Vibram FiveFingers Walking Shoes Review

Vibram FiveFinger

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Vibram FiveFingers shoes imitate barefoot walking. They are shaped like a foot with separate toes. They are flexible to give the freedom of barefoot walking, but with the protection of a Vibram sole.


The sole of the Vibram FiveFingers is made of Vibram TC1 performance rubber. The upper of the Classic is made of polyamide fabric, which is abrasion-resistant. The footbed is made of antimicrobial microfiber, as wearers generally would not be able to wear socks. The shoes are machine washable. They are lightweight, with the Classic weighing 5 to 6 ounces for each shoe.

They come in several styles, including a simple slip-on, one with a strap for better security when walking or running, cold weather and trail versions.


As with any lightweight, minimalist shoes (such as the Nike Free), this shoe should be worn for short periods of time as the wearer builds up a tolerance to it. The FiveFingers will not provide support, stability, or motion control and should be used cautiously by those who need those elements.

People with toes of lengths that don't match those of the shoe will have difficulty. People may experience some discomfort with the toes being separated. The shoe may rub between the toes and cause blistering or hot spots. These shoes won't work for people with webbed toes or extra toes.

As the FiveFingers are worn without socks, wearers may detect more foot odor from the shoes. They can be machine washed and air dried.

Refunds: In May 2014, Vibram USA Inc. settled a class action lawsuit that alleged that they made unsupported health claims in marketing the Vibram FiveFingers shoes. Those who purchased the shoes between March 2009 and May 2014 were able to get a small refund (about $20 - $50) through a special website. Refunds were issued in June 2016.


David Van Veen has been wearing Vibram FiveFingers and describes his experience. David is a college student, not a shoe expert or foot health expert.

"I picked up the most basic model, FiveFingers Classic, as I've been going through a minimalist phase as of late. I had a difficult time in sizing since they aren't sold in normal American shoe sizes. After some searching, I found a guide on how to measure your foot for them, now placed on their website, and I was off to the races! In hindsight, I'd suggest that if you have toenail problems, you get a pair that is one size bigger, a mere 1/4 inch, as the fittings are exact.

A few days went by, and they arrived. It was time to go barefoot. Getting them on was a bit of a learning curve. My advice now is to set them on the floor and line all of your toes up, sliding in just a small way until each toe is in the proper place. Then, explore. I walked around on my carpet first, just to make sure they were what I wanted, and, this is the honest truth, I've never enjoyed carpet so much. I'm a young, single guy, with other guy roommates, so it is often a bit hazardous to walk around barefoot. With these on, though, I could feel the carpet (ever felt carpet in your shoes?), as well as the hazards, but nothing hurt. I felt like a superhero; a feeling that persists every time I walk over a new surface."

Vibram FiveFingers Changed David's Life

David Van Veen continues, "The change these little shoes have had in my life is what I'd like to impart to you. They have reawakened my desire to explore. A simple walk around the block has been transformed. I now walk on the sidewalk, and all types of grass (yes, they all feel different), weeds, metal grating, etc. My favorite thing so far is to walk on crunchy leaves.

They have also gotten me out of the city a lot more. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and I've taken them on a number of hikes. I get quite a few looks as I pass people on the trails, and at viewpoints, quite a few questions.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that these tiny 'shoes' have reinvigorated my passion for walking and hiking. It is no longer a simple way to get exercise or travel, but an experience, one that has made me, at the very least, a little less lazy."

Questions About Vibram FiveFingers

Shoe reviewer David Van Veen answers questions about Vibram Five Fingers. David is a college student, not a shoe or foot health expert.

"Are they comfortable? Yes and no. Sharp rocks still don't feel good. While I can walk over them without wincing, they make themselves known.

Arch support? The whole point of arch support is to support weak arches. The beauty of an arch is that when you press down on it, it gets stronger. You walk completely different with these shoes. While you are protected, you still walk with a toe-heel motion, as opposed to the heel-toe rocking motion when wearing shoes.

Are they water moccasins? I get this one a lot. It is hard to explain to people what they are for, as they are for everything, and we are so used to having a different shoe for each activity. I normally tell someone that anything you do with your foot, you can do with these. For those who wish to participate in water sports though, I would recommend one of the Five Fingers with a strap."

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  1. Valerie Bezdek V. Vibram U.S.A. Inc. n.12-10513-DPW. (District Court of Massachusetts 2012).