The Most Common Complaints of Vibram Five Fingers

Most of us, before buying stuff we haven’t tried before, we always try to find reviews of this particular product for their pros and cons. In this way, we can evaluate if this product is worth our hard earned money to spend for. All products have its own pros and cons, even the most popular Vibram Five Fingers.  We all know Vibram Five Fingers gathers unlimited compliment from its thousand or even millions of consumers around the globe. However, a product like this that seems to be perfect, also has many complaints we need to consider.  Some of the common complaints that have showed up in many customer forums and discussions are as follows, feel free to chime in:

Odd looking shoes

“Style and fashion does matter”! When we purchase clothes or something we wear, we are very fussy about the style and how it looks when we wear it. Many hard to please individuals describes Vibram Five Fingers as footwear from hell, fugly, “CROC made condoms for your feet” etc… With these comments, it simply shows many of us or I can say MOST of us are still into design and style over comfort and the potential health benefits of our feet. Maybe some of these critiques should look into the Nike Frees instead.

Stinky

Many of Vibram Five Finger customers are complaining about the stinky smell after a week or two of using the shoes. Some are claiming that the smell get even worse after soaking and cleaning it using a detergent or some other cleaning agent. I’ve been an adventurer and an athletic type of person myself (sometimes), and normally, shoes get stinky because of sweat, not wearing socks, poor hygiene (unwashed feet before using) or soaking wet sweaty shoes that got dried up while wearing it.

We can avoid this unpleasant odor by cleaning them after every use. Anyway, it only takes a couple minutes of our time and it’s definitely worth it. Someone other reviewers with the same problem came up with a solution that everybody is free to try.  He uses Trader Joe’s Cedarwood & Sage All-Purpose Cleaner, and Earth Day Products’ “Everyday Stain & Odor Remover”, letting each one sits for a few minutes before rinsing them out and spraying the other. When the weather is warm, they’ll dry on their own pretty quickly, but in the winter, prop them up against a fan and let them “blow dry” that way.

The Toe Doesn’t Fit

These shoes surely attract attention however, for a person who doesn’t have perfectly shaped toes the shoes may not fit very well. Some of us have larger toe size that gives us hard time to fit in those shoes. Forcing your toes to fit in will definitely cause painful blisters at first. After several painful attempts at alignment, the shoes became wearable though I wouldn’t want to go through that every time I put on shoes. Many runners who uses Vibram Five Fingers for the first time, experiences chafing near the inside arches of both feet where the strap across the top starts after running less than two miles. Also, there was pinching and chafing on the big toes and pinky where the seams are. After the run, they took off the Vibram Five Fingers and saw blisters developed in both inner arches. Some of them also experienced chafe on the heel construction a bit. You can experience these on the first few run on these shoes. Use Vibram Five finger everyday during your daily regimen to settle the correct fit. It really takes time to get used to them.

Some of the population have longer index toes than their big toe, this will obvious cause a problem since there are no Vibram Five Fingers shoes that were made for that relatively small portion of the population.

Sizing Problems

Vibram Five Finger has different sizes compare to other shoe brands. You should fit them before your first purchase. It could be impractical to order your very first pair online using your current shoe size. It will definitely cause fitting issues especially on your toes. Many online buyers had encountered this fitting issue. I was lucky to have ordered them online and have them fit perfectly.

Conclusion

Well there you go, some of the more common complaints. There are obviously others and we welcome anybody to chime in on the comments!

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Eric March 31, 2010, 11:17 pm

    I have been a dedicated Vibram 5-Finger guy for a few months. I love the feel of running barefoot. The more I run in them, though, the more I hesitate to consider it barefoot running. They are quite stiff and I have developed some foot pain due to how constrained my foot is in the shoe. I run on road and trails, and hope to do a 50 miler in them this year. That said, we’ll see if I get past this painful period. Overall, really like them and encourage folks to try barefoot running, but know you may face challenges.

