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FiveFinger Bikilas are the Worst Thing to Happen to the FiveFinger Lineup.

by Corey Nagle » on May 23, 2011 118

This post is the opinion of Corey Nagle, a contributor to the website. Disagree with his assessment? Do you swear by Bikilas? Or do you hate them? Let us know in the comments!

anti-BikilaFiveFinger Bikilas have become ubiquitous. While the original models may have built the brand, Bikilas are the model that shot Vibram through the roof.

And I hate them.

Released in April of 2010, Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas are marketed as the first FiveFinger model specifically for running.

From the Vibram FiveFingers site:

Bikila® is our first model designed specifically to promote a more natural, healthier and more efficient forefoot strike. While many folks have been running in their Vibram FiveFingers® for years, the Bikila® is our first model created exclusively for a more natural running experience.

Right there is where Vibram shot themselves in the foot.


Anatomical pods? I don’t think so. Let’s just call a spade a spade. It’s extra padding. Coupled with an extra 3mm of insole, it’s a means to entice the hardcore runners out of their Nikes and into a pair of FiveFingers. As someone who’s a VFF evangelist, you’d think that would be okay. It’s not. Most of us switched to FiveFingers due to the *lack* of padding. We don’t want more. Not to mention the addition of the “athletic padded collar” that’s creeping into every new design, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Your average runners aren’t going to switch to an even more minimalist shoe after trying Bikilas.

Last I checked, the debate was still pretty intense over shod vs. minimalist/barefoot running. All this extra padding does is perpetuate the myth that more is better than less. If the number one minimalist shoe on the market thinks their “running” shoe needs more padding to run in, doesn’t that fall short of everything FiveFingers wearers supposedly stand for?

Which leads me to:

The Stores

Last time I was on a search for a new pair of VFF’s, I used the website store locator. Out of nine results, four of them were running stores. All four of which only carried Bikilas (thus sending me into a rage of epic proportions because those were the model I *wasn’t* looking for). Thus, propagating the idea the Bikilas are the only Vibram model you should be running in. Not to mention the fact that most of these stores would still rather sell you expensive orthotics to go with a pair of of traditional running shoes, and could care less about advocating FiveFingers for anything but looking funny.

The Creep

All of these “features” implemented in the Bikilas are steadily creeping into the new VFF lineup. Extra sole, padded collars. Almost every new pair that’s rolled out in the last year has had at least one of these. My favorite pair of “not shoes” are beginning to look more and more like regular shoes with every new lineup. Before you know it, we’ll have FiveFingers with no toes.

Thanks, Bikilas. Now go away.

Submitted Comments

  1. Jason says:

    I agree. For different reasons maybe, but still agree. I keep going back to my KSO’s!!

  2. Nice rant. Now, how do they run?

    Theories and principles are nice, in principle. But for me all that counts is a pleasurable run. On asphalt, gras, sand and rocks. Kicking off my Saucony clogs and stepping into sprints did that for me. If Bikila’s can do the same for others I couldn’t be more happy for them.

    Let the debaters debate with tiny bloodshot eyes behind a computer. Meanwhile I’l be running outside and disproving faulty logic as I go along.

  3. mike coggins says:

    With the author, not that silly post atop.

  4. Melanie says:

    Those of us with sensitive ankles or thin skin very much appreciate the padded collars you so despise. If anything, I wish FiveFingers made a model with a thicker, tougher upper, so that when my 70-pound dogs stomp on my foot, their claws don’t leave bone-deep bruises.

    However, the Bikila sole is a problem. The traction is vastly inferior to that of the original black rubber soles. Each new sole has had worse traction. I think this is because it was designed for people running on flat asphalt, which is exactly what the advertising claims.

    I say this as a relative newcomer who tried all sorts of different models this winter and got a sense of how they are different. The classic sole is a good one if you don’t need treads, but the classic uppers have problems for lots of people’s feet, including mine. I ended up loving the komodosport, which has enough padding for my foot to keep from developing bruises and sores, combined with enough traction that I can play in the rain without cracking my skull open.

    For as long as humanity has been capable of speech, we have bemoaned how everything gets worse every year. Socrates was put to death because his revolutionary logic was “corrupting the youth.” The internet is ruining everything! Kids these days don’t respect their elders! Vibram dared to introduce a wildly popular new model that is allowing tons of new people to enjoy their product! How dare they.

    I think it is natural to prefer the first model that originally got you interested, whether it be your first Fivefingers or your first car (or your first girlfriend). I don’t think it’s appropriate to extend this to the claim that the newest model is destroying the company, or to fly into a “rage” because running stores stock running shoes. They are just selling the product their core audience will want. It’s nothing to get mad about. The original shoe is still available and you can buy it online (like I did).

  5. Corey says:

    Good point about “firsts”. I don’t believe Vibram is getting worse every year, and I certainly don’t fault them for trying to make a buck. If it works for them, fantastic.

    I do bemoan the fact that every new model comes out with more and more tread and insole (some newer models for women are the exception, and I wish they had similar for the men’s styles). That said, I do see some need for tread if you are a trail runner (I am not, and don’t wish to punish those that are by not making *any* V5F’s without a little extra).

    I would like to see some new design while keeping a minimal sole and that’s just not happening. I don’t judge those who wear them, and if they work for you, great. I don’t hold a grudge against Bikila wearers and definitely don’t think I’m above them. Less is more for me as going barefoot isn’t a feasible option, unfortunately.

    Damn kids. Stay outta my yard! =)

  6. Keep on Running says:

    I have Bikilas, and I love them. Let me tell you my life before them: Lazy. Was extremely unhealthy. HATED running. I never thought I’d find a “running shoe” that would work for me since I have cerebral palsy, and Bikilas really gave me that cushion I needed WHILE still being a minimalist shoe. They are perfect for me.

    Sorry that you are too good for these shoes, but don’t bash them.

    Also, if you can’t find any other styles at your local stores, why don’t you just buy them online? Yeah.

    Eat my dust :)

  7. Christopher says:

    I like paragraph four of Melanie’s comment but, I think she started put putting words in Corey’s mouth after that. I also think Corey’s rant about stores has more to do with a lack of selection than only having Bikilas but, now I’m putting words in his mouth.

    The lack of selection does bother me though. I go to running stores because I run, the sales staff run and they’re usally very knowledgeable about their products. Their selection sucks though. For shoes, I would rather go to a brick and mortor store, so I can try them on. I don’t have a local (San Antonio) resource with a good selection and knowledgeable sales people. All I ever find are the Bikilas that Corey crossed out…

  8. Mr. Harbstrum says:

    The way I see it is this.
    Regardless of the extra *whopping* millimetres of thickness on the pods on the Bikila it still promotes the movement and the ‘barefoot experience’ and the appropriate running stride that has improved my running ability and strengthened my feet, legs, and other aspects of my fitness.
    I have run in three models, Sprint, KSO and Bikila. I perform the same way in all three and notice differences in each of them regards (mostly due to sizing issues, not performace of the model).
    Anyway. I purchased my FiveFingers for purpose, KSO’s are my hikers, Sprints are my every day, and Bikilas are my runners. I wear them all equally and and show no favouritism to either model.
    The important thing to realise is that the faithfuls will purchase the right shoes for them, including the original models.
    Your opinion is your opinion. But I doubt the models since the BIkila are “the worst thing to happen to the FiveFinger lineup”

  9. Kent Cowgill says:

    You don’t just walk into Mortor.

  10. AimeeE says:

    Hey now… I have three vffs–classic, trek sports, and (new!) bikila ls. For everyday wear, I LOVE my classics. They are hands down the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.

    That said, they are not so hot for running on gravel or when the weather is super cold/hot. They are just like being barefoot. I got my treksports for my trail runs and bikilas for road running because the pavement was KILLING the tread on the treksports.

    As for your local store selection, well, I have no idea where you live, but I live in hickville, ID and I can name three stores off the top of my head that carry a large selection of vffs in all colors and models and the sales people are very knowledgable about them in at least two of the stores. I haven’t been to the third one to compare.

  11. christopher britton says:

    here’s the deal… most runners, aren’t… they are joggers, they heel strike, therefore, they need the added cushioning… for runners (forward motion = speed) fivefingers are awesome… there is no one shoe that will be all things to all people…. what VFF has essentially done is the same as Blackberry coming out with a touch screen, ultimately conceding to the competition… Please, no more fivefinger models, stop diluting your product line…

    p.s. I love my KSO Trek…

  12. christopher britton says:

    k, you are right (& wrong)… it will take a while for research to come in, but if there are heal-strikers running in VFF (any kind), they are headed for major foot/ankle/knee/hip/back/neck problems (did I mention, I am a paramedic, massage therapist, personal trainer)… they could double the padding, but, heal-strikers are still doomed… for those of us that actually “run”, and not jog, the sole merely protects the skin on the bottom of your feet (as thin as that might be)… the point that VFF should know is that EVERYONE cannot run in there shoes… but, I love mine…

  13. Corey says:

    9 stores in a city of 2 million people, you’d think it’d be a little easier…

    I enjoy running on gravel (definitely depends on the shape of the rocks) in my Clasics. Feels like a foot massage. It does get old fairly quick, though.

    If Bikilas work for you, great. Wear them. I just don’t want to see those of us who prefer a little less shoe get left behind.

  14. christopher britton says:

    @corey… some good points, but, if they keep with this pace, VFF will be making Nike Pegasus with toes….

  15. Jeremy V says:

    Interesting comments, I started with the Bikila to run my 4th marathon. The route was all pavement and I choose them because they were advertised as the “running only” shoe. They are great and I love them. Now I am training for my next marathon and it has 7 miles of trails in the middle so I switch to the TrekSport. I love them equally but I have noticed difference in the way the two different styles feel. With the TrekSport I do get blisters, which never happened with the Bikila. But w8ith the Bikila I had a spot and the base of one of my toes that would become a sharp pain after about 15 miles. This doesn’t happen with TrekSport.

    Obvisouly with different tread patterns there will be different feel and reactions by the feet. I think it just comes down to what works for the indivdual and how they use the shoe. Overall I love VFF and plan on getting another pair for everyday use. I just need to figure out which one. As for store availabilty, the running stores around me (Dallas, Tx) had plenty of varity and the sells people have always been helpful.

  16. Tyler Hurst says:

    Completely agreed, which is why I will run in Sprints ONLY. No KSOs, even.

    The point of Five Fingers, for me, is to provide as much of a barefoot feel as possible while removing some of the risks in running barefoot on man-made obstacles (or sharp rocks). The Bikilas, with their extra padding and contour-ness, made me feel like I was running in crappy normal running shoes.

    My ankles rolled inward, because the arch support was too high.

    My foot strike was longer because my feet couldn’t feel the friction on the ground as well.

    The upcurve of the toes prompted me to run more forefoot, instead of the midfoot, than I’d like.

    That’s why I sold them for $20.

  17. Mr. Harbstrum says:

    I run/jog depending on how sore my legs are.
    Regardless of my speed, I remain in the forefoot or midfoot strike for my stride. Joggers can still maintain the proper stride, without requiring coushioning. Case-in-point. Me :)

  18. Tyler Hurst says:

    They feel terrible on my feet and encourage over pronation.

    Debating is the entire point of this site, dude.

  19. Tyler Hurst says:

    Millimeters make a difference when you are running on less than 10.

  20. Aaron S says:

    My first pair of VFFs were Bikila LS’s, and I still run in these regularly – bouncing between grass/trail and pavement depending on my mood.
    I’m no professional, as I run a leisurely 9-10 minute pace, and rarely go more than 4-5 miles on a run.
    But I have been incredibly happy with my LS’s.
    I took them to Costa Rica for a rocky, hilly volcano hike.
    They’ve been on a few trail runs.
    But for my day to day suburban runs, I’ve found nothing to beat them.
    I absolutley can’t go back to my Saucony’s due to knee pain – amazing, considering I actually learned to run in those shoes…
    I own a pair of kangaroo-leather Treks, and tend to wear them more as day shoes. I’d feel comfortable running in them, as well, but the bottoms are very rigid, and much less tactile. Also, I’m a bit uneasy about stinking up that nice soft leather.

    I think we all seek these shoes with different goals.
    I don’t care so much about the barefoot “feel…” I can take them off entirely for that.
    What I want is a minimalist shoe that encourages a low-impact forefoot gait while I run. I want to feel the texture of the ground beneath, but protect myself from sharps, poop, and other ground level hazards.

    To each his own, I suppose.

  21. Corey says:

    You see my issue, then.

  22. Corey says:

    Put on a rubber medical glove and try to pick up a penny. Now try it with a leather work glove. This is a bit extreme, but the comparison stands.

  23. Corey says:

    I applaud anyone that gives up their “traditional” shoes for something more minimalist.

    As for feel, to me (and I’m not alone here) this is the most important part. I’m not afforded the luxury of going completely barefoot due to high heat in the summer and snow in the winter, not to mention less than ideal conditions even on paved surfaces.

    I just don’t want those of us who prefer less sole to get left behind to accomodate more “features”.

    By the way, poop washes off a bare foot easier than ANY shoe. =)

  24. DK says:

    Great article and good to know. I wear KSO’s to complement my barefoot running because, as you pointed out, pavement gets hot! But a true natural gait cannot be found by wearing shoes. My KSO’s buffer the natural feeling of the ground enough – the last thing I want is more.

  25. Kai says:

    Hi Christopher,

    I do live in San Antonio, Texas if that’s the San Antonio you’re referring to.
    The people at the Whole Earth Provision store at The Quarry are VERY helpful, they have a great selection of several kinds of minimalist shoes. I bought my Bikila, my KomodoSport and my Sprints over there. Trust me, I am a very picky customer, but they have all things right for me. Amazing people!

    BTW: The KomodoSport are very similar to the Bikila, with one major exception; the Bikila’s have a non-flexible top and that part cut into my expanding foot so bad that I had some serious foot pain on the top of my foot for weeks to come. That hurt. I got the KomodoSport and it got better.
    When I switched to the sprints, I do feel the roads a lot more intense but not as direct as when I run barefoot. But I like them all. Except for the Bikila’s … since my foot is way too tall, I should have known … not Bikial’s fault.


  26. rustypants says:

    I stand by my negative review of the Bikila (as a running “shoe”) from August of last year:

  27. Awesome review dude! Very helpful. It actually gives insight in the way they feel on the road. Which is something I expected from the initial article. Who cares about the theory of adding millimetres. If it works it works. According to your review, apparently it doesn’t. So I can keep that in mind when I’m out shopping. Thanks!

  28. onitsukabyasics says:

    I own a bikila too,and it run very well,so i’m not completely agree the article you posted,but anyway,thank you for your sharing

  29. Linzi says:

    I have to say that I started running in the classics and struggled with them. Then I switched to the bikilas and couldn’t be more in love. To each their own I guess. But I’m sold on the Bikilas.

  30. I have had Sprints and Trek Sport, and they each have their purpose, but since Bikila came out, I have coveted a pair each time I see and ad for them.

    I will pick Sprints any day of the week over my Treks for anything…except they have holes in them. I burned through a pair of Sprints in 3 months running, so I’ve coveted the thicker pads (which I thank my Treks for) and the brilliant colors (which I hate my Treks for: Grey and not much red :[ )

    So it is always what is their purpose.

