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
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 4.1ozWomen: 3.5oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 0mmWomen: 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.
Heel heightMen: 4mmWomen: 3mm
Forefoot heightMen: 4mmWomen: 3mm
WidthMen: normalWomen: normal
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84 / 100 based on 11 expert reviews
KSO EVO first impressions & quick run review
So after getting back into running after several years of nothingness I just went for some "whatever" running shoes. I didn't really think too much about it. Went through one pair and then bought another different pair of "whatever".
However after about 300 miles in them, I started to ramp up my training ready for a marathon I was planning on doing in October this year, and boom! Shin splints... I tried to run through them and it has resulted in me needing to get an x-ray on my leg for a suspected stress fracture... Bad times!
(Worth pointing out that it was definitely a combination of too much too quickly, poor form and, I think, bad shoe choice that caused my injury.)
I've taken this 'opportunity' to take a look at my running. I decided that I need to sort my form out and following a lot of research I've decided to try out barefoot-style running.
I'll need to start slowly anyway because of my injury so it's the perfect time to start a transition to barefoot running.
Enter the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO... Excuse the pumpkin, I couldn't help myself!
These things look crazy! But in some slightly insane way, I also think they look really cool, especially once they're on your feet!
Everything about these shoes feels as though it was well thought out.
You get a real sense that the guys at Vibram really wanted to create something great for feet everywhere. They are so light that you could almost forget you have anything on your feet when wearing them. They're very comfortable and are meant to last for miles upon miles.
They really do fit like gloves for my feet.
The padded tongue adds a lot towards comfort in these shoes which is surprising considering how slight it is.
The quick lace-up system is genius, probably my favourite feature of the shoes because it makes life so much easier as well as adding a lot of security.
The amazingly comfortable fabric that encases your feet when you have these on and the fantastic sole come in close behind the laces.
I already know I'm going to get more grip out of these shoes than from my old conventional trainers. They stick like glue to my wooden flooring at home at least. Everyone knows that Vibram makes brilliant soles for shoes but these uber thin ones are incredible.
They really have hit the mark with the design here. It's responsive and flexible but feels like it'll offer enough grip and protection for all of the road and light trail running that I do.
The insole (the one that's barely there...) somehow feels more comfortable than my old running shoes even though it's mega thin! I guess that must come down to its quality.
It feels soft, firm and supportive all at the same time somehow. Time will tell how well this will last but so far so good.
Putting these shoes on for the first time feels a bit odd but I'm already getting more used to it. With the lacing system tightened, my feet feel snug in them.
It almost feels like I could just run and climb a tree without even worrying about it. I keep finding myself wanting to jump around randomly because they feel so good.
First impressions wise I really like these shoes. They feel very well made and I'm excited to take them for a proper spin. I couldn't resist for long!
After wearing the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO all day long, they got more and more comfortable. They were just moulding to my feet perfectly.
The feeling is actually really hard to describe.
By the end of the day, it felt as though they had been sprayed on to my feet! So I just went for it, a quick 2 mile run around the block. Really easy of course! (Slow and steady post injury and beginning barefoot running).
You can really feel the ground through the soles of these shoes, especially the rough bits. It's going to take some getting used to, especially where I run primarily on pavements and hard trails.
Having said that there was something sort of thrilling about it too. The feeling of the ground and the control you have over your body with these on is something else.
The grip was very good. It didn't get tested to any extremes so I cannot say how it'll do over time but so far it feels better than my last pair of conventional trainers.
I think it's not even just the sole that helps in this area though.
As I mentioned before the extra control you have in these shoes is amazing and I think that definitely helps when it comes to grip. You're able to easily make adjustments as you run to maximize traction.
My running form changed pretty much immediately after setting off for my run as well. A combination of these shoes and being very conscious of my leg I'm sure, but it felt so much easier on the rest of my body.
My feet are aching but my shin is not and that is something I've not felt for some time now. You're forced to run on your forefoot in these shoes and that, in turn, increases your step count, or at least that's what happened to me. Both of these things are ideal for form and reducing injury too which is great news!
Here's an image of the shoes post run. They still look brand new! Just brilliant!
I am so happy with these shoes, I can't even take them off now!
I would recommend them to anyone who's having shin splint or stress fractures woes! You won't regret it!
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Vibram Fivefingers KSO EVO – A Minimalist Runner’s Dream
I am currently a casual runner and was always decent at it though I never pushed myself to jog often. I was always a decent runner in the army (Singaporean men all serve in the military for 2 years) and I easily came among the 70th percentile of the group.
I’ve always been underweight and managed to grow into respectable 63kg in my mid-20s with a height of 1.7m. However, up until a few years back, I was struggling a little bit with weight gain as I was ballooning up to 70kg. Running became uncomfortable as it caused a lot of aches on my sole – something that never happened to me before.