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  • Susanne August 1, 2010, 9:15 pm

    I am using talcum powder or baby powder for my FFs. It makes for a very nice and dry feel, easy slip into the shoes and they don’t stink at all anymore. :)

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  • BIG LOU September 3, 2010, 7:48 am

    FOR BEING 230lbs I THOUGHT I WOULD ENCOUNTER MANY ISSUES WITH THESE WEIRD SHOES. HOWEVER, THAT WAS NOT THE ISSUE INFACT I HAVE FELT THE NEED TO WEAR THEM WHEN I AM SIMPLY JUST WALKING AROUND RUNNING ARRONS. I HAVE TRIED ALMOST ALL OF THE NIKE FREE AND 7.0 STYLE RUNNING SHOES AND LET ME TELL YOU THAT HANDS DOWN THESE FIVE FINGERS KILL THEM IN EVERY ASPECT. YES, YOUR FOOT WILL BE SORE THE FIRST FEW TIMES YOU USE THESE BAD BOYS, BUT YOU HAVE TO UUNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE CONFORMING TO A DIFFERENT STYLE OF TRANING WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE A SMOOTH CONVERT. AFTER YOU GET OVER THAT SMALL BUT WORTH IT HUMP YOU WILL NEVER TURN BACK. I AM CURRENTLY IN THE BIKILA RUNNING SHOE BY FIVE FINGERS AND LOVE THEM. I DO RUN ON PAVEMENT AND IT NOT THE BEST BUT I GET THROUGH MY DAILY 2 MILES JUST FINE. I HAVE NOTICED A CHANGE IN MY LOWER LEG MUSCLES WHICH IS GREAT AND I FEEL MORE BALANCED. ONE THING ABOUT THE BIKILA MODEL VS. THE KSO IS THAT THE KSO COMES IN A BETTER FIT AROUND THE HEEL OF YOR FOOT WHICH IS GREAT FOR RUNNING IN DOWN HILL SITUATUINS. THE BIKILA HAS SMALL ISSUES WHIT THAT BECAUSE IT DOES NOT A ANYTHING TO TIGHTEN THE HEEL OF YOUR FOOT. SO FROM BIG LOU TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. GET YOUR LAZY BUTTS UP AND TRY SOMETHING NEW AND GET INTO SOME DECENT SHAPE WHILE DOING IT. LIFE IS SHORT DONT MAKE IT SHORTER BY LOSING IT TO THE FATTY LAZY GODS.

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  • Jay Simons December 10, 2010, 2:43 am

    I’m an avid adventure enthusiast and I’m excited to be picking up my New Vibram FiveFingers this week – stay tuned as I report on them on my Adventure You Tube Channel ….coming soon :)

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  • Michal Palczewski January 12, 2011, 4:09 pm

    Wow, people are downright religious about these shoes. Who else would recommend a shoe that you wash with woolite and a toothbrush every time you wear them. That is ridiculous and any other shoe company that made a shoe like that would be bankrupt. I’m annoyed, I appreciate wearing my vibrams, but I just washed them in the washing machine and after two wearings they stink again.

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  • bigfoot February 7, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Re: stinky shoes. I’ve always had luck spraying Lysol into the shoe before and after each use. The alcohol in the spray kills the bugs that produce the stinky odors.

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  • Soupstation March 1, 2011, 2:34 am

    I’ve had my VFF KSOs for nearly a year now and they smell just as fresh and clean as the first time I wore them. The most effective way I’ve found to clean them is just wear them into the shower. Hang them to dry and they’re good as new the next time I put them on. Happy [almost] barefoot running!

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  • Agent.Orange.Blossom March 9, 2011, 9:18 am

    Since 2005 I have been wearing VFF”s every day; that’s around 2190 days so far and counting. I love the feeling of freedom being barefoot and enjoy the protection that the VFF’s offer. I wear different styles of VFF’s during the course of the day to match my activities; there are styles of VFF”s that do better for walking / running or casual wearing, trail walks-runs etc.

    Re: the stink …. I never had a problem with stinky VFF’s or feet. It’s all about hygiene; I wash my VFF”s after each use and always wash my feet befor I put on a fresh pair of VFF’s. I you don’t wear socks your footwear becomes your socks; I never did or will weard dirty socks …. would you ???

    In retrospect, VFF”s are not for everybody. I’ve had friends that got injured wearing them; Vff’s are a lifestyle, you change your posture, your feet become a second set of hands, you develop awareness with your feet, you get to touch that’s ender your feet. It takes some time to get there but once you acheve this milestone everything become different around you. For me VFF’s are great …. for you to discover ……

    Free your feet ….. Go barefoot !

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  • renee April 11, 2011, 11:05 am

    People who have a longer second toe (Morton’s toe) can very easily fit into VFFs, they just have to make sure the longest toe is able to move freely in the pocket. It is actually more common than people think. Some studies show about 20% of the population with Morton’s toe, and others show up to 50%! Having worked in footwear for quite some time, and having spoken at length with the representatives of the company, Vibram is not (any time soon) planning to make a last that is designed specifically for Morton’s toe. In the meantime, it seems that some of the newer models like the Bikila and Komodo Sport tend to have a second toe that is at least as long as the first.

