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Review: Vibram FiveFinger Komodo Sports

by Rob Francis » on Apr 15, 2011 26

My new KomodoSport VFFs arrived 2 weeks ago. I had worn a hole in my KSOs and the soles of my Sprints are wearing thin. I reviewed the VFF website and looked on the internet for information which would help me select my new shoes and decided on the KomodoSport. I am the type of guy who looks into every detail whenever I make a selection about something; this can drive my wife crazy as she is the more impulsive type. The following is my personal review of my new shoes and hopefully will help out other people like me who need more detail before making a decision.

Vibram Komodosports Review

Removable footbed and detailing on KomodoSport

Initial Impressions

The first thing I noticed about the KomodoSport is the look of them. There is a lot more detailing than what is found on older models of VFF, like the KSO or Sprint. I got the black/silver/grey color which has a fair bit detail that is on the material. This detail makes them look more like a shoe then a pair of socks which I heard a lot when I wore my KSO’s. The other colors on the VFF website look great, although personally I am not much of a yellow shoe kind of person. There is reflective strips on the shoe at the back of the heel and along the strap on the top of the foot. My only concern is if the detailing on the material will stay on wash after wash and workout after workout but that waits to be seen. Overall the looks are a definite plus.

Putting them on revealed how different they are from my other VFFs. Namely that they feel very soft, not soft as in a traditional running shoe, but how soft the material is on the foot. I used to wear socks in my KSOs for a bit more comfort but these feel fantastic on the bare foot and as of yet, I have not worn socks with them. There is definitely a bit of form to the shoe. The heel is more form fitting to my foot and same with the instep, although the instep is itself still flexible. The straps are easy to use and allow you to snug up the shoe very nicely. I ordered using the VFF size chart and once again, it sized the shoe perfectly to my foot so I am very confident that if you use the size chart it will give you the right size. The soft new material, the slight form and straps make this the best fitting and most comfortable of my VFFs.

One thing that is different is that it has a removable insole or a footbed. It is very thin and took me by surprise as I didn’t know it was removable until it came out when I took my shoe off. It is easy to put back in the shoe if / when it comes out (you can see it removed in the image above). I am waiting to see how durable it is after it goes through the washing machine several times.

This shoe is more padded then my other VFFs (both KSOs and Sprints) and while I like it, I am not sure if everyone will. Let me explain my padding comment. The sole is slightly thicker then the KSOs and has some tread patterns on it that does remove some of the “feel” that you get from the surface you are walking on. You can still feel the type of ground you are walking on, such as gravel or sand on the road when running but not to the same extent as KSO or Sprints. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you like it or not, but at least you’ll know that it does feel different. There is also more padding around the foot opening and at the back where your Achilles tendon touches the shoe. It feels great and is not a distraction nor does the extra padding rub the ankle the wrong way. Overall I like the slightly thicker sole and the padding around the ankle opening.

Uses So Far

Since I received my new shoes, I have ran about 25 km in them (not all at once), went rock climbing twice, and done about 12 or so CrossFit workouts and one rowing competition and they are great! Running in them is excellent due to the form fitting shape of them and the new stretchy and snug material. They work well running over a variety of terrain, such as indoor running track, pavement, and gravel alongside the road (large pointy rocks still a no-no). They work well for my casual weekly in-door rock climbing since they are flexible, grippy and comfortable. I have a feeling that if I get into more technical and demanding climbs, a proper rock climbing shoe will be required. They are the best shoes I have worn for CrossFit ever. The sole doesn’t compress so you can use them for heavy lifts and keep proper form. These shoes also don’t slide as much on my foot when doing long jumps around the running track. In my KSO, I would have to slide my foot back every second or third jump or else I worried my toes might burst out of the toe pockets. The KomodoSport is an excellent all around shoe and I like it immensely during all my athletic endeavors so far.

