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When is it time to get new Five Fingers?

by Tyler Hurst » on Mar 25, 2011 17

I own four pairs of Five Fingers. As a fairly avid runner and a full-time wearer, I’m pleasantly surprised at how long these things last. I wash them on average of about once a week and never dry them (okay, maybe once or twice) in hopes that they’d stay together a bit longer.

No cables needed!

I’ve never had to replace a pair before, but as my Sprints are nearing 1.5 years old, I’ve noticed a bit more rubbing than I’d like. Here’s a list of what I own, when I bought them, how often they’re used and the condition they’re in:

Purchased September 2009
Ran three half marathons, many training miles. Worn to work out nearly every other day.
Stinky. Seams rub my feet when I run over five miles. Velcro straps are starting to fray.

Purchased December 2009
Worn in colder climates, so maybe 1-2 times a week over the course of a year.
Stinky. Right shoe is coming apart, but it’s nothing a little super glue can’t fix.

Purchased March 2010
My every day shoes. Worn for everything but working out and running.
Stinky, but in otherwise good condition.

Purchased July 2010
My summer (hot pavement) running shoes. I don’t like them.
Very good because I don’t wear them that often. Too much support causes me to over pronate.

I just purchased a new pair of Sprints from Travel Country (nice clearance sale on last year’s models), but I’m going to have to replace my Classics here soon.

I will NOT purchased another pair of Bikilas, as the sole has far too much support. I’m also a little hesitant to buy another pair of KSOs, as I’d like a dressy minimalist shoe to replace them.

So when is it time to get new Five Fingers? Whenever you can afford them, I suppose. I am very, very impressed with how well they’ve held up, the soles especially. Whether I’m just lucky or my running/walking form (thanks, Chi Running!) is so good that wear on my sole is minimal, I definitely got my money’s worth from the first three pairs I purchased.

Have you replaced a pair of Five Fingers? Have yours fallen apart?


  1. ed

    March 25th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Mine typically last 500 miles before a seam blows out or I start to wear through the bottom on the toes. Unfortunately, that means a new pair for me every 2-3 months tops.


  2. Mori Gryphon

    March 25th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t run at all in mine, but I wear them daily, rotating between Classics, KSOs, and TrekSports. I’ve worn through the sole in the KSOs, and nearly through it on the Classics, but some ShoeGoo fixed them right up. They’re both wearing fairly smooth at the toes, but still solid on the uppers. KSOs date from Late 2008, the Classics from summer 2009. Mostly, I look to buy new ones when a new model I want to try comes out (I’m eyeing the Jaya LR thoughtfully right now, and I’m really excited about the Bormio due out this fall). I suppose I’ll declare a shoe actually worn out when the upper disintigrates or the sole doesn’t hold together even with the goo…


  3. David Duffer

    March 25th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Tyler – Have you tried the Komodo Sports ? Nine days ago I bought those and the TrekSports, and I must say the Komodos are definitely more comfortable. Today I ran 2.5 miles in the TrekSports (trail) and walked another mile as I started to develop some hot spots where the base of the big toe and ball of the feet meet. Over time I know my feet will toughen up; for now they are still a bit tender. As my running style has changed (from heel strike to forefoot), I have noticed I am working my calves in a new way. :) I’ve sprinted in the Komodos but haven’t run any distance in them yet.
    Since buying these shoes I haven’t worn anything else, swapping between the two styles. If you haven’t tried a pair of Komodos, I’d say definitely give them a go; I LOVE them. Hard to say if I will buy another pair of TrekSports, but I am completely sold on the Komodo Sports. Good to know that these shoes hold up well; I’m sure they will for me as well since I don’t run on pavement – only grass, dirt, and trails (& sometimes I feel like I could skim across water!) These are the only two styles I have put on my feet; Are there other styles in the VFF line you’d recommend ? I’m more of a sprinter than a distance runner – I’m 5’8″, 190lbs if that matters. Weight lifting, Crossfit, running bleachers, trail running, and all things functional, especially outdoors training is my thing. Thanks for your posts.


  4. ed

    March 25th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    David, do not let your feet “toughen up.” If they need to develop callouses or thicker skin anyhwere, the shoes are wrong for you. I learned that the hard way. Had sprints with callouses in all the right places then had to stop running for 2 weeks. They all vanished and I was sick I’d have to rebuild that stuff. THen I realized – why should I? Switched to Bakilas and mostly went fine, but now I use KSOs with Injinji toe socks. Can run for hours with nary a blister, hot spot, raw skin, etc.

    And if getting started on distance, you should really consider going barefoot first, just as the Vibram Five Finger FAQ says on their site.


