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Fivefingers FAQ

Vibram® Fivefingers® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)- