FILA Skele-toes barefoot shoes vs Vibram Five Fingers 5

Update: as of Nov 2012, the patent infringement lawsuit between the 2 companies seems to have been settled, but no details or comments from either side.

http://www.fila.com/mens-shoes-skele-toes/mens-shoes-skele-toes,default,sc.html

FILA’s model is $60 ($8 shipping)

The cheapest Vibram model start at $75.00

Thanks for the people who’ve commented below.

120 thoughts on “FILA Skele-toes barefoot shoes vs Vibram Five Fingers 5

    • Buy Vibram…. i spent $73.00 for my bikilas. I see the fila “knockoffs” in stores at a few locations for mid $50′s. There not near as flexible or defined. The five fingers acutally have a place for each individual toe. The Fila’s version has the last two outside toes in on place.

      • Huh on you on crack FIla are so much better and they won in a fitness test out of 1000 poeple 745 picked fila you can find that info on Vibram webpage

      • Actually according to reviews, which was the reason I went with Fila, the pocket for the two smaller toes helps prevent toe stubbing. It has particularly helped me with that because I’m clumsy and very aware :) Sidenote: they’re amazing for zumba!!

    • I bought a pair of Fila Skeletoes about a month ago and have been running an average of 14 miles/week in them. I always ran in tennis shoes before and have been amazed with the change. The knee pain I normally have is significantly decreased and the run really works my gastroc. and soleus. I’m never ran in a pair of vibram and am sure they’re great shoes, but I’ve been extremely happy with my Fila skeletoes and the material seems to be holding up quite well.

    • I have a Vibram KSO and a Fila Skele-Toes EZ Slide.

      Sorry for getting back to your comment so late.

      The Vibram KSO like some of the other Vibram shoes has a very thin sole and no support for the arch of the foot. It is meant to simulate being barefoot, with some protection for the bottom of the feet.

      The Fila Skele-Toes have a much thicker sole and they have support for the arch of the foot. The Fila Skele-Toes are like most shoes, while the Vibram KSO are supposed to be like no shoes.

      The Fila are not inferior looking, and the bottom of the foot is much more protected by the thick sole. The inside of the shoe is also softer.

      You’ll hear most people say that Vibram’s are designed specifically to simulate being barefoot and in the process of being barefoot one develops a stronger foot and a more natural posture.

      Yes, but the process can be painful and even cause injuries if one over does it. I’ve read thousands of complaints about people whose feet are hurting with Vibram’s.

      My feet also burn with Vibram’s and this could be the way one’s muscles burn when they do exercise.

      The Vibram’s are not shoes for any sort of real comfort unless your foot is comfortable barefoot on hard surfaces. Vibram’s need training, and time to work. They are sometimes considered therapeutic shoes. Imagine walking in socks with some protection for the bottom of the foot so little sharp things don’t penetrate the bottom, and that is almost the experience of Vibram’s.

      I’d like to warn anyone who is new to this whole barefoot trend, that if your foot is not strong, and is accustomed to lots of cushioning and support, Vibram’s are not shoes for comfort or support, and your feet and perhaps even your leg will hurt with extended use.

      I used the Vibram’s KSO repeatedly standing, walking, and running for many days during many hours (way over 10 hours and more). My foot did look stronger and more muscular over time, and but my feet really burned. I also wore socks with toes, I didn’t know about all these smell complaints about Vibram’s, mine don’t smell though. Some people claimed that using them barefoot can lead to odor issues in the shoes, but the shoes can be washed in the machine.

      I am continuously very near to returning my Vibram’s for the terrible torture it puts my foot under. Pain in the ball of my foot, burning in the heel, and many other places including parts of the big toe. I only hesitate to return it, hoping that they truly are helping my foot to become stronger.

      The Fila shoes caused no pain, other than a little disturbance in the arch of the foot after being used to Vibram’s and not being used to having support there.

      In the Fila shoes I was able to run without any problem. I can run in the Vibram’s as well.

      If anyone disagrees, please don’t be rude, this is just my experience. I have been using both shoes.

      I like the Fila shoes for exercise where I don’t want to be distracted by the pain and burning in my feet from the Vibram’s. If it is true that Vibram’s make the feet stronger and more muscular, as they do seem to become, then they should be used as therapeutic training shoes to develop natural barefoot strength and posture.

      For extremely hard surfaces, and to have less discomfort with the toe style, the Fila is probably a better choice.

      If you’re going for Vibram’s you should be aware that they are to develop strength, rather than to support and cushion.

      I avoid the KSO sometimes because of the pain. When I want to move freely without concern for pain and burning then I prefer the Fila, while the KSO is specifically for developing strength in various areas of the foot.

      The materials of the KSO don’t seem particularly amazing, and the Fila does not seem inferior, though the price is much lower than the Vibram’s.

      Also, the Vibram’s have 5 toe slots, and the Fila have 4 toe slots.

      The Fila go on smoothly, easily, and quickly, and the Vibram’s take just a little more time to put on and to put the pinky toe in. The Fila have only one slot for the pinky toe and the toe next to it, and this makes putting them on much faster.

      The back of the KSO has a little piece of something that can cut the back of the foot if they are tied on too tightly, so I leave mine more loose and also wear socks to protect the back of my foot from the little piece that can cut.

      The Fila is soft in the back and it did not hurt the back of the foot or cut it. I enjoyed running in the Fila shoes much more than the Vibram’s, which can be fun to run in while feeling like torture afterwards.

      There is a whole philosophy that comes along with getting shoes that are like Vibram’s.

      The choice is to either stay with traditional sports shoes with cushioning and built in support, or to go the route of training your foot to function as if barefoot. There are many reasons people will justify one or the other.

      The Fila shoe is not truly like a barefoot shoe. It is comfortable, and has the toe fashion, but it pampers the foot and arch of the foot compared to the Vibram’s which does nothing to support the foot, has practically no cushioning, and only provides minimal protection to the bottom of the feet and fronts of the toes.

      The cover of the Fila shoe says “gravel, water, mountains, grass, mud, trees, rock, pavement, dirt”. It is true that I’d feel comfortable wearing the Fila as compared to the Vibram’s in all those situations. If I want to train my foot to be strong and barefoot without sacrificing the bottom of my foot to cuts, then the Vibram’s is the shoe for that. If I want to just run and jump and not feel much complaint from my feet, legs, or hips, then the Fila is the choice if you want the toe fashion as well.

      So to anyone feeling an urge to be mean, please forgive me for my opinion. I’ve been wearing both shoes, I even tested them for a long time on different materials including a cobble type of floor with many protrusions and grooves while wearing one type on one foot and one on another and the Vibram’s hurt like crazy almost instantly and the Fila didn’t hurt at all because they are almost like ordinary shoes with support and some cushioning and thick soles.

      I continuously test them because of my doubts about Vibram’s. I wonder often why pay more for just some protection to the bottom of the foot, that causes pain in the balls of the feet and many other areas, and I continuously consider returning them. It is only when I hear about the benefits of being barefoot, and how it develops the muscles of the foot that I reconsider.

      People saying they “love” a shoe without explaining what exactly is so great about them isn’t really helpful to anyone. People need to know about the pain that Vibram’s have caused many people. Perhaps many others have not been in pain, but there is still a risk of pain and even injury from Vibram’s and you can read about many of these experiences online.

      The pros of the Vibram’s are only in its supposed benefits of strengthening the foot and also that they are considered the top barefoot shoe by many people.

      I’ve written in some detail above in reply to Adam’s question about both shoes.

      So the Vibram’s are a trendy shoe for barefoot strength enthusiasts who want some protection for the bottoms of their feet without much support or cushioning in order to depend on their own barefoot strength.

