Vibram FiveFingers Running Shoes

Anyone with bad knees or other health problems might think twice before trying the Vibram experience.

But in the right physical condition — and with the right technique — running in a pair of FiveFingers is a cool feeling. You can almost sense yourself getting stronger.

For other terrestrial activities, I was less sold. Hiking or walking in the Sprints seemed silly. The company touts FiveFingers for bouldering, but most serious rock climbers would not consider the shoes appropriate for the activity. For casual use, I was too embarrassed to wear FiveFingers indoors anywhere.

In the water, FiveFingers shoes are nice. But for waves or rivers you might look at the $100 boot-like Surge, which comes up over the ankle and has a 2mm neoprene lining.

As for fit, I’d recommend trying a pair or two on at a store. My foot size is 12.5, but for the Sprint model I ended up going with a size 11.5 shoe for its secure fit in the heel area.

Getting any of the FiveFingers models on is a chore, as the toe slots are small and tight. But be patient. Once on and secured a FiveFingers shoe should fit, well, like a glove. —Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of


Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.