The Bikila EVO 2 has now been rebranded as the V-RUN.
Although we haven’t had confirmation on exactly why Vibram FiveFingers have changed the name of their ever-popular road running shoe Bikila EVO 2 to a less-imaginative name, the V-RUN, it probably has something to do with this court case:
Last year (2015) the family of Ethiopian barefoot marathon champion Abebe Bikila filed a lawsuit against Vibram for allegedly using his name without permission (source: Associated Press).
Vibram have/had been using the Bikila name on their minimalist training shoes since 2010. First with the original Bikila shoe, then the Bikila LS, then again on the revamped version, the 2014 Bikila EVO. This year, the shoe ‘evolved’ again in to the Bikila EVO 2.
Abebe Bikila became famous when he won the 1960 Olympic Marathon without shoes, setting a World and Olympic record in a time of 2:15:16. Four years later, he set the world record again in 2:12:11. Although he died in 1973, he has always been hailed as a true sporting legend and an icon to all runners.
As Vibram market their shoes as “barefoot shoes” that promote a more natural forefoot strike when running, it is easy to understand why the Bikila name is very apt.
Although the new V-RUN name is less imaginable, the shoe itself is still worthy of a gold medal.
Every week we get plenty of questions from customers. So many in fact, that we have decided to dedicate a blog post every-so-often to our favourite customer questions, which we have abbreviated to ‘CQOTW’. So, without further ado, here is our latest CQOTW:
Which Vibram FiveFingers are best for CrossFit, in the Gym, and for Running?
I am looking at purchasing some five finger shoes for going to the gym, Cross Fit and a little bit of running. There are a lot of styles to choose from. I’ve narrowed the choices down to two and was wondering if you could explain the differences between them to me. The Bikila and the Komodo Sport. Unless you have another suggestion for what shoe I should have. Many thanks.
Here’s Our Answer
First of all, you’ve done a great job of narrowing it down to the Bikila and the Komodo Sport. Both are excellent gym shoes, and are the best on offer from Vibram for your intended use. I’ll go in to a little more detail:
Komodo (KMD) Sport
The Komodo Sport (aka the KMD Sport) was first introduced by Vibram last year, and was designed with CrossFit in mind. The upper fabric is reinforced in areas that may get a little more worn if you’re doing certain CrossFit exercises (for example, climbing ropes).
The sole has a multi-directional tread with a rounded pattern, making it great for functional movement exercises. You will not find another shoe that is as good at manoeuvring on the spot.
The sole is a little thicker than the Bikila, as it comes with a 2mm Polyurethane footbed.
The downside of the Komodo Sport is that it is not a full-0n running shoe. It will serve you well on the treadmill, or for short bursts on the track or on tarmac – but the tread isn’t designed for an all-out runner.
If you find you have a wider-than-normal foot, opt for the LS. If you find your feet are narrow, then Velcro will be your best option. If you’re pretty average, with normal width feet, the world is your oyster. Pick either; they’ll fit fine.
The new-for-2013 EL-X stands for Entry Level Cross Trainer, and that’s exactly what it is.
There’s barely anything to this shoe. No fastening mechanism, just a 3.5mm sole, and it is Vibram FiveFinger’s lightest ever men’s style. It will give you the best ‘barefoot feet’ out of any other shoe.
I hope that gives you the information you need to make a decision.
My advice would be to ask yourself ‘How much running do I plan on doing?’, and if you answer is ‘Quite a lot’, I’d opt for the Bikila. If you think you’re going to live in the gym (or ‘The Box’) and the majority of your training will consist of WODs, gym work, and the occasional run, go for the Komodo Sport. Or if you’re on a budget, the El-X will provide a very nice introduction in to the world of Vibram fiveFingers.
…So we’re giving the ladies 10% off this week! Use code: LADIESONLY at the checkout
The last two weeks have seen us ship out LOADS of orders around the country. Much more than normal, in fact. And we’re so grateful to all of our amazing customers who are helping us to continue to grow. We’re certainly becoming the go-to online store for Vibram FiveFingers.
However, during this time, 9 out of 10 orders have been for men!!
This has had us scratching our heads. Do women decide not to run in winter? Do ladies hibernate? Do they choose to visit the gym only during the months March to October? Surely not!
