Updates to Vibram FiveFingers EL-X

  • Unlike some of the shoes in Vibram’s arsenal, the FiveFingers El-X does not use laces or a Velcro strap to keep the foot down. Hence, the upper is made of polyester stretch mesh to accommodate the foot with the help of very thin TPU overlays. The upper design offers a snug fit that is truly like a second skin.
  • The grip, a little cushioning, and a bit of protection is made possible by the 3mm outsole. It resembles the serrated pattern of a blade for traction and is non-marking, which makes it excellent for indoor or gym workouts.
  • Vibram uses a Dri-Lex nylon linings inside the shoe to wick moisture away. The EVA insole also uses the same Dri-Lex technology for more of the same moisture-wicking capacity.
  • A unique feature in Vibram are the 5 individual toe slots. It brings natural running form and freedom of movement to a different level with this kind of design. Vibram claims that it also helps with stability and control when working out or when running.

Size and fit

As made obvious by the reviewers, the EL-X has a rather tight fit as it is needed to keep hold of the foot since it does not rely on traditional laces or straps for security. Vibram has its own sizing and it should be very helpful if runners are familiar with this. Otherwise, being able to try the shoe on should be the best possible way in getting the right fit. Once the right fit is found, the shoe has adequate heel and midfoot hold that runners should not slip out of the shoe. The toe slots allow the toes to comfortably splay. It runs fairly true to size.


Vibram uses its brand-exclusive TC-1 rubber in the outsole of the FiveFingers EL-X for a combination of traction and a little underfoot protection. It is only 3mm so there should be optimal ground feedback. This outsole material is also used in the Vibram Bikila and other Vibram FiveFingers running shoes.

The serrated design of the outsole gives it quite a good grip on multiple surfaces. It is also non-marking for those who would use the shoe for cross training in the gym.


There is technically no midsole in the Vibram EL-X. A 2mm EVA insole with Dri-Lex antimicrobial properties act as the nominal midsole for a little cushioning and underfoot protection.


The upper is an innovative combination of stretch polyester mesh, TPU overlays, and Coconut Active Carbon Fabric that snugly holds the foot when running or working out. It is a super minimalist upper that is also breathable. There are no laces or strap to secure the fit so the upper relies on optimal fit to keep the shoe from slipping.


How Vibram FiveFingers EL-X ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 29% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 29% Vibram FiveFingers running shoes
All Vibram FiveFingers running shoes
Top 38% zero drop running shoes
All zero drop running shoes


The current trend of Vibram FiveFingers EL-X.
Compare to another shoe:
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.