A few people commented on these shoes last time I mentioned them so I figured – even though I am no expert - I’d review them.
The first time I laid eyes on these shoes was roughly two or three years ago when at a friend’s graduation party. The husband of a colleague, Rebecca, had on a pair and it was the topic of conversation out on the deck at Jay’s party. Since then, both my husband and I have been intrigued by Vibrams. About a year ago, Ash found a great deal on the KSOs online, though they came from Tokyo and took about a month to arrive. He initially planned to run in them but found the strain on his calves too awkward to accomplish any good running. He mainly uses them for walks in the neighborhood and daily kickin’ it shoes, when he doesn’t feel like lacing up or slipping on his sandals. About a month ago, I found myself in the same situation: flip flops weren’t enough for walking with the dogs but I didn’t feel like putting on running shoes.
Now, about six or seven months ago, I went into a local shoe shop and tried on various models of Vibrams, feeling like the smallness of my feet in them made me look silly and carrot-like, since I have, well, relatively large breasts and well-shaped legs so the tapering bothered my sense of style – or lack thereof. Either way, I wanted them so badly but was irked by the silly look. So I learned which size I needed and went home to ponder.
Two weeks ago, I scoured Slickdeals.net for any good discounts and stumbled upon Frugal Backpacker, who was selling 85 dollar retail Vibrams for 50 bucks! I snapped those puppies up and was super excited the day that box was delivered to my doorstep. When I first put them on – with a t-shirt and Bermuda shorts – I again felt the awkwardness of tiny foot look. But then I thought, this is how I look barefoot so just get over it. First putting these shoes on is a challenge, as I learned when Ash got his. You must walk your feet in and line them up with the toe pockets, slowly ease into place. The feeling of each toe being spread is actually quite delightful, especially if, like me, your feet feel a bit fatigued from running. I had just broken in new Brooks so my right foot was feeling a bit cramped and tight.
The following day, I walked from the DOT building to downtown, then back to DOT, which is about a mile or so, but up hills. Upon returning, I noticed a sizable blister on the back of my left foot where the shoe rubbed. Though my try-on session decided that 37 (Euro sizing on these) was “my size”, I realized for comfort, I’d need 38s. After a return to that place, where they no longer had any in my size, and a subsequent ebay purchase, I finally received my 38s.
After getting over my initial style issues, I really started to love these shoes. They look just fine with jeans so last weekend, I threw them on to do all of our errands and playground visit and let me tell you, THAT is where they come in handy. I’m the type of person who throws on flip flops for every trip out but on the mulchy playground, the KSOs (stands for Keep Stuff Out!) are the best solution.
I have not and probably will not run in them. But I spent an afternoon doing housework and they felt comfortable throughout those couple of hours. These breathe enough not to get too sticky inside, though if you have issues with that, Injinji makes toe socks that a lot of people wear with Vibrams. I could probably wear them, since I got the larger size, and might do it come winter.
All in all, this is a good shoe if you dig the look and want the feel of being barefoot without the dirt. The spreading of your toes is actually quite natural. A lot of folks who get into these are also into barefoot running and that whole subculture of communing with the earth and whatnot. I like the benefit they give me of decompressing my feet after long runs.