That’s why, for the rest of this week only, we’ve decided to a LADIES ONLY discount (sorry gentlemen). Prove to us you still need your Vibram FiveFingers during the cold weather by ordering a pair today AND GET AN EXTRA 10% OFF by entering code: LADIESONLY at the checkout.
Our blog post a few weeks back we introduced you to the Bikila EVO, but we’re now able to shed a little more light on the specifics of the shoe, having seen these in the flesh.
The reaction to Vibram’s choice to introduce a shoe with cushioning surprised many of us. Hadn’t Vibram FiveFingers – the company regarded by many as ‘barefoot shoe makers’ – once told us that ‘You are the technology’, claiming that cushioning was not needed?
Goodbye Bikila. Hello Bikila EVO
Anyway… Similar to the KSO, the ever-popular Bikila is disappearing, and instead we have the Bikila EVO: a slightly cushioned, lace-up shoe designed for mid-distance running. The sole is, by shoe manufacturing standards, minimalist, with a maximum sole thickness of 8.5mm, which includes the 6mm of EVA for cushioning, and Vibram Megagrip Rubber Pods for durability and grip.
The ‘redesigned’ shoe features a polyester mesh upper, and comes in a variety of bold colours, from a sure-fire winner black/yellow to the less-appealing-to-most orange/blue.
Here’s what Vibram have to say about the Bikila EVO
Medium distance running in a minimalist shoe can be challenging for new minimalist users. It takes time for your foot to adjust to an increasingly thinner level of sole. The Bikila EVO is a fully redesigned shoe built for those looking for a shoe that gives the benefits of going barefoot and that has slightly more cushion to offer more support on a medium distance road run. It is still thin, and gives you just a bit more so you can be confident making the switch.
One of the most obvious changes to the Bikila is the new sole, which comprises of 6mm EVA cushioning, nine strategically placed rubber sole pieces, and an EVA heel.
EVA is a lightweight material found in most running shoes. Its strength is that it is extremely lightweight and compresses under pressure, giving that cushioned feel. The downside of EVA is that it wears out very easily – and that’s why you see rubber placed over the top of the squidgy stuff on your sole.
For the Bikila EVO, much of the EVA is left exposed, yet the rubber sole pieces are placed over the high-wear zones of the sole: on each toe, three strips over forefoot, and covering the heel.
It appears Vibram have followed the trend set by other major shoe manufacturers by introducing what could be classed as a ‘transition shoe’, meaning, this shoe would be ideal for runners new to ‘barefoot running’ that are not yet ready to have their shoes stripped to the bare minimum.
Many barefoot purists will turn their back on this shoe, but I think it has its place. Although I love to run barefoot and wear Vibram FiveFingers – I still often opt for a minimalist shoe with a 4mm drop and some cushioning.
Many will argue that Vibram are moving away from the barefoot/minimalist roots – and I myself was fearing the worst. But having seen the Spring/Summer 2014 range in the flesh just this week, I would strongly disagree. This year’s EL-X for men, and the ladies’ Entrada and Alitza are as minimal as you’re bound to see. The trend continues with the new-for-2014 KSO EVO.
With an 8.5mm sole and zero-drop from heel to toe, the Bikila EVO is still very minimalist. It is in fact, just one millimetre thicker than the Trek sole, as featured on the super-seller Trek Sport and the new-for-2013 Trek Sport Sandal.
The decision to make the Velcro redundant will aggravate many in the UK. While in the US, the LS (lace) styles outsell Velcro styles 3:1, in the UK it is the opposite.
I won’t get chance to test the Bikila EVO until next year, but I am confident that this shoe will be a massive success. I expect barefoot-newcomers to enjoy the Bikila EVO, as well as mid-distance runners who enjoy just a bit more cushioning. The style will appeal to many too, so I’d expect gym-goers and Crossfit addicts to pounce on this.
We recently got hold of the Spring/Summer 2014 Vibram Catalogue, and thought it would be worth sharing with you some of the new and exciting ‘barefoot’ (or not-so-barefoot) shoes that are going to be available.
