I've covered several sets of the very cool Paleo Barefoots and a variety of other footware, like my Magnum Amazon5's or the Danner Striker II boots before then. Footware is a very important aspect of both day to day life, and planning for those catastrophic events we are all hoping to be prepared for. When I had the opportunity to get a pair of the much vaunted Vibram Five Fingers toe shoes.
I've seen and heard about these for some time now, and thought I might give them a try, because they certainly have some interesting potential.
As well as having worn the Paleos, I have also spent a lot of time in tabi-boots over the years, so the idea of a split-toe shoe is not alien to me, but was an interesting to have a toe for each toe, rather than just one for the thumb as in tabi.
The Vibrams have an abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric for the uppers, with a wrap over Hypalon strap, which feeds through a nylon ring, and secures with hook-and-loop.
The soles are Vibram's own TC-1 performance rubber, which is both a springy and tacky material. I found it quite grippy, even on sandy stone.
The footbed, inside the shoe is of an antimicrobial microfiber, which is great, especially as whilst socks are available, these tend to be a sockless kind of shoe. Having healthy feet is essential, especially if you have to be in your shoes for long periods of time. I'm always in favour of this kind if thing, which is why I also really like my BioDefence spray too .
So the best part of these are the segregated toes, allowing you to splay them independently, giving you very good constant contact with the ground, and the ability to grip with your toes, if you're that way inclined.
Conversly, the same thing can not be said for the main body of the shoe. I found it difficult to mold my feet to curves in the way I have grown accustomed to with my Barefoots, and even the flexible soles of the tabi, this might be due to not having worn them in as much as they need, but they just feel stiff.
They are a light alternative for running, for sure and perhaps it is my slightly wonky little toes which didn't quite sit nicely in these, but overall I didn't find them very comfortable. I will see if this improves with further wearing-in. Well made, and they certainly do everything they are known for, but I think I will stick to boots and Barefoots.