My Vibram Five Fingers (1 year on)

Ben's Vibram Five Fingers

My Vibram Five Fingers

I got my first pair of Vibrams in early 2010. I decided on the Sprints, and was lucky in that I had no trouble finding the right fit for my feet. Their snug design made them a very comfortable  pair of “shoes”, and I can still remember my first few adventures in them. I had gone straight from regular running shoes so it was a wonderful feeling the freedom they gave my toes.

A common complaint about the Vibram Five Fingers is their robustness (or potential lack of it), and many people question their durability. I just read on another blog someone questioning this very aspect, so I wanted to share my experience.

I took the photo above today, because I wanted to show a real world photo of what a years worth of use on a pair of Vibrams looks like.

I pretty much only wear my Vibrams when I do physical exercise,  such as running, jumping, climbing, and lifting weights. Since I also try to go 100% barefoot whenever possible such as on the beach, or a grassy area I am confident is free of broken glass, this means my Vibrams have seen only moderate usage, which I would estimate at roughly 3-4 times per week for an average of an hour.

As the photos below show, they are still for the most part in great condition. A few areas have the rubber starting to peel away from the fabric, as shown in the photo of the heel, but a little bit of glue should fix this right up.

Overall I think they were a great purchase. Whilst expensive, the flexibility and freedom they allow my toes, and the very authentic barefoot running experience they provide, mean I will definitely be purchasing another pair soon. The next pair I have my eye on are the KSO TrekSports, which have a sole twice as thick as the sprints with a greater tread for traction.  I plan on using these for touch football on grass, and to help me break into trail running.

Do you own a pair of Vibrams? How are they holding up? Let us know in the comments!

Profile photo of Ben
By Ben

26 Comments

  1. Cliff - April 13, 2011, 7:49 pm Reply

    I have a pair of classics for about a year and they dont look anything like yours! They are so clean you must wash them. Mine also have held up about the same, few corners come lose that about it

    Where in Australia are you guys? Will you be organising any barefoot runs? Cliff

    • Jonno - October 29, 2011, 11:18 am Reply

      Yep aim the same, I have a pair of classics (open but with a strap). I had had them close to a couple of years. I have not used them an awful lot but they are pretty beat up and the stitching around the toes is coming loose. I wasn’t expecting much though. I might try the new trail fingers with a more supported base and better grip as the classics can’t manage trail (unless you want a bruised instep among among other things. Be careful out there.

  2. Profile photo of Ben

    Ben - April 17, 2011, 11:00 am Reply

    Haha yes I have washed them a few times! Hate to imagine what they would be like otherwise… :)

    We are located in Sydney and do hope to have some events up and running soon. We are working on a new website with a discussion board and hopefully the ability for anyone Australia wide to organise and coordinate runs locally. Shouldn’t be long now!

  3. Vibram Five Finger - May 10, 2011, 10:42 pm Reply

    i LOVE my Vibram Five Fingers! Minimalist shoes at their BEST!

    • Rustam - January 28, 2014, 9:36 am Reply

      Haha I’ve actually seen A LOT of ppeloe wearing the vibram five fingers so I don’t think you’ll be all that alone. Plus, ppeloe will probably just think you’re really hardcore than weird

  4. Garth - July 25, 2011, 9:34 am Reply

    I have had a pair of Bikilas for a year now. Done well over 1000 kms – some road some trail. I am a heavy runner, 94 kgs. Soles are a bit worn but fabric is still fine. Will replace with another pair of the same in the next few months. Have washed them quite often – just chuck them in the washing machine. Love them.

  5. Margaret Davidson - August 27, 2011, 8:38 pm Reply

    Hi can anyone help me? I live in Muswellbrook NSW and having trouble finding a store close by that sells the vibram fivefingers shoes. Closest city is Newcastle.

