I was recently sent a pair of Vibram Five Finger KSO shoes by my friends over at bornbarefoot.co.uk. One of the main aim’s was to see if the shoes would work for people training in MMA – Here is my review…
Style and Appearance
I will start by saying that the Vibram Five Fingers are not your typical trainer/shoe. They are specifically designed to mimic being barefoot, but with the added protection and grip of a shoe. The pair that I had for review were black with the Vibram logo located on the side of the shoe in yellow. If you have read any of my past reviews you will know that I am a fan of basic designs and color schemes, so the black color base was right up my street. The appearance of the shoe is trendy, modern and unique with a technical look that tells people there is something more to the shoe than just it’s cool appearance. The mesh on the top of the shoe looks great and does not ruin the general look, instead it merges well with the overall layout of the shoe giving the wearer a sense of individuality. I can guarantee that there will not be many people wearing these shoes in your gym, but there will be after people have seen them. The Vibram Five Fingers are fun, look great and are definitely a break from the norm.
Design and Fit
One of the first things I noticed when I put the Vibram Five Finger shoe’s on for the first time was how much you can feel the surface/ground underneath your foot, this was quite a different sensation, but I quickly became used to it. The soles of the shoes have been made with razor ripped Vibram TCI performance rubber which protects your feet from rough terrain and provides excellent grip. I found the shoes to be very comfortable with great ventilation, this is mainly due to the perfectly placed thin abrasion-resistant mesh on the top of the shoe which is handy for long workouts or training sessions. The main feature of the shoe is the individual toe pockets which have been designed to separate and strengthen your toes, hence the name Vibram Five Fingers. It feels strange at first, but eventually adds to the feeling that you are not wearing anything on your feet at all. The shoes have an adjustable Velcro strap on the top of the shoe that you can tighten to your personal preference. The strap goes around the back of the shoe to ensure that the wearer has a secure and tight fit. The shoes are well designed with technology that actually works, you can instantly feel the improvement in flexibility and grip in comparison to your standard trainer.
Performance and Functionality
The true test for these shoes was in the gym where I experimented and tested the Vibram Five Fingers in various scenarios to see how they performed. Various studies have shown that running and exercising barefoot could actually be beneficial for your feet and after testing these shoes which are designed to mimic being barefoot I personally agree. As I expected the shoes performed really well when doing MMA conditioning drills which incorporate sprawls and striking with mitts or a dummy. The shoes really help with movement and agility which enable the wearer to get the most out of every exercise. The shoes are also good for explosive movement exercises and jumping as I found them to be nice and light, the toe flexibility also allows for great balance which is essential when doing Mixed Martial-Arts exercises and workouts. One thing I have to point out is that due to the thin mesh material that the top of shoes are made of they are simply not suitable for kicks on a heavy bag or Muay Thai pads. Where the material is great for ventilation it doesn’t provide enough impact protection when launching powerful kicks. However, the shoes are excellent for stand-up sparring and focus mitt drills as the shoes provide great grip and improve movement which helps when changing levels and working different angles. The Vibram Five Fingers are definitely usable in certain areas of MMA training and are beneficial when it comes to overall movement and speed.
Overall I think this is a great product that can definitely work in an MMA training environment. They are well designed with some great materials and technology that merge together to make a well rounded training shoe. As minimalist footwear they do not come cheap, but if you are into serious training then you won’t mind parting with the cash. They have a modern look and are very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. I am unable to comment on the long term durability of the shoes because I have not had them long enough, but they are well made with high quality materials. I can see why the Vibram Five Fingers have crossed over into many different sports and I definitely give them the thumbs up.
If you are interested in purchasing the Vibram Five Finger KSO shoe or would like to get some more information then please use the following link:
Thanks to you the readers, Vibram and bornbarefoot.co.uk for sending me the product to try.
Jay Cee – The MMA Review
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*All pictures were edited by Carissdeco.
Please remember that everything written in this review is my own opinion based on my own use of the product. Thanks guys!