    But I totally agree that every model is getting strange, and a bit further from the whole point of VFFs despite the designs becoming more enticing

  31. rocketjam says:

    I just got a pair of Bikilas and I have to say they are just stupid comfortable. So far I absolutely love them. True, they don’t have the as much ground feel as my KSOs, but they don’t have any less than my KSO Treks. And IMO, complaining about ground feel in any VFF model is rather silly if you think about a regular running shoe. There is no comparison.

    That being said, it would be very disappointing if Vibram discontinued making models with the Spring/KSO type no-tread razor-siped soles. I do plan on buying a new pair of KSOs when my current pair’s soles wear thru (which probably won’t be too much longer).

  32. Obmeyer says:

    I ran all winter long with my KSO and socks. Once the weather warmed up I tried to run in my KSO without socks and got blister on my big toe. I got a pair of Bikilas and love the smooth serfae inside for running without socks in them.

  33. TravisLeeMoser says:

    I’m with you! Love my Bikilia’s (made getting into BF running possible for me).

  34. Guillermo says:

    I don’t know about the Bikilas but I do know about the Bikilas LS the new ones with laces. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! I also have a KSO and after using the Bikilas LS I can’t go back to my KSO…With the Bikilas LS I really feel like running barefoot…LOVE THEM!!! GO BIKILA LS GO!!!

  35. Christine says:

    thank you corey for putting my EXACT thoughts into words and posting them on the internet. couldn’t agree with you more here

  36. Corey says:

    Thanks for the support, Christine. I was really surprised how many people felt the same way.

  37. Sarah K says:

    I started with KSO’s and I loved the minimalist feel but I had just come off of having really bad shin splints due to heavy heel strikes in Indoor Drumlines.
    I thought I would never be able to run again and I SWEAR on being barefoot as being healthy living. I go barefoot everywhere but places I am not allowed. I grew up on the beach. I hate wearing shoes. Work kills me because that “extra padding” is actually detrimental but I have to wear certain “safety shoes”.
    However….I love Bikila’s. I don’t think this needs to be an argument. Yes, maybe it is a break away from the minimalist beginnings…but who needs to foresake all options just to hold onto the past?
    I have to use Bikila’s to run because I have very high arches. Of the Classics, KSO’s and Bikila’s….Bikila’s are the best FOR ME.
    They’re not all bad. Just like nothing else is all good. They protect my heels and let me run when everyone else said I couldn’t.

  38. Interesting article. I do not even own a pair of five fingers yet, but can relate to the whole syndrome when companies grow become more main stream and lose the initial attraction in the process. Companies would do well to keep the classics and the primary inspiration in addition to developing their product line.
    I am really looking forwards to owning a pair of five fingers, but am having a hard time choosing for the reasons posted here. I am leaning towards the Komodosport, but it also seems to be the most like a regular shoe. Guess I should go into a store again, but dont want to take a ton of time. Any advice?

  39. Kai says:

    There is really no advise that one can give you on which pair to pick. I tried wonderful Bikilas, KomodoSports, Sprints and KSO’s.
    I got hooked on the KomodoSport for reasons unknown. :) Make sure you walk around in them for a little bit and LISTEN to your FEET.

    Those are the best advisors you can ask.
    My $0.02 …

  40. Corey says:

    Best advice? Figure out what your main use is going to be, then pare your model choices down accordingly. Then, head to the store and try them on. Most stores have a pretty generous return policy if you don’t like them.

    As you can see above, which pair are right for you is a pretty personal choice.

  41. Well, I have tried a bunch of shoes and still havent really connected with a pair. They initially feel amazing, but then kind of tight and stuffy. Guess I’m used to bigger shoes, my go to shoe are some big roomy crocs.

    Think I’m just gonna have to take a shot in the dark get a pair and see how they feel with time.

  42. Corey says:

    They will take some time to adjust to. My recommendation would be a pair of Classics or Sprints, but YMMV.

    What do you want to do in them? Everyday wear, running, something else?)

  43. Everyday wear: walking the dog, athletics on the order of playing with the kids. Speaking of kids they are the ones who inspired me. I just cant get shoes on them!

    I havent tried the Classics or the Sprints but have been thinking I should. Will probably get one of those first, and if I get hooked then try a newer style.

    Regarding the snugness, do you find that they get a little looser with wear?

    I also havent tried the lace kind, here that can help with fit.

  44. Corey says:

    The Classics will stretch a little after some wear, but usually by then it’s time for a trip through the washer, which will shrink them back to original size. I can’t personally speak for the Sprints (I assume at least a little, but with the strap it shouldn’t make too big a difference).

    I think either one of those models would be perfect for what you’re looking for.

    And yes, the laced models will help with fit.

  45. Genshu Chris Ro says:

    Wow, as excitied as I am to wear VFF’s I am starting to get really frustrated and disappointed. It really is starting to seem like Vibram has some serious continuity issues. Got my grey/green classics today. Now these 41’s are too small and seems like the 42’s are too. Both in the pinkie and second toe, never thought I had big pinkie toes before. All other sizings was def in between 41 and 42.

    If every single shoe is slightly differently sized, then one has no choice but to try them on individually in a store.

    I have been doing a lot of bare-footing and know that eventually vff’s are for me. I’ll keep wearing the 42’s inside for awhile, but I think they are too small.