      The Fila are easier to put on, more comfortable, more protection for the bottom of the foot, have cushioning and built in arch support, have a nice back, are constructed well, and are generally great shoes, but they do not accomplish the objectives of the barefoot shoes, and only look somewhat like Vibram’s.

      For someone whose foot is not practiced on walking on hard floors without shoes, the Vibram’s will most likely hurt and burn different areas of the foot, and may eventually cease to hurt when the foot is appropriately strengthened and used to the pain in the front of the foot as well as other areas.

      The Fila, being so similar to a normal shoe, will not feel like much of a sacrifice, while being at least aesthetically part of the toe shoe trend. It is supportive to the foot, and like anything supportive, it does not work to strengthen any particular areas of the foot the way being barefoot would.

      If people want to be practically barefoot, with no real comfort or support besides protection for the bottom of the feet, then Vibram’s are the way to go to strengthen foot muscles to behave as if they are without shoes while being protected.

      If people want to just have toe shoes, while being more comfortable, then Fila is the way to go.

      One could also buy both, like I did. Vibram’s would be used as a shoe specifically for its therapeutic and exercise benefits for strengthening the foot and practicing barefoot posture, while the Fila is used for running and jumping without worrying about the feet burning or being in pain.

      The Fila are slightly more flexible than some other shoes, but not as flexible as the thin soled Vibram’s which try to simulate being barefoot as much as possible without sacrificing too much protection to the bottom of the foot.

      The Fila have the bottom of the foot well protected by a much thicker sole, and one can also walk on the ball of their feet and tip toes like in Vibram’s but without the pain of actually feeling barefoot.

      Both shoes can be put to excellent use based on their qualities and functions. Comparing them might not be the right approach, since they are entirely different shoes with different objectives besides the toe look.

      I personally appreciate the Fila shoe more, because I like relaxing sometimes and not feeling constant pain and burning from an overworked foot.

      The Vibram’s are like a tough trainer that wants you to be stronger and healthier and doesn’t support you much but tries to keep you a little safe at least, while the Fila wants you to look like you’ve got the same kind of thing while secretly giving you much more cushioning and support and not being hard on you at all.

      It is likely the nature of your foot will change based on the Vibram’s while definitely not being comfortable shoes unless being barefoot on hard or rugged terrain is comfortable for you, while the Fila provides more comfort but likely has less influence on the foot.

      See if you can try them both, but don’t rush into the Vibram’s without knowing that in many cases they have hurt people for a long time before their foot develops the appropriate compensations for it.

      • you have been so hopeful! Thank you so much. We are going to Disney and both of my little boys wanted the fila. I wanted to do some research on them, but after your comment and explaining each of them fila it is for the boys. Lots of walking to come in June. Thanks again. You were very helpful!

      • It don’t necessarily think it’s true that the Fila’s don’t do anything to strengthen your feet or legs. I think that the separation of the toes makes a huge difference in the way I walk, because there is such comfort and no pain, and it feels more natural, as if I were barefoot, but still cushioned. I think it does actually help. Maybe not to the degree the Vibram is supposed to, but I wouldn’t want to be wearing those outdoors. Just my thought.

    • Meh! I own both, and the Skele-toes and Vibram. They are just different. Skele-toes are great to do work in and general rough stuff. There more rigid construction and stiffer sole makes them great for non-slip gripping and working in. The Vibram, are better for long walks, runs, and fine tuned exercise. Vibram is a shoe you would NOT want to beat to piece on a work task. Skele-toes will handle the rough and tumble stuff, and they are a great entry level shoe to get, if one is experimenting with the idea of a toe shoe. If you like the Skele-Toes then the Vibram are like the Porche of shoes
      =0)

  1. Melanie. Your comment speaks to the mental capacity of a two year old. Perhaps it would be more worthwhile to speak to a level of someone with actual purchasing power.

    • I think Melanie’s comment was to the point and states her opinion as well as she needs to. You just come across as an ass who hasn’t added anything significant to the discussion. If you are going to comment, at least comment on the topic and leave your pompous opinions to yourself. At least I know Melanie prefers Vibram.

      • Listen up white night faggot, if she could elaborate as to why instead of resorting to acting 13 Robert would have commented on the topic but instead her stupidity has over shadowed the point of the thread.

      • Man: Dave
        Job: Good

        Melanie, either provide decent input or upload noodz. Wait, women run in the kitchen?

  2. I just found out about Skele-Toes today & did a quick research.
    Fila says they are not a competitor to Vibram, but a different kind of product.
    They are more of a casual walking, biking, etc… shoe, not a running shoe.
    Also, most things I’ve read say they aren’t as “barefoot” as people would like & don’t offer the same sole flexibility.
    If you just want a pair of shoes that separates your toes, go with Fila, but if you want something that can simulate being “barefoot” while running or other activities, go with Vibram.

  3. @Melanie I have to totally agree with Robert’s statement about your comment..It actually shows your capacity. Understand what a rumor/ opinion is.I haven’t ran into anyone that have experience with the FILA shoe yet..

    • Oh please, you mean a 4 word is representative to a person mental capacity. I’m pretty sure it was a joke, most likely because Vibram owners are loyal, satisfied customers, that feel that the fila shoes are a stolen concept.

      Don’t be a condescending douchebag.

      (BTW: These FILA shoes are of inferior construction qualities)

      • Oh please yourself, you must be telepathetic if you can gather any useful information from an evaluation like “Fila sucks”. I already know more reasons why you suck than I do about Fila. Don’t be a wanker and shoot your mouth off unless you have some kind of useful informnation to back it up.

      • you said “wanker” who the crap knows what that is….the whole world knows what they’re talking about when someone says something sucks…what is the big freakin deal “oh wow she might actually have a sense of humor or personality” which clearly you haters don’t!

      • I think the price difference is not significant enough to buy the inferior product (skele-toes) the Vibrams are very comfortable and easy to move freely in… I think the rubber sole is of higher quality, I personally use them for rock and waterfall crawling/climbing and have found them to be an amazing quality shoe with high durability… :)

        As for the moron whom doesn’t know what a “wanker” is.. Lmfao get out of the house and travel outside of your “hood” home girl… And for the people who feel they should seek out and have horrible things to say about everything… It’s the 21st century, let’s try standing upright and not run around dragging our knuckles like neanderthals for once… Try it

  4. I actually tried on the fils shoes and have to say that there is not much to compare with the five fingers vibram puts out, aside from the toes being separated. The vibram shoe gives contour and support all the way through the toes, where the fila shoe is basically a flat sole with split toes. For the few extra dollars I think it would be worth sticking with vibram until the other shoe companies work out the bugs with their initial models in this format.

    • Thank you so much Bruce for the valid info that I was looking for. I really appreciate you sticking to what a forum is meant for: information….not a bar brawl.

    • Thank you for the honest input and sticking to the topic, which I apprciate, I have both shoes and I agree with your input. However, I do like the Fila, but the Vibram is better.

    • I actually was one of “those” people that bought the Fila Skeletoes. I tried on the Vibram and liked them, but at the time was 3 months from running a marathon and didn’t want to spend the $110. Something I kept in mind until after the first of the year. I saw the Fila’s in a local department store since I do live in very rural America. I purchased them. I haven’t had any leg, foot, arch, back pain since wearing them. I complete a 4+ mile 6 days a week workout of running/walking. I love my Skeletoes. I have very tiny “little” toes, so I am nervous about the 5 toe concept. Not saying I won’t ever purchase Vibram. Just saying the Fila’s have been great to me! I try to wear my regular running shoes every once in a while and by the first mile, my knee is starting to hurt.

