• Terrain


    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.


    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Price
  • Weight
    Men: 4.2oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 0mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Width
    Men: Normal
    Women: Normal
  • Release date
    Apr 2013
Show more facts


Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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84 / 100 based on 15 expert reviews

  • 78 / 100 | awesome_stuff | Level 1 expert

    I thought this was the one, the one with something with a little amount of protection. But, personally, I want to spread my toes, but it really didn''t work for me.

  • 70 / 100 | Pointless Traveler | Level 1 expert

    I'm disappointed that the sole is so thick. The way that the sole covers the whole bottom, it doesn't allow as much flexibility as much as the Seeya, where the sole does not cover the whole bottom.

  • 92 / 100 | Gear Institute | | Level 5 expert

    The shoe is equally suitable for high-mileage running, an indoor/outdoor workout shoe, or a combination of the two. They would make a great lightweight summer shoe for general outdoor use and exploration.

  • 82 / 100 | RUN Forefoot | | Level 3 expert

    These shoes have that glove-like feel to them and the strapless design of the EL-X really emulates the barefoot experience.

  • 80 / 100 | Feetus Born To Run | Level 3 expert

    There's barely anything to this shoe. No fastening mechanism, just a 3.5mm sole, and it is Vibram FiveFingers's lightest ever men's style.

  • 80 / 100 | Birthday Shoes | | Level 2 expert

    The only places they are not going to really work is running trails--yes, you could wear them for running, or hiking trails, but that'd be more an advanced experience you'd have to have a honed light impact hiking or running gait).

Become an expert

  • 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.

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.