  46. Corey says:

    Yeah, unfortunately there are differences between models (and even colors). They also may just feel small. I thought mine were too small for the first few weeks I had them. Turns out they were fine. It was just an adjustment for me getting used to them.

  47. Genshu Chris Ro says:

    Thank you for the quick response Corey! Well, in that case I’ll just go for it and see what happens.

    Went on a barefoot mountain run a couple days ago. It was amazing! First time I really experienced distance running. Have always had some kind of mental block regarding running since childhood. I have felt incredibly good ever since, transformative!

  48. Corey says:

    It really is eye-opening, isn’t it?

  49. Genshu Chris Ro says:

    I havent worn anything else for several days now. I’m loving it, I feel like a monkey! Glad I got the Classics thank you for the advice Corey.

  50. Corey says:

    Glad I could help!

  51. Brandy Brow says:

    Hopefully they’re just trying to expand their line to reach a broader customer base without forgetting their dedicated followers. It’s a good thing for everyone if this is the case. I’m just starting to figure out which VFF to buy, now that I’m getting back to walking/running after a three-year hiatus. My sneakers are killing me and I can’t go barefoot because the rocks and slate on my road would tear me up. Now, if VFF could just solve my asthma when running problem, I’d be set.

  52. DK says:

    Brady – have you considered huaraches?

  53. BB says:

    I haven’t heard of them, so not yet I hadn’t.

  54. DK says:

    It’s Barefoot Ted’s company. A DIY pair costs $35.

  55. Corey says:

    I agree with you about them trying to broaden their customer base. Unfortunately, it seems like they’re moving away from their older models that some of us love.

    As for huaraches, I love them. Luna Sandals (except the DIY kit) are expensive. You can also get a kit from for a little less. Six to one, half dozen to another.

  56. DK says:

    Just an FYI, here’s 15% off on Luna Sandals for the rest of August.

  57. Guillermo says:

    Hi, for your asthma problem, have you tried raw food diet? A friend of mine had the same issue and after he switched to raw food (not 100% yet) he is much better now. There are pretty good info out there but if you are interested you may want to start here:

  58. Benjamin Knapp says:

    Do you even run in FiveFingers? I just replaced my first pair of Bikilas after just over 650 miles in them. I absolutely run in them.

  59. Benjamin Knapp says:

    * Love Them

  60. Corey Nagle says:

    Classics and KSOs.

  61. Robin says:

    Personally, I like variety when it comes to my minimalist shoes. I’ve been running in FiveFingers since 2007 when I got my first pair of Sprints. I switched over to KSOs when they came out because at least I didn’t get dirt and bark down my shoes all the time. However, I do a lot of trail running and the Bikilas are perfect for that. You might hate the padding, but for running a 10-miler on 3/4 crushed gravel and bare rock, it really makes for a far more pleasant experience with far fewer deep bone bruises on the bottoms of my feet.

    When I get the chance to run on trails that haven’t been converted to gravel (largely to satisfy the mountain biking crowd), I’m happy to go back to my KSOs. Personally, I hope they keep making the Bikilas because I like to have the ability to run on all different kinds of terrain.

  62. Tom says:

    Agree back to the KSO please – simple and brilliant.

    The gimmicks coming in are spoiling the original brand concept and with more miimal shoes entering the market VFF needs to keep it simple

  63. Matthew says:


    I’ve been training for a marathon exclusively in the kangaroo KSO treks and I love them. Recently, I got a pair of the bikila LS. They feel alittle tight, but was thinking about making the switch, not sure yet! Any thoughts?

  64. cft says:

    Corey you have way too much time in your hands to rant about the Bikila, there are so many others available. Bikila have less padding than the KSO btw…but a much dynamic feel, fantastic!
    Matthew, Bikila LS is the smart choice. I have been even trekking in the Alps with them, my favorite with the Speed and better than the Komodo Sport.
    They have soles for 2012 for te classic but look out for the Seeya and Spyridon (we just received the catalogues)

  65. Corey says:

    Sorry, but the KSO’s are 5.5mm, while the Bikila are 7mm (combined footbed and sole for both models).

    And yes, I do have too much time on my hands. =)

    The Seeya’s I am super excited about.

  66. Andrew says:

    I’m an old school/old fashion vff wearer. I remember when there were only like three different types and everyone mocked them because of their look. Been wearing vff exclusively for about 5 years now. I agree with this writer. I wear vff bc they have just barely any sole. I don’t even like flows or kso bc they have a thicker sole than the classics and sprints. I have a pair of flows for when it rains or snows…and even then I still tend to wear my sprints. I run in sprints all the time. If vff made a pair with the same sole as the classic but covered the whole foot I’d buy them right away.

  67. Becca says:

    When I first switched out of my Pumas, I got a pair of KSOs. As a newbie to VFFs I wasn’t aware of the many different kinds and their purposes. Running in VFFs got me even more into running than I was previously, and I decided to buy a pair of KomodoSports. I’m not going to lie, the first thing that attracted me to them was their look, I think they’re awesome. But, once I read into them more, they were designed for running and cross training, which is exactly what I need. I absolutely LOVE them. They are definitely the most comfortable. I have two pairs of KSOs that I use for casual wear, hiking, water sports, etc. and I can tell the difference between the “padding” but I like that the KomodoSports seems a TINY bit thicker, it allows me to feel much more confident in running longer distances in them. As for Bikilas, I tried them on at an EMS store once, and I instantly realized they were not nearly as comfortable as my KomodoSports. I didn’t give them a second thought, and probably never will.

