Category Archives: Review

New Shoes: Vibram FiveFingers KSO

When I first heard of the relatively-new Vibram FiveFingers shoes in a MetaFilter comment thread, I knew I had to have a pair. I’d always liked being barefoot, I always walking around barefoot at home since sometime in my teenage years when I discovered that walking around in socks on a splintery wood floor increased the chance of getting splinters in my foot (due to my feet slipping around more easily, driving the splinter in suddenly). Unfortunately, in the typical suburban or urban environment, walking barefoot isn’t that practical, in my opinion. While broken glass presents relatively less hazard than everyone thinks, the surfaces are pretty harsh, and additionally, where I live now (San Francisco), the months without rain means it gets really grungy.

I bought a pair of the FiveFingers KSO in black, because they’re the most subdued and look like shoes from a distance, while still being well-ventilated. I was sure to carefully follow the sizing info on their web site.

They arrived on Wednesday, and they seemed to fit fine. I had a couple little concerns at first, but after wearing them all day Thursday and Friday (admittedly for my rather sedentary job), I had only two remaining concerns. The first was, these are great, but how long before I wreck the soles? Compared to a normal shoe, the sole has to endure a lot of flex, including around the toes and ball of the foot. The other concern is that the big toes aren’t quite as large as my toes. While my toes feel comfortable, I’m concerned that the sole underneath not being as wide is going to gradually lead to the fabric on the side of the big toe coming in contact with the ground and wearing through.

I wore them again today. I went to the beach and walked a couple of miles. I got them wet. One thing I learned, which does not surprise me, is that these are not sand-proof. If that was a concern, I’d consider the FiveFingers Flow, which has neoprene sides and top, instead of mesh. The KSOs dry fast though. Aside from the sand trapped inside feeling a bit abrasive, they were quite comfortable.

These things feel great even when you’re walking over sharp gravel. And, it’s nice to have that uneven feeling of the ground you’re walking on to be carried through to your feet. I find myself even walking on different surfaces than I normally would, merely to find out how it will feel in these shoes.

When I got home today, after shaking out the loose sand, I decided to put these in the washing machine, since there was some bits of fine sand that just weren’t going to shake out. The instructions are warm wash, air dry. It’s great. This is a pair of shoes you can machine wash on occasion — especially good when you’re not wearing them with socks.

So, the real test is going to be whether these last a reasonably long time before wearing out, but aside from that, I’m very happy with them.


Last night we saw the Cirque du Soleil “Kooza” show. I was really impressed.

It was so fluid that I have a difficult time really analyzing it a lot, but I think what made it really impressive, to me, were three things:

  1. The light and sound work were better than anything else I’ve seen live. They clearly had quite powerful sound equipment, but it was only used as appropriate. You didn’t leave there feeling like your ears were worn out.
  2. The performers, while obviously physically talented, also had a ton of practice behind them, and a good sense of showmanship.
  3. Clearly, the directors have a very keen sense of manipulating people’s subjective experience, both in a general sense of how people perceive things, and in ways specific to their art.