Research published in podiatry journal The Foot in 2007 suggests that structural and functional changes can result from the foot having to conform to the shape and constriction of a shoe, rather than being allowed to develop naturally. And the younger the foot, the greater the potential for damage.
Crucial: Well-Chosen Footwear for Children
The human foot at birth is not a miniature version of an adult foot. In fact, it contains no bones at all and consists of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot. This process is not complete until the late teens, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen.
Research has shown that when children spend more time in bare feet, even in just two months, i results in increased foot strength, balance, mobility and ankle function. You child’s shoe should reflect this ‘barefoot feel’, with the shoe offering as much of the following:
A completely flexible sole,
A wide and deep toebox,
An anatomically correct last (the ‘mould’ that a shoe is built on),
A closure at the back and an adjustable closure at the top, such as laces or Velcro
We love the KSO for Kids. The ‘closed’ upper fabric keeps out any debris when the kids are out playing and the Velcro fastening makes it easy for kids to secure the shoe (without any farcical laces!). The KSO is the biggest-ever seller of Vibram FiveFingers and the most popular shoe for men, women, and children.
Speed for Kids
Breathable and more conventional-looking than some of the other Vibram FiveFingers styles, we love the Speed for Kids. This shoe promotes natural (barefoot) movement of your child’s feet and the sole provides good grip for all activities. Available in a lace-up.
Sprint for Kids
The Sprint allows your child’s feet to move as nature intended, the thing we like best about this shoe is the open top. Having an open top makes it so much easier for kids to get their dainty little feet in to the shoe and position their toes in to each pocket. They don’t even have to worry about tying the laces either, as the Sprint is a simple Velcro strap fastening.
All the children’s Vibram FiveFingers are available NOW at Feetus.co.uk. Some are available as ‘on order only’ but this only adds typically 2 days to your order time. We also sell matching toe socks from Injinji.
Vibram FiveFingers are celebrating their 10th Birthday next year, and as 2016 will be here before we know it, we’re excited (already) about the new Vibrams. If you don’t like surprises, don’t read on!
For a company that’s always been incredibly visionary and forward-focused, it may seem counter-intuitive to celebrate something as nostalgic as a 10-year anniversary. But 2016 is more than a milestone for Vibram FiveFingers. It’s validation. It is living proof that a great idea can and will change how people live and play, every single day.
And we’re proud to unveil two old favourites that are being re-released for a limited period only.
First released in the USA back in 2006, the Classic was originally called the “Vibram FiveFingers” shoe. The Classic was made famous by “Barefoot Ted” McDonald (now creator of Luna Sandals) as he ran the Boston Marathon with an impressive 3:20:16 time.
We get emails from customers all the time asking “Where’s the Classic? …it was my favourite shoe!”, so here at Feetus, we’re over the moon we can finally satisfy the die-hard Classic fans. We just need to be patient until March 2016.
What Vibram say about the Classic:
From day one, the FiveFingers Classic has drawn the attention of the press and active outdoor athletes alike. Our patented original takes a minimalist approach to barefooting with a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric that sits low on the foot for comfort and quick drying.
Non-marking, razor-siped Vibram XS Trek performance rubber soles help protect your feet and provide a sure grip over a variety of terrain.
In 2008 Vibram FiveFingers unveiled the ‘shoe’ that really changed everything and launched ‘barefoot running’ to new heights. For many of us, the KSO was our first pair of Vibrams. KSO stands for “Keep Stuff Out”. The shoe was so popular (and is still Vibram’s biggest-seller to date) that it still exists in its evolved form today: The KSO Evo.
What Vibram say about the KSO:
When you’re scrambling up a rocky bluff or bounding along a riverbank, the last thing you want is gravel and grit seeping into your Vibram FiveFingers. The KSO is an all-new design with thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide and breathable stretch mesh that wraps your entire forefoot to keep grit out. A single hook-and-loop closure helps secure the fit. Non-marking Vibram TC1 performance rubber sole ensure excellent grip, whatever your activity.
The Classic and the KSO are ‘10th Anniversary Re-Introduced Products’ with limited numbers being produced. Once they go, they will be gone. If you’d like to reserve a pair, please let us know.
Available in black only, for both men and women.