  68. Nancy says:

    It’s interesting reading everyone’s comments and preferences, and reasons for wearing Vibrams. Personally, although I run, and I like the idea of barefoot running, that is not why I got my Vibrams. Actually, I have problems with my feet, and the large toe pulls inward. I like to keep it off the second toe, and especially when I run. I also like my shoes to be more natural, and low profile.
    Rather than making less models, I would love to see the benefits of the five toe design reach a larger market, not limited to athletes. Personally, I would wear five toe shoes everywhere if they didn’t look so funky. If they had street shoes, with a covering over the toes, I definately would wear rhem at least most of the time. The concept could profit many people, in more ways than one…
    Maybe they should open a different sub-brand so it doesn’t detract from the original, and so maximum people can benefit.

  69. Jimmy says:

    My Bikilas were my first pair of VFF’s and I really like them but I’ve been thinking of moving to the Sprints to have a little more ground feel. A lot of what you and other commenters have said seems to support this idea. I understand VFF will be releasing some new models in the Spring of 2012 including a “SeeYa” model that is simlar to the Bikila but with a thinner sole. Might be a good compromise.

  70. Tauromaja says:

    As David Bowie once said, “I’m trisexual: I’ll try anything once.”

    I’ve never had a pair of five-fingered shoes but I’m curious about running in them.

    But then I’d be tempted to put socks over them….

  71. I would have to disagree. For me, personally, I find the Bikilas very comfortable for running. I have run in KSO’s, Sprints, Jayas and Komodo Sports. I am also a barefoot runner. Yes, I run without any shoes at all when the weather is permitting (or I am on the treadmill). I have trained for and run a marathon in my Bikilas. I like the padded collar and that there are no straps or other areas cutting into the top or back of my foot. I recently purchased the Komodo Sport for my second marathon (I wore them the first time during the marathon without any problems) since my Bikilas are now so worn (there are holes between the toes and the bottom of the shoes are almost smooth) and I really liked the colors of the Komodo better.

    The best shoe (or none) is the one you wear that gets you out there — running, climbing, walking, riding — or whatever keeps you active. Whatever works for you is the best shoe for you and I ♥ my Bikilas.

  72. Taylor Hamner says:

    I would also have to disagree with the talk about vibram’s branching off of the minimalist bath being that bad. i live in a very dry place where the only trails are criss-crossed with thorns and weeds that leave you miserable. I bought a pair of Trek-Sports, the KSO desing with the heavy tread, and it helped with the rough and jagged rocks the trails are built on. The top however, is too thin. I am looking at one of the leather topped shoes so I can more easily avoid the thorns that would shred the mesh on top of my Trek-Sports.

    I love the feel of the classics and other minimalist models, but they don’t bode well for the trails at my disposal. And, with the Trek-Sports, i still get a bit of the feel and benefits of the classics (or just no shoes at all).

  73. Tyler Hurst says:

    Why are you burning through your soles so quickly? I’m likely quite a bit heavier than you and my Sep 2009 Sprints still hold up.

  74. Michael says:

    Best shoe ever! Love my Bikila’s. Love the padding; it’s not much but have a pair of altra adams (which, i think are like 2mm) and they are not as pleasurable to run in. And SeeYa’s are for running if you really want less. Vibram is just going to try and make people happy (ie make money) and i’m fine with that

  75. Derek says:

    I have a pair of Bikilas and I will be getting more. So what if the bikilas have 2mm of extra padding compared to the KSO’s, and so what if Vibram is coming out with new models. They’re attracting new customers. Here’s what you forgot to put in your article. Vibrams like all other minimalist shoes do one thing…and it’s extremely important. They remove the heel from the shoe and allow you to use proper mechanics while running and they keep your spine properly aligned. The only thing the padding adds is the reduction of ground feel. Not only that, there are VFF’s with soles thicker than 7mm.

  76. Marc says:

    I love my Bikilas LSs and plan to buy another pair. They are the only Fivefinger shoes I wear since they fit the best (high arches and wide feet) and have enough padding to allow me to wear them anywhere I wish yet thin enough so I can feel the ground. I really wish such opinion articles as this one would have a tamer title… Just because YOU don’t like the Bikilas doesn’t mean they are bad shoes or that they are the “worst thing to happen” to Fivefingers. I love Bikilas!!

  77. nadiahawaii says:

    I agree. I tried the Bikilas for two runs and didn’t like them. They caused a blister on my foot and don’t fit as nicely as my KSOs. I just returned them to the store and bought a second pair of KSOs.

  78. Barry says:

    Am going to buy my first pair of 5fingers, I have a large bunion on my right foot, any suggestions as to which model is better for me please guys? In fact any advice would be good.
    Thanks all…

  79. bond says:

    this is helpful, as I also have cerebral palsy and am in search for a good shoe, I underpronate, do you?

