Vibram Five Fingers Flow Review

There is a review of Vibram Five Fingers Flow at Back Pack Gear Test.

Thanks for posting that link, AeroNautiCal. I like the review.

I’ve had a pair of Flows and a pair of KSOs (the mesh-and-fabric uppers version) for a couple months now. Overall, I really like them. Some obs I’d add to the review at this point:

Amphibious Performance: I’ve used the Flows, particularly, for swimming and swamp-crawling. The neoprene gave my feet good insulation, and they’re a whole lot better than trying to swim in shoes. I got a little mud-grit in them, but nothing uncomfortable: the ankle has a good seal, keeping gravel. This was after several hours of swamp-crawling, through a lot of muck. (I was going to raft, but forgot my dump valve plug).

Brush: Great; I like the sensitivity and slim profile. Only problem is that I sometimes get grass, reeds, etc. stuck between my toes.

Climbing: I’ve predominantly climbed in the KSOs, but some in the Flows. The ‘sticky’ rubber sole is great, but I’m watching to see how fast it wears out. My climbing in them thus far hasn’t been on anything technically rated. It breaks out into:
:arrow_right: Trees. They do great hear. No complaints. I feel like the slim profile works better for standing in tree crotches, etc, and my feet doesn’t get stuck as much as a shoe. The sensitivity helps too.
:arrow_right: Rock. No real complaints, but I’ve just played around - nothing serious at all.
:arrow_right: Chain Link Fences. Great. These are the best fence-climbers I’ve ever used. A little uncomfortable perhaps, but they let you grab the fence with your toes.

:exclamation: KSO Design Flaw: The KSOs have a design flaw, wherein their are enclosed fabric chanels along the sides of the sole of your foot created by how they attached the upper strapping system. Walking on small gravel, these channels got packed full of pebbles, with was an uncomfortable impediment. I hope they fix this. The flows don’t have this problem, as far as I can tell.

Foot Adjustment to the Footwear: The big thing I’ve found is that wearing flexible, mocassin-like footware of this sort has physiological implications for me. My feet have had to do adjusting, as they’re so used to shoes. I have to be careful not to ‘overdo’ it. However, I think I’ve gained strength and tissue elasticity in my feet. Particularly in the KSOs, with their lighter soles, I intially had a lot of discomfort stepping on gravel-on-hard-surfaces, etc. Now I find I seek out gravel, bumps, sticks, etc. to step on: it’s like an ongoing foot massage. The hardest thing is sidewalks and streets, now: that repetitive, flat surface is harder on my feet when wearing FiveFingers than anything else.

So I’ve been wearing the two models I got quite a bit, and have follow-up observations:

Additional Features Discovered: Random people stopping me & asking what they are. Has happened MANY times. Great conversation starter.

Nicknames Acquired: Ewok, Hobbit.

Long-Term Durability: On the KSOs (fabric uppers), the seaming on one big toe upper has started to come apart. Given the light weight construction and what they’ve enudred, this seems pretty reasonable. I haven’t torn up the soles, despite riding a mountain bike with studded pedals. The Flows haven’t gotten as much use; I go packrafting in them. Generally, they’re not nearly as warm as booties, but they’re very nice for doing the amphibious hike up / paddle down / scurry around on the rocks thing.

Generally, I’m pretty pleased. The Flows definitely aren’t for those with poor foot circulation in snowmelt streams, but I really appreciate the hyrbid rafting / swimming / hiking / scrambling design.

Big Downside to the KSOs: Maybe it’s just my feet, but they start to stink after awhile. Not stink like “running shoe stink,” but like “bodies of gods burning.” Okay, maybe that’s hyperbolic… but you definitely want to store them outdoors, and in city I actually sometimes Febreeze them on my feet before going out.

I’ve found the cure to hot, fragrant feet and footwear is the use of ‘Wet Ones’ Cooling Soft & Refreshing Wipes and ‘The Body Shop’ Peppermint Cooling Foot Spray on the feet and in the footwear.

You’ll be delighted at how the lovely scent of peppermint accompanies the removal of the footwear, and the feet feel really good too! I’ve used this combination with great success for many years.

Ooooh, I can already smell the peppermint goodness! Perfect!

Additional “Flow” Model Note: Examining the flows, the neoprene on the big toes appears to have been damaged somewhat by my big toenails, possibly affected by “pinch” effects from climbing or dragging my feet across underwater objects. That, or maybe it’s just my dinosaur talons.

I made this and thought that I’d share the silliness!

nice image… swimming trucks lol! i do like the speeds a LOT tho… i want one:

I just tried some KSO’s with the velcro strap and mesh lining. My problem is they take a very long time to dry.
The water flows out fine so you’re not squishing but the underpad and top never really drys. After 6 hours paddling and playing my feet where starting to get blisters I think because of them being continually wet and softening the skin. The next morning the shoes were still damp.
I tried them a few more days but even wearing them dry the undersides of my feet would sweat a little and then never really dry, causing small blisters and peeling. Because of the wet issue didn’t think my feet would break into them.
Shaggy how do yours compare to other water shoes for drying and walking/wearing them after they are wet?