I love the KSO (Keep Stuff Out): My first pair of FiveFingers was a KSO and they lasted me around 700 miles. I ran in them everywhere and really put them through their paces. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one whose first pair were a KSO either. Their aesthetics, practicality, foot coverage and ground feel made them the ideal choice. Even today, my current KSOs are my go-to shoe for short/mid-distance road running and indoor fitness. They really are a versatile, ‘do-it-all’ shoe.
Next year will see the KSO retire, and will be replaced by the KSO EVO.
The KSO EVO will feature the serrated blade lug sole as can be seen in SS13’s men’s EL-X (Entry Level Cross-Trainer), and the ladies’ lovely Entrada and Alitza, with a maximum sole thickness of just 4.7mm.
You will also notice that the Velcro is making an exit, and instead we’re being introduced to a new KSO that is lace-only – the KSO EVO comprising of Vibram’s Speed Lace System.
Here’s What Vibram Have To Say About the SS14 KSO EVO
Built on a platform that offers the best ground feedback in our line, the KSO EVO is one of three shoes that round out our new category: max-Feel. A reinforced upper and speed lace allows for easy entry and a snug fit while the zig-zag patterned sole provides grip and flexibility in all directions. Feel more under foot with more versatility.
Making the KSO redundant is an incredibly brave move by Vibram. A hugely popular shoe for both men and women, the KSO has been around since FiveFingers shot to popularity after Christopher McDougall’s bestseller Born to Run.
It’s good to see Vibram have maintained the all-black colour-way that has proved to be a bestseller in the KSO.
Many will miss the original ‘razor-siped’ TC-1 rubber sole of the KSO (that also featured on the Speed, Flow, and Classic styles), but it has been superseded by a superior Vibram XS Trek Compound sole. Feedback from customers who have been wearing the EL-X (which features this same sole) has been really positive, so I am sure this will go down well. The jury is still out on how many miles this new sole can sustain.
Vibram’s decision not to offer a Velcro alternative is also quite a surprise, but with the growing popularity of the lace-up styles, this is probably a wise decision.
All in all – This is a radical change and a very bold decision by Vibram, but upon studying the changes closer, they make a lot of sense – and I am certain the KSO EVO will prove to be equally, if not more popular than its predecessor.
CQOTW: What type of model of Vibram FiveFingers can be used for every day use?
As with everything, this can all depend on personal preference. We all know that Vibram make some very quirky styles that are not for the faint-hearted (the Nizza!), and some outrageously bright styles (the SeeYa Day-glow); but they also make some models that are more relaxed, more socially acceptable, and less conspicuous. It is the latter that we will focus on for this week’s ‘Customer Question of the Week’.
The Vibram FiveFingers KSO
A lot of people enjoy wearing the KSO as a shoe that suits both running and lifestyle. This was one of Vibram’s earliest models and the sole is very thin, giving a great ‘barefoot’ feel.
Trek Sport is also a popular choice. The black colour-way is less conspicuous and therefore looks a little more casual than some of Vibram’s more ‘vibrant’ models (i.e. SeeYa). The Trek Sport features a more rugges sole, designed for those who enjoy getting out in the trails and/or do light trekking. Again, stock levels are poor (unless you are size UK10+) but more will arrive very soon.
The Komodo Sport is another style that looks more like an every day trainer. It features a lacing system and a sensible colour-way. This shoe is designed with the gym-goer in mind, and so the sole is not agressive at all, making it ideal for general wear.
You may also like to consider the Bikila. Ideal for road running, for gym use, but many enjoy the Bikila as a casual trainer. The Bikila is a men’s bestseller for Feetus, and we stock this model in a variety of colours as well as Velcro and lace-up (Bikila LS) versions.
CQOTW: Why should I fork out for a pair of Genuine Vibram FiveFingers, when I can buy a Fake pair on Ebay?
This week’s ‘Customer Question of the Week’ came from a friend, and I too remember asking myself the same question several years ago whilst contemplating my second pair of Vibrams. It can be quite easy to forget that when you buy a pair of shoes – you’re actually investing in top materials; a product of many, many hours of research; a particular (not to mention consistent) fit – and not just something that looks good.