    • Profile photo of Sam

      Sam - September 5, 2011, 6:03 pm Reply

      Hi Margaret,

      The closest store I could find is in Newcastle (which is Adventure 195 located on Cnr King & National Park Sts). Otherwise I would buy online (I got mine from http://www.adventuremegastore.com.au/). Hope that helps

  6. Margaret Davidson - August 27, 2011, 8:38 pm Reply

    Hi can anyone help me? I live in Muswellbrook NSW and having trouble finding a store close by that sells the vibram fivefingers shoes. Closest city is Newcastle.

  7. Dave Robbo - September 27, 2011, 8:12 pm Reply

    Hi Margaret,
    How did you get on finding a pair of Fivefingers? Great advice from Sam. I just ordered a new pair online from Adventure Megastore. I’m also in the Hunter Valley (Singleton) and there are only 2 places that stock the Fives nearby, both in Newcastle: AOK Health http://aokhealth.securestand.com/xq/ASP/CategoryID.179/qx/Catalogue.htm & Adventure 195.
    Let us know when you get them and we’ll have to go for a run sometime.

  8. Carly - October 24, 2011, 11:16 am Reply

    Hi I live in Brisbane and wanted to try a pair of these on before I bought some. Does anyone know where I can go to try some on? Someone else told me about these shoe and I am keen but I have a wide foot and high instep so I want to try before I buy.
    Thanks

    • Matt - November 22, 2011, 3:42 pm Reply

      In-training at Milton – 43 Park Rd or thereabouts – you can google it – does sell these.

      They are rather expensive but good to go and get a judge of the size etc, I’ve done that and plan on buying some online!

    • Amy - November 10, 2013, 2:26 pm Reply

      Heya Carly of Brisbane, so did you manage to track down a shop(s) in Brisbane that stock vibrams? I’ve just moved here and would like to buy some too.

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  10. steve - November 5, 2011, 1:05 pm Reply

    I’m on my 5th pair of FFs. LOVE THEM!

    I used to wear them for driving and cycling as well as walking (street and bush) but I found the stitching would give out when biking and driving, so now I use them walking only.

    I machine wash them every week or so, and sprinkle talc in them to keep them nice between washes.

    I’ve two pairs of ‘toed’ socks which I wear in the winter ie when the temperature is below about 10C.

    I know people who run marathons in them, and I wear them to business meetings, going out, you name it. I used to even wear them flying, but then if you have to take them off for security I don’t like walking in the airport bare foot.

    But, why so expensive down under? I get mine when I’m Stateside.

  11. steve - November 5, 2011, 1:06 pm Reply

    PS Do not be tempted to by them mail order, since your size will vary between batches and styles.

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  13. PhilBob - March 29, 2012, 6:51 pm Reply

    I have had VFF Komodo’s for nearly a year. They are in great shape. I wash them often because otherwise they stink. They stink anyway, but a wash helps. I have just bought 2 more pairs, one the same and one with speed laces, only so I can always have them ready to wear. They take a while to dry.

    Their poor construction and build quality is a myth. Often promoted by retailers that do not stock VFF’s and want to sell their stocked product.

    Aside from some noticeable wear on the sole, they are perfect.

    Also they are very safe to buy online. I cannot justify spending 2.5 times the price locally, particularly with a strong Aussie dollar. Local retailers will never get a foothold in this market while ever they are obsessed with greed. The honeymoon period of niche product prices is over. The product is now global, accessible, affordable and in demand. There are online retailers that will offer good prices and service. If I go to my local capital city (Brisbane), I will pay $40 to park while I go and shop to spend $265 for 1 pair.

    I pay less than $40 for postage from the US, and less than $100 a pair, and have them delivered to my door. So, I maximise my spend and buy 2 pairs for me and order for friends.

    This is a notice to Aussie barefoot retailers, get smarter or get out.

    • Rachel - April 19, 2012, 11:33 am Reply

      Hi PhilBob – I totally agree with you. What site do you get them from in the US? I’m desperate to get a pair of FF for myself and my husband but just can’t believe how expensive they are to buy from retailers in Australia.thanks.

