A few months ago I reviewed the Vibram Fivefinger “KSO”. This was a “ten year anniversary” model they released back in 2015. Together with the KSO they also released the “Classic”. Weirdly enough both of them are only available in all black.
The KSO model quickly became my favourite “bum around” shoe earlier this year, but the easy on/off nature of the Classic intrigued me and so I got a pair.
First things first, the design is a bit…. well, of an acquired taste if you’re a guy. Yes, they’re Fivefinger’s and thus you already need to get used to the look, but the men's and women’s version both are the same and I can’t help but being reminded of the “Ballerina flat” type shoe.
Having said that, this is really more the flip-flop version of the Fivefinger. It’s easy on, easy off. The toe pockets as well as a high and inward bent heel cup hold the shoe to the foot.
It has the same sole as the KSO, so you will have good ground contract and slip resistance, but on the inside the shoe has a rather low “lip” and that is were stuff can get in. Having said that. It hasn’t shown to be a problem so far for me, the only time that was an issue was when I walked through deep sand and sank in, but then the KSO can also get some tiny sand kernels in through it's top mesh and they’re just as uncomfortable then. Also harder to put on and off. The Classic's easily shake out.
In order to adjust the fit of the shoe, there is a pull string and an arrest clip at the back. I didn’t really find a lot of use for it. In general the material is stretchy enough that it clings to the foot without the need of tightening. If you find that your foot “falls” out of the shoe all the time you may want to go a size smaller. They do seem to run the same as the KSOs, probably because they seem to share the same sole, but if you’re like me and have two different sized feet you may still want to go down a size (I went from a 45 to a 44, they both fit, but the 44 feels a bit more secure on the smaller foot).
Vibram has started a Canadian store and you can buy them there for $109, though I found that the selection and pricing for Fivefinger’s in Canada is better on the Amazon website. They carry a broader range than the Canadian Vibram store and their prices are better. Just make sure to look for the ones that are actually sold as part of PRIME, as I found there are some third party sellers online that charge… creative prices for the Fivefinger’s.
- Lightweight shoe
- Easy on / off
- Basically a flip-flop in Fivefinger form.
- The look, yes even for a Fivefinger as a men’s shoe they look odd.
- Stuff can easily get in, especially on the inside of the shoe / arch where the lip is lower.
- Only available in black.
Yay / Nay?
Having tried them out over the last few months I would have to say they are awesome for running out quickly or just bumming around during the day. They are a bit lighter and easier to get on and off than the other Fivefinger’s and they do feel solid. I had some worries about the shoe easily coming off but in general I didn’t find that a problem. I heard of some people running Marathons in them, clearly a possibility though that wasn’t why I got mine.
There really are only two things I’d like Vibram to do.
- Bring in some additional colours next year.
- Maybe revisit the inside lip, it basically is the sole and then a thin stretch of flexible material. A slightly higher lip may make it a bit easier to keep stuff out, though in day to day life it turned out to be of little concern.