I love adding more and more minimalist running shoes to my arsenal! My preferred, go-to minimalist running shoe, when I’m not running barefoot, are the Vibram Five Fingers, mainly because the overall structure of their shoes compliments the anatomy of the foot and provides the foot greater opportunity to self-strengthen, an opportunity that we do not have in regular traditional running shoes. This is one of the Vibram Five Fingers greatest strengths!
I particularly enjoy running in the Vibram Five Fingers KSO EVO, which are one of Vibram’s thinner, softer, lighter running shoes and are made for both road and trail running. They provide warmth for running in cooler weather AND Vibram has improved the inner-lining material conditions, so that the inside of the KSO EVO feels much softer on your foot!
I also love that the KSO EVO is great for running in the rain as their unique zig-zag tread pattern provides excellent grip on wet, slippery surfaces. They can definitely be considered a water shoe alongside being a supreme, lightweight running shoe! So, without further ado, here’s the rest of my Vibram Five Fingers KSO EVO review and how they contrast to other miminalist running shoes, including other Vibram models!
Vibram Five Fingers KSO EVO Review for Forefoot Running
In general, there’s a reason the Vibram Five Fingers are gaining more influence. For one, they play a defining role in keeping the toes strong, flexed and engaged at each step, which is going to safeguard against balance instabilities. Most of us have had our feet locked in the traditional running shoe — shoes that have a stiff, narrow toe-box, causing the toes to be under-engaged, weak and unable to spread out and flex as they normally should!
In regards to the KSO EVO, the upper is non-restrictive, but fluid, stretchy and flexible, working with your foot, not against it, enabling your toes to be over-engaged in the way that they should in stabilizing your footsteps, bringing together better balance control. Just as equally important, when it comes to maintaining good forefoot running form, proprioception matters! That is, you have to remember, the bottoms of the bare feet are studded with sensory and pressure nerves that have a strong involvement in managing mechanical effectiveness. Your feet need to sense the ground to help pull together the mechanics that produce lighter footsteps and prevent high impacts from creeping up!
These nerves also directly influence muscle and soft tissue tone in the foot! This is why our feet are very sensory-seeking AND in order for our feet to thrive in strength and function, the sensory nerves need to be continuously stimulated and firing. This is what makes the KSO EVO a fantastic forefoot running shoe because its super thin outsole taps the sensory input that your feet crave for sustained vitality!
Highly regarded as the perfect blend of comfort and function, here are other notable features of the KSO EVOs:
- The KSO EVO has a 4.7mm max ousole thickness, giving excellent ground feel, prompting a more controlled, effective forefoot strike landing pattern during running
- Wide, stretchy toe-box allows maximal toe splay for balance control, impact deflection and energy return when forefoot running
- Conveniently quick lacing system with added Velcro to prevent the cord from moving around; gives a more controlled fit on the foot
- The bungie cord lacing really locks and secures the shoe onto your foot, fitting snug, just below the ankle, preventing debris and dirt from getting inside, too
- Provides an overall light and smooth fit! Inside, the shoe feels soft, smooth and supple like a sock; you dont need to wear socks with them for that reason
- Nice ground-feel; you can feel the sensation of the floor; you can feel every pebble, which is a MUST because crystal-clear ground-feel is one of the most reliable ways to bring together more stable mechanics, and when you’re more stable, you’re less prone to ankle and knee injuries
- Enough rubber material on the outsole to protect against hot pavement
- Excellent for running on roads, grass, the beach and other softer surfaces; excellent for high agility movements, perfect for water sports, such as kayaking and kite-boarding, very durable for gym workouts, great for long hikes, perfect for everyday use!
- Excellent breathability for summer running, yet somehow, provides warmth for cooler temps!
- Easy to put on and secure
- Great for runners who overpronate because you have better control of your feet
- 4.7mm outsole thickness, but provides protection from sharp hazards
- Washable and dries fast when wet
- Allows you to tread safely on slippery surfaces because the XS Trek compound, zig-zag patterned outsole provides prime traction with lots of flexibility in all directions; handles well on wet, rocky surfaces, too!
- Durable upper provides excellent overall protection and a comfortable, plushy, soft fit everywhere on the foot; stretchable, adapts well to the structure of your foot
- From gathering existing anecdotal data, the KSO EVO play a pivotal role in relieving toe pain, reducing knee pain, remedying Achilles tendinosis
- High degree of flexibility improves circulation in the foot, helping usher in oxygen and nutrition-rich blood deep within the foot muscles and soft tissue structures of which more progress can be made in accelerating foot strength and health
How the KSO EVO’s Compare to Other Minimalist Shoes
- Thinner than the Bikila EVO
- Very similar fit, feel and weight as the Vibram E-LX
- Lower profile, flatter than most Vibram running shoes
- As compared with the Vibram KSO Classics, the KSO EVO has more overall padding and softer underfoot protection, but still retains high degree of proprioceptive input (sensory feedback); the toe sockets and the rubber outsole of the KSO EVO are more flexible and soft than the KSO Classics; the KSO EVOs are also more stylistic, lower profile and sleek than the KSO Classics; provides better traction than the Vibram KSO Classics AND the outsole of the KSO EVO doesn’t come up the side of your foot like the KSO Classics, giving the KSO EVOs a more natural, barely-there feel, like you’re wearing a sock rather than a shoe!
- Thinner outsole than the Vibram Trek, but provides similar warmth in cooler conditions
- Comparable to the Sockwa G4
I must underscore that because of their glove-like fit, the KSO EVO fit small and snug, but not tight, so be sure to order one size up from your regular size.
Where to get the Vibram KSO EVOS? You can get them at:
- Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GDmGUf
- Road Runner Sports: http://bit.ly/2GYW65L
- Zappos: http://bit.ly/2GmPrVN
- Holabird Sports: http://bit.ly/2GZmUmc
- Eastern Mountain Sports: http://bit.ly/2uE0q7O
Here are other barefoot running shoes to add to your glorious forefoot running shoe collection!
You can also check out my YouTube video: here, where I provide a more in-depth assessment on the functionality of the Vibram Five Fingers KSO EVO and how the shoe fits in on preventing structural weakness of the foot and how they play an integral role in improving the quality of your running form. On my channel, you will also learn more about the health and performance benefits of barefoot running and minimalist running as well as nutritional info to help you grow your endurance and enrich your post run recovery!
If you’d like, you can support Run Forefoot and help keep it going in full force by making a donation in any amount of your choosing: https://www.paypal.me/RunForefoot
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BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.