Category Archives: Vibram FiveFingers

Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO Review

The Evolution of the KSO
The new KSO EVO is a new and improved version of Vibram FiveFingers’ (VFF) original KSO, which stands for “Keep Stuff Out”. It has a newly designed upper with a speed lace and tongue as well as an all new outsole. Is it a better minimalist shoe than the original? Read on to find out…

Quick Details
Price: $90.00 USD
Width: Narrow to Wide
Sole Thickness: 4.7 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 3 3/8 oz or 94 g
Insole: None included
Sizing: 36–42; Full sizes only
Category: Minimalist Sandal and Casual

Comfort & Fit
The KSO EVO is wonderfully comfortable. This shoe fits very much like a glove for your feet. The toe pockets fit my stubby toes perfectly and the speed lace clamps the shoe down for a snug fit for narrow to wide feet. The lace also has a lock to keep it in place and a bit of Velcro to keep it from flapping around. The faux suede material collar opens much wider than the previous model to allow a wider range of foot widths to get into the shoe. The collar is also minimally padded providing a very smooth edge around the ankle. The tongue is slightly padded to protect the top of the foot well from any binding of the laces. Although the seam is quite thick where the tongue attaches to the upper, it has never bothered the top of my feet nor caused any blisters, even when soaking wet.

There is no removable insole but there is 2 mm of EVA between the outsole and the anti-microbial Drilex footbed.

Barefoot Feel & Function
With a total sole thickness of 4.7 mm, this model has a middling thickness for VFF but still very thin for the minimalist market. The Max-Feel outsole design is fabulously flexible and easily bends around any ground contour. It has a grip depth of about 2.5 mm so even very small rocks can be felt underfoot. The outsole rubber is quite sticky and provides more than enough traction for any man-made surface and dry natural surfaces.

Weighing just under 100 grams, they feel like snug socks rather than shoes. Feet function naturally with the glove-like fit and flexible outsole.

Upper Qualities
The upper is made of a polyester mesh with plenty of airy holes for breathability, a faux suede around the collar, tongue and at the heel, as well as a rubbery material overlay on the toe pockets and in strips in strategic areas across the top and sides of the shoe. Although the mesh isn’t as widely spaced as the Vi-B, the upper functions wonderfully at keeping stuff out and allowing sweat to escape. Although not water resistant, they do allow water out of the shoe as fast as it goes in. In addition, they work great at creek crossings because they keep the stones out while not causing any blister issues while soaking wet.

There is no break-in period for these shoes and if they get dirty, they are easily machine washed and air dried.

Sole Qualities
The outsole is 3.5 mm thick and made of the same XS-Trek rubber compound as the Vi-B, which is advertised to offer “30% more adherence to smooth surfaces than previous formulas.” Despite the pictures on the Vibram website at the time of this posting, the outsole pattern is the same as the Vi-B with longitudinal grips rather than horizontal ones. Vibram has informed me that the pictures of the outsole will be updated shortly.

As there is also 2 mm of EVA underfoot, the KSO EVO doesn’t have as much ground feel as the Vi-B, but there is still plenty of flexibility to easily bend around ground contours and rocks. As the KSO EVO is a more versatile shoe with its enclosed upper compared to the ballet flat-inspired Vi-B, I can understand why a minimum of extra cushioning might be quite welcome to most customers, especially if using them for wet and rocky adventures.

There is no arch support designed into the shoe allowing feet to function naturally whatever the terrain you wear them on.

Overall Quality
The overall quality of the materials seems excellent and other than the smallest visible glue marks at the toe pockets, there are no manufacturing flaws in the review pair. The upper mesh has squares of rubbery material attached to the tops of the toe pockets, which I suspect is an effort to increase the durability of this high-wear area while still allowing maximum flex in the material, in addition to their being a nice design detail. This same rubbery material also crosses across the top of the foot and along the sides, and likely aids in structural stability and upper longevity. It’s a great improvement over the original KSO and will likely allow the EVO to last longer with heavy use.

Style
I like the look of the new KSO EVO far better than the original model. The laces look sharp, function better, and more comfortably than the original Velcro strap. The rubbery material overlays also add style in addition to structural and material durability. The faux suede lends a look of quality and improves comfort. All the improved design changes seem to increase the KSO EVO esthetics as well as either comfort or durability. I am thoroughly impressed with the changes and find this new model a significant improvement over the original.

The KSO EVO is offered for men in red/black, blue/black, and all black and for women in grey/pink and (thankfully) all black as well.

Uses
If you like the least amount of shoe between your foot and the ground no matter what the adventure, the KSO EVO might be the minimalist shoe for you. With less than 5 mm underfoot, you will feel plenty of rocks but also be able to easily bend your feet around the smallest of ground contours. With their glove-like fit and excellent lace attachment, these shoes are great for anything from errands around town to trail hiking to creek crossings. They have good breathability allowing them to be used as an effective minimalist running shoe as well. As I am the sort of person who likes as much ground feel as possible, I know that I am going to get PLENTY of use out of the new KSO EVO.

Value
At $90.00 USD, the KSO EVO is priced at the low end of VFFs and the minimalist market overall. Considering their improved durability and extreme versatility, this is an excellent value for an all-purpose minimalist shoe.

Summary
I bought my first pair of minimalist shoes in May of 2008 and they were a pair of original VFF KSOs. They introduced me to the world of minimalist footwear and changed my life. The KSO EVO is the new and improved model and VFF created a shoe worthy of being the successor of my beloved first pair of minimalist shoes. They “Keep Stuff Out” better than the original but they also fit and stay in place better, are easier to get on, have far superior traction, and will likely be longer lasting. They look nicer, too (although I’m more about function over fashion with regards to my footwear). If you only want one pair of minimalist shoes or are looking for a great “first pair”, the KSO EVO is a wonderful model to include in your minimalist footwear toolbox.

To order or find out more about the KSO EVO, check out the Vibram website.

Vibram FiveFingers Vi-B Review

My new all-time favourite Vibram FiveFingers (VFF)
I’ve reviewed over a dozen VFFs in my minimal footwear reviewing career. I can honestly state that the new Vi-B is my new all-time favourite VFF. It is the perfect combination of comfort, function, style, and (finally) breathability in a women-specific, ballet flat-inspired design.

Quick Details
Price: $80.00 USD
Width: Narrow to Extra wide
Sole Thickness: 3.5 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 3 1/8 oz or 86 g
Insole: None included
Sizing: 36–42; Full sizes only
Category: Minimalist Sandal and Casual

Comfort & Fit
Everything is comfortable about the Vi-B. There are no tight, binding, scratchy, or poking parts. The heel cup fits perfectly and the suede-like material on the inside helps keep the shoe in place without being the least bit obtrusive. The toe pockets fit me perfectly and yielded no blisters after over 30 minutes of walking. The collar is slightly stretchy preventing any binding. The mesh of the upper also has the smallest amount of stretch, maximizing the range of foot widths the shoe can accommodate, in addition to their open design. These shoes will likely work for narrow feet as well as my extra wide ones, and every width in between.

The Vi-B has no removable insole but the footbed is an anti-microbial Drilex sockliner to keep them smelling fresher longer.

Barefoot Feel & Function
There is no cushioning in this shoe, just outsole and sockliner between you and the ground. The sole thickness is 3.5 mm of fantastic flexibility so your feet will feel everything. Natural foot movement is maximized in this shoe with its open design and great ground feel.

Weighing in far under 86 grams, these shoe feel slightly heavier than a thick pair of socks and are just as comfortable.

The grip is approximately 2.5 mm at its deepest providing plenty of traction on any man-made surface as well as dry natural surfaces.

Upper Qualities
The upper is made of a polyester mesh with PLENTY of breathability; in fact, more than any other VFF I’ve reviewed so far. One of my few problems with VFFs in the past has been the lack of breathability, which causes sweaty feet, resulting in chafing and blisters. The Vi-B is so airy that this is definitely NOT an issue.