I’ve since shed that extra weight through my weekly soccer sessions but jogging was still uncomfortable. I wanted to jog again to get fitter for my weekly soccer sessions.
I then stumbled upon Vibram which was based on the idea that man was supposed to run barefoot - that our body is mechanically built for running and walking. There was a study about how many African runners, Kenyans especially, started out their developmental years not wearing your fancy Nikes and Adidas but running barefoot.
If it worked for these guys who dominate marathons, surely it would be good for us, no?
Vibram believed that by running barefoot, you’ll be activating and using parts of your foot that you never used to since your feet have been mollycoddled by traditional cushioned shoes. In time, your feet will grow stronger from using Vibram and it’ll possibly improve your balance as you reconnect with your body like never before.
Vibram did get into hot water with these claims as it was not scientifically proven to do so but I really wanted to give this a try to strengthen my feet for soccer and attempt a radically different solution that would not hurt my sole.
Start slow and expect a lot of stares
Many people make the mistake of putting a pair of Vibram on and doing long runs immediately. For many of us, we’ve spent all our lives on cushioned shoes and our body is not used to running barefoot. Vibram makes it a big point as well with small brochures to “teach” you how to progressively use the shoes.
Putting on the KSO EVO is a breeze. You would just need to slip them on, pull on the laces and secure it with the mechanism and stick the end to the shoe tongue with the attached Velcro patches.
I would recommend not running immediately in these but take them out for a walk or even a trip to the mall. Get used to walking on many different types of surfaces from concrete pavements to roads to grass patches. Use this time to reconnect with the enjoyment of moving and feeling things on your feet – just like when you were out playing as a kid.
That said, don’t expect to see any celebrities sporting this on a fashion runway. These ain’t no Yeezys.
The Vibram look bizarre and people are going to point and some may laugh while you do your warm-up walks. Embrace its quirky design but we wouldn’t recommend wearing it on your first date unless you’ve got heaps of confidence and look like Ryan Gosling.
Improving your running basics
What I loved about the KSO EVO is that it got me to reconnect with running basics. If you’re a heel or forefoot striker, you would need to work very hard to change your technique to a midfoot strike. Work on that technique on those long walks before you move on to running or you might find yourself in considerable pain after your runs.
The arc of your foot is meant to absorb the impact of your run and help you spring off. This is what the KSO EVO forces you to work on.
With hardly any protection on your feet, I’ve also had to focus more during my runs to ensure I do not step on any pebbles or rocks. For this, I would recommend running or walking on roads and concrete sidewalks in the KSO EVO due to its thin sole layer.
It would work for the gym as well. If you’re looking to do nature trails, I would recommend one of Vibram’ outdoor shoes like the V-Trek that has a thicker upper and sole to protect you from the elements. However, do note that the Vibram is still extremely thin for a trekking shoe, no matter the model.
How the Vibram KSO EVO feel on feet
I was elated to find that KSO EVO did not cause problems with aching soles. Many ask how it feels to run in them. While it’s not cushioned, I feel that it’s…. just right.
Every step feels natural and isn’t painful and I absolutely love walking and running in them. There’s a thrill in running in these as you’re forced to be constantly aware of your environment, stride and your body like you’ve never done before.
The upper of the KSO EVO is made up of a thin breathable mesh which makes running in them cool – especially when you live in a hot and humid environment like Singapore.
I also noticed that my quads and calves were given a good workout when running in these shoes – especially my calves.
So please warm up properly and cool down with a good ol’ stretch after your runs with a focus on the muscles that feel most worked out.
Disadvantages of Vibram
I recently spoke to a physio who does ultra-marathons and she told me that while she loved her Vibram, they were quite “slow” shoes. What she meant by this was that the hard impact of your feet against the ground caused a dissolution of your blood platelets at the point of impact.
This isn’t ideal as your platelets transport oxygen around your body to reduce the onset of fatigue on long runs and keep you fresher for longer periods. I haven’t put that theory to test but it seems quite logical.
Another disadvantage, on paper that is, is that unlike your Nike React and Adidas Boost technology which aids with a slight bounce in every step, the KSO EVO does not have this effect.
In theory, this bounce helps with an energy transfer and allows you to use less energy to kick off every step. This is also another sound theory but not tested by me.
The biggest drawback I have experienced would be the shocking pain you would feel when you stepped on a pebble or stone. In my 2 years in the KSO EVOs, I never stepped on any objected until my first 10k run.
It was only 3km in when I stepped on a pebble. Adrenaline ensured that the pain did not haunt me for much of the run until the race ended. The soreness stuck with me for a week.