      Signed,
      Mona
      Rural Kansas

      • i’m a 11 year old boy i have a pair of vibram five fingers and now i cant wear anything else there way more comfortable. i have ran a 25k in my five fingers on trails. my feet have never felt better

      • my grandpa was getting corta zone shots in his foot but then he switched to vibram from regular shoes and never had to have that again

  5. I have the Vibram shoes and I love them! They are truly like being barefoot. I run in my shoes, weight train and work 12 hour shifts, they are so comfortable and light. The only downside is the tend to smell the more you wear them but you can throw them in the washing machine.

  6. They support using your body’s natural arch, and yes they do bend if you’re traversing a log…I recently went hiking in the Smokies and they were awesome. (Vibrams that is) I don’t know enough about the Fila to make an accurate statement at this time.

    • I understand about the bodies natural arch and I also understand the unnatural element that a flat surface like cement will do to your skeletal structure as your feet begin to collapse. Is there any arch support that will help to prevent that or are they best kept on natural grounds only. I love how people are understanding the beauty in nature, and it perfection but they seem to any times only take it with blind folds and ignore the rest. Which is why I ask. I have worked with podiatrists in my past and learned the importance of added support on cement. Does your back hurt more on cement?

      • I have the same concerns as John. I am very interested in the Vibrams but the concern I have is the arch support that they have or don’t have in them. I am flat footed, so I need the arch support in my shoes to prevent future problems. Does anyone know anything on this? Thanks

      • I’ve got flat-ish feet which almost kept me out of the Army back in the day. I wear Vibram and I have noticed considerably less foot, ankle, and shin pain/soreness when running in Vibrams than I do in traditional running shoes, especially in the arch. Yes, running on natural ground feels MUCH better than on cement, especially at first, but you also must realize there will be an adjustment period to the changes in running styles and it’s becoming more and more comfortable to run on the harder surfaces. However, I wear KSO’s which offers very little padding and texture with its’ sole and I plan on picking up the new KomodoSport (possibly the Bikila) which are designed more specifically for running.

      • John,

        I have multiple styles of shoes and usually change them daily because I do work on cement 8.5 hrs a day. I just started wearing my vibram bilkilas and have not had any issues with my feet or legs. As a matter of fact I have even less problem with my back and legs when I wear the vibram than I do with any other shoe, because I have more “feeling” in them

        Hope this Helps

      • John,

        I’ve run on cement in my vibrams for 2 years now. Initially it was painful to run more than 2 miles with anything but a light jog but in 2 years the vibrams and barefoot running has resulted in a near elimination of injuries from running. I don’t have the back or knee pain i had while running marathons on normal sneakers with arch support.

        as for arch support. I’ve recommend vibrams to all my friends who say they have flat feet and can only run with strong supports. 3 of those individuals were in road runners with me and after much cajoling they tried vibrams. after 6 months they’ve noticed that the natural arch in their foot is more pronounced, they don’t need special shoes for their flat feet, and like me the overall injuries/ soreness accompanied with our marathon training has decreased (if not vanished).

        I don’t want to make the vibrams out to be miracle shoes. But with slow steady training over 3-4 months will allow you to replace normal sneakers with vibrams for most activities. I personally lift/ parkour in my vibrams and save my sneakers for boxing/ muai thai. I’ve also used my vibrams when doing some impromptu bouldering.. though i wouldn’t recommend the vibrams for long/ difficult climbs or on surfaces where you need to smear a lot.

      • Many people wonder if the five fingers actually support the arch. it is a yes and a no, it does not have “arch support” if that is what you are looking for, but the placement of the strap does help to snug the sole of the vibram to the arch of your foot. At the same time, a “barefoot” shoe is not supposed to support any part of your foot, it is there to allow your foot to work in its natural way, thus strengthening your foot, and your entire body as well. So if your one of those people that believes a big clunky shoe with all kinds of cushion is best then stay away from the vibrams. but if you know whats healthy for your body, i suggest some form of barefoot shoe to everyone. not as a running shoe, but as a kick around. also read “born to run” its a great book that really talks about the benefits of being barefoot.

      • I run in VFF shoes, they do not provide arch support, as I have built my mileage slowly my arch has strengthened. A flat surface like cement is no challenge to a well developed foot. When I used to wear “regular” shoes I had foot, knee, ankle, and hip pains. I can run 8 miles on roads in my VFF Bikilas and the only discomfort I get is from tired or sore muscles. I also wear VFF’s at my job which keeps me on my feet on flat hard surfaces 8 hours a day. The idea that natural feet should be on natural surfaces seems to me to be shortsighted, people seem to think that all natural surfaces are like a football field. Natural surfaces include bare rock, hardpacked dirt that might as well be rock rocky trails etc.

        In short, VFF and other “barefoot” shoes do NOT offer support, the idea is to train the foot to support itself.

    • the FILAs can be worn for light work, like walking, cashier, sewing, tailoring, and a light workout. but can someone please tell me how to wash them. granted they arent the five fingers but then again not everyone can afford a $100.00 pair of shoes. most people have bills to pay.

  7. If you like the 5 finger style, try http://www.FutGlove.com.
    Use my name, Karen, and you’ll get a discount and free shipping. A friend of mine owns the company and they are better than Vibram – lots of research went into finding better quality materials and assembly of the shoe – and a little less expensive.

  8. People are wanting arch support? Well bless their hearts, the whole idea of these types of shoes is NO arch support!

    If you want arch support, stay with traditional shoes and don’t make stupid comments here.

    • Why is it there always has to be immaturity on these web sights. They are mainly about the ability of the foot moving around, as intended. That includes the toes and yes, arch. Mr. Rooster, I am sorry but you are wrong. Natural movement of the foot does provide movement in all ranges however it is un natural for the foot to walk on the flat cement causing too much brake down. It is possible to build an arch support that moves side to side and twists that gives way to only a little down ward pressure. Its called an arch. A half circle, that’s all. It will still allow the toes and muscles in the foot to be used, just not over stressed. The tribes walking barefoot, today, have very healthy feet only because the ground they walk on is more giving and shock absorbing, as well as there natural gait that they were raised with. People whom walk in nature naturally walk different and the muscles are in a far more range then the foot. I am not talking of a totally hard arch support and if you know much about “traditional” shoes you will find that the arch is not supported in those either, not even closely supported. The companies put the technology in the performance of the shoe not the inside. It takes a SPECIALTY shoe for that. Your arch is constantly breaking down inside a “traditional” shoe, but the FIVE FINGER shoes are not designed like that because they are designed to give the front of your foot the motion it deserves. Any more smart remarks?

      • @John, My comment stands. These shoes don’t have arch support, they were not intended to have arch support, and only the most poorly informed would not understand that. The flock of shoes of this type that are now being marketed are intended to compete with the highly popular Vibram Five Fingers. If Fila had put arch support in these shoes the reviews would have toasted them. The shoes are widely referred to as “barefoot shoes”. I would expect any adult to understand that long periods of time spent on cement “barefoot” might be quite destructive to the human body.

