A few days ago, I came across a great deal on Vibram’s original Bikila barefoot shoes. At $28, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the predecessor of my beloved Bikila LS shoes. I have been running in the LSs for a few months now and refuse to wear anything else (on my feet that is). I am on my second pair of the Bikila LSs and have logged over 300 miles in them since March. I have read many reviews of the Original Bikilas but never thought (or had a desire) to order a pair. That all changed when a friend of mine told me about a sale on woot.com; I jumped all over it.
According to the reviews that I have read, the original Bikilas were said to be lacking protection around the toe area. Some also said that they were too tight, causing trouble for those with oversized feet. The first claim is absolutely false. The originals have the exact same protection as the LSs. In fact, the soles are completely identical. As far as the tightness goes, well… they require a little more effort getting your feet in. Once you have them on, they feel the same as the LSs. The trouble isn’t around the toe area, but more around the ankle area. This is because there are no laces, only a Velcro strap. You may see this as a negative aspect but actually this tightness could serve a great purpose. Suppose you are going on a trail run where you know that you will encounter puddles, maybe even streams. Would you want to be in the LSs where debris, dirt, or mud can freely flow into your shoes? Or would you rather be in the Originals which seal off at the ankles, providing you some protection? I think that it is always great to have options, and both of these shoes have their place in the world of running.
One reason people still order the original Bikila is actually because they don’t have the lace system. Many folks have complained that, over time, the plastic piece that holds the laces together breaks off. I cannot confirm that this happens often because it’s never happened to me. Another reason may be that the Originals are a bit less insulated, allowing your feet to stay cool in summer months. The top of the Originals are made with a lighter (thinner) material that actually allows a bit of air to come in. Today I ran 7 miles in them and my feet stayed cool as a cucumber.
If you are looking at trying the Vibram Bikila Fivefingers but are unsure of which pair to get, ask yourself these questions: Do you have large feet? Are you concerned with price? Is it warm where you live? Money may be the biggest factor in which shoe you buy. The Bikila LS sell for anywhere from $60 - $100. The originals start at around $40. I believe that they are selling out quick though, so if you find a deal, buy fast! The deal that I found on Woot lasted for about 24 hours, until they sold out.
If you are interested in learning more about barefoot/minimalist running , check out this link. I would also encourage you to read my review of the Bikila LS. If you have any questions about barefoot running or Vibram shoes, please leave a comment and I will get back to you. You can also leave me a message via the Contact tab at the top of the page. Happy Running!