My Bin Bag Analogy: It won’t work out cheaper
Have you ever, whilst doing you weekly grocery shop, looked at bin bags? You pick up a roll of bin bags for £1.99 and say to yourself “blimey – that’s expensive – I only need them to put the rubbish out!” then notice you can get some ‘value’ bin bags for a fraction of the price, and you get twice as many. You put the £1.99 bags back on the shelf, and throw the cheaper ones in your trolley.
Later that week, you go to empty your bin, and what happens? The bin bag splits. You have to clean up all the mess. You vow never to use the cheap bin bags again and make your way back to the shop to opt for the bin bags you should have bought in the first place. It has cost you time, hassle, and money.
Back in early 2011, I picked up a pair of (Counterfeit!) Vibram FiveFingers Bikila on Ebay for around £45. I was really sceptical and expected the worst. Then they arrived. After waiting (a few weeks!!) for the package to arrive, I opened the mailing bag and was amazed to see what looked like a perfectly genuine Vibram FiveFingers box.
I opened up the box. The Bikilas were wrapped in tissue as normal. They looked and felt exactly like a genuine pair. I was surprised. A lot of fake Vibrams I’d seen on Ebay were dreadful! I thought I’d bagged a huge bargain and couldn’t wait to go for a run.
Fake Bikilas On Test
The counterfeit Bikilas endured a 12-mile debut.
Although they seemed to fit perfectly normal, I could feel rubbing in various places. The stitching inside was clearly not Vibram-standard. And although the sole felt flexible, the shoes felt light, and they looked very smart – I didn’t enjoy running them at all. They felt awkward.
I returned home with sore feet. I peeled the shoes from my feet to reveal several areas of blistering, and the shoes were stained with blood from rubbing.
The biggest complaint was with the sole. Vibram make some of the best soles in the world. They are a household name, on the same level with the likes of Gore-Tex (waterproofing), YKK (zips!) and Lycra, and Vibram soles are extremely durable. This fake sole however, looked as though it had been put through a 500+ mile test! The colours had worn out and some of the midsole was very heavily worn! The shoes were absolutely useless!
I Got Lucky
Many of the fake styles available on Ebay are much, much worse. They come in unofficial colourways, some don’t look or fit anything like a genuine pair, and others don’t even arrive at your doorstep, even though you’ve paid for them!!
…Now You See The Relationship between a Bin Bag and FiveFingers
It cost me much more than it should have done. I paid for a counterfeit pair, and then (rather reluctantly) had to buy another pair (this time genuine). It served me right. I learned my lesson, and I hope you learn from my mistake.
Every week we get plenty of questions from customers. So many in fact, that we have decided to dedicate a blog post each week to our favourite customer question, which we have abbreviated to ‘CQOTW’. So, without further ado, here is our inaugural CQOTW:
CQOTW1 – Vibram FiveFingers: Which is best, Velcro or Laces?
Vibram’s range of Velcro-fastening shoes are definitely the fastest and most versatile.
The KSO and Komodo Sport shoes have a Velcro that wraps around the heel and then fastens into place over the top of your foot. The Bikila and SeeYa range are more of a slipper-style (no rear strap), with the Velcro fastening over the top of your foot. Shoes that have just one Velcro strap such as the Bikila and SeeYa are less secure, albeit very slightly.
Laces are regarded by most as giving the most secure fit. Despite Vibram’s speed-lacing system, they still take longer to put on than a Velcro counterpart. Laced versions also offer slightly less ventilation, and have less of a barefoot feel.
A Personal Opinion
Personally, I prefer the Velcro versions of all Vibrams. This is because I have narrow feet and when I tie the laces, I feel that there is too much excessive lace (due to having to pull them tighter than normal).
If you have a normal width foot, or have wide feet, go with whichever – they will both serve you just as well.
Looks DO Matter
Taking in to consideration the above, consider looks. Which do you think look the best, lace or Velcro? That may just determine your final choice…
One final note
I have found that runners prefer laces, and gym-goers prefer Velcros. I have no scientific evidence for this, however, I think this is probably due to laces being a more conventional ‘look’ in running shoes, whereas gym-goers often like to look like they are wearing the latest trend – and Velcro, you could argue, looks a little more quirky and unconventional.
Here’s a handy table to help you find your perfect training partner:
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