      • I’ve got one. If you’re foreign, I understand, but your poor grasp of the English language really calls into question the veracity of your scientific musings. This whole notion of arch support being necessary on concrete (not “cement”, which is merely the bonding ingredient in concrete) is a bit perplexing. I lived for years in Brazil, and the poor people in the city, like the poor people in the country, had beautifully-shaped (if not beautifully-manicured) feet. This was apparently a result of walking barefoot their entire lives, exercising the muscles in their feet the way they were designed. Comparatively, our first-world feet are flacid, sickly and thin. After four months in Vibrams, I’m noticing obvious shape coming back to my feet after decades of atrophy. The beginnings of an arch are making themselves apparent in my previously-flat feet, and my Chondromalacia Patella (grindy kneecaps aggravated by excessive pronation) is resolving. Just as shoulders grow strong, flexible and attractive from proper excercise, so do your feet. Which is why the Filas are inferior to the Vibrams. While they’re every bit as fashionable, the rigid sole completely defeats the purpose of the toe action. In fact, I would be concerned that the rigidity would cause some other problem in my feet, from my toes ALWAYS being spread. You might as well buy some old British Knights in extra wide and stuff cottonballs between your toes. I’m definitely on Team Vibram for walking on grass, mountain, concrete or the bodies of my slain enemies. If your feet hurt from walking on a hard surface, they probably need exercise.

      • @Rooster,
        Actually the Vibrams have amazing arch support in that they strength your arch. I have flat feet and now I don’t have any problems with them because of my vibrams. So I don’t think your statement holds up very well with actual evidence. I had to look into it and the finding are very convincing. Along with the fact that it worked for me..so yeah. Kinda makes sense huh?

  9. FILA tried to replicate PRADA shoes in the past with a shoe called the Helmsman looked like PRADA but and they were ok but just legal knockoffs… theses are the same…i have 2 pair of five fingers and i love them…i went in KHOLS and tried a pair of the Fila out and they feel like beach shoes with toes seperated no supprt or form… FILA is trying hard to get back in the shoe game and have failed….

    • That’s funny, when I first saw the Fila version the first thing I thought was that they just strapped a vibram top to a pair of flip-flops.

  10. I bought my Vibram Treks in February, they are the absolute best pair of “shoes” I’ve ever had. I tried on the Fila Skele’s at Dunhams and they did not even compare. The quality of the shoe is a drastic difference. I wore my Fivefingers to Dunhams and switching back to them from the Fila’s made my feet have an orgasm. I’m proud to say anyone who has bought a pair of Fila Skele-toes, bought a rip off if your looking for quality. Vibram Five Fingers are worth the price difference.

    • I have my first pair of Fila Skelatoe and Ihave enjoyed them. I am not much for name sakes and I felt like Vibram was not for me. I tried them and they are not for all people. I have not been very active but decided that I would like to start my work out and hiking in the new skeletoe and I have not stopped every since. I LOVE my skeletoes and I wear them every where I go.

  11. Darn. I was hoping this new Fila Skele-toe shoe would be a true competitor to the Vibram. I’m very intrigued with the science behind the Vibrams, but their shoes just don’t fit my foot at all. The sweeping curve of the toes of my foot is too extreme and my little toes just don’t fit into the shoes.

      • That’s the science. Until now the science was headed in the direction if adding padding and support when the whole time it turns out we’d be better off without it.

  12. I agree with Robert. Science (and marketing) has had it wrong on shoes for decades. Now somebody able to see through the BS has abandoned science and produced a protector for barefoot running. This is a good turn of events for runners and walkers.

    • No offense, but when someone describes the Vibram to me in terms of how it relates to the bones and soft tissues of the foot, how it causes a foot to operate in a natural manner whereby the foot and calves act as a natural shock absorber, how traditional sneakers act as a cast used to protect a broken bone and cause the soft tissues to atrophy, and that person describes all of that in an overly-detailed description of that’s going on inside the body with those shoes then I CALL THAT F****ING SCIENCE.

      Now I see that you have some emotional hangup over that because other science was saying that sneakers need to be the exact opposite, but if you would open your eyes you would see that since “science got it wrong” (something you admit) then that MUST MEAN “science needs another theory”. Now here we are with another theory and your hungup over the word “science” because the old science got it wrong.

      You are wrong and Robert is wrong. In fact the very reason you are wrong (the emotional hangup over the word “science”) is the exact reason advertising is able to manipulate a person’s logic and convince them to buy into junk science.

      Seriously. Get over yourselves.

      • Me? Emotional? Namesake, you just made the most emotional post in this thread.

        But let’s face it, both with traditional shoes and barefoot shoes, very intelligent marketing professionals are heavily “working over” and packaging the science to the point it is not reliable.

      • The problem with science is that it is practiced by scientists. Scientists have their biases, points of view, temptations, desire for money, and moments of dishonesty just like everyone else.

      • Good grief. If I had only said I liked them for their pretty colors none of this insanity would have been started.

      • It goes back further than that. I think the dude who was looking for arch support from this type of shoe needed to be blasted for his idiocy.

      • Plus everybody knows too much science causes ho-mo-sexuality! These shoes still look kinda gay to me though (even though there’s no science in ‘em).

  13. Scientist are simply people who study. Science is such a broad word and it appears that the bias is coming from you. I am the dude currious about the arch support. By the way, I bought them and they do have, in many ways, just as much “ssupport” as other shoes. How would you feel about socks having support douch bag. You will seee socks say this because they too have a diff kind of support. Vibrams mold with the foot. another thing. ever loook at a frizbe? picture the circle as your arch. it moves every other way except in. Grow up.

  14. people are rude. If you have some personal issues and agression to let off, deal with it in ways other then being a dick. I thank those who answered me and kept to the subject maturily. For the rest of you, have fun.

  15. If these Fila shoes have support then I am going with the Merrell Trail Gloves. I tried them on in Bass Outdoor Outlet and the Merrells have no support and simulate barefoot running. They are pricey but I will make the plunge. The intent is to have a midfoot strike when running unlike the heel strike in traditional shoes. This should lessen the impact on my legs particularly the knees.

    BTW, I like blogs and forums where the participants “go at it” and get to the truth.

  16. i have a question, i want toed shoes that i can use for everything, i went to the mall 2day and tried on bikilas and kso treks, i liked both but the bikilas i culd tell they were for running and not much more, i rly liked the kso treks though, but then i went to dicks and tried on skele toes, they felt just as light, but less quality, if i want to use the shoes for climbing trees, running in woods, playing airsoft, and everything, which should i get

  17. I have tried both, and I actually prefer the Filas. I have very high arches and wide feet, and have always found tennis shoes to be very uncomfortable. I usually walk around barefoot in the house and wear sandals in the summer. When I walk or jog, I work out on the treadmill in the cardio room at the local pool, and so I have been wearing yoga socks, which I had found much more comfortable than traditional tennis shoes. I did the research and ordered my Vibram Five Fingers Sprint, measuring them as described online. I waited eagerly for their arrival, and was so excited to open the box and try them on. Immediately, I noted there was a major fit issue. The shoe fit in the toes as it stated it should, but the heel stuck out an extra 1/3 inch on the base, while the ankle fabric was cutting into my achilles tendon painfully. I wore them around the house for 20 minutes, and at the end, both feet were aching tremendously. No one sells the shoes locally to me, so perhaps going up a size would help (although, would it not make the heel issue worse?). I suppose I could also have tried wearing them more to “stretch them out,” but I was fearful of spending the money on something that would always be painful. I was extremely disappointed, as I had so hoped these shoes would be the answer to my problems. Unfortunately, they are being shipped back to the store. A couple of days later, I saw a sales ad featuring the Fila Skele-Toes. I just went into the store yesterday and was amazed at how differently they feel. There is definitely less of a “barefoot” feel, but they feel so much better than tennis shoes!! I am bothered by having the two outer toes not separated, and I do wish it were less of a rubber base on the sole of the shoe, but it feels so much better on my arches, and most importantly, does not cut into my achilles tendon. In comparing the Vibrams to the Filas, they are the exact length and width, so I don’t know why the Vibrams were so uncomfortable to me. Perhaps the Sprint was a bad choice for my foot type, or perhaps I just have very oddly shaped feet. I just thought I would interject a counter opinion in that I actually like the Filas, so far. I wish there were someone locally who could advise about the Vibrams, but for now, I am using the Filas.

