Vibram KSO – Imagine Five Fingers on your Feet!

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Vibram KSO – Imagine Five Fingers on your Feet!

Vibram KSO under the microscope

What’s the deal with FiveFinger shoes??

Just over a year ago, I saw my first pair of Vibram KSO Five Fingers hiking shoes. I remember it well, as it was during the King of Thailand’s birthday celebrations in Bangkok. In the midst of all the madness in the streets, a new friend came jogging up to join me and my mates with a pair of FiveFinger shoes, and a smile on his face. “What the hell are those?! They look like monkey feet!” I asked in a state of both shock, and intrigue. “Only the best shoes on Earth, mate” my friend casually replied.

Vibram KSO FiveFinger Shoes

Photo captured from http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/

The Vibram KSO shoes kept popping up in my life soon there after. Over the next few months, I met several other backpackers who were sporting these wild toe-shoes, so I tried getting the inside scoop on what makes them so good! Well, there was a variety of answers. They went something like this:

We were born with bare feet – it’s the way we were meant to walk. Support in your typical shoe is only necessary because they interrupt the natural support you already have! When you wear them, you use your natural muscles. You in turn stand up straighter, Bare foot FTW!

and then there’s the backpacker-logic response:

They’re the only shoe you need! One pair of shoes means less you need to pack!

For a flash-packer like myself, this makes complete sense! ย There’s also the fashionable response:

I’m not a trend follower – I’m a trend setter! Be an early adopter! People may think you look funny today, but they’ll be wearing them tomorrow!

Well… fashion was never my forte, and is probably the least important reason for me to get some Vibram KSO’s… but one thing remained constant with all those I met wearing them. Each person was passionate about them! I figured it was worth checking out.

Vibram KSO shoes exploring Sukhothai Thailand

These bare-feet were made for walking!

Buying Vibram KSO shoes (or any other FiveFinger shoes)

This is important: You need to try them on before you buy them! The sizes are slightly different than your typical shoe size! Buying online for the first time is NOT recommended. Because of the nature of these shoes, it’s important to make sure your feet (and all your toes) fit into the shoe comfortably. They’re popularity is increasing, so many outdoor recreation stores (especially in western countries, though I’ve seen them in Singapore as well) are carrying them now. I bought mine at MEC in Canada. There’s a fairly large variety of them as well. From hiking boots, to running shoes, to the bare essentials, like the Vibram KSO pair I ended up getting. Choose your shoes depending on what you plan on using them most for! Being a backpacker-type guy that I am, I thought getting the pair that was most versatile was important. Also, one of the reasons people get them is to be as close to barefoot as possible, so I wanted the pair with the last frills, and thinest tread.

Vibram KSO FiveFinger shoes in Thailand

In the hands of Buddha – Vibram KSO meets Sukhothai, Thailand

Vibram KSO Five Finger shoes in Thailand

The Yin and Yang of Vibram KSO

Reality Check

When it comes to the Vibram KSO, these puppies are bad-ass. I can run, hike, do yoga, swim, you name it. It was definitely an adjustment wearing them for the first week or so. You may want to only wear them a couple hours at a time when first getting used to them… your new muscles (the ones you’re SUPPOSED to use) are going to be SORE! But now, they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve every worn! I shutter when I need to slip on my flip-flops or worse… dress shoes, now. They feel so good, and so natural. They’re really like walking on a cloud… in bare feet.

Vibram KSO FiveFinger shoes drop-kick Ronald

Vibram KSO knows kung-fu!

I’m sure these aren’t going to be for everyone, but in terms of backpacking gear, it’s one of the absolute essentials for me now! I love my Vibram KSO FiveFingers shoes! They’re my best Travel purchase to date!

Have you ever worn (or even seen) Vibram KSO shoes before? What are your thoughts on them? Would you be willing on trying a pair out, or are they just too crazy/weird for your tastes?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!



About the Author:

From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He's since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. Follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries!


  1. Madaboutravel November 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I must admit that they look pretty funny… but, like you, everybody I know that owns a pair is delighted. So maybe it’s time to try them ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • globe_trottah November 17, 2012 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Hey Madaboutravel ๐Ÿ™‚ I still giggle myself sometimes when I’m on a bus, or walking in the jungle, or wherever I may be, and I glance down and see them! But it’s true… once you have them on your feet, you never want to take them off!