Rock Climbing indoors with Komodosports from Vibram

Indoor rock climbing in KomodoSports

 

Verdict

The KomodoSport is my favourite VFF of the ones I have. The fit, the new material, the detailing, colour and the addition of reflective strips make this an excellent all around shoe for athletic use. The only complaint I think some people will have is that some won’t like the slightly thicker sole and the more shoelike fit when compared to other VFFs. I also can’t speak to the durability of the detailing on the shoe or how well the removable footbed will be after lots of washes, but given the durability of my previous VFFs I don’t think this will be a problem. If you are looking for a shoe to wear for multiple athletic uses, this the shoe for you.

I look forward to comments from anyone else who has these shoes and I am curious to see if you feel the same way as I do. Please leave comments below and if you are on Twitter, follow me @robchfr

26 Comments

  1. Kent Cowgill

    April 15th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I got the yellow Komodos, and love them. I had no idea the footbed was removable, and I’ve probably done at least 10 miles running on asphalt or indoor track, and 400-500 flights of concrete stairs in mine. I also didn’t notice that they were any thicker than my Bikilas – maybe they’re not :)

    I noticed that the detailing tends to leave indents/impressions on my feet if I wear the Komodos all day – I assume that means they’re stitched on as opposed to glued on – but I’ve never been curious enough to peer inside.

    I’m very glad I’ve added the Komodos to my collection, they’re so far a solid performer and I love the way the heel strap lets me cinch them up just a little better than my Bikilas.

    Reply

  2. Mark Staub

    April 15th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I agree. My Komodo Sports are my favorite as well. I started with KSO’s and went to Trek Sports then to Komodo. I got the Black/Grey/Gold pair. When I first got them, I put them on with no socks and felt great. I have used socks since but the warm weather is approaching and can see going sans socks from now on.

    Reply

  3. admin

    April 15th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    We received the following email and pic from Robert , who just completed 1 week in the KOMODOSPORTs:

    http://twitpic.com/4l4nip

    Hello My name is Robert. I bought my Vibram Komodos last week as a congratulations present/birthday present to myself for passing my Personal Training Certification test.

    I first saw the shoes at a work shop seminar I attended last August and didn’t think much of them at the time, but I was curious. Once my financial situation was better off I decided to start looking for some new shoes for running/weight training. I have always had a problem when it came to picking out the right shoes, and until I bought these the only shoes I ever used (or felt remotely comfortable) were my Puma Cats.

    After seeing the Vibrams though, I remembered my days running the streets barefoot with my friends and such and thought what the heck! I went to a small sporting goods shop in Waco, TX, bought them and haven’t used any other shoes since! It has been one week and I know I have read about people saying take it slow when you start, but the second day I ran 3.5 miles in interval training and have not looked back. Best shoes ever! I am now looking to get the Red/gray Bikilas.

    Reply

  4. Nate

    April 15th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I’m curious how they do with lateral movement. Most VFFs do not perform very well in this regard and you slip / slide say running on the grass etc.

    Komodos were supposed to help that more than the other new VFFs. Any comments?

    Thanks!
    Nate

    Reply

    • Robert

      April 15th, 2011 at 11:02 am

      I’ve been throwing some crossfit into my normal resistance training workouts and the lateral movement has not been a problem as of yet if that helps!

      Reply

    • Rob

      April 15th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Nate:
      I slip and slide in any running shoe while running on grass while playing soccer or any sport that requires quick side to side to motion unless they have a heavy cleat or tread to prevent this. I think the KomodoSport will do the same; maybe the TrekSport might be more suitable to that kind of motion. As for side to side on an indoor floor, such as a gym floor or a track, I haven’t had any issues with them sliding, or rather no more sliding then any other shoe with a similar depth of tread would perform in the same conditions. I may do some windsprints / shuttle run and see how they do.

      Reply

  5. Robert

    April 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I bought the komodosport a week ago as my first pair of vibrams. From what I hear and have read it takes time to adjust to running in this style show, but for me I haven’t had the need to slow down my distance or pace when I run. Love the Komodos!

