Vibram Bikila vs. Bikila LS (Lace System) FiveFingers

Original Bikilas

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; I jumped all over it. 

Bikila LS
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!           


  1. Great write up. Just starting running in the Bakilas from your recommendation. I love them! Finally, I feel plugged into the ground. However, The other day running the trails, I took a wrong turn and overlooked a root, more like a 6" wall crossing the trail that smashed the top of my returning foot and sent me into a forward face plant. Suffered a nasty abrasion and bruised metatarsal. So with no protective tongue and laces like on a regular trail shoe, I am quickly learning to use my eyes more!

  2. Did you order the same size in both?

  3. Hey MJ! I ordered them both in the same size. However, I think that the Originals are a bit tighter. I don't know if that is something other people are encountering or not.

  4. Could You give please little bit more details regarding the difference in fit?How much tighter were oryginal Bikilas?I just tried out pair of oryginal ones in store but I am hesitating-I am tempted to buy LS model.Unfortuatelly there is no chance to try out LS here where I live-so could You please describe difference in tightness bit more?

  5. I'm glad that you wrote back Mike. I told you the wrong thing the other day! I have several pairs of LSs now, and one of "those" pairs are smaller. Not the Originals. Apparently, one pair of my LSs were labeled the wrong size.

    The Originals and the LS fit exactly the same though. Putting the originals on is a little different, but not really enough that i should mention it. This is because they don't have laces. The area around the ankle seems snugger, but you can't notice once you get them on. If you have wide feet, don't get the originals.

    If you have large feet, you may want to go with the LS. They offer more room for getting in and out of them (due to the laces). I personally switch back and forth between the two. I don't have a favorite. But, the Originals are a little bit cooler because of the material on the top being lighter. Again, not that much of a difference though.

    If you find your size in one pair, then that size should fit for all types. I wear a 43 in both of the shoes. I just happened to get one pair that was mislabeled. I apologize for giving you that incorrect information.

  6. Hello Brandon.
    Thank You for such detail information.I really appreciate it!I already bought a piar of Oryginal ones-size 42.My next purchase will be LS model since I would like to try out both(and have more than 1 pair ).
    All the information provided was very helpfull so thank You again for help and details about those models.
    Best regards!

  7. I'm so glad that you found my information helpful. You are going to love your new Vibrams!

  8. Very useful information Tormas! Nothing wrong with trying the women's variation. Whatever works, right!?


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