[REVIEW] Vibram Fivefingers KSO
I have been wearing Fivefingers since late 2014, after most of the other minimalist shoes started disappearing after Vibram lost a lawsuit.
The concept of minimalist footwear made sense to me when I first encountered it but I couldn’t really “love” the idea of the goofy looking Fivefingers. That wasn’t until I was more or less forced to adopt them after NewBalance all but abandoned their line.
And I was a convert. They really are utterly unique in the way they wear and are easily the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.
10 Year Anniversary
In 2016 Vibram released two “celebration” models. The “Classic” and the “KSO”, both unusually in only the colour black. The sole seems smooth but has little “ridges” that open up as the foot moves and twists the sole. The result is surprising good grip on wet surfaces.
Wearing and sizing
Like with other Fivefingers the sizing does not correspond to normal European shoe sizes. In normal shoes I am a 47, but in Fivefingers it’s a 45, though as I discovered with the KSOs a 44 might fit me even better. So if you never worn any, make sure to try them on first.
The shoes themselves “disappear” as far as feelings go. You do feel every little bump in the road. Initially that’s a weird feeling but now it feels rather weird when I wear shoes that have a thicker sole. It just feels “wrong”.
The KSOs sole is 2mm thick, which does not sound like much but provides enough insulation from the ground. You will feel a sharp stone or stick, but it won’t pierce and you quickly build up some resistance. Walking over a gravel path with them is like getting a foot massage and clambering around on rocks has you feel every unevenness allowing you to adjust your foot hold.
The rubber on the sole is surprisingly grippy and because you have individual toes you can grip “round” surfaces better, which works surprisingly well even on wet rocks.
The sole does cradle the foot a bit, which provides a bit more cover for small dirt like sand coming in through the mesh on the top and sides as well as some water. Having said that, they drain quickly like all the other ones I have worn.
The adjustable strap on the top is a nice touch, but it feels almost unneeded, the flexible mesh at the top goes high enough that it securely holds the foot in, though I have not tried them in water (yet).
Overall if you can overcome the idea of their looks, they’re highly recommended. They’re pretty much my “default” shoe at the moment.