonder about the addition of still another new name. These look exactly like the EL-X but with laces, so why not call them an EL-X-LS (or something similar)?

These appear to have the same restrictive upper as the EL-X. The upper on the EL-X does not stretch, at least not over the forefoot/bunion area, and won’t fit my feet. Adding laces doesn’t help since the area with laces ends well before the wide part of my foot begins. The laces undoubtedly help people with high arches or high volume feet, but do no good whatsoever for those of us with wide forefeet.

If these had stretchy uppers like the Bikila I’d be enthusiastic.

I prefer the Velcro closure to laces because the Velcro doesn’t need retying. It would be a great improvement, though, if Vibram cut their Velcro on a curve to match the curvature of the top of the foot.

No, I mean that the leather bit on the heel and achilles tendon section was very tight on my foot, pushing my toes into the ends of the toe sleeves (size 43). So I went a size up (44), which fits great now, but there is a little bit of heel that my foot does not fill. The KSO sole had a more rounded heel with a softer, more pliable heel upper. So, I wear a 43 KSO and 44 EL-X. I just wanna know which size to get, really

As someone with broad feet and a high instep who couldn’t fit into the original KSOs I’m delighted by this development and will definitely consider buying a pair.

nice but a sole which isnt made for the city.
in europe the kmd / komodo sport wont be selled next saison. so there is no modell with a sole which works well in the city. and addionally there is no model which doenst have that light busting yellow insole material. thats really bad.
the time were a pair of five fingers worked for yrs is gone.
my first pair of kso is still fine (4 yrs. over 1200 km) but my first and last pair of bikila was busted after 3 weeks. the first pair of seeya the yellow insole material was busted in 6 weeks. and the spiradon ls the yellow insole was busted after an half year and 400 km and the outer sole material is worn through.
i am sorry to say that, but quality of vibram five fingers decreased very very much.

Yes, my prayers have been heard! I’ve always wanted the EL-X but even the smallest size was too big for my small feet. Does anyone know whether they will make in black for women?

These will be in my hands asap. The LS lacing system for me with my wide feet provides me the adjustability I need. Having tested the EX-L in store, I found their sole to be impressively grippy and enjoyed the superior ground feel it provides. I didn’t even notice the weight. This VFF has me very excited!

Thank you for the great preview. I’m excited about the groundfeel this shoe promises and it’s great Vibram provided a neutral colorway (black) for women :). The fabric upper of this shoe reminds me of the Entrada model, which was quick to somehow snag a small hole on one of the toes when I wore them. However, I could have just been unlucky and, on the pus side, the Entrada fabric is still doing a fantastic job at containing the hole, not letting it grow any bigger.
All in all, really looking forward to it and hoping this model makes it to Europe!!

So i purchased the Seeya LS months ago. Lo and behold great fit and the heel support is way better than the seeya. On a 21 K training run the rough/non flexible upper rubs against my toe and eventually i end up with a cracked nail and had to get rid of the nail surgically. Iv always sized 41 and never had a problem (had KSO, KMD, Bikila, Bikila LS & Seeya)The new upper worried me (though had i sized up to 42 maybe this problem would never have occurred). I generally rely on reviews for purchase since i live in India and get it shipped to someone in the US when they come back to India. Long and short is the upper of the KSO Evo the same kind of material and is it as snug as the Seeya LS. Id accordingly wait for the release and purchase then. Thansk in advance

I can’t wait. I’d love to buy the El-X but Vibram seems to think that no male in Europe has size 38 or 39 feet, and then prevents US stores from shipping them abroad, so i haven’t been able to get the El-X in my size. The KSO EVO should come in womens and therefore I can get my size, and I’ll be interested to see how the laces hold the shoe on the foot. Fortunately I have enough pairs of VFFs to be getting along with for now, but I suspect these will be my next purchase. Time to start saving 🙂


These are actually the same as the EL-X Ls Youth shoes.

I came across them by accident on and tried them out.

I have three pairs already — one of each color — and I’m desperate for more!

I have bought over 20 pairs of VFF over the years and THESE ARE THE BEST EVER!

I run 30+ miles per week and I won’t wear anything else.

My only complaint — the bottom of the big toe wears away too quickly. I have to use Shoe Goo, which works fine but PLEASE reinforce the big toe.

I got a pair -love it, fantastic (lots more ground feel compared to the KSO, real comfortable for runs) except having just used them for about 50kms I noticed part of the sole is somewhat peeling off (the part where the sole is adhered to the side of the shoe)

I personally only like FFs that have straps. It seems people with thicker/taller feet like laces and those with thinner feet (like me) like the straps. The laces just make my the fabric bunch up on my feet. VFF should come in different widths…

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