    Reply

  6. Rob

    April 15th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Nice to see so many people agreeing with my assessment of the KomodoSports. I am interested in seeing how they hold up to washing and lots of wear.

    Reply

    • Robert

      April 15th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      Again this is my first pair and they are all I wear now, but I just finished washing them for the first time. They once again feel as if I just pulled them out of the box or off the shelf.

      Reply

  7. Amy

    May 09th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    The KomodoSports are my favorite VFF so far as well! I have a pair of Sprints and a pair of KSO Sport Treks and the Komodos are like heaven on my feet. My best friend, who is a bit of a fashion nut, also deemed them “cute” which meant she had to get a pair as well. I’ve had them just over a week and I wear them everywhere. A new runner, these VFFs actually make me feel like I can tackle this thing called running! So excited. I still get strange looks at work, but more often now I get, “Oooh! What are those and where do I get a pair??”

    Reply

  8. BaZ

    June 13th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    YES! Great review. however the only thing i would say is that over those spiky rocks that you talk of they are not all that bad anything more and well it does hurt and anything less and you would not get a feel for the ground. as for durability goes after about a month now of use run 70k and a good few Crossfit sessions they are as good as ever. there is a little bit of fraying in the strap but nothing to bad. and so long as you are not so stupid as to put them in the tumble dryer, as i found out to my dismay where the decorative rubbery swirls started peeling off. there will be adjustment to their build quality over time, but overall i think this is a great shoe. and after trying my old KOS’s on the other day i almost cant believe that i thought they were comfy. they are just no comparison to the Komodo.

    Reply

  9. hallie p

    August 03rd, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I’m a newbie (did my first endurance event in June walking the San Diego Rock N Roll) and have a weird step that puts a hole in the top of my regular running shoes in about 1 week. My big toes go up by themselves when I walk/run–so I figured I’d just give those puppies their own little sleeves to wear. Enter Five Fingers into my life.

    And I LOVE my Komodos. So light on my feet; my toes are happy (remember the Hush Puppy ads about “my feet can breathe again”?); and I’m now wearing them with no problems for all but my longest trainings. Don’t like to take them off–I’m a barefoot gal, but they feel so close to bare feet that I wear them most of the day. And then there’s the fabulous periwinkle/yellow color (sorry–why call it blue when it can be periwinkle?). I’m a very happy walker! I appreciate all the comments above that confirm I chose the right shoe. Thanks, Vibram!

    Reply

  10. Jacob W

    September 21st, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I have the Komodos and I like them very much. I am starting to develop a problem, the soles are starting to slip to the side by the time I get to mile 3 or 4 and I am at a full sweat and my shoes are drenched. I have to stop and take them off to adjust them. It is starting to get annoying. Help please.

    Reply

    • Rob

      September 21st, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      I’m not an expert but if they are slipping , I can think of 2 things that could cause that. The first is if they are not the proper size. I have worn VFF running in races, crossfit workouts, hiking and walking around and I have never had the shoe slip. If they don’t fit well this could be causing the problem.
      The 2nd thing I can think of is that your running form may be causing the slipping. If you push off your toes this could cause it to slip. When running barefoot or nearly barefoot, you don’t have to push off your toes. You lean forward from the ankles, keeping an upright relaxed posture, knees bent and pull your heel towards your butt and just get your under you in time to prevent you from falling on your face. Your foot should never be landing forward of your body and you shouldn’t push off your toes. Look into the POSE method of running or read Chi Running to get more info on running barefoot and better running form.
      Hope this helps.

      Reply

  11. Hallie P

    September 21st, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Update to my August 3 post: After 3 weeks and building to 15 miles, I developed pains on the tops of my feet. They required icing and I wrapped the bad foot in ace bandages to be able to function normally. After reading everything on this on the web, I decided I broke them in too fast and have put them away until I finish my marathon in December. No more sore tops of my feet. I miss them. Please post if you have gone through this…and how did you eliminate the pain?

