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

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!  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!