      • PhilBob - April 26, 2012, 9:56 am Reply

        Your desperation is not without cause and your hope is not in vain. They are a most worthwhile investment. I seldom take mine off. I should be paid a commission by Vibram for the volume of people I have introduced to the brand. They are particularly conspicuous and people often feel the need to comment or inquire. I have refined my sales pitch and can deliver it concisely and convincingly. You will have the same experience so be prepared.

        I buy them from; http://www.rockcreek.com

        They sell a number of models and brands of other barefoot shoes. I have been trying to talk them into selling me some Merrell Trail shoes, but they observe an unbending policy, enforced by Merrell, preventing them shipping internationally. I only want the Merrells for occasions when I need to draw less attention to my feet.

        If anyone knows where I can source these online please reply. As with the VFF, the local Aussie dealers, again, are too mercenary with their pricing.

        • Bek - May 4, 2012, 8:27 am Reply

          Hi,
          I was at athletes foot this week and they stocked a basic range of “natural motion” shoes. These did include the merrell which I tried and they felt lovely and light. Hope that helps.

        • Joel - December 17, 2013, 1:04 pm Reply

          Hey I just checked with rock creek and they don’t ship Vibram to Australia, it is written on their international shipping page. Is there another seller you recommend – Australia is such a rip-off for barefoot shoes!

  14. Mal - May 10, 2012, 3:22 pm Reply

    I’ve been wearing my first pair of 5fingers Flow for about six months now and absolutely love them. I walk rocky tracks and fire trails, single tracks, through the bush and creeks west of Brisbane, even deep NZ mud and cannot fault them. Thorns, lantana, sharp sticks and stones have not damaged the shoe or my feet. I’m quiet surprised that they’ve stood up so well. The more I wear them the more I love them.
    Currently best prices I can find for shopping online are from 3w.topfivefingershoe.com. Their prices are sub $80 for Treksport, etc. Free shipping as well!

  15. Hashim - June 17, 2012, 7:34 pm Reply

    To everyone that is just getting into the VFF’s or searching to buy online. Dont be fooled be sites that are selling vibrams for 20-30% off the price. If the price is too good to be true it is. I agree the site mentioned above ” topfivefingershoe” are great prices but thats because they are most probably fakes. Ive been in this situation before and there are fakes everywhere online. If you love the VFFs which Im sure everyone does I wouldnt even pay a crazy low price now after owning a genuine and fake version.My first VFF was the KSO. Scored them for $60 delivered! was over the moon on finally owning a pair until I came back from the U.S with a pair of KSO’s for my brother and some Bikilas for myself. Compared the KSOs and what I thought was great quality, I managed to spot differences in almost every single detail from the sole to the stitching and material etc. Theses guys are making great imitations that its so hard to tell if you have a genuine upon unboxing until youve compared a fake to a real one? sorry for the rant. but have become passionate on the VFF’s since its changed my running/ athletic lifestyle :)

  16. Hashim - June 17, 2012, 7:42 pm Reply

    If you guys havnt already. before purchasing. check this site out.
    https://www.vibramfivefingers.com/counterfeits/how-to-spot-a-fake.html

    and sorry, to answer your question. Yes I do own a pair of Vibram FIve Fingers :) Fake KSO’s, Bikila, and the Komodosport :) I use the Bikilas for everything from walking, jogging, travelling and Gym! so on its peak use Id be using them 5 times a day. Had them for a year now and the material/ stitching are still holding up even after several washes. Very light wear in sole nearest curve of toes and the rest is wearing fairly well. The Komodosports are just new and am using mainly for gym/indoor fitness activites. So comfortable. highly recommend both Bikilas and the Komodos. Yet to get myself some genuine KSOs :)

  17. Baden - February 26, 2014, 10:45 am Reply

    My Bikilas are almost worn through the sole after 3 years of casual running and walking. The uppers are in great condition. I have never had a pair of running shoes last so long. I do mainly cross country and trails.
    I highly recommend getting your fitting in a store then ordering a pair online.
    Mine were sourced on ebay from a Hong Kong seller for $80 delivered.
    At the time they were $197 retail in Australia, could not believe it for such a simple shoe.

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