      • And yet, on their own website, they give you such simple instructions on how to measure and find the proper fit… Are you implying that they are, therefore, very finicky footwear? Also, if you are interested in this footwear, then you should only purchase them if you can drive at least two hours to the nearest retailer? That’s unfortunate.

      • Maybe foolish was too strong, but since VFF have to fit the foot and all five toes, and since human feet and toes are very diverse in shape and size, fitting is both critical and difficult. If a person is determined to have a pair and the nearest retail outlet is distant, he should be fully aware of the internet source’s policies and costs on returns.

        Personally, I would not buy a pair without examining the various models in person and having an in-store fitting. The exception would be if there were an internet outlet with a liberal return policy including shipping free both ways. But that is just me. You can suit yourself. You do understand that you can ignore anyone’s advice posted on an internet blog?

  18. This entire discussion has been very insightful. Both the bantering and the informative statements have given me a lot of insight into what I should buy. I had a friend buy a pair of Vibrams and swears by them. I don’t have a local retailer close to me and purchasing them online seems a little tricky. Reading some of the posts above, I believe my sentiments are quite correct. I tried on a pair of the Fila Skele-toes and was impressed. However, I did want to compare them to a pair of Vibrams. The Filas are reletively less expensive so I just may buy a pair and if I am in a city where I can try on a pair of the Vibrams, I will purchase those as well if they are as comfortable as some have stated on this site.

    Thanks to all who have posted and especially Sharon. I need that little extra sole to do some trail walk/running. I like the idea of barefoot running, but I don’t know if it’s good or my frame yet (6’6″ tall).

  19. I think it is important to emphasize that “barefoot” gait includes a mid-foot strike rather than heel strike as in traditional gait. If you want to know how you should walk in these shoes, take a look at a toddler who has recently learned how to walk and is walking barefoot. They land on the ball of their foot, with the toes and heel following.

    Also, when you try on a pair of Vibram Five Fingers for the first time, they will tell you they should be snug as they will stretch a little the longer you wear them. They will also let you know (if you have a good salesperson) that it takes a little while for the abductor muscles of your pinky toe to start working again (move it or lose it), and until that happens it can be more difficult to get your toes into the shoes.

    The other premise for barefoot shoes is that you can “feel” the ground beneath you so your body’s sensory recpetors of the feet can tell your body how to adjust itself to better handle the terrain (tread lighter, use other muscles, etc.) Watch a toddler walk on hard stone driveways with no problems, where an adult will have a harder time. The child’s receptors are working and able to adjust, whereas our feet’s receptors have most likely down regulated and cannot do that.

    Vibram Five Fingers also state on the tag when you buy them how to properly transition into using them. If you just go cold turkey from traditional shoes to VFFs and don’t spend a lot of your time barefoot, you could cause more problems in your feet. I had no issues as I’ve always preferred being barefoot, and even played volleyball without shoes on.

    As for the Skeletoes, I liked the lower price tag, but didn’t like that they are basically a flat foot shoe with some toe pockets. I prefer feeling barefoot even when I have my toe shoes on, so I prefer the Performa Jane VFFs (even though they are “indoor” only shoes). They are my favorite and I wear them everywhere! I also have the KSO Treks (for winter or when I am washing the others), and most recently got a pair of the Jaylas. Very comfy, and I like how my gait has changed to be more childlike.

    As for my arch, it was very high since I was a child (but I grew up practically barefoot in the country). The longer I wore shoes, the lower it got. Since I’ve been wearing the VFFs, my arch is still there, just with what seems like more musculature under it. I never thought about foot shape until someone mentioned it above, but my foot DOES have a pretty cute shape to it now! I always preferred wide size shoes, but my foot doesn’t “look” wide now, due to the shape changes. COOL!

  20. I am not a runner. I live on the beach in Hollywood Florida. I looked at all the toe shoes and picked Fila they feel great I wear them on the beach in the hot sand and in the water. I also wear them to work out in the gym; I have not tried the tread mill with them just weights etc.
    For me the price was great $39.00 at a local store. I can wear these all year round so I know I will get another pair very soon…….. Thanks Fila……….

  21. I have been an avid wearer of Vibram FiveFingers ever sense they first popped their funky little toes onto the footwear scene and I just bought my 8th pair. I have had foot and knee problems for a long while, however, thats all gone now. It’s truly amazing how much better I feel.

    [link removed]

    Great Post!

    Barefoot For Life,

    ~John

  22. Hi I tried, Vibrams and they have NO padding, so walking for extended periods of time really hurt my foot. Not everyone can run on concrete barefoot. I was introduced to another company called Fut Glove: http://www.FutGlove.com and they make a five toe shoe that is the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn. My wife also purchased their walking shoe, the suede ZIP can she walks in them everyday. I purchased my Fut Gloves and my wife’s pair from Dale’s Shoes in Daytona Beach, FL

    I would tell everyone to give them a try.

  23. both have advantages and disadvantages, hiking on trails with pebbles and sharp stones, i prefer fila, running, hiking on flat plain roads vibram is better, filas footpads are thicker, vibram you could feel the ground connection rightaway, conclusion barefoot shoes are for casual day to day shoes, if you plan on a rigid running, hiking, safety issues on what you step like very sharp objects just buy a nice running hiking shoes.

  24. I own a pair of both the skeletoes and the vibram five finger , the skeletoes feel more comfortable than the vibram ff and feel like they are built better too.

  25. I bought a pair of Fila Skele-toes about 6 weeks ago. For the first couple weeks I’d wear them casually. More recently I’m working on transitioning into running (paved trail) with them instead of my Asics running shoes. I’m not convinced yet. The first couple runs and I keep getting a large blisters behind the ball of my foot on each foot.

    Structurally, they seem sound. A coworker has an older pair of Vibrams. We were surprised at the difference in the sole. The Fila is definitely a harder rubber by comparison – though still flexible. As with previous comments, the Fila’s semi-rigid sole certainly protects better against unseen rocks or road debris. Coworkers can feel the rocks “sharpness” though dulled… I just feel the rock.

    One complaint… the Fila’s do not breath at all. When I’m running, I found they slipped a bit more than I expected due to even minor levels of perspiration from the foot. The Fila did include more strap options to, so I need to work on the fit still. In the end, after a casual day or run, my feet get pretty funky — far more than with a sock and shoe.

    I really want to try a pair of Vibrams.

    • Oh and before anyone gets snarky… yes, I’m trying to take it easy on my initial runs. While Fila didn’t provide any build-up tips that I saw, my coworkers gave me pointers he learned from Vibram.

    • I would definitely suggest you try Vibrams. They breath very very well. I used mine for a 5k and track in high school and they worked perfectly. The only time my feet ever move in them would be when they are wet from running in water. But I also swim in them..and do everything else in them too..lol I would suggest getting a shoe freshener for them though. due to the sweat, they can get a little funky haha but other than that, amazing shoes. Also, you can try to get the socks for them. They are expensive. but if you would like them, they are an option to try.

  26. its like choosing between a bmw and a toyota, vibram is expensive, fila is cheaper both breaks and are barefoot/ minimalist shoe but in the end its how the owner adapt, use and abuse the shoe. I have the vibram for a year now, i would say it was fantastic, the minuses on these are it doesnt protect from any unforseen road debris as some have commented, poor circulation and funky smell. I bought the fila it was cheaper and you got what you’ve paid for , i expected less, i would not say the quality was good but for that price it was worth buying, the pluses on fila it has arch, protects from sharp objects, cheaper, funky smell not so much as vibram

  27. i dont even consider vibram and fila as barefoot or nearly barefoot, because they have coverings, i still consider both as shoes, the huaraches would probably fit to near barefoot.

