After getting the feel for my KSO Treks over the summer (read review of KSO Trek) I decided to get another pair of Vibram Fivefingers for a recent trip to the Bahamas. After searching the blogs and forums about wearing Fivefingers for swimming, I wanted to share my experience.
Choosing the Shoe
The KSO Trek is a great shoe but I knew I would need a different barefoot shoe that was more lightweight that would dry fast and hold up in salt water. Since the KSO Trek has a leather upper, I didn’t want to take the chance of exposing them to salt water. Since the Sprint has an upper made of polyamide fabric that slightly exposes the foot, it seemed like the best toe shoe for the situation.
The Sprint has the thinnest sole available which is great for situations where you know you will be on relatively tame surfaces such as sidewalks, roads, tile, dirt or grass… you get the idea. Compaired to the KSO Trek, the sole on the Sprint is noticably more thin as soon as you put them on. As a person who strays from the beaten path I was worried about this, since I wasn’t sure what I should expect to find. Those worries were quickly put to rest after exploring a trail that lead off into the woods. Once I reached a point where the only noise I heard was the breeze passing through the leaves, I left the trail to find my way through the woods to a beautiful beach, scattered with large chunks of jaged coral which I could easily walk accross comfortably. Other chunks of coral were erroded and had sand all over them, I was still able to get good traction and balance on these pieces of coral. That brings me to another point…
Traction, Balance & Comfort on almost any Surface
Another one of my concerns was put to rest when dealing with wet surfaces. The razor siped sole handled very well from smooth wet vynil and tile to wet cobble stone roads. These soles are so thin, I could feel when surfaces beneath my feet were wet, without even getting my foot wet! That is how “barefoot” these shoes are!
Walking the sand on the beach on the other hand was somewhat of a hassle. Since part of your foot is exposed, it allows for sand to get into the shoe, which made for very uncomfortable walking. However, once you get in the water they rinse out very well. If you are a barefoot kind of person, you will most likely prefer to actually walk barefoot on a beach anyway. After all, who doesn’t love the feel of the beach beneath there feet. If you do need or want to wear a shoe on a sandy beach, the KSO would be a better choice.. After all “KSO” stands for “Keeps Stuff Out”. While hiking through the woods tredding through lakes and swamps and running up rocky mountain sides, I haven’t had anything get into my KSO Treks.
A Genaral Note: When Purchasing Vibram Fivefingers
Another note that deserves mentioning that applies to the purchase of any Vibram Fivefingers is the fit and comfort. While the size may be correct, I have experience discomfort due to a poorly sewn seam wich hurt my foot after wearing the shoes for an hour. If the shoe does not fit correctly, inspect it. If something doesn’t look right, send it back for an exchange. It pretty much goes without saying that these shoes do have a fit that is different than any other shoe. So, wear them around the house for a little while before sending them back. Before purchasing a pair of these shoes, consult Vibram’s website for sizing instructions and size charts.