    Reply

    • Jacob W

      September 21st, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      cortisone. I too broke in my shoes too fast. I went to the doc and got a shot. Good as slightly used. After that I slowly broke them in and can now run much much further.

      Reply

      • Hallie P

        September 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm

        thanks, Jacob. And how “slowly” did you break them in?

        Reply

    • Rob

      September 21st, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Building up to 15 miles in 3 weeks if you’ve never run barefoot before is too much too soon. It took me almost 6 months to build up to 10km and I think I’m a pretty fit guy. Maybe easing up on the miles or only using the VFF for some sprint training or shorter runs will reduce the pain. If you feel pain from running or exercise, something is wrong. You must run a fair bit if you got up to 15 miles in 3 weeks but your feet were not ready for it, especially if you’ve only worn typical runners.

      I have never had to break in any of my VFFs. There is nothing to break in. I think it is more of breaking in the foot rather the shoe but that’d just my opinion.

      Hope your feet feel better soon and you are out running again soon. Best of luck.

      Reply

    • Rob

      September 21st, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      And roll your foot on a tennis , field hockey or golf ball. There is a video of it on youtube somewhere and I think on this website too.

      Reply

    • Travis

      November 25th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      Hallie P: I was one of the many who said “I jumped right in and never had problems”…only to have ankle issues. I really went to far, too fast and had a serious Achilles injury, but have since recovered (thanks to the miracle of Kinesio Tape!). The soreness across the top of the foot is the muscles that flex your toes finally being used for the first time. I noticed it pretty quickly too–I now feel like I can flex them like a bicep! Hope you’ve healed well!

      Reply

  12. Lise Agnant

    December 23rd, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I have a pair of komodo sport since june 2011, I was stubborn at the beginning and went on a 3 miles run the first day (fast run), ended up with a stress fracture of the 4th metacarpal of my left foot! It took me two months to get back to run, and this time, I increased my mileage progressively, a 1/4 mile at a time :), now I run 4 miles 3 to 5 times a week with my P 90x workout. I love my shoes but I think I need a new pair, I have noticed thinning of the sole, so far they last 6 months! (4 months of heavy training), very satisfied!!

    Reply

  13. Corey

    March 26th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Rock Climbing! I have to try that with these shoes! The fact you have full control over your toes makes them seem like climbing would be so much easier!

    I have to admit tho they do look kind of strage for shoes. Not shoes I would wear out on my daily stroll.

    IMO my favorite shoes to this day are still the New Balance Minimus Runners ( http://www.newbalancevancouver.ca/minimus-10-runner.html ). They feel great and run even better!

    Reply

    • Sachin

      October 16th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Good review anohter shoe worth considering is the Merrill Trail Glove; the feel is as good the the VFF, but as the design is a standard shoe shape the sizing isn’t as much of an issue

      Reply

    • Celso

      February 19th, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Hola amigos de Panama Jack.Por una serie de rznaoes no puedo acercarme a una de vuestras tiendas, por lo que he decidido que voy a adquirir mis botas a traves de vuestra web.La duda que tengo es la siguiente: me he medido los pies como aconsejais dando como resultado que mi pie derecho tiene una longitud de 25,4 cm y el izquierdo de 25 cm. bfQue9 talla debo elegir? Creo que, segfan vuestra tabla un 41 (25,8cm 26,3cm) porque siempre hay que contar con el calcetedn y la 40 me quedareda pequef1a.bfQue9 opinais?Un saludo.

      Reply

  14. Nicholas Cheng

    April 28th, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Has anyone ever tried running in these without the insole? I own a pair and I found the insole causes moisture to stay just in the shoe so I removed them (ripped a bit of it off due to the adhesive). I find without the insole these shoes are darn flexible. Any implications to running without the sole? I hope it doesn’t wear down the shoe faster though :p

    Reply

  15. Andrés sotelo

    May 14th, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Hacen envíos a Colombia? Cuánto cuesta? Y cuánto demora?

    Reply

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