  80. Nancy says:

    Although several people here don’t like Bikilas, one of the reasons I like mine better than my Classics is that the bottom is not as high over my bunion, and also over the big toe. The Classics did bother my bunion, and I had to take them and get the bottom material shaved off.
    I hope this helps.

  81. Barry says:

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, appreciated Nancy. It’s a nightmare deciding which ones and what makes matters worse is that I cannot find a retailer near Malaga, Costa del Sol, Spain, it worries me buying on line because I’m stuck if I don’t like them, dilemma!

  82. Dave says:

    I have a number of pairs of VFF’s but for running, Bikalas are my fave. I just finished my first ever marathon in them last weekend. At the end of the day it’s all about what is best for the person with them on their feet and what feels good.

  83. Little Richard says:

    I love my Bikilas, and they fit my narrow, slightly high arches perfectly. I like the Bikila aesthetic far more than earlier models. They work very well with my neutral, mid-foot gait.

    I agree that the traction in the wet is not terribly good.

    When I want more road feel, I go to my original Lunas.

  84. Rush says:

    I must disagree with you on your comments a little. Granted this post was a year ago, but I can imagine die-hard Fivefinger fans are still angry at the line up. Having two pairs of KSO’s, one pair of Bikilas, and one Seeya, I can definitively say i prefer my Seeyas. They feel like slippers, and have great ground feel. However, the reason why I got my bikilas(Only 47$ at CitySports) was because doing trail running with my kso’s hurt due to the mulch they use. I’m too cheap to get the spyridons or the treks. The bikilas work just great for trail running.

    The reason why they’re well liked is because they’re an amazing step down from “regular” running shoes, and if that’s what it takes to get more people to run in a minimalist fashion, then so be it. Yes, I don’t like the added padding, and they are a little more bulky than I prefer (Size 44 Seeyas are 4.9 ounces versus 6.6 ounces for the bikilas!), but they are quite comfy for walking around and trail running with bad terrain.

  85. Fernie says:

    Necro posting:

    I guess I’m with the “I like my Bilkilas” crowd, through in my case I went from regular mizuno trainers to the vibrams. All the “research” I could find for road-running led me to choose the bilkila because all the others were too thin or “smooth” for proper asphalt/concrete running and would wear out too quickly.

    The extra padding I find out is irrelevant cause it still hurts like hell to land on the heels, though it does allow for some “cheating” by letting your smack the heel after the initial forefoot landing.

    Had I waited 4 more months I would have gone for the seeyas, but for now I’m stuck with my bilkilas until I can afford to shell out another 100 bucks for the “better” road-running barefoot shoe.

  86. Rush says:


    I was able to procure a pair of seeyas for 64 dollars due to military purchasing :) They are quite awesome. They feel like socks, so light and thin. I love them for pavement running! They’re about as thin as the classics though, but tougher rubber on the bottom. All together, an excellent product! I would definitely snag a pair when they go on sale!!!

  87. Janine says:

    Bikilas helped me break into the VFF lifestyle…two months later I got the classics and thought to myself “oh…now that’s barefoot.” I do agree that Bikilas do not feel as barefoot as VFFs usually do, but when you live in a city like Cairo, with stones, rubbish, nails etc. I feel a lot more comfortable and protected in a Bikila then I do in a Classic VFF. While I wear both, when I want some sheltering from the harsh streets of Cairo, I definitely choose Bikila.

    THE STORES SUCK, including the REI hot spot in Seattle. The best REI that carries VFFs is Anchorage, AK ( I LOVE YOU GUYS!)

  88. John says:

    My first pair o VFFS were speeds and I loved them I got bikilas and they gave me huge blisters. They failed me during my second marathon but I survived by going barefoot.

  89. Tom says:

    No one said you had to buy Bikilas.. I don’t know what online stores you go to. But you can find all the different models on Amazon. But I think they’re good for people like me who have been running in regular shoes my whole life and are now just switching to Vibrams. I love my Bikilas. And they still feel pretty minimalist to me. I can feel every little rock when i’m running in them. And it hurts. lol. So maybe i have to get use to these and then just maybe I’ll think about getting some with a thinner sole. But for right now I think these do the job. :)

  90. Dean says:

    I agree that good form is independent of pace. I’m definitely not a fast runner and probably qualify as a ‘jogger’ (which by the way, seems to be being used as a pejorative term). Until I changed my form I had all kinds of ITB problems which stopped me enjoying running.

    Good form is good form almost regardless of pace.

  91. Greg Vickers says:

    Uh, once you know the shoe you like and the size, the best place to buy VFFs is this cool new store called THE INTERNET! The vendor who has your model and size at the best price is the winner of your business. Try it!
    That said, I have a soft spot for Casual Adventure in Arlington, VA. (NOT a running store!!!!) That’s where I go when sizing a new model, like the Trek Sports I bought there recently for trail running. I like them so far, but need to log more miles to come to a final opinion.
    Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas are simply the best running shoes ever invented, in my opinion. I’ve run a good 2,000 miles in them including four marathons, my best ever 10K and half marathon, etc., etc. They weigh almost nothing and last forever. Every shoe has its strength and weaknesses and each runner has different tastes, so it doesn’t make sense to wholesale bash a product simply because it doesn’t work for you. I’m not particularly religious, but that’s why god made chocolate AND vanilla. . .

