My experience with Vibram FiveFingers
It was about three years ago when I purchased my first pair of VFFs. It wasn’t love at first step (or sight) with my Sprints, but the more I wore them, the more I fell in love. After conditioning my legs and body to run in them, I found myself running faster and I felt more agile than I ever did in my old clunky running shoes. It was like removing the weights from my feet and I felt connected with the ground for the first time. On average, I usually run about 20 miles a week in my Sprints. I wore them trekking the Andes in Peru, do Crossfit in them, and even wear them in the water when I standup paddle surf. After all this time they are finally falling apart at the seams so I was so stoked to try out these new Vibram FiveFingers “KomodoSport LS” lace-ups!
What follows is my review of the KomodoSport LS, complete with thoughts on aeshetics, construction/materials, fit, and performance in a variety of activities.
Read my review of the women’s KomodoSport LS after the jump!
Is it possible that form meets function in a pair of Vibram FiveFingers? As soon as I saw the KomodoSport LS, I fell in love. Okay, well I wouldn’t wear them out to dinner or anything, but Vibram really hit a home run with the design here. The laces bring it up a notch and make a VFF shoe look a little more like a sporty cross trainer. They have reflective fabric that blends right in with the design and they look pretty stealthy and technical in the gray/yellow combo … I think I saw Jeff Bridges sporting a pair on the grid.
Materials/ConstructionComfort — My favorite thing about these shoes is how soft and comfortable they are. The interior is incredibly soft with a porous pattern that helps your skin breathe and absorb sweat. They are also very lightweight. They weighed in at 4.9 oz a piece via my postal scale. My Sprints weighed in at 4.6 oz a shoe. By comparison, my old running shoes (with all that fancy “shock absorbing technology”) weigh 11 oz a piece. That’s more than double the weight per foot!
Imagine what all that extra weight does to your knees on long distance runs. I used to get lots of tendon pain on the outside of my knees when I ran, but I haven’t had any problems since I’ve been wearing Vibrams. The tread on the bottom is definitely thicker than the Sprints yet not as robust at the TrekSports. There is also a little pull loop on the back of the heel that makes it really easy to get your foot in the shoe. Plus, you can use it to hang them up to dry after you hike across water or throw them in the wash.
Laces — The laces are easy to use and you can adjust the fit on a dime. Just pull them tighter or let out some slack and you are good to go. No knot tying required. A Velcro tab secures the loose ends to the top of the shoe but still allows some of the slack to stick straight up in the air… wish there was a way to keep that more at bay…. a minor gripe that doesn’t effect performance, just looks a little funny.
The pair I am testing are pre-production versions so the sizing could change once they are manufactured and released to the public. That being said, I wear a 38 across the board in VFF and these fit me a little tight for a 38… they feel more like a 37. My pinky toes are begging for a little more room. There is a 2mm removable footbed that significantly changes how they fit me. When I remove it, the shoe fits more like a 38. Visually they even looked like 37’s. When I compared them to my sprints and a pair of KomodoSports they are noticeably shorter from heel to toe. The only sure fire way to tell if they will fit you is to try them on before you buy.
I was eager to see how they perform on all different terrain so I tested them on concrete, asphalt, grass, and single track dirt trails. The thing that surprised me the most was that I didn’t need to break them in. While wearing them for this review I haven’t felt any hot spots since the material is so soft on the inside. I felt agile and my toes felt pretty flexible. I could still feel the ground beneath my feet even with the thicker tread. Here’s what I found…
Single Track Dirt Trails — I ran about 10 miles on the trail both with and without the footbed (The KomodoSport LS has a “seamless” footbed thanks to the removable insole — pic)
They were noticeably more comfortable and soft with the insert. The shoe felt more “complete” although it was a little more snug than it should be. The tread was grippy and I felt more secure on the downhills than I usually do in my Sprints which enabled me to move faster. I turned up and down switchbacks sharply and dodged rocks and obstacles quickly. The only pressure points were in my pinky toes due to the sizing.
The only big difference I noticed without using the footbed was with sizing. Everything else performed the same. Without the insert I had more room and my pinky toes had room to breathe. Some of the softness was missing but I felt more connected to the ground. I was able to run as usual without any pressure points whatsoever. I felt agile and was able to run both uphill and downhill with great traction.
Asphalt — I did some Crossfit exercises like kettlebell swings, push-ups, burpees, and ran sprints. The tread seems to be meant for this type of workout. They gripped the asphalt perfectly without any sliding… it felt like I was glued to the ground!
Concrete — Pretty much the same as asphalt, the tread gripped the ground very well.
Grass — I did more Crossfit exercises and running in the grass. Again, the tread kept me secure and I didn’t feel as much slippage as I normally do with my Sprints. I think the more aggressive tread helps in the grass here.
Overall, they rock. Two big toes up! They are so comfortable, you’ll never want to take them off. If you’re looking for the perfect all around cross-training shoe or only want to buy one pair of VFFs … this is it. I’d feel comfortable using them for 5 to 10k runs on trails or pavement, crossfit, weightlifting, bootcamp, you name it! I can’t wait to see how they perform with higher mileage and in wet conditions in the following months.
- Sleek style (think Tron in a good way)
- Soft and extremely comfortable
- Adjustable lace-ups
- Grippy tread
- Removable footbed
- Flexible toes and material
- Breathable porous interior
- Feels a little too tight with footbed in (could be due to pre-production model)
- Prone to getting a little more hot and sweaty than the open style of the Sprints
- You’ll never want to take them off!