    • David Duffer

      March 25th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      In a few days I’m going to go for 3 or 4 miles in these Komodos & see how they work for me. The TrekSports are out for any distance running. With the injinji socks, will I need to go up a size in shoes ? I’m assuming the socks are thin like liner socks; if that’s the case I should be fine with the 41’s I have now. I’ve read many a great review on the KSO’s; maybe I should get a pair. Thanks for the feedback sir. :)


      • ed

        March 27th, 2011 at 11:16 am

        Unless you got your VFFs very tight, probably too tight, you don’t need to go up a size for Injinji socks. I have a pair of KSO Treks that fit well at a 42. Most of my others are 43. I was worried that the socks with the KSO Treks would be too tight, but they aren’t. Fit perfectly.


  5. Rob

    March 26th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I’m replacing KSO’s now since there is a hole in bottom of the right one, quarter sized, that allows my foot to touch the ground. It is actually big enough that I get a dirty spot on the bottom of my foot. In fairness I have had them since middle of 2008 and they have covered hundreds of km and hundreds of CF workouts; so they have had a good life And were worth every cent. I am now about 50% worn on my sprints and just ordered (expecting this week) a pair of Komodo Sports. Time to start wearing out some more VFF.


  6. Alice Phipps

    June 05th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks soooo much for this article… I just bought my first pair of Sprints this season and I was so confused about how long I can run in them before replacing them. I don’t know anyone else that owns a pair.


  7. Jamie

    June 18th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I have a pair of the first Jaya model and they have held up excellently so far! I got them 4 months ago and I do a TON of hiking in the rough AZ desert/mountains. Plus running, working out, and every day tasks and errands. I’m very impressed by the good condition they’re still in!


  8. kc

    October 07th, 2011 at 4:52 am


    i found you page when i try to google about what i discover on my FF KSO trek
    i’ve changed from Asics to vibram about 2-3 months i run 2-3 times a week each time about 5-8km

    i felt great, no injuries but i notice the sole of my KSO trek has worn off on outer side of heel (see pic) which is the same thing that happen with my thick heel Asics.

    do you think this is normal? i’m worried that i have wrong pose/landing? but so far i don’t have problem beside minor blister (i just ran 10.5km with it 1 week ago, zero injure)


  9. Shanon

    January 06th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Hey I started wearing VFFs at least 75% of the time for everything about 6 months ago. I started with a pair of Bikila LS and love those. I wear them to work, to walk the dog, in general most any time I don’t need to dress up etc. I also picked up a pair of KSO’s on clearance. I wear them some when hiking with dog at lake or anywhere else I get too much junk in the Bikila’s. The Bikila’s with around 6 months with tons of wear for everything are holding up quite well. I don’t run much except short intervals at the gym or on the trails at the lake, but they get constant wear and are holding up very well! I was concerned with the cost of these that they would not wear well, but that is for sure not the case, they last amazingly well in my opinion. I am looking at buying maybe a pair of Trek LS or something else leather for winter, was wondering about the durability on these models. Anyone have any thoughts on that?


  10. Kyle Kranz

    March 29th, 2012 at 9:56 am


  11. Angie

    June 14th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    If you’re into the minimalist kind of shoes and don’t dig the stench you should check out The running sandals are guaranteed to last 5000 miles as opposed to 300-500 miles expensive running shoes are good for. I’m in love with mine and YOU custom make them to work for your feet.


    • Tyler Hurst

      June 14th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      I own Luna Sandals, Invisible Shoes, Vibrams and Skoras.

      But I like the Invisible Shoes just for walking around, but I have run in the before. Same with the Lunas.

      And they are WAY easier to clean!


  12. Greg Vickers

    September 03rd, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I’ve bought 4 pairs of Bikilas in the last two years. Just threw away the first pair because the rubber on one big toe was pulling away from the fabric. Also, the thin piece of fabric inside the sole was coming unglued. Still had pretty good tread on the bottom, though, even after about 500 miles. I have a pair of KSO Trek Sports, too, which I prefer for trail running, usually with the thin Injinji socks. I’m in training to run my fifth marathon in the Bikilas. I will never put fat wedges of foam under my feet again, at least not for running. BTW, I machine wash my Bikilas after about every other run, occasionally after a pre-soak in Pine-Sol solution. No smell problems.


  13. Kerri H.

    September 24th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I own an old pair of Trek Sports (circa 2010) and I bought a new pair of the Trek Sport Sandals from Travel Country earlier this summer. I also own a pair of Sprints.

    I started running in July and am putting about 12-15 miles per week on them. They are holding up well and I will not be returning to regular sneakers. They feels like cinder blocks attached to me legs! I rotate between the two Treks to run and wear the Sprints for just hanging around. I also wash mine about once a week and have not had smell issues. Happy running, everyone!


  14. Kerri H.

    September 24th, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    One should spell check before posting. I sound like a pirate. Sorry about that!


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