I usually wore my Vibram without socks and could do 2 runs in them before washing them. However, odors started developing even after the wash so I would recommend wearing socks with your runs.
Get “Injinji” toe socks which were made for barefoot running and is perfect with the Vibram “Fivefingers” format. They provide a small bit of cushioning for a slight touch of comfort.
Hand washes with cold water and some detergent and air dry, preferably under the sun. As it’s really humid here in Singapore, they do take a longer time to dry (possibly 18 hours) unless I can sun them which may cut down the drying to half a day.
The mesh upper is easy to dry but there are some suede liners around the cuff of the shoe which takes a bit longer to do so due to its thicker material.
I’ve noticed a splitting of the upper from the rubber base around the lateral and underside of the big toe on the right foot. I’ve had the shoes for about 2 years and I’m not sure if this is occurring due to poor workmanship, an accidental stub of my toe, constant washing, and sun drying or just pure wear and tear.
I suspect the washing might have got to do with it so I would recommend using socks to reduce the number of times you wash the shoes.
The rest of the shoe still looks fine so I doubt there are major durability issues with the KSO EVO.
I love my Vibram KSO EVO
I honestly cannot see myself running in any other shoe after this. If and when my shoe breaks down, I am off to buy another pair of Vibram. No other shoe can replicate the tactile feel of every step you make.
The girlfriend has been bugging me to buy a more “traditional” pair of shoes to avoid injuries (like stepping on a pebble during my 10k race) and I relented, buying the new Nike Epic React. The Nike is extremely bouncy, plush and soft and I really hope it improves my timing for my next 10k as per the theory above about speed.
However, I find myself slipping back into the Vibram time and time again. The Nikes of this world just cannot match up to the tactile, primal and thrilling nature of barefoot running.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Brilliant ground perception, brilliant tread, lightweight, super flexible.
These have great grip, don't smell as bad as sole runners, easy to clean and pretty durable.
Updates to Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO
- The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO is an all-encompassing pair of shoes that are actually shaped like actual feet. Each toe even gets to be wrapped entirely by its fabrics and systems. Made from durable components, this running shoe ensures the comfort and safety of its wearer, keeping the performance as lightweight and natural as possible without sacrificing quality protection and efficacy.
- The upper unit of this running shoe uses durable polyester to ensure that it stays intact, even after many uses. It is not stiff in form, so it allows the foot to be as flexible as it is able. The inner lining features a soft mesh that’s not irritating to the skin. A speed lacing system permits fast adjustment to the fit, therefore keeping the coverage easy to manipulate.
- The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO utilizes individual toe slots, which change its façade to actually look like the shape of the human foot. The purposes of this design is to enhance the natural dexterity and versatility of the foot’s movements, enabling the toes to splay naturally and let the shoe adapt to the runner’s own biomechanics.
- The sole unit uses 2mm EVA, which isn’t much compared to the usual thickness of running shoes’ mid-soles, but it’s meant to be that way because it aims to deliver a barefoot-like running experience on all types of terrain.
- The outsole uses a high quality compound that is created to withstand abrasion or wear. It is able to hold onto a variety of surfaces with ease, making sure that the running experience of its wearer isn’t limited or restricted to just flat surfaces. It can even handle trail adventures.
Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO size and fit
The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO is true to its size. The sizing scheme that is used for this model follows the regular measurements when it comes to length. Its width is medium, so it allows those with medium sized feet to acclimate well to it when wearing it. Its semi-curved shape follows the natural curvature of the human foot.
The Vibram XS Trek is a rubber material that is of high quality make. The durability of this section is reliable; it doesn’t easily wear off or lose its efficacy, even after many uses. Traction over the surfaces is very much afforded to the runner.
The platform of the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO is very flexible. It allows the foot to move naturally through the gait cycle, making sure that the focus is given to the preference of the wearer, in terms of performance.
A 2mm Ethylene vinyl acetate foam is used as the underfoot cushioning system of this foot-shaped shoe. It is comfortable and it provides mild comfort that’ll make each ground contact easier and smoother.
The Drilex® nylon covers the EVA foam. It features anti-microbial and anti-moisture capabilities, thus keeping the interior as clean and healthy as possible for the foot.
Durable polyester makes up the main upper fabric of the FiveFingers KSO EVO. It covers the foot well, hugging it snugly and securely. It even allows air to enter the shoe in order keep the foot cool and dry.
The lining has polyester mesh, which is soft and smooth. The runner can even wear this without socks, as it doesn’t make the coverage feel irritating.
A speed lacing system makes it easier for runners to adjust the fit. Only one tug from the laces and the shoe will be able to feel adequately tight or loose. No knots are needed for this.