The Vibram FiveFingers V-Run running shoes may look awkward to some people, but these were designed to give the runner the feeling of running in bare feet.
At first glance, one might be skeptical about this shoe. The design might not allow for support or comfort for the runner.
The shoe allows for more connection to the type of surface you are running on, such as road, treadmill, or trail. It gives you the sensation of running in your bare feet while minimizing the risk associated with barefoot running.
The weights of the shoes have also varied with the lightest weighing around 6 ounces and the heel to toe drop varying as well. The Vibram FiveFingers are by far the lightest shoes I have ever run in and the first with a zero heel to toe drop.
Within the first week of having these shoes, they have been my go-to shoes. Using them has made me concentrate more on the position of my feet and my overall running form.
It has taken more than a couple of miles to get used to them, but in doing so, it has allowed me to strengthen more of the muscles in my feet. My gait has changed a bit because I was making sure that I am running on my forefoot—but it is for the best.
The design and appearance of the Vibram FiveFingers V-Run is a minimalist shoe. The shoe weighs 4.8 ounces and has a 0mm drop, which gives you the close to the ground running experience and promotes a natural movement.
The overall appearance of the shoe is very impressive from the protection that it offers the forefoot to the bright, vivid colors.
The Vibram fit is designed to allow each of your toes to have their own pocket, which may have some people concerned about wearing these shoes.
The toes slide into a pocket, which is snug enough to protect the toes, not allowing them to move around or rub against the material of the shoe. They fit like a glove would fit on your hand, but allow for natural splaying of the toes when running.
The fit of the shoe gives that sense of being more connected to the surface you are running on.
The insole of the shoe has anti-microbial Drilex sockliner
The Mont compound material along with forefoot rubber pads is flexible enough that you can still move your toes but offers a great deal of protection.
The laces are something that I am still getting used to; with the adjustable pull tab and the cord closure, it is a single-pull lace. Once you get them adjusted to the comfort level, pull the tab to close, Velcro it down, and you’re off.
The traction of the shoe is as good, if not better, as conventional minimal shoe, allowing you more of a connection to the running surface, which increases the responsiveness.
The upper part of the shoe is made from Polyester Lycra stretch material, which is well ventilated and allows air to get to the toes through the vent holes.
Vi-Lite midsole provides cushioning and durability. The deep treads allow the connection to the running surface but still provide protection.
The outsole of the shoe with Xs Run rubber compound in the toes and heels provides protection and durability.
The Vibram FiveFinger V-Run is a lightweight neutral shoe but maintains a level of comfort and support. The shoe design is geared to the runner who wants that barefoot running experience and is best suited for the forefoot runner, not the heel striker.
This is a first for me running in what I would call a minimalist shoe. And, that being said, I think it’s a great shoe—offering the support where it’s needed and the flexibility and durability to use as an everyday runner or trainer.
The only negative comment that I have is the laces. I just wish they were just a bit longer.
I have seen the Vibram in the past but never ran in them. But after this, I am a FAN!!! Overall I think this is an incredible shoe.
Fear No Distance
Vibram has really nailed the upper on this one, and you barely notice the tops when they are on your feet. Now, these are as minimal as minimalist can get so I’ll sprinkle in words of caution based on my own experience through the rest of the interview.
Fits like a glove is an understatement for this shoe of course. It is quite literally a glove for your feet, with an almost stealthy goodness once you find the right size for your foot - which can vary depending on the shape of your feet. Be ready to try on a range of sizes to avoid dealing with painful pinch points.
I’ve been acclimating to these shoes for about six months now and the only problem I’ve found is my mechanics don’t seem to keep up with my desire to run in these shoes. Be careful as they’re really, really fun to run in, especially if you enjoyed running around barefoot as a kid. It’s a love-hate relationship but I’m in it for the long run and taking my time.
Uppers are a synthetic mesh that stretches efficiently and keeps your feet feeling fresh mile after mile.
Protection is nearly non-existent so remember the tops of your feet are essentially barefoot. The lacing system is different and takes a bit of getting used to, but the construction seems solid and able to last.
Like the Merrell Trail Glove 4, the insole is stitched to the outsole, which provides incredible comfort. However, it seems to be lacking the extra bit of compression molded EVA that you can find in other models.
The Vibram outsole is the hallmark of this shoe (and the brand in general) and the Vibram Run, XS Run, and Mont compounds are placed in strategic areas that provide unparalleled grip on a wide range of surfaces.
Very little wear and tear are present after wearing them daily. I’ve put in over 100 miles running and see the sole lasting until at least 1000. If you are a barefoot aficionado looking for a little armor for your outdoor activities look no further.
- Durable outsole provides excellent traction
- Incredibly lightweight
- Excellent ride and responsiveness with considerable protection underfoot
- Minimal protection from upper
- Would not be comfortable for extended cold or wet conditions
- Smell will develop over time or need to buy special socks
For the definition of a minimalist experience look no further than the Vibram Fivefingers V-Run. The responsiveness and grip of the sole paired with the individual movement of each toe mean you have complete control of your foot. Your arch is slightly exposed on the side but if you’re doing serious trail running just pick up a pair of the V-Trails.
I can’t end this review without recommending to listen to your body when making the move to these shoes. Your brain will take a bit to process the change in gait needed with all the dynamics in play.
Once the switch flips, though, just be sure to only increase your mileage in very small increments. Do not think you have to comply with the schedule Vibram suggests or suggestions from friends. Just take it slow and have fun.
Vibram FiveFingers are what most people think of when they hear about minimalist shoes—probably because Vibram was one of the first shoe brands that decided to go all-in with making a running shoe that was minimal, comfortable, and unique.
This pair would be my second time trying out a minimalist shoe. The Xero Shoes I tried were minimal enough, but I knew that these FiveFingers would take it to the next level.
Look and fit
The colorway that I received was blue and black, which I thought looked really good. The most notable feature is obviously the separated toes, and this proved to be quite difficult for me to put on at first.
It always took a few tries to get my toes in the right slots. I have Morton’s toe, and my index toe is longer than the big toe, which made it a bit harder to put them on, but the slots were long enough so that none of my toes was cramped.
I found the lacing/tightening system to be really nice as it allowed for the shoe to encompass my foot snugly.
However, there were a couple of issues I found with the fit. The heel counter was quite low and often cut into the back of my heel, causing a lot of chafing and blistering. I solved the problem by putting pieces of tissue behind my heel, and it was fine since then.
And, I’m not sure why, but on some runs, I would feel a sharp pain at the bottom of my arches, possibly because of how stiff the arch area of the shoe was.
The V-Runs are fantastic at what they do. They deliver an extremely natural feel and almost felt like armor, instead of vehicles, for my feet.
They’re a lot thinner at the sole than I was used to on the Xeros or other higher stack height shoes, but it didn’t prove to be too much of an issue.
Weighing at just 4.8 ounces, the weight felt like almost nothing. They definitely brought me on to my forefeet, encouraged good form, and did exactly what they were built for.
The breathability worked well for most of the upper. The tops and sides were breezy during runs, but for the toe area, it wasn’t great.
On colder days, the V-Runs felt almost like gloves for the hand. With the snug fit, it kept my entire foot very warm. However, on hotter days, I sweated a lot more than I would have on traditional running shoes.
Another thing I found weird was that the little scaly bits at the sides of the shoe sometimes poked into my feet. They could be felt at the sides of my pinky toe at times.
The V-Runs are built primarily for casual road running. I live in the middle of a lot of hilly, paved roads, and the grip was amazing. No matter if I was running uphill or downhill or in a flat area, I always felt in control.
The grippy pads beneath the shoe were placed exactly where it was needed the most. It covers the forefoot, bits of the toes, as well as a little bit of the heel for downhill running.
I reckon these shoes could last until the outsole completely rubs off, which could be anywhere from 500-1000 miles down the road.
For $130, this running shoe certainly brings a lot to the table. The price, although still sort of on the high end, makes sense when you realize how many miles these can take you on. The outsole seems to be made of really good material, and the lacing system is certainly innovative.
Overall, the Vibram FiveFingers V-Run is a great daily training shoe for the minimalist enthusiast.
Although I found some issues with the fit, Vibram did a nice job of delivering the natural feel that they were going for. With an awesome outsole material and lacing system, the V-Runs will not disappoint.
The Vibram V-Run is my first pair of true minimalist shoes. It takes some time to get used to, but once you do, they take you to a whole new world of running.
The feeling is absolutely different from “regular” shoes. Once your feet get acclimated, it becomes really enjoyable.
You should definitely start with short distances if you’re not already used to minimalist shoes. I started with a one-mile run.
I increased things slowly up to about 8 miles in a single run. I might stay at the 8-mile mark for a while; I’m still trying to stay safe in that regard.
At 4.8oz, these are extremely light. If you’re transitioning from “regular” running shoes, it’ll almost feel like you’re not wearing anything on your feet. It really feels as if you’re running barefoot.
There’s essentially no stack height, no drop, and no midsole here. It’s the upper, the outsole, your feet in the middle, and that’s it. This shoe will not get in your way.
This is the most breathable upper I’ve ever run in. There are small holes all around it, which helps a lot with sweat.
I’ve been running with the V-Run in NYC in July and August, and it’s been hot — very hot. Despite the high temperatures, the upper managed to always stay reasonably dry, which is quite an achievement.
It took a few weeks for the skin of my Achilles to get used to the fit. I’ve used these without socks, and it caused small rashes.
FiveFinger socks are available, and in hindsight, I would recommend it, especially if you’re new to FiveFingers. I had to use anti-chafing balm as the rubbing caused small bleeding at first.
These issues didn’t last long, and the skin toughened up fairly quickly. I also realized that I had to tighten the laces a bit more to keep the upper tight around my ankle.
Tongue & laces
The lacing system is incredible. It’s so easy to use, you just pull the laces, tighten everything up, and lock it with the plastic knob.
There’s a small velcro piece in the front to prevent the laces from moving. It does not move a single bit as you’re running. It makes you wish all shoes came with a system like this one.
The tongue is fairly thin and never bothered me. It also never moved and stayed locked properly under the laces.
Granted that I have not run that much with these (about 50 miles), the outsole seems to hold up really well, so far. They look like they would last for hundreds of miles.
As mentioned prior, you need to be really careful with how much you run with these. You need to give your feet time to get used to this very different way of running.
As you can see below, the rubber pattern on the outsole is composed of small little patches. This provides great traction, and even on wet surfaces, I’ve never felt any signs of slippage.
The sole is really flexible, and it bends alongside your feet as you run. When running with the Vibram, you don’t really have any other options but landing on the ball of your feet. And when you do, the sole is soft enough to accompany the motion.
As much as I’ve mentioned the feeling of being barefoot, the sole is thick enough to feel protective. Small pebbles or gravels have never felt bothersome under my feet.
You will however feel slightly bigger elements, such as larger rocks because the sole is still thinner than non-minimalist shoes.
The V-Run is true to size for my feet. I had heard about Vibram having a reputation with unusual sizing. After measuring the length of my feet and using their online chart, I went with a size 42/ 9-9.5.
This happens to be what I use for every other brand—9 for regular, non-running shoes, and 9.5 for running shoes. Nothing unusual on that front for me.
I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room. FiveFinger shoes look unusual, that’s a fact. I live in a largely populated city, with many runners and I almost never encounter FiveFinger runners.
While wearing those I could notice the stare of people as I was running by. When you wear the Vibram, it’s almost like you make a statement, you’re a dedicated runner who does not care about the judgment of others.
Once you’re past this initial phase, and you only focus on your run, and you get to appreciate the benefits of this unique design — the toes being separated, there’s no chafing between them, which means fewer chances of blisters!
There are many reasons why this shoe would be a great fit for you. Whether you’re looking into strengthening your feet, transitioning to a completely new way of running, just try something new, or are already a minimalist enthusiast.
That being said, if you’re new to minimalist shoes, you should be really careful. The box includes plenty of instructions about how to use the V-Run safely.
A small booklet gives you toe exercises to strengthen your feet before you start running in them. My main recommendation here is to really pay attention to it.
As recommended, walking in them is a great way to get used to the feel. It worked really well for me. My only complaint is about the comfort and the rubbing issues on my Achilles.
Setting that aside, these shoes are amazing!
I started running a few years ago. Coincidentally, that was when the Vibram Fivefingers started as well. Unlike many others, especially women, I found their “design” captivating and I liked them.
That is when I purchased my first pair of VFFs. Here I am, many years and even more kilometers later doing a review of their model V-Run.
Before I bought V-Runs, I was searching quite a lot for a possible replacement for my older VFF KSO EVO (which I use for fitness now). After a long time reading on forums and searching on the Internet, I decided to stick with the brand I was familiar with.
I wanted minimalist shoes that would last me for as long as possible and carry me through my volume training.
If you are familiar with Vibram Fivefingers, you can skip this paragraph. For all the other, as you can see, Vibram Fivefingers are minimalist shoes with the uncommon design.
Each toe has its own socket, which together with a thin sole allows for greater mobility and better ground perception. Running in Vibrams is different compared to “typical” running shoes with stacked outsole and midsole.
These shoes are not intended for everybody and getting used to running “barefoot” style takes time.
Construction of the shoe
Materials used in V-Run are different from those used in the previous models. The upper of the shoe is from a soft, perforated polyester lycra stretch mesh and polyester microfiber.
