Review: Vibram FiveFinger Speed
I’ve been watching (read: lusting after) the Vibram FiveFingers Speed for, well, since I first put my eyes on them, but I just couldn’t quite pull the trigger on a pair because of some, uh, issues. I’ll get to that in a bit. A little background: the Vibram FiveFingers Speed debuted in Europe around spring of 2010, while making their US appearance almost a year later. This is Vibram’s first model sporting a more traditional athletic shoe look, borrowing the padded collar and soles from the FiveFinger Bikilas, while adding laces for the first time in the lineup (fun fact: the European versions came with white laces, while the US version came with black).
I’m just going to lay it out there: I freaking love the way the Speeds look. It’s like a pair of old school Vans meets toe shoes. You just can’t beat the white on black color scheme. You could pull these off with just about any outfit you could wear tennis shoes with. For being more “shoe-like” than most other models, the FiveFingers Speed are remarkably light.
Like I said, the Speeds feel super light despite the extra material. The mesh is super breathable, which is great on warm days, though colder days aren’t all that great without socks. I suspect the breathability helps to keep the funk down. After a few weeks of almost nonstop wear, my Speeds still smell remarkably good. Vibram bills these as a casual shoe, but I don’t see any reason you couldn’t run or workout in these (though I would recommend socks to avoid possible irritation from the tongue).
- 5.9 oz each/ 11.8 oz a pair
- 4mm Bikila sole
- 2mm EVA insole
- Dri-Lex sockliner
- Lightweight mesh upper
The looks, obvs. I really think this is one of the best designs Vibram has put out to date. I love the mesh. On a day with a nice breeze (which are bountiful here in Oklahoma) my feet stay cool and dry all day. The interior feels fantastic. Foregoing the microfiber footbed, the FiveFinger Speed features the same Dri-Lex material as the Bikila, and the material lining the interior of the shoe is soft against the skin.
Most Vibram FiveFingers with laces will accomodate a wider or taller foot (or possibly both, if you’re built like me). In this case, not so much. The stitching beneath the white patch across the top of the foot rubbed a bit in the beginning. This was almost a deal breaker, but has got much better with wear. I don’t think I could wear these if I were going to be on my feet all day long. I’ve also had some issues with dorsiflexion (raising my toes). Some of this has been alleviated with wear, it’s still not on par with my KSO’s or Classics.
My other issue is with the sole. I still flat do not like the Bikila sole. For casual use I can deal, but it’s definitely not my favorite. If Vibram made the Speed similar to the kid’s model (with the “classic” sole), I’d buy three pair.
All around these really are a solid shoe. They still don’t blend in with all the regular shoes out there, but even you’ll find even some FiveFingers “haters” out there will remark on their looks. I’ll definitely keep wearing mine, despite the soles. If you like your Bikilas, you’ll definitely like these.
Disclosure: I received my FiveFingers Speeds as a promotional item from RiverSports Outfitters. They were a freebie.
RiverSports Outfitters has a large selection and awesome sales on their FiveFingers (and more, of course). Plus, they sponsor the MyFiveFingers monthly giveaway. If you haven’t yet, go sign up and check ‘em out.