I just came back from Asia, specifically Hong Kong for business and pleasure. I wore the Vibram Five Finger’s KSO the entire time I was out trekking about in the crazy and hectic city of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a very busy place, with a ton of walking, shopping and site seeing . It’s the New York of China and seems even busier no matter what time of night you decide to go out to the well known busy street areas. This review goes over some of the terrain I covered and experiences in the Vibram KSOs.
Packing and Traveling with KSOs
One big plus for these shoes was the ease of packing these shoes. It was easy for me to throw into any suitcase front pocket or back pack. In the airplane, I simply placed them in the front area where you place magazines and in-flight entertainment guides. After wearing these shoes for a couple months, it was easy to take them off and put them back on without misplacing a toe in an incorrect toe slot. It would have been difficult taking them on and off quickly, like they have you do at LAX, if I wasn’t an experienced Vibram Five Finger KSOer.
Long City Walks in Vibram Five Fingers
Walking around the city is similar to long hikes on natural terrain, except there are less mountain hills and valleys. Most of what I encountered was concrete and indoor flooring which can be a bit more painful than natural dirt and grass. The only hiking I did was up the steps of the Big Buddha on Lantau island.
The long walks in a humid city like Hong Kong made it easy for me to sweat. Luckily I was wearing a pair of Injinji socks as well. This helped absorb most of the sweat and stink that goes along with long periods of Vibram wear. If not for the socks I would have to wash them after every heavy use like this.
Man Made Ground
Walking on concrete for long periods of time definitely differs from running on grass and dirt. It hurts more. At first you don’t notice it but after a couple hours or even half a day you feel the pain. I’m sure it’s something i would get used to if i wore them all day every day. I would also think they would wear out quite fast and you’d have to purchase a new pair of Vibram Five Fingers every month or so. After walking, shopping and wandering around in these things for hours, it felt good when I saw flooring like this in the subway systems:
It kind of felt like a foot massage (which is something that is also really popular in Hong Kong and China right now) and I would stretch out and walk around these areas for extended periods of time.
Attention of the KSOs
Since I don’t think I’ve seen anybody wear these shoes out in Asia yet, it did get some attention. Some people in subway systems would stare and some would have remarks. Some of the remarks that I’ve overheard:
Man telling his wife in Chinese while pointing, “Look honey, that’s crazy”
Women at store laughing uncontrollably, “Those make you look really good”.
Kid at the subway station telling his friends, “I want a pair”
and many other comments made by random people asking where they could buy a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.
After wearing them all day in the city, I would still recommend wearing these for every day activities. They are quite breathable and definitely wont make your feet and shoe stink more than wearing regular sneakers. They are comfortable and I feel like I’m working out my legs while walking for a long time. It think there is more impact from concrete than dirt and grass, so be warned. I also heard the Nike Free’s are excellent for training and long periods of walking. If anybody has any experience on that, let me know!
For more information on Vibram Five Fingers Shoes, click on the links below: