As with most people I have been wanting to try a pair of Vibram FiveFingers since their arrival on the running scene
They're shoes. With TOES! Once you get past the initial shock, they're actually a very good looking shoe. They come in multiple colours, and are very well designed. Putting them on was a little awkward at first, but you soon get used to this, and they become easier and easier. Apparently the record is 2.3 seconds, but I managed 10ish so it wasn't too bad. Once on, I was surprised at how comfortable they were. The uppers fit like a glove, and it is a strange senstion, but on you soon get used to. The toes were a little loose than the rest, but if this becomes an issue, it will be easily fixed with some toe socks
There is no midsole in this shoe. This could present a problem for heavier runners, and at 14 stone myself, it is the one thing about these that makes me a little apprehensive, especially as I have no time to transition into them. However, we'll see how they go.
The uppers are made of a Stretch Polyamide, with TPU overlays on the toes for protection. They feel almost like lycra, but not as sweaty, and are phenomenally comfortable. They are desiged to be skintight, and stretch a tiny amount over your feet; just enough to be snug, without being constrictive. The velcro strap could become a pressure point, but I see no reason why it should be, as the rest of the upper is snug enough that you don't need to pull it tight. However, if you have very slender feet, the Bikila LS might be a better option, as the laces mean a more customisable fit. Each toe is hand stitched, and were very comfortable. Surprisingly so. I was expecting them to be a little tighter, but they actually feel very good, and fit the length of my toes well, which was reassuring.
The outsole is obviously made of Vibram rubber, so sould have no problems with durability. It is the design of the outsole that is the clever part. There are additional overlays of rubber on key reas that see the highest levels of pressure, so are there for extra protection and durability, whilst maintaining a minimal, lightweight feel.
A WORD OF WARNING. DO NOT go straight into these shoes if you have not used a pair of shoes without midsoles before. I have pretty good technique, but with no time to transition into these over a couple of weeks, by 10km my feet were aching from the impact. That being said, if done properly, they would be fantastic, as over the first 5km I was flying. They were insanely comfortable, and very light. They were easy to run in, and the strap did not cause any pressure issues. If your technique is not good though, I imagine they could cause problems, as they are very unforgiving. I'd be interested to see how I would cope with these if I had a few weeks to transition into them, as I suspect they may well surprise me again. There is a shoe on the horizon designed specifically for this called the Bikila EVO. It is essentially the same shoe, but with a layer of EVA foam as a midsole. Barefoot purists will probably disagree with this, but I think it is a great idea, and would definitely be a better option for some people, myself possibly included.
All in all, these shoes are great, but I have to place a massive warning label on them. If they are something you'd like to try, I'm all for it, just make sure that you transition into them and use another pair of shoes for running as well.
One more thing to consider is the sizing. A they have individual toes, the should fit like gloves, so use the chart below to get the correct size. Measure your feet in CM, and find that below.
Images and Size Chart courtesy of Vibramfivefingers.it