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Vibram Five Fingers KomodoSport Review After a 21 Mile Long Run

Posted by on Feb 28, 2011 | 2 Comments

One run, 32°, slush-covered asphalt.

It was quite possibly the worst conditions possible for shoe testing.  It did allow me to get a great first impression of the  Vibram Five Fingers Komodos.  Keep in mind, these comments are just my opinions based on my shoe preference.

Pros:

  • Traction on asphalt, wet or dry, was shockingly good. They almost felt sticky.
  • The shoes fared pretty well without socks. My feet were soaked the entire run.  The only rubbing came on the arch of the right foot.
  • The cushioning did not alter gait. This is interesting, and I think I am reassessing my theory of cushioning based on the Trail Gloves and these shoes, which I will discuss in a post in the near future.
  • A few people commented on the shoes, probably because of their bright yellow color. Vibram is starting to produce some shoes with a bit of style.
  • There are no “toe pods” on the tread. Bikilas had small pods in the tread pattern under each toe.  This annoyed me because the shape of my foot put the pods between toe joints.  It felt like I had five rocks under my toes which made Bikilas unusable.  The Komodos have a singular tread section under each toe, which solved this problem.

Cons:

  • The arch issue is tricky.  It felt exactly like the Trail Glove.  When standing around, I could feel the insole touching my arch.  It does not provide support, but it is definitely not flat.  Unlike the Trail Glove, I could feel the arch most of the run.  It didn’t interfere with gait, but it did cause the slight rubbing issue.
  • The toes are annoying. After wearing “normal” one-toeboxed quality minimalist shoes for awhile, the separated toes lose their appeal.  There was unnecessary pressure on different toenails depending on how and where I stepped.  I had forgotten this annoying feature of Five Fingers.
  • The cushioning could be problematic. As I mentioned, the soft insole did not alter my gait.  I suspect this is a function of finally learning to run correctly with something on my feet.  Still, the minimal cushioning in this shoe would mask bad form.
  • Trail traction is sub-par. These will not be a good option for trails if traction is needed.  It’s slightly better than KSO traction, about the same as Bikilas, and worse then Treks.

Unknowns:

  • Will durability be on-par with older Vibrams, or Bikilas? Bikilas quickly developed a reputation for falling apart.  The older generations of VFFs had a reputation of lasting years.  Where will the Komodos fall?
  • How do they breathe? This was difficult to assess given the temperature.  I suspect breathability will be on-par with KSOs based on the construction materials.

All in all, these shoes will fill out an important niche in my toolbox of minimalist shoes- a winter road shoe.  Unfortunately, we are approaching the tail end of winter here in Michigan.  Once conditions improve, I’ll be going back to barefoot or Lunas if needed.  Still, I may occasionally use these for their intended purpose- crosstraining.

These Five Fingers will be added to my “VFFs Jason likes” list, which already includes the original KSOs, Treks, and TrekSports.

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2 Comments

  1. edh
    March 3, 2011

    Really not sure what the target audience of the Komodo is. I prefer to run barefoot or with KSOs for asphalt/concrete and for trails, want the traction and protection against small stones and twigs the KSO Treks provide. These seem to be somewhere right in the middle. You’ll never have adequate cushioning from a minimalist shoe – once you do, it isn’t minimalist anymore. Defeats the whole purpose of using your foot’s suspension system as cushioning for your body.

    They do look cool though. Wouldn’t mind having a pair with the KSO sole.

  2. StephenB
    March 1, 2011

    I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on cushioning, particularly if you take on whether cushioning and good form are compatible. As a 47-year-old runner running fairly minimally for a year, long runs on pavement in minimal shoes still strain my feet.