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Five Fingers – what’s next?

by Tyler Hurst » on Mar 28, 2011 4

The company that creates Five Fingers, Vibram (pronounced VEE-brum), has to be extremely pleased with their success so far. They’ve managed to not only become an overnight success many years in the making, but also invent a new kind of casual shoe that’s gone beyond the typical running/outdoorsy crowd.

They’ve crossed into the mainstream and they haven’t totally changed. Unless you count those super, super weird boots slated to come out late this year, they’ve stayed fairly true to their fitness-conscious audience, never bothering to make anything that wouldn’t look out of place on an alien.

Fitness only?
But that obsession for some seriously weird looking shoes has retarded their ability to be taken as a more serious shoe for most of us. While a few of the kangaroo-leather-clad models might pass in an office or on a date, the neon-ish colors and severe stylings of most models tell me that Five Fingers are fitness and fitness-only shoes, with a weird few people willing to wear them beyond the gym or trail.

Is there any way to adopt this loafer concept into something clog like for Five Fingers?

No more obscenely bright colors

But I think they can do better than that. Five Fingers can and should be more than specialty shoes, only to be worn on specific occasions or hid under long pants. They can start by eliminating the bright colors, use a more harmonious color palette overall and allow for rubber outsoles in colors besides black.

Less-supportive insoles
Next, they can stop with the heavily supportive insoles used by the Bikilas and others. These type of insoles give most runners too little feedback from the hard ground, which leads to far too many over pronation injuries or frustration from multiple muscle pulls in the shin and calf area. If Five Fingers are to offer a barefoot experience, they need to actually offer a barefoot feel. Right now it feels like wearing a triple-thick condom and no one wants that.

Dress shoes
It would be super to see what Five Fingers could do for the minimalist dress shoe market, which is drastically underserved. While I do understand that it’s tough to match Five Fingers to a nice suit, khakis are a perfect complement to anything with a nice kangaroo upper.

I just want more Five Finger choices. What say you?


  1. Ecclesiast

    April 04th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    “weird few people willing to wear them beyond the gym or trail.”

    Really? In the Urban/Hip-Hop culture colorful is King! Plus many of these kids and adults adapted to that culture, wear athletic shoes more-so than casual/dress. However having the toes visible – in a sense – may turn a few people off. But a female friend of mine saw the VFF site and immediately started rattling off what would be cute with some of the styles. *Shrugs* and she’s far from weird. Eccentric yes. Weird, no.

    I have been curious about the shoe since my introduction to barefoot running. I am by no means a serious runner I average about 5 miles of power walking combined with burst sprints a day and was considering a pair. But I can see myself purchasing the KSO Treks for work as my job is uniform casual.

    But nonetheless great suggestions.


    • Tyler Hurst

      April 04th, 2011 at 10:38 am

      In my defense, I am one of those weird people that wear Five Fingers off the trail, on the trail, when forging a new trail, on concrete…etc.

      It would be cool if they didn’t look so much like sport shoes and more like fancily designed barefoot shoes.


  2. Jeff, PR2

    August 18th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I wear my VFFs and nothing else when not at work… damn steel toe boots… and I’m really excited about the new trek ls that I saw yesterday on the VFF site. They have a thicker sole but are more geared towards a nicer style of dress.


  3. Melanie Sheetz

    September 27th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I hike, I walk and bound. But when I put the beautiful Bikilas on I felt instantly the urge to run! It just came over me! these shoes are alive I swear! Ran all the way up my hikeing trail in Prescott AZ up hill with ease and joy. Went over next to climb the boulders @ Watson lake and they hugged every rock. Then yes I wore them into town to run errands and into the store for a cold bottle of tea, people actually smile at you when you wear them! Yes these shoes are magical, Long may they run! Vibram, Bring on more styles we will wear them all in between our Steletto’s and flipflops! :)


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