  92. Barefoot Brandy says:

    My biggest gripe with VFF is not the style. It’s sizing. I’m a woman with a size 8-8.5 foot, but it’s wide and my toes splay out, not straight. I can’t fit the women’s shoes because they all are designed with no spread in the ball. The top of my foot hurts (if I can get it in the shoe at all) and my toes go numb from a tight insole. The men’s are the only ones that fit me right, but they’re all a size too big. I need men’s 39s and the smallest they make in all brands, except KSO which must come by special order, are 40s. And guess what? 39s isn’t even an option over the Internet. It’s a total rip. So, my only alternative is stick to my treadmill running barefoot since my feet can’t navigate the mounds of cut rocks outside my door. VFF really needs to expand their shoe size offerings.

  93. Amira says:

    I have been wanting the VFF for awhile. In New Zealand, we call them Ninja shoes. However, I don’t like synthetic clothing. Including shoes. So I searched high and low to find the leather KSO Trek for women, which are discontinued and can be found closeout at REI Outlet and other places. To my dismay, they are synthetic between the toes and in the side lining. The seams ont he synthetic bit causes bruising and pressure on my little toes. However, I was so excited to find the leather, I bought a few pairs. I bought the SmartWool classics on closeout, also, but returned them as they were too small. I also have a high big toe nail which rubbed against the top in a way that told me I would poke through it in no time. I ordered a pair of the old Performas as well but haven’t received those yet.
    All that said, the first time I wore my leather KSO Treks, I was so excited, as I was barefoot for a couple of years, but suffered from cold feet too much. I look forward to many years in my VFF, but dred the day I wear through them, as there are no more leather options for women. Even the look of the Bikilas I find repulsing. And I don’t desire to wear such synthetic, sneaker like shoes. Definitely look to be appealing to those who love their Nikes and such.
    I hope they come out with more leather models in the future.

  94. Alberto C says:

    hi this may be WAAAAAAY late but i found that alot of nature stores seem to sell more of a selection.

  95. Janine says:

    I absolutely agree! Leather options are necessary! I have been searching for smart wool options but they are only online and not in my size.

  96. Kaya says:

    I know I’m about a month behind, but I appreciate the Bikila LS as a work shoe. Those extra millimeters make a world of difference on concrete floors for 7-9 hours a day. I have my KSOs for everything else, though.

  97. Dave says:

    I love my Bikilas. I also love my KSOs, and Treksports. Did not love the Spyridon though. No reason to hate on them, they just didn’t work for me. I probably use the Bikilas the most, and for anyone interested in them I found that after a few weeks the eva foam compresses a bit. Plenty of ground feel in my opinion.

    As for Vibram the company, they are expanding the lineup in both directions – more shoe (the Spyridon, the Lontra), and less shoe (the SeeYa). I don’t get why folks feel the need to complain – there’s something for everyone…

    I applaud Vibram for their continual experimentation and development! Some companies might rest on their laurels and milk one product for all they can, but not Vibram.

  98. ERIC WHITESIDE says:

    I’ve run in the KSO Treksports (300+ miles in Iraq on pavement), the Bikilas on paved running trail, and the Spyridon (400+ miles on combination asphalt/gravel/dirt trail in Africa) and here are my conclusions:

    First of…as to overpronation…overpronation occurs if you’re still heel striking which VFFs tend to correct. I am a flat footed overpronator and switching to VFFs regardless of the model caused me to forefoot strike enough to alleviate overpronation. If you’re still overpronating you may want to consider changing your gait just a little by taking shorter strides when you run.

    Next…I’ve noticed that Spyridons tend to make my feet go numb when running on smooth hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt but are great on dirt and trail. Gravel over hardpack still sucks but I think that would apply regardless of the VFF model as well. Treksports are good on pavement and trail in my experience so I would say the most versatile choice would be the Treksports. They don’t have the rock plate in them which I think is why my feet don’t go numb on pavement in them. The Bikilas I use strictly for pavement running…period…they don’t translate well to other surfaces in my opinion.

    Dedicated trail runner: Spyridon
    Combination trail runner and hard surface: KSO Treksport
    Paved trail: Bikila

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    Just wanted to respond to the mountain bike comment…

    Mountain biking is my primary sport and I can assure you that the gravel wasn’t done to appease any who truly call themselves mountain bikers. Recreational riders maybe, but mountain bikers not so much. I’m much more fond of dirt trails that are not manicured with gravel…the more natural the flow of the trail the better…swaths of pavement and crushed gravel bike paths are usually my last choice for a ride…unless they lead to a “real” trailhead somewhere.

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  102. Farley, Chris says:

    Bikilas are awesome. Spyridons OK if you’re running over sharpies. Lontras took it too far. Why you would get toe shoes where the toes don’t move and serve only to have material between your toes is beyond me. Man take a Bikila sole w a high top flow upper (with some way to get your foot in it) lined w microfleece already.

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  116. Rolfen says:

    Just don’t buy them, there are many other models.
    I bought a model without padding. After running in them for a year, I can say that I ran through the problems and I like them, there is only one problem that remains, it’s very harsh on my legs, articulations, etc. which is hindering me in my progress. I want a little bit of padding so I would like to buy the padded option.
    Does it bother you?

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