Of course – These aren’t the only ‘new’ released for 2016, and we’ll be releasing further details of the other SS16 Vibram Fivefingers later in the week, including another ‘evolution’ of a popular style, and a shoe that’s designed especially for muddy obstacle events! READ MORE ABOUT THIS HERE.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think about the re-release of the Classic and the KSO. Leave a comment below!
I’ve been using my KSO Evo for more than 12 months now, and as they’re about to hit the 1,000 mile mark, I thought it was about to time I showed some love for them. Here’s an overview and my long-overdue review.
If you have a pair of KSO Evo, we’d be interested to see or hear how your Vibrams are getting on too.
A Brief History of the KSO Evo
In case you’re wondering, KSO stands for Keep Stuff Out. Evo is short for Evolution, and evolve is exactly what this shoe has done.
The KSO Evo evolved from the original KSO and since the shoe’s release in February 2014, the KSO Evo has become the most popular FiveFingers style. It is not surprising, then, that Vibram have decided to make absolutely no changes to this shoe for 2015 (except release new colours, in grey/black for men, and purple/grey for women).
The original KSO featured a hook and loop Velcro fastening system that I felt was flawless. I was skeptical about the new speed-lace system on the KSO Evo, but I was very quickly won over.
The lace system provides a much wider opening of the shoe that greatly enhances the ease of getting your foot in to the shoe. For me, there is no more squeezing and fumbling to get your feet in to the shoe; the foot slides straight in. Easy on / Easy off. Pop on a pair of toe socks, and its even easier.
Once you’ve got the shoes on, you slide the lace and release the quick lace button and you won’t have to readjust the shoes again during your workout. It is that simple.
Often referred to as proprioception or barefoot feel, the KSO Evo wins hands-down in this department. With a maximum sole thickness of just 4.7mm, you are able to get fantastic feedback from the ground. Whether you like it or not, you really do feel everything under your feet.
The XS Trek sole features a zig-zag pattern that provides a surprising amount of grip, and because the sole is so thin from heel to toe, there is total flexibility.
What is the KSO Evo best for?
The KSO Evo is perhaps the most versatile shoe in the Vibram FiveFingers collection. I’ve used mine for road running, on the treadmill, on dry trails, in the gym, for leisure and for travelling. It is impossible to put the shoe in to one category so I’ll give an overview for each and a suitability rating.
Road / Treadmill Running
The bulk of my 950 miles with the KSO Evo has come from road running. The low weight makes for an excellent road and treadmill shoe. There is no bulk to slow you down and the thin sole ensures you maintain a good cadence.
Road / Treadmill Running Rating: 9/10
As you know, trails can wildly differ. From smooth, dusty trails, to boggy, wet single-track, to technical descents, it is impossible to get a trail shoe that suits all off-road terrain. The KSO Evo is definitely not a good shoe for mud (for that, see the Spyridon MR), and for technical terrain that may have sharp stones and gravel, you really don’t want a sole this thin (for that, see the Trek Ascent). But in the summer months when the trails dry up and you’re present with dry terrain, the KSO Evo really can perform. The zig-zag sole pattern offers substantial off-road grip and the lightness of the shoe makes it very agile. Just be careful of anything sharp or gnarly underfoot!
Trail Running Rating: 4/10
The polyester mesh upper fabric is extremely breathable and is treated with Aegis Anti Microbial, which prevents the build up of odour. I’m no gym monster, but I do enjoy indoor training and bodyweight exercises, and I find the KSO Evo extremely capable. The flat, low-profile nature of the shoe provides unparalleled balance. The KSO Evo may just revolutionise your ‘leg day’ at the gym!
Gym Rating: 9/10
I don’t wear Vibrams very often for everyday use. I use mine solely for training and travel, but that’s just my personal preference. However, the KSO Evo is perhaps the least offensive of all Vibrams. The design is minimal, the black colourway is relaxed, and they are extremely comfortable. Like slippers, honestly!
Leisure / Everyday / Casual Rating: 6/10
When travelling light, you want things that take up the least room with the least weight. The KSO Evo is not only both of those, but is also extremely flexible; you can roll them up – They are packable footwear!
My KSO Evo, despite the high mileage they have already endured, still look almost new. The upper fabric remains intact, the soles show only mild signs of wear on the outside of the forefoot, and they still smell (relatively) fresh. My first pair of KSO (original) lasted 1,300 miles, and I’m expecting to get at least another 1,000 miles from my KSO Evo.