    • Asa Valen January 5, 2013 at 6:53 am - Reply

      Do it dude if you have not already. I was a skeptic now am a all in lover!=0) I will never wear anything else.

      • Ian Ord January 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

        I agree! It’s really hard to go back to regular shoes (or even flip flops) as they just don’t feel natural at all! Thanks for sharing Asa!

  2. stevo November 17, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Was that me by any chance that introduced you to five fingers, they are great aren’t they !!!

    • globe_trottah November 17, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Ha! Stevo!!! It was indeed, my friend! I didn’t get the sporty ones like you had, as you can see, but the impression was made, and it stuck with me until now!! You need to come back to Thailand for the King’s birthday this year!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot November 19, 2012 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Hi Ian,

    They look a bit sweaty… I like my chacos:)Though I’d definitely give these a try.

    • globe_trottah November 19, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

      You’d be surprised – they’re actually not that sweaty ๐Ÿ˜‰ The ventilation on the KSO’s is quite good, with their mesh top. It’s just when they get wet that I don’t overly like walking around in them… unless of course, I’m wearing them in the water. hehe

  4. Red Hunt November 20, 2012 at 12:14 am - Reply

    Cool stuff Ian! I love my KSO’s, I actually have the same black pair as yours about 4 years ago! They’re a love-it, hate-it thing. People either think you’re a freak or that you’re awesome!
    They are some comfy aren’t they? The only 2 things I don’t like about them … 1) taking them off and putting them back on can be a pain (For example, if you’re entering a temple) and 2) even with the fairly thick bottom, if you’re hiking/walking along jagged, rocky surfaces, there isn’t enough support.
    But ya….awesome shoes, I’m thinking of getting another pair.

    • globe_trottah November 21, 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Hey Red! Hahaha – I think that most people think that I’m an awesome freak ๐Ÿ˜‰
      They’re incredibly comfortable – my feet don’t feel right in normal shoes any more, to be honest. I’ve gotten used to taking them on and off quickly now, though you’re right, it can still be more tedious than flip flops when entering several temples in a day. I’m finding that the support has been becoming more natural though, as my muscles build to provide that needed support for more difficult surfaces. My only complaint is when they get wet (like any shoe) they get uncomfortable for walking great distances in afterwards. But hey – a small price to pay in the name of overall comfort – do it! Buy another pair.. I dare you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Kerwin November 23, 2012 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Great story Ian.

    From the moment I saw these shoes years ago I wanted one. To get my first, I actually flew to Dallas to get it, just so I could try it on. I did and it fit, but was very snug. I decided to try it anyways and had to give it away.

    I just love how they look on the feet.

    I later tried a different style, but still it was only at size 47 :-(. I need a 48 or 49 (13 or 14) wide width. So I had to give it away again; these bad boys are not cheap either…

    Had no issues with ventilation at all, they are built properly; they do fit the toes very snugly though.

    As discussed will send another note to Vibrams about getting a larger size as I really want one…

    • globe_trottah November 23, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Thanks Kerwin!! I felt the same way โ€“ from the moment I saw them on my friend Stevo, I was intrigued!

      Itโ€™s great that you were able to give them away to other enthusiasts, but Iโ€™m saddened to hear that you canโ€™t seem to find any in your size!! Youโ€™re right, itโ€™s an expensive gift to give so many away!

      The ventilation is great โ€“ I imagine getting the right size would also correct the toe issue. I have an unusually small baby toe, which barely even gets inside the toe slip, but otherwise, the others fit well. Iโ€™d be interested to see if they do custom shoes, as I would even consider some made especially for my feet!

      Best of luck contacting Vibram! I hope they have some good news for you, mate ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Natalie T. November 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    I still think they look weird. BUT they do look mighty comfortable. I love how passionate you are about them!

    • Ian Ord November 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      They will always look weird. ๐Ÿ˜› Function over fashion, I guess.. though I think they’re pretty fashionable anyway! But then again, I AM a guy.. what do I know? lol

  7. […] of versatile shoes (I’ve chosen the toe-shoes by Vibram – check out my review on them HERE). I would always suggest at least one set of warmer clothes, often to be warn while in transit. Air […]

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