There is no break-in period required as they were instantly and abundantly comfortable right out of the box. If they do start to smell, which mine have not after plenty of wear, they are easily machine washed and air dried.

Sole Qualities
The outsole is 3.5 mm thick and made of XS-Trek according to the Vibram website. It is a proprietary Vibram rubber compound that “offers 30% more adherence to smooth surfaces than previous formulas” while also having good durability. As Vibram has been making high performance rubber soles for over 70 years, I’ll believe their website claims. I do know that I have had no traction issues whatsoever in all my testing on indoor surfaces.

The outsole is also extremely flexible, easily bending around pretty much everything I’ve stepped on.

There is also no arch support designed in the shoe. The only raised areas of outsole are at the medial and lateral metatarsal joints and they help keep the shoe in place on the foot without feeling obtrusive or limiting splay.

Overall Quality
The quality of the materials appears excellent from the rubber outsole to the polyester mesh upper. As encountered with many a VFF model, there is visible glue marks on the toe pockets but you have to examine the shoes very closely to see them. With casual wear, I suspect these will last many seasons.

Style
The style of the Vi-B is definitely minimalist ballet flat. It would be difficult to be more minimal with such little material and that being of mesh. I adore the elegant, minimalist style and have received numerous compliments from people, even from individuals who have confessed to not liking the toe pocket VFF design in the past.

The Vi-B is currently available in red, blue, and black. The only accents are yellow on all three colourways and they depict the Vibram logo. (I would prefer if they weren’t plastered with logos as I prefer a more purest minimalist look, but I can understand how Vibram might think otherwise.)

Uses
Need a comfortable summer sandal? Elegant minimalist ballet flat, perhaps? Everyday casual shoe that’s barely there? The Vi-B may just be the perfect shoe for you. I know that I’ve worn them quite a bit around town doing errands, walking the dogs, or out for dinner. They are casual shoes so I wouldn’t recommend running or mountain hiking in them, but they’re perfect for warm weather walking around.

Value
At $80.00 USD, they are priced at the low range for VFFs and the high range for a simple ballet flat. There are so few stylish, minimalist women’s shoes on the market that I would be happy to pay this amount for a comfortable, durable, and extremely versatile shoe as the Vi-B.

Summary
I was not exaggerating when I wrote that this is my new all-time favourite VFF, of which I have expansive experience. The Vi-B design and materials solve all the issues I’ve ever had with VFFs including a lack of breathability, sometimes constrictive fit, or the occasional pinching toe pockets. And they look fabulous, too. They have amazing ground feel, great grip, and my feet function as naturally as if I was wearing toe socks. I adore everything about them.

To find out more or to purchase a pair of Vi-Bs, please check out the Vibram website.

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO Review

A medium distance running Vibram FiveFingers (VFF) model
VFF is creating more specialized models with every season. One of their newest models, the Bikila EVO is designed to be a medium distance running shoe. It has a snug fit and a little more cushioning than most models. I think of it as a padded VFF for walking, running, or casual wear.

Quick Details
Price: $120.00 USD
Width: Narrow to Wide
Sole Thickness: 8.5 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 3 3/8 oz or 94 g
Insole: None included
Sizing: 36–42; Full sizes only
Category: Minimalist Running and Casual

Comfort & Fit
The Bikila EVO fits my wide feet very well with plenty of room for metatarsal splay. The laces make getting them on and off super easy and the lock lace clamps them down in place for a secure fit. They fit very close, sock-like in fact, but have plenty of flexibility allowing my feet to move naturally. They are too close fitting to wear with toe socks for me. The pinky toe pocket in particular is quite snug.

Due to the tight fit and lack of socks, the moisture from my sweaty feet caused a few blisters. While running, my big toe chafes against the inside of the toe pocket and 30 minutes resulted in a huge blister on my left foot. While walking, both feet got blisters in the same spot: on the top of my feet just below my big toes. I’m pretty sure that the walking blisters were caused by the rather large seam on the inside of the shoe at this area where the tongue attaches to the upper. It’s not so much that the seam is bulky because it does lay flat but the junction of materials rubbed my skin raw. Just to wear, I find the Bikila EVOs quite comfortable but functionally, my sensitive skin could not handle the chafing and moisture.

The material on the inside of the shoe is somewhat textured but in an unobtrusive way. The material of the tongue is quite soft and protects the foot excellently from any binding caused by the laces. The throat is thin but cut in such a way that I cannot feel it anywhere around my foot and ankle. The junction between the footbed and the upper is completely flat and absolutely unnoticeable.

Barefoot Feel & Function
I was initially apprehensive about the ground feel of the Bikila EVO with an 8.5 mm sole thickness, but as soon as I started walking in them, I could barely feel a difference between them and some of my much thinner minimalist shoes. The outsole flexibility is excellent, allowing me to feel very small rocks underfoot and easily bends around ground contours. I was pleasantly surprised with the great ground feel and ease of natural foot function.

Weighing in under 100 grams, the Bikila EVOs feel more like socks than shoes and I have never noticeably felt their weight.

They have an excellent grip pattern for more than adequate traction on any man-made surface. They are also grippy enough for dry, natural terrains. I would not, however, recommend them for use running in the mud

Upper Qualities
The upper is made of a polyester mesh (according to the Vibram website) and a faux suede used for the tongue and accents along the top of the shoe. The polyester is woven quite closely and doesn’t breathe all that well, especially considering their use as a running shoe. My feet do get quite sweaty in them and then stay wet. The weave does keep out some water although the seams are not sealed so water will enter the shoe through them.

There is no break-in period required as these shoes feel more like socks with a rubber sole than a regular shoe.

Like most VFF products, they are machine washable in cold and air dried. Because they don’t breathe all that well, I suspect they will eventually acquire some smell but after several walks and runs in them, mine still smell new.

Sole Qualities
The outsole is made of 2.5 mm of rubber, 4 mm of EVA for cushioning, and a 2 mm footbed layer. Although the total 8.5 mm in thickness might seem like a lot compared to most minimalist shoes, the ground feel is still great because of its fantastic flexibility.

Like all VFF products, there is no arch support designed into the shoe. In fact, the medial outsole design doesn’t even rise up and hug the arch like other models have in the past. This change allows the foot arch to flatten out completely and not feel any of the outsole up against it.

Overall Quality
The quality of the materials and manufacturing appears good. There are some visible glue marks at the edges of the toe pockets but all the seams are perfect in the review pair. The material of the upper is thinner than most conventional and even minimal running shoes so I’m not sure they will last more than one season of heavy running use.

Style
The look of the Bikila EVO is very much “minimalist running shoe”. The cut and colour accents of the upper, as well as the tongue and lace design, remind me quite a bit of old school running shoes (before the popularity of the massive heel rise). The raised bumps on the toes and bottom edges of the medial and lateral edges of the upper appear purely esthetic but do give some nice design detail.

The Bikila EVO is currently available in orange/purple, black/yellow/magenta, yellow/pink, and blue/green. Again, the colour choices are very reminiscent of current running shoe colourways with their rather loud combinations. These are certainly not shoes that could be called “subtle”.

Uses
Vibram advertises this model as their medium distance running shoe. They have a bit more cushioning than VFF’s original models (like the KSO or the Classic), in the hopes of allowing runners to run farther with less foot discomfort. I don’t really agree with this philosophy as I think a natural runner should have enough foot strength to run whatever distance they want with minimal shoe cushioning (I realize I’m likely in the minority with this opinion). However, if you want to add some rough terrain that you might want a little extra padding underfoot, I can see how these might be a good option. Although, they don’t have much in the way of traction for good grip on said rough terrain.

Although advertised for medium distance running, if this model fits you well, I think they are a nice option for walking or casual wear as well, if you don’t mind the loud colourways. They don’t have the best ground feel of the VFF models but it is more than adequate for a minimalist shoe due to their great flexibility.

Value
At $120.00 USD, they are priced on the high side of VFFs and the mid-range for running shoes. If they fit you exceptionally well and you’re looking for a running shoe for a season or two with moderate to heavy wear, this is a reasonable price to pay for a minimalist running shoe.

Summary
The Bikila EVO is advertised as a medium distance running shoe. For this purpose, Vibram has added a little extra cushioning underfoot than their more minimal models. Despite their 8.5 mm stack height, they have decent ground feel due to their excellent flexibility. Although I think runners should have enough foot strength in their feet to run any distance they like with very little cushioning, I can understand how some runners might prefer a zero drop with a slightly padded ride for longer runs or those runs on slightly rougher than all road terrains. I do think that a running shoe should be breathable and this model is sadly not.

They have a very snug fit so, at least for my feet, socks are out of the question. If you have a VFF-shaped foot and you prefer to go sockless with a snug fitting shoe, this model may be a good option for you for walking, running, or casual wear.

For more information or to order the Bikila EVO, you can check out the VFF website at: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com.

Vibram FiveFingers Entrada Review

My Favourite New VFFs
Vibram FiveFingers (VFF) has added a whole lot of models to their line-up of toe shoes recently and it looks like they’ll be continuing that trend in the near future. The new women’s casual model, Entrada, is a reboot of their original Classic and uses the same outsole as the recently reviewed Alitza. I must admit that the Entrada is my favourite new VFF and I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying wearing them walking the dogs, doing errands, and looking fashionable (that’s right, these are my fancy VFFs of choice).

Quick Details
Price: $75 USD
Width: Narrow to Extra Wide
Sole Thickness: 3.5 mm + 2 mm EVA midsole
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 2 5/8 ounces or 76 grams
Insole: None included
Sizing: 34–42; Full sizes only; Fits same as VFF KSO
Category: Casual

Comfort & Fit
I love everything about the comfort and fit of the Entradas. These slipper-like toe shoes fit my wide feet perfectly and all the toe pockets feel like the perfect length. Because the upper is made of a stretchy mesh, I have no doubt that this model will fit pretty much any width of foot from narrow to extra wide, even if you have a high instep or low. The elastic collar does not dig anywhere around my feet and ankles. The footbed is soft and has just the right amount of cushioning for my liking.

Barefoot Feel & Function
With a total thickness of 5.5 mm and a super flexible outsole, the Entrada has fantastic ground feel. I can feel any sized rock that doesn’t manage to get stuck between the grips (which is pretty small but doable if you walk on fine pebbles). The shoes easily bend around ground contours and my feet are free to move and function naturally with every step.

Unlike the Alitzas, the cup of the heel does not bother me at all; I’m somewhat confused and pleasantly surprised by this because these two model use the same outsole. In the Alitzas, I feel like the flat part of the heel is not large enough and I’m often landing on the curve, which is quite distracting to me. I don’t find this to be the case with the Entradas so I prefer to wear them both in terms of comfort as well as barefoot feel and function.

The grip pattern of the rubber outsole provides ample traction on wet or dry man-made surfaces as well as hard natural surfaces, again, either wet or dry. As these are casual shoes, they are not designed for muddy or slippery conditions.

Weighing under 80 grams, they feel more like socks than shoes.

Upper Qualities
The Entrada uppers are made of a stretchy polyester mesh with a colour-accented, thin, synthetic overlay that provides some structure to the shape of the shoe as well as design added as dots to the toe pockets. There is ample breathability as the mesh is quite holey, making them an excellent warm weather, casual shoe. There is no break-in period required for this shoe as they were comfortable right out of the box. They are easily machine washed in cold water and air dried. Like most VFFs, they will get smelly if worn without socks, so machine washing is a definitely a plus.