The material must be the softest I have ever touched! It is thin enough, and perforation makes it easy for water to evaporate during hot summer days. While they seem to be intended for hot days and summer runs, I have been using them all year round, and I was surprised the first time I took them out in below zero degrees (Celsius) because my feet were not getting colder. My hypothesis is that it is because your toes and feet work and move in VFFs compared to traditional shoes, which promotes better blood flow.
The upper also stretches quite a bit, and I can say that out of all the pairs I own, these are the fastest to put on.
The outsole of the V-Run is molded into the midsole. The midsole is the yellowish compound in the picture, and the outsole is created by the black (Vibram MONT®) and blue (Vibram® XS RUN) areas. These are the impact zones that require more protection and grip used during a run.
What Vibram achieved by this is weight reduction of the shoe, which is only 136g (4.8 oz.)!!!
I have run in these shoes on different terrains - from paved roads, tarmac and some easy trails, wet, dry, covered in ice and snow. The shoes are quite grippy. I was especially surprised on icy roads. No, you cannot compare it to having shoes with metal spikes, but they held their ground during slower paces.
These shoes have been designed for roads, and that is where they excel! You can take them to easy trails without hesitation, however, beware of pointy rocks, which you will feel and they can even cause you pain as the thin sole doesn’t offer much protection.
I feel the need to talk a bit about cushioning here as well. While these are minimalist shoes with only 4mm EVA and Vi lit midsole, they feel very cushioned compared to some other models, namely KSO and KSO EVO. You might appreciate it if you want to transition from traditional shoes or when you run a lot and log many kilometers in these shoes. I never felt discomfort during paced runs nor longer runs.
Durability has been a big deal for me, especially since I started training and logging 50+ miles (80+km) weeks.
The deal is that no matter how durable, the 2.5mm outsole will wear faster than the ones with 1- 2 cm thick sole. Therefore, you can expect them to replace a bit sooner than your traditional shoes.
Here you can see a close-up of the wear after about 600km (372 mi).
As you can see, the rubber on the big toe is worn off more than on other toes, which is to be expected. On the other hand, I am confident to get at least one time the distance I’ve run so far.
The material, both upper and outsole/midsole seem to be quite durable (more than the materials on used on KSO EVO), and I expect them to last about 1,500km (932 mi), which is O.K. in my book. (KSO EVOs lasted me about 600 km before I had to retire them from running, still usable, however).
Regarding the durability of the upper, I have never experienced stitches coming undone or sole getting unglued on any of my pairs. What I have experienced are tears on my big toe (right foot only), however no with this pair - that issue seems to be trail running related.
Also, I have not experienced any rubbing of my feet and consider these shoes to be super comfortable due to the stretchy material and comfortable midsole.
The fit of this model runs true to the size. As I mentioned earlier, V-Runs have the most stretchy upper, and I can get them on the fastest of all the models I have tried.
Contrary to some other people’s experience, I have not experienced any problems with the fit such as shoes getting more stretchy or shoe being too loose in the heel area.
For me, the fit is perfect. My toes have just enough room. I only felt they were a little bit lose than needed when I sprinted in them, but I guess it also mattered of getting them tighter for sprint workouts contrary to wearing them more on the loose side like I prefer to.
Having said that, during the run I often forget that I even wear shoes, which is an amazing experience!
The Vibram Fivefingers V-Run is an excellent addition to VFF series, especially good for daily training and high volume running on paved roads. They provide excellent breathability while being usable all year round if the winter is neither too cold and wet. I recommend these shoes for any minimalist runner or people who want to transition into minimalist running.
The price of these shoes was what made me give its overall score. I bought them for 140€, which is pretty pricey. You can get shoes that are cheaper per mile when it comes to their life value, however, the more minimal the shoe is the lesser life expectancy it has.
I can clearly see that Vibram is improving the shoe design from model to model and every time they get better and better, which I am happy to see. There is always some small improvement in grip, stitching, breathability and small things that make a big difference.
Vibram describes this shoe as, “Featuring a soft, perforated upper to maximize breathability, this model is very comfortable.
This is an ideal running shoe for those making the transition from traditional footwear to a more minimalist approach. The thin sole construction lets you feel your run, connecting you to the true barefoot running experience.”
I was excited to put these shoes to the test right out of the box. It had been a while since I ran in a 5-finger style shoe.
I had been running in other minimalist-style shoes and trail shoes for the past year. Getting back into these during the peak of summer seemed the perfect way to get free of COVID hibernation mode!
First impressions were that the box was simple, but I appreciated the compact size of the box. I often store shoes on rotation depending on the season and not having an unnecessary giant box was appreciated.
The box contained information regarding barefoot running along with multiple size conversion charts.
The fit and finish on the shoe is excellent, the deep electric blue looks fantastic and contrasts well with the black sole. No loose stitches or excess glue found anywhere on the shoe.
I also really like the lockdown lacing system and its cord material is very durable and does not fray at all.
The upper has some slight give/flex to it and to conform to different foot shapes. I have a narrower foot than average and was able to pull the lacing system tight to have a very snug, sock-like fit.
This shoe fits me better in the toe box than many due to the flex of the upper. It should have no problems fitting most feet except for possibly extra wide.
The fit in the toes was a bit long for me, but in reality, there was less space between my toes and the tip of the shoe than in a normal running shoe. It just seemed off because the rest of the shoe fit so snug to my foot.
This was probably a smart choice by Vibram as too short of toes would cause many issues compared to slightly longer.
Other reviewers mentioned that overall, the shoe runs a bit long and I would agree with this. I typically run in a 41.5 to a 42 and even though these V-Runs were a 41 I had to tighten them down well to stop my heel from slipping.
On this note, even with the laces tightened most of the way down, there was very minimal instep pressure and no lace bite, very impressive and comfortable.
I took this shoe about 60 miles over primarily paved surfaces for the past month. The V-Run has held up extremely well and besides a bit of dust from some trail running, the shoe basically looks brand new.
The close-up photos were taken in the field and the woods are from last week and the shoe had nearly 60 miles on them by then.
I ran in these shoes both with and without socks. The fit was excellent either way and neither set up caused my feet to overheat or had any friction points.
The shoe is very comfortable on the road for a minimalist shoe, a surprisingly easy ride on both asphalt and concrete.
While still a bit “slappy” on the pavement, foot strikes were much softer and quieter compared to other 5-finger style minimalist shoes I have used in the past.
The only time I wished I was in a thicker shoe was the time I stepped on a particularly sharp rock while running at night without a light, but the large majority of the time I was running over gravel or uneven concrete surfaces without a second thought.
The grip of the sole on the pavement is very good, has a very nice ground feel and tackiness while not feeling “stuck”.
Running after a rainstorm showed that the grip is better than most road shoes on wet pavements and I felt fully confident changing directions quickly on both wet asphalt and concrete.
Running the trails, the grip was adequate, but not as solid as a dedicated trail shoe would be. This is most likely explained by the lack of tall lugs on the soles, which is a good thing in a minimalist shoe as that would cause a very uncomfortable and uneven ride on pavement.
- Extremely lightweight (4.8oz)
- Great color and durability
- Easy ride
- Great lacing system
- True barefoot feel
- Runs a bit long
- Traction on loose surfaces or grass is only adequate
This shoe offers a lot of advantages over 5-finger shoes of the past. Its fast break-in period and comfortable ride aid both those transitioning into a 5-finger shoe or runners with extensive minimalist experience.
The sole durability is head and shoulders over past models with only mild wear seen after 60 total miles and 50+ on the pavement.
This sole shrugs off most rocks and surfaces with a comfort unknown to most minimalist style shoes but still provides the top-level ground feel and lightness runners expect.
This shoe is quick, responsive, and makes sure you look good wherever these shoes take you.
Good to know
- The Vibram FiveFingers V-Run features the Vibram Vi-Lite technology that is designed to deliver a lightweight yet responsive cushioning. It absorbs shock during landing and releases energy efficiently for a solid rebound.
- This Vibram FiveFingers running shoe also features the brand’s XS RUN outsole compound that delivers maximum stable hardness on different surfaces. It also enhances ground contact for an improved running experience and it delivers an impressive grip on soft surfaces.
- It also features the Vibram Mont compound that is formulated to trekking, mountaineering and motorbike racing. It delivers highest reliability while running on different terrain at relatively low temperatures.
When it comes to the sizing, the Vibram FiveFingers runs large. You need to purchase one size smaller than the actual running size. It has snug fit in the heel and midfoot. For an improve fitting, the shoe has a single-pull lace for the footwear closure.
The outsole of Vibram FiveFingers V-Run is made up of Vibram Run rubber. It also has Xs Run technology that delivers impressive grip on varied surfaces. It is also designed to deliver improved ground contact.
The midsole of Vibram FiveFingers V-Run is made of EVA material for excellent cushioning and durability. The Vi-Lite midsole technology delivers a lightweight cushioning. It absorbs shock efficiently and maximum energy release for a more powerful toe-off.
The upper of the Vibram FiveFingers V-Run is made up of Polyester Lycra Stretch Mesh + Polyester Microfiber. It provides maximum breathability. It keeps foot well-ventilated, keeping it cool and dry all throughout the run.
How V-Run compares
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