…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.
We’ve got some great news. You no longer need to order your Luna Sandals from America (and subsequently pay over-the-odds on shipping fees, then customs and duty charges). That’s right. Luna Sandals are now available from your favourite barefoot and minimalist running specialists, Feetus.co.uk.
Well, that crazy guy from Born to Run was inspired by the Tarahumara Indians to create his own version of the huarache ‘barefoot’ sandal, and called it the Luna Sandal.
Here’s the Luna Sandals story:
Once upon a time, Ted McDonald took off his shoes and started running. After a lifetime of being shoed and cast with modern footwear, it took him years to rehabilitate his feet and legs and establish himself as one of the forerunners (get it?) in the field of barefoot running.
In the spring of 2006, Barefoot Ted visited the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico with a group of elite ultra marathon runners. It was there in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains that Ted met Manuel Luna, a local Tarahumaran, who helped him make a pair of traditional huarache sandals out of an old tire. The seed for Luna Sandals had been planted.
Fast-forward to today, and Luna Sandals now operate from Seattle in North America.
I Love Them… But Aren’t They A Little Expensive?
Yes, they are expensive. But let me tell you a thing or two.
I picked up a pair of VenadoLuna Sandals three months ago. I was very sceptical: “Will people really pay £65 for a pair of flip-flops?” Initially, I was impressed by the quality, the fit, and the look. The look was definitely the biggest plus at first – but I still could not understand the price tag, despite knowing that the sandals had been hand-made in Seattle, and were equipped with the best-quality Vibram soles.
It wasn’t until at least a month later, I found I was wearing my Luna Sandals every day. I like to work in different locations, and often cycle to-and-from, and my Luna Sandals would travel with me in my bag. They became my most indispensible item of footwear.
True, if I’m hitting the trails I will always opt for my Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport Sandals, or if I’m on the road I’ll don a pair of Seeya – but my Luna Sandals have been great because they travel with me. If I fancy going for a run and I don’t have my Vibrams with me, I just have to reach in to my bag and pull out my Lunas. Bingo.
No Smell. No Odours
Another big selling point for me is that they don’t smell. I am always conscious of giving my Vibrams a good air out. I learned the hard way and left my first pair of KSOs damp. That was it, I could never get the smell out. I am much more careful now though, and I always get them dried as soon as possible – but with Luna Sandals, this is never an issue.
ATS (All Terrain Strapping) Lacing
And the laces. You don’t realise how functional the ATS lacing system is until you use it. Having used Xero Shoes extensively over the last 12-months, it can sometimes be a fiddle getting the laces right. If you wear Xero Shoes – you will know exactly what I mean. Can you ever get them to stay right where you want them? With Luna Sandals, you’re safe. The laces are comfortable, and stay put!
So, in summary.
Luna Sandals are expensive, I agree – but this is what you get for your money:
A durable, top-quality sole made by Vibram
A hand-made sandal (not from China. These are from America!)
A unique ATS lacing system (that works very well!)
Comfort like no other sandal
Versatility. The Luna’s do-it-all.
Suitable for Vegans
The novelty: You loved Born to Run. You loved Barefoot Ted. And now you have his shoes.
Billed by Luna as the ‘do everything, go everywhere sandal’, and it’s easy to see why. The 12mm sole provides cushioning and stability. The grip on the bottom will keep you on your feet. The Mono also comes with ATS lacing and MGT footbed.
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.
In this BIG order, included the red-hot EL-X and the super-cool Trek Sport Sandal – Both of which are brand new styles of Vibram FiveFingers for Spring/Summer 2013.
It has taken a lot longer than we expected for them to arrive, but we’re glad they’re here – and they’re in good company too. Popular styles are now (finally) replenished after Vibram’s popularity in the UK saw the likes of the Bikila LS, the KSO, and the Trek Sport SELL OUT!
In their debut day, the EL-X has proved most popular by a country mile, dominating our orders. Not surprisingly really, given it is now Vibram’s best-value offering – as well as being so lightweight, versatile, and good-looking.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PRE-ORDERED
We always like to say ‘Thanks’ to our customers – That’s why we pop gifts in each order. But on this occasion, we owe a huge thank you to our patient customers who endured the long wait for their Vibram FiveFingers. THANKS!
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.
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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