Sole Qualities
Just like the Alitzas, the Entrada outsole is made of a 3.5 mm TC-1 Vibram performance rubber and the midsole is 2 mm EVA. The footbed is anti-microbial drilex sockliner. The total sole stack height should be about 5.5 mm and is incredibly flexible. The Alitzas have no arch support designed into the shoe but the outsole mildly hugs the foot arch but provides no actual support.

Overall Quality
Although the quality of the materials appears excellent, the quality of manufacturing could use some improvement. There are visible glue marks along the edges of the toe pockets of both shoes of the review pair and one of the toe pockets is even separating from the outsole already. This model is definitely not designed for rugged wear, therefore, I highly recommend gentle, casual wear only.

Style
The Entradas are a women-specific, casual, minimal toe shoe with an elegant design. They are currently available in five colour-ways, including cream/black/grey, purple/violet, orange/white, purple/black, and a ubiquitous all black. I like the colour-accents and their simplistic style. These are the shoes I’ve been wearing this summer for walking the dogs, errands around town, and with some of my fancier outfits.

Uses
As mentioned above, these should be used for gentle, casual wear only. They are not designed for rugged use like hiking or running. As suggested on the VFF website, you could probably wear them in a light fitness class as they do stay well-attached to the feet and provide good grip, but they may wear out faster with such use.

Value
At $75 USD, they are the lowest priced VFFs and competitively priced in the minimalist, casual market. If you can find a pair with few manufacturing faults, this is a good price for a pair of casual, gentle use, minimal shoes with great comfort and ground feel.

Summary
The Entrada is one of two replacement models for the original VFF Classic. It has an updated outsole with superior grip and flexibility as well as a wholly redesigned upper with new materials and more mesh for improved breathability while maintaining the open upper and slipper-like feel. The new colour-accented design is a little more modern looking and stylish, and comes in five colour options. Compared to the Alitza, I find them more comfortable with their open upper design and I believe will fit a wider range of foot shapes and sizes because of this. They are extremely comfortable with great ground feel allowing my feet to move naturally. If you already love VFFs, these are an excellent shoe to add to your casual-wear shoe closet and if you’ve never tried VFFs before, this is a great model to start with and give them a try.

For more information about the Entrada and other spring/summer 2013 models by VFF, you can check out their website at VibramFivefingers.com.

Vibram FiveFingers Alitza Review

A little more fashion than function but comfortable enough for casual wear
The VFF Alitza is another foray into fashion for the famous toe shoes. The FiveFingers website writes that this model is best for fitness and casual wear. I do enjoy the look of the elastic straps as well as the accent-coloured dots and find them comfortable enough for short-term wear but a little sharp on the skin for long-term wear.

Quick Details
Price: $80 USD
Width: Narrow to Average (Wide is doable but pushing it)
Sole Thickness: 3.5 mm + 2 mm EVA midsole
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 3.25 ounces or 92 grams
Insole: None included
Sizing: 34–42; Full sizes only; Fits same as VFF KSO
Category: Casual

Comfort & Fit
The comfort of the Alitza will be largely dependent on the width and height of your feet. With a short instep and a narrow or average width foot, I’m sure this model would be quite comfortable to wear for long periods of time. With a high instep and/or wide to extra wide foot, the Alitza is not all that comfortable for long-term wear. The straps across the top are elastic and quite stretchy but after 20 minutes of wear do dig into my skin enough to leave marks. With a high instep, these marks would probably be quite severe. Also, although the black mesh around the top of the foot is stretchy and soft to the skin, the leather reinforcement at the heel is sharp and obtrusive to the back of the heel and my Achilles area. I believe that these problems are more of a fit issue and to be aware of while fitting this model, however, I find them comfortable enough for short-term, casual wear. The toe pockets and footbed are soft and I have no comfort issues there or anywhere else with this model.