  28. I love my fila skeletoes better than my vibrams because with the vibrams i always get sunburned.
    my filas were $40.00 and my vibrams were $120.00

  29. I have a pair of skeletoes. I got them after trying on both five fingers and skeletoes. My reason was simply the double toe on the skele-toes. I work at a water park as a paramedic. The shoes are great. I generally work a 12 hour day so they get allot of wear time. About the 9 hour mark my arches get a little sore but not to the point it bothers me. I also work as a fire-medic in metro Atlanta and we cover part of lake allatoona. We have a response boat and they are great for that application as well. I don’t buy into the whole knock off thing due to the fact every thing you can buy has another brand that resembles the “original”. In short I would venture to say both have good and bad. I happen to love mine and could recommend them to others for like purposes. I have a friend on another shift that has five fingers and he loves his as well. That’s my take on the issue. Hope it helps some of you.

  30. I suffer from raw toe. These shoes are all niggerish . I have constant toe bleeds and have had surgery due to the infection caused by my own filth. Go barefoot th ese shoes mig ht as well be on welfare stealing all my piggy toe skin

    • It is obvious you have more then feet issues! Actually add something to a forum that could help someone instead of nonsense.

  31. Here is an excellent site (if you haven’t already come across it) that reviews a lot of “Barefoot” shoes. It also gives history and explains the purpose.

    http://birthdayshoes.com/

    I’m actually amazed at all the idiotic posts on this forum!

    It’s all about choice and affordability, however understand that there are differences and reason why there’s a price difference. Skeletoes are a different shoe and not truly “Barefoot” because there is a heel-to-toe drop. They are considered a “lifestyle” shoe. They are nothing like Vibram’s, Fut Glove, or even Merrell.

  32. i have no idea that there are people so engrossed with barefoot fad especially the vee brams. Let us remind ourselves that these are things not worth fighting for, why cant we have decent comments here, im a vee bram enthusiast too but i do respect others comment.

  33. we are a capitalist nation, competition is stiff, infringement of copyright is rampant, let the lawyers do their work, we call it democracy , stop the monopoly, overpriced goods must come down, consumers takes the choice

  34. I bought the Fila skeletoes because my little toe does not really seaparate well from the others.
    My impression: it was like a shoe, kinda stiff and very little toe movement. I was willing to put up with it, but then after 1 short use, the top part ripped!! I was disappointed because my brother had been using a Vibrant for a whole year and it still was holding up well. Returned them.

    Bought a pair of Vibram Sprint and they are a lot better. Much more comfortable and much better made. Bought for $65 on sale, same price I paid for the Skeletoes.

  35. I bought my first pair of vibrams two years ago. Amazing shoe. I have not bought another shoe (other than toms, my house shoes.) Last week I purchased a pair of skeletoes. The difference is clear! Even when it comes to casual walking vibrams are dominate over the skeletoes. Vibram will always be on top. As for the waste of my money (I threw the skeletoes in the trash) Buy vibrams.

  36. I’ve had a chance to both use the Vibrams and the Skeletoes and I prefer the skeletoes since they have a neoprene upper that fits nice and snugly on your foot.

    I tested both models for running (forefoot striking AKA proper form) and found no difference, although with the neoprene the skeletoes feels a bit softer when you flex your calves and push off for the next stride.

    I do have soft toes since I usually don’t go out barefoot, so for both models walking with a heel strike form does irritate the tips of my toes, but eventually callused up and don’t have problems anymore.

    Like they said above, Filas are general purpose, but work very good if you’re able to forefoot strike while moving. Vibram’s are more specialized and have more flavors for activity, but alas it really doesn’t warrant their purchase. All you need to know is that both brands will work great for you so long as you have a proper run/walk/jog form.

  37. wow – interesting/fun posts ! firstly – i am thinking about getting a pair of barefoot/minimalist running shoes. my wife bought a pair of Fila skeletoes yesterday and loves them. but it’s been 1 day. she bought them because they were on sale for $50 as opposed to $100+ for VFFs. i would like to try them and hope that it may improve my running ( i had an ACL recon 2 years ago so feel the need to be cautious when running ). i surfed and checked this website/forum for help and relevant comments either way. $50 v $100… VFFs may be a better product and possible better value – but when one is testing new ground it is farily common to pick a slightly cheaper option to start with. that’s where i’m at. VFF owners clearly love them. however a lot of Fila Skele owners also love their shoes. if FS have thicker soles etc is it possible that they are an iterim step towards VFFs which are considered far closer to Barefoot ? perhaps FS are the better option to start ? cheaper, slightly more support, but still encouraging the foot to run in a more natural barefoot style. or am I completely wrong ?
    may i also just say how much i have enjoyed some of the intense bickering on here. it raised a smile or two. i confess my reaction to the very 1st comment was the same as some others on here. she may just be trying to be funny but without knowing her intentions it just comes across as ignorant. i do have a sense of humour – not always appreciated either. i loved the science debate too. and the ‘idiot’ who had the audacity to ask about arch support ! oh my ! brave man indeed. oh how i laughed. in fact i think a little bit of pee came out !

    • If you do plan on surfing, I would go with VFF. They have lazer cut soles. Very very good grip. If you are looking for more running shoes, that still give support, look for shoes that have a thicker sole. The KSO normally have a very thin sole for light weight running. Lazer cut for amazing grip. Weight about 8 oz. While others like trek sport have a layered sole. With i guess you’d call them studs to stand on. gives you more of a cushion from the hard ground.

  38. Was planning on purchasing a pair online..was looking at bikila vs skeletoes 2.0…now i don’t have the privilege of trying on a pair ’cause it isn’t available yet in my country…how do i go about choosing a pair..and is it necessary to ‘feel’ before a buy?

  39. I would HIGHLY suggest to buy Vibrams. They are amazing shoes that I use for absolutely everything. Running, biking, hiking, soccer, volleyball, 5k races, training, swimming, basket ball, and a lot more! I first bought a pair of KSO’s and love them. Then got some trek sports for more hiking because of the thicker sole. The Vibram company makes fantastic products. So much so, that my military boots have a Vibram sole. If that speaks for anything. Also, Vibram has a much larger variety of shoes to choose from. Along with coming out with more insulated shoes for colder weather. And I bought my 1st pair for $65. So you can find them cheaper than $75. This is my opinion though. Just getting it out that I really do love these shoes, and hope more people buy them :)

  40. just bought my first pair of Fila’s. for my 2 cents, i think that the filas make for a much better hiking/climbing/and trail running shoe. The 2 little toes mashed together has actually prevented a lot of injury that im used to have with the VFF’s. Obviously the vibram line makes a better running shoe so i will stick with my sprints for that area of excercise. Not to be repeatitive but money is a very imporatnt issue these days and if the FILA’s do nothing else but get vibram to lower there prices a bit i would consider them to be a great success…

    Good start FILA

  41. Has anyone actually owned a pair of each and compared them? I hear a lot of people saying that fila’s have inferior quality… is there any truth to that statement? Personally I’m looking to buy one or the other, but honestly they look apples and apples to me (except for price). Don’t give me bullshit like ones constructed with better materials or one is designed for walking vs running UNLESS you have a link that proves what you are saying is factual.

    • Adam, I have a Vibram KSO and a Fila Skele-Toes EZ Slide.

      Sorry for getting back to your comment so late.

      The Vibram KSO like some of the other Vibram shoes has a very thin sole and no support for the arch of the foot. It is meant to simulate being barefoot, with some protection for the bottom of the feet.