    Additionally, these are handmade, making them have variations between each and every shoe. They are literally made by individuals with sewing machines and so the way each person pulls the fabrics could be slightly different from someone else. Definitely try on a few pairs if you don’t find the first pair to be comfy.

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  • Ian February 24, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Vibram shoes are to apple computers as nikes are to PCs. They look cool as hell but just the slightest amount of water will penetrate the interior and this is mainly a problem when it is cold (east coast during winter). i give a 5/5 for the socks that go with them .

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  • john March 4, 2012, 8:39 am

    i am interested in trying the 5fingered shoes…..is there a shoe that is good for running on trails and roads? not really sure how these puppies work….

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  • Devronesha March 23, 2012, 4:00 pm

    I Purchased a pair of Vibram Bikilia and i have only had them for 6 months.The rubber is starting to peel off on the sides of my shoe.I don’t wear the shoe very often so I don’t know what the cause is .Because of this i dont think i would get this particular shoe again .VIbram NEW BALANCE IS A GREAT SHOE

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  • cecilia brown May 17, 2012, 11:31 am

    I seem to be a long way from getting over an ankle injury incurred from trying out vibram five fingers for a few weeks. The store that sold them to me kept telling me to keep trying and maybe take their $50 class on how to walk correctly in those shoes. I returned the shoes and special socks for a full refund, but that doesn’t help my ankle. I feel as if I am crippled thanks to them. I hope what recently happened to sketchers happens to fivefingers. You may call me vengeful, but in addition to being angry I don’t want what happened to me to happen to some other unsuspecting soul.

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  • Tom June 12, 2012, 7:00 am

    Love the shoes except for one thing. Dunno if it was the manufacturer or the store that did it, but when I got them there was a sticker on the inside of each shoe. They left a gummy residue that is bloody near impossible to get out, and my heels get stuck with each step and pop loose with each step. Hellishly annoying. When you pay this kind of money for a product, you don’t want to have to deal with something this mindless and irritating.

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  • Emma April 5, 2013, 8:51 am

    I adore my five fingers! I have been running in them for about a year now and have seen many improvements with my posture and running form. I would highly recommend trying these shoes out. You definitely need to break them in and start with short distances because you end up using different muscles. The first few weeks I used them my calves were very sore; but that gets better with more use! As for the smell, that is to be expected with any shoe that you don’t wear socks with. I just wash mine and use goldbond after every use and a year later they are still in great shape and relatively stink free!

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  • Mighty Mike May 10, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I have had my five finger Spyridons for two weeks now and have taken them on two runs. Previously, I was running 15-20 miles a week. I read a lot of buzz about how you should only do 10% of your normal regimen. I am much more intense and welcoming of pain than most, so I decided to take a leisurely two mile jaunt instead of a 1/2 mile run.

    a little background; I purchased mine due to severe shin splints due to severe overpronation. My left leg is 1/4″ shorter than my right and as I’ve gotten older (35 now), my body has started complaining in the joints. I learned that all of those conditions are due to excessive heel strike combined with cushy shoes. I made a decision to re-pattern my running style with these shoes despite the overwhelming task of training myself to run correctly after so many years of poor form.

    The first thing I noticed was how my body instantly found its stride. I used to be able to find my groove in about 1/2 a mile, but anymore, it takes more than a mile. With these babies, it was immediate.
    Now just under 3/4 of a mile into this run, my calves are crying to me in ways I have NEVER felt. I decide to cut it short and returned to finish 1.25 miles. For the next week (seven days), I had a very difficult time handling stairs, or even walking. I take another week off just to be safe and only wear them.for walking around the house. Then today I decided to go for a little three mile run. So, once again, body immediately in sync. This time, I go for two miles before I start to feel it, but I push through the chafing and site calves and just slow down a bit. Once I completed it, I learned the following:
    A) These shoes CHAFE!
    B) My joints have not felt this overwhelming absence of inflammation on YEARS
    C) My pace was 20 seconds faster than my normal pace, with me trying to baby my calves and sores.

    If you are unsure, buy these shoes. Most of us spend way more than $120 on eating out and entertainment every month. Be your feet’s best friend.

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