Barefoot Feel & Function
The ground feel of the Alitzas is great. The groove depth of the outsole is about 2.5 mm so any pebbles larger than this, and that don’t get stuck between the grooves, can be felt. The rubber outsole is extremely flexible and bends around ground contours easily. The only noteworthy comment I have about their function is that I find the flat area of the heel a little narrow. Although the forefoot is plenty wide enough for me, the heel is a little small and while walking, I definitely feel the curve of the heel cup rather than the flat part. Being used to walking barefoot and landing on my flat heels, landing on the curved heel outsole area is different and, I thought, worthy of note for others as well.

The rubber outsole is a little sticky and has excellent traction. This is probably the greatest improvement over the original VFF Classic model, which did not have ample grip on wet or smooth surfaces. There is more than sufficient traction for wet, dry, or smooth man-made surfaces as well as wet or dry, hard outdoor surfaces. As these are casual shoes, they are not suited for muddy or slippery conditions.

Measuring under 100 grams, they feel more like socks on the feet than shoes in terms of weight.

Upper Qualities
The upper is made of stretchy polyester mesh with some leather-like reinforcing material along the edges and the heel and a closed-weave synthetic material for the toe pockets. The mesh is highly breathable and wonderfully airy. This model is machine washable in cold and should be air dried. There is no break-in period for these shoes as the material is synthetic, it will not change with wear.

Sole Qualities
The outsole is made of a 3.5 mm TC-1 Vibram performance rubber and the midsole is 2 mm EVA. The footbed is anti-microbial drilex sockliner. The total sole stack height should be about 5.5 mm and is incredibly flexible. The Alitzas have no arch support designed into the shoe but the outsole mildly hugs the foot arch but provides no actual support.

Overall Quality
Although the quality of the materials seems good, the quality of the manufacturing of the review pair could be better. There are visible excess glue marks along the edge of the outsole on the upper between and around the toe pockets. The stitching, however, appears excellent.

In terms of durability, this probably is not the longest lasting VFF in their line-up. The upper materials are quite thin and the outsole is a soft rubber. As this is a casual shoe and not a running or high-impact activities shoe, with gentle wear I’m confident this shoe will last at least a couple of seasons.

Style
The Alitza is a women-specific, strappy sandal-looking casual shoe. VFF has just released new colourways for this model and now has a total of six colour options including: grey/rose/purple, black/grey, black/blue/green, purple/grey, pink/white, and all black. I like the choice of solid or two-toned elastic straps and I also like the colour-accented dots on the toes and small mesh areas on the sides of the shoe. Vibram creates models that are requested by their customers and, at this point, I think has a good feel for what their customers like in terms of style for their unique design.

Uses
If this shoe fits you comfortably, the Alitza could be a long-wear, casual shoe for walks and errands around town or all day wear at casual offices. If you are like me and find the straps a little tight and the heel a little sharp, they can still be a nice option for a short-term wear, casual outing shoe for lunches or dinners out. Just because I find them to be more of a fashionable rather than functional shoe, doesn’t mean that if it fits your feet well, they couldn’t work perfectly for longer and more adventurous or fitness wear.

Value
At $80 USD, they are priced at the low end of VFF prices as well as the minimalist casual shoe market. If you love the VFF style and this model fits you comfortably, this prices seems completely reasonable. I would recommend handling the particular pair you are interested in purchasing so you can visualize the quality of manufacturing before buying it.

Summary
The Alitza is one of two replacement models for the original VFF Classic. It has an updated outsole with superior grip and flexibility as well as a wholly redesigned upper with new materials, more mesh for improved breathability and straps for a unique look and a more firmly attached fit. I like the look of the Alitzas and love that they come in six colour options. This particular model will fit a narrow to average width foot with a low instep the best. If you have a wider to extra wide foot or a high instep, you might find that the straps dig into the skin on the top of your feet. I find them somewhat more fashionable than functional footwear for me for this reason but could be a great option for all day wear for the right foot type.

For more information about the Alitza and other spring/summer 2013 models by VFF, you can check out their website at VibramFivefingers.com.

Stay tuned for the upcoming VFF Entrada review next…