      The Fila Skele-Toes have a much thicker sole and they have support for the arch of the foot. The Fila Skele-Toes are like most shoes, while the Vibram KSO are supposed to be like no shoes.

      The Fila are not inferior looking, and the bottom of the foot is much more protected by the thick sole. The inside of the shoe is also softer.

      You’ll hear most people say that Vibram’s are designed specifically to simulate being barefoot and in the process of being barefoot one develops a stronger foot and a more natural posture.

      Yes, but the process can be painful and even cause injuries if one over does it. I’ve read thousands of complaints about people whose feet are hurting with Vibram’s.

      My feet also burn with Vibram’s and this could be the way one’s muscles burn when they do exercise.

      The Vibram’s are not shoes for any sort of real comfort unless your foot is comfortable barefoot on hard surfaces. Vibram’s need training, and time to work. They are sometimes considered therapeutic shoes. Imagine walking in socks with some protection for the bottom of the foot so little sharp things don’t penetrate the bottom, and that is almost the experience of Vibram’s.

      I’d like to warn anyone who is new to this whole barefoot trend, that if your foot is not strong, and is accustomed to lots of cushioning and support, Vibram’s are not shoes for comfort or support, and your feet and perhaps even your leg will hurt with extended use.

      I used the Vibram’s KSO repeatedly standing, walking, and running for many days during many hours (way over 10 hours and more). My foot did look stronger and more muscular over time, and but my feet really burned. I also wore socks with toes, I didn’t know about all these smell complaints about Vibram’s, mine don’t smell though. Some people claimed that using them barefoot can lead to odor issues in the shoes, but the shoes can be washed in the machine.

      I am continuously very near to returning my Vibram’s for the terrible torture it puts my foot under. Pain in the ball of my foot, burning in the heel, and many other places including parts of the big toe. I only hesitate to return it, hoping that they truly are helping my foot to become stronger.

      The Fila shoes caused no pain, other than a little disturbance in the arch of the foot after being used to Vibram’s and not being used to having support there.

      In the Fila shoes I was able to run without any problem. I can run in the Vibram’s as well.

      If anyone disagrees, please don’t be rude, this is just my experience. I have been using both shoes.

      I like the Fila shoes for exercise where I don’t want to be distracted by the pain and burning in my feet from the Vibram’s. If it is true that Vibram’s make the feet stronger and more muscular, as they do seem to become, then they should be used as therapeutic training shoes to develop natural barefoot strength and posture.

      For extremely hard surfaces, and to have less discomfort with the toe style, the Fila is probably a better choice.

      If you’re going for Vibram’s you should be aware that they are to develop strength, rather than to support and cushion.

      I avoid the KSO sometimes because of the pain. When I want to move freely without concern for pain and burning then I prefer the Fila, while the KSO is specifically for developing strength in various areas of the foot.

      The materials of the KSO don’t seem particularly amazing, and the Fila does not seem inferior, though the price is much lower than the Vibram’s.

      Also, the Vibram’s have 5 toe slots, and the Fila have 4 toe slots.

      The Fila go on smoothly, easily, and quickly, and the Vibram’s take just a little more time to put on and to put the pinky toe in. The Fila have only one slot for the pinky toe and the toe next to it, and this makes putting them on much faster.

      The back of the KSO has a little piece of something that can cut the back of the foot if they are tied on too tightly, so I leave mine more loose and also wear socks to protect the back of my foot from the little piece that can cut.

      The Fila is soft in the back and it did not hurt the back of the foot or cut it. I enjoyed running in the Fila shoes much more than the Vibram’s, which can be fun to run in while feeling like torture afterwards.

      There is a whole philosophy that comes along with getting shoes that are like Vibram’s.

      The choice is to either stay with traditional sports shoes with cushioning and built in support, or to go the route of training your foot to function as if barefoot. There are many reasons people will justify one or the other.

      The Fila shoe is not truly like a barefoot shoe. It is comfortable, and has the toe fashion, but it pampers the foot and arch of the foot compared to the Vibram’s which does nothing to support the foot, has practically no cushioning, and only provides minimal protection to the bottom of the feet and fronts of the toes.

      The cover of the Fila shoe says “gravel, water, mountains, grass, mud, trees, rock, pavement, dirt”. It is true that I’d feel comfortable wearing the Fila as compared to the Vibram’s in all those situations. If I want to train my foot to be strong and barefoot without sacrificing the bottom of my foot to cuts, then the Vibram’s is the shoe for that. If I want to just run and jump and not feel much complaint from my feet, legs, or hips, then the Fila is the choice if you want the toe fashion as well.

      So to anyone feeling an urge to be mean, please forgive me for my opinion. I’ve been wearing both shoes, I even tested them for a long time on different materials including a cobble type of floor with many protrusions and grooves while wearing one type on one foot and one on another and the Vibram’s hurt like crazy almost instantly and the Fila didn’t hurt at all because they are almost like ordinary shoes with support and some cushioning and thick soles.

      I continuously test them because of my doubts about Vibram’s. I wonder often why pay more for just some protection to the bottom of the foot, that causes pain in the balls of the feet and many other areas, and I continuously consider returning them. It is only when I hear about the benefits of being barefoot, and how it develops the muscles of the foot that I reconsider.

      People saying they “love” a shoe without explaining what exactly is so great about them isn’t really helpful to anyone. People need to know about the pain that Vibram’s have caused many people. Perhaps many others have not been in pain, but there is still a risk of pain and even injury from Vibram’s and you can read about many of these experiences online.

  42. I just wanted to hear people’s product reviews (pros and cons, fit, comfort level, activities that the shoes are used for). However, I have to wade through people just bashing one another. This thread was pretty unhelpful.

    • Ty, if you’re still watching this thread, you might like my review of both shoes above.

      I didn’t bash anyone in my comment as far as I know, and focused almost entirely on the shoes.

      The pros of the Vibram’s are only in its supposed benefits of strengthening the foot and also that they are considered the top barefoot shoe by many people.

      I’ve written in some detail above in reply to Adam’s question about both shoes.

      So the Vibram’s are a trendy shoe for barefoot strength enthusiasts who want some protection for the bottoms of their feet without much support or cushioning in order to depend on their own barefoot strength.

      The Fila are easier to put on, more comfortable, more protection for the bottom of the foot, have cushioning and built in arch support, have a nice back, are constructed well, and are generally great shoes, but they do not accomplish the objectives of the barefoot shoes, and only look somewhat like Vibram’s.

      For someone whose foot is not practiced on walking on hard floors without shoes, the Vibram’s will most likely hurt and burn different areas of the foot, and may eventually cease to hurt when the foot is appropriately strengthened and used to the pain in the front of the foot as well as other areas.

      The Fila, being so similar to a normal shoe, will not feel like much of a sacrifice, while being at least aesthetically part of the toe shoe trend. It is supportive to the foot, and like anything supportive, it does not work to strengthen any particular areas of the foot the way being barefoot would.

      If people want to be practically barefoot, with no real comfort or support besides protection for the bottom of the feet, then Vibram’s are the way to go to strengthen foot muscles to behave as if they are without shoes while being protected.

      If people want to just have toe shoes, while being more comfortable, then Fila is the way to go.

      One could also buy both, like I did. Vibram’s would be used as a shoe specifically for its therapeutic and exercise benefits for strengthening the foot and practicing barefoot posture, while the Fila is used for running and jumping without worrying about the feet burning or being in pain.

      The Fila are slightly more flexible than some other shoes, but not as flexible as the thin soled Vibram’s which try to simulate being barefoot as much as possible without sacrificing too much protection to the bottom of the foot.

      The Fila have the bottom of the foot well protected by a much thicker sole, and one can also walk on the ball of their feet and tip toes like in Vibram’s but without the pain of actually feeling barefoot.

      Both shoes can be put to excellent use based on their qualities and functions. Comparing them might not be the right approach, since they are entirely different shoes with different objectives besides the toe look.

      I personally appreciate the Fila shoe more, because I like relaxing sometimes and not feeling constant pain and burning from an overworked foot.

      The Vibram’s are like a tough trainer that wants you to be stronger and healthier and doesn’t support you much but tries to keep you a little safe at least, while the Fila wants you to look like you’ve got the same kind of thing while secretly giving you much more cushioning and support and not being hard on you at all.

      It is likely the nature of your foot will change based on the Vibram’s while definitely not being comfortable shoes unless being barefoot on hard or rugged terrain is comfortable for you, while the Fila provides more comfort but likely has less influence on the foot.

      See if you can try them both, but don’t rush into the Vibram’s without knowing that in many cases they have hurt people for a long time before their foot develops the appropriate compensations for it.

  43. Here is an admission from the Vibram’s website about the pain and how some might deal with it.

    If my Vibram FiveFingers® hurt while running, should I continue using them?
    Minor initial discomfort is not unusual for some individuals, depending on your foot type and running style, but you should not continue if pain persists. Transitioning slowly to build proper strength is imperative when beginning to run in Vibram FiveFingers.
    I have always used motion control shoes. Should I drop down into a mid-range shoe before entering into a pair of Vibram FiveFingers®?
    While some customers have transitioned successfully using this method, we’ve found that it is not the most effective way to make a transition. More minimal sneakers tend to continue enabling a heel-strike running form, whereas running in Vibram FiveFingers means learning to run on the forefoot. We recommend running first completely barefoot on a hard flat surface. This serves a dual purpose. One, it naturally forces you to run with a very light forefoot strike. Two, it allows your skin to function as a failsafe, so that you don’t push yourself too hard too soon. As you develop a solid forefoot running form you can begin transitioning to Vibram FiveFingers. Slowly building your mileage is critical as your body needs time to build the necessary lower leg strength for forefoot running.
    Vibram FiveFingers® do not have a cushioned heel pad. What will that mean to my biomechanics?
    In your typical running shoe, the heel is higher than the forefoot. In FiveFingers both the heel and forefoot lie on the same plane, so there is no cushioned heel. If you are a traditional heavy heel-strike runner or walker, you might have a biomechanical change to make, but this change is likely a good one. Humans are not meant to heel strike heavily, particularly when running. Try running without shoes on; you will see what we mean. Running barefoot with a strong heel strike will send you to the sofa to let your bone contusion or fracture heal. One of the goals of Vibram FiveFingers footwear is to encourage forefoot striking, meaning your forefoot will contact the ground first then engage muscles in your feet and lower legs as your heel touches down. This style of running may be safer and lead to fewer injuries, in addition to being biomechanically more sound from an energy and force distribution standpoint. Basically, it is a smarter way to ambulate.
    Can I still run in my regular running shoes and use my Vibram FiveFingers® for training?
    Yes. Training in Vibram FiveFingers will enhance your proprioception and foot strength and help you run better, especially if you utilize the technique adaptations you learned while using Vibram FiveFingers. That said, if you do continue to use running shoes in rotation with your Vibram FiveFingers, we recommend you seek out flat, thin-sole running shoes that allow you to maintain the good technique you will have learned using Vibram FiveFingers. Many have used Vibram FiveFingers® as a training tool at first, but often make the full switch as their form improves and feet strengthen.
    How long until I see results in my training?
    A change in your running style (to a more natural forefoot strike) should occur almost immediately, with lasting adaptations within a few weeks. As your form and foot strength improve you will become more adept at forefoot running and therefore be able to increase your speed and mileage. Maintaining a patient outlook is critical in transitioning to Vibram FiveFingers. Remember, you are learning to use a new athletic skill. Many runners will feel driven to regain the mileage they were used to doing in sneakers in a short period of time. Doing so can lead to overuse injuries, because muscles and tendons need sufficient time to build the strength required for running with a forefoot strike. Sticking to a slow, but steady transition will build a strength base for longterm success.
    Some transitioning tips:
    Tips on correct forefoot running form can be found here
    Run no more than 10% of your typical running distance for the first 2–3 weeks
    After 2–3 weeks, gradually increase mileage by 10%–20% every couple of weeks
    If you ever start to feel pain during a run, stop! You can always try again in a couple of days
    Never run 2 days in a row for the first month
    Stretch before and after each run, focusing on calves and feet, because Vibram FiveFingers running will stimulate these muscles
    If, after several weeks of training, you are consistently very sore, you need to rest and back-off on your mileage

  44. Dear KSO vs Skeletoes

    Thank you very much for your review, I’ve been overwhelmed by too much information. but you made it really clear that i should train first and build up my strength before going completely “bare” with vibram.

    so again thanks a lot and i definitely will try out fila and gradually transition to barefoot. i wouldn’t want too much pain to ruin my running experience :)

  45. I loved my. I my vibrams but they cost $130. And Eight months later the sole tore up and they will do nothing to fix them so I think I will get a new pair but it really is irritating. Also I blistered up pretty bad when I ran on hard surfaces but wilderness was great. Really well designed for southern Utah style slick rock.

  46. i actually just purchased the fila skeletoes, they’re completely different than the vibrams. The skeletoes are more shoe like i guess you can say, but if you’re looking for the barefoot experience you should get the Vibrams. Skeletoes are great for running though.

  47. I have worn both & find the skeletoes to be far more comfortable as I have High arches & a small baby toe, so I prefer the last two toe digits to stay together as in the skeletoe design. The vibrams are wider at top therefore a little more difficult to get on than the skeletoes, I felt while in the vibrams my baby toe was being pulled to far out and it would put pressure on the outside toe bed & cramp my foot as well because the arch wasn’t high enough. They also failed to hold up over time …my feet screened get these off me! The skele-toes not so much! I eventually sent the vibram’s back & have bought a few more pairs of the skeletoes. They can get a bit funky especially if you wear them all day! They can be machine washed & I highly suggest adding baking soda to absorb the odor & letting them dry out thoroughly! So wearing them daily not a good idea…if you want to keep your friends! They do make toe socks to wear with them, however I never used them nor would I, sort of defeats the free & natural feeling. I suggest trying them both as each foot is different & both these brands have several styles to consider & compare. As far as the sole is concerned I think they are both substantial enough to withstand rugged wear, again it’s a personal preference based on your needs. I will say that the non slip grip is fantastic on both especially when kayaking or any water actvity for that matter! There is a short grace period getting your foot accustomed, but by in large This is one of the most natural feeling footware I’ve ever worn, not to mention, I get more people saying cool gorilla shoes… To them, I say …Thanks gotta banana!

  48. I bought the Fila Fivefingers and I like them. It’s my first shoe like this. I was looking for something significantly lighter than my Puma running shoes. I used them for Sprinting this weekend and I felt faster! I’m sure it the reduced weight of the shoe. These shoes handled just fine.

  49. at first i thought toe shoes were gonna be flimsey and a cheap product but they are more affordable than a regular old pair of nike’s and the arch support is amazing and they are most comfortable things you will ever wear and they are also good water shoes and hiking shoes . you can wear these fishing to wade out in the water with

  50. I bought 2 pairs of Vibram fivefingers footwear. Never heard about fila skele-toes before until I was told about it. I might try ordering a pair just for running an see what happens. I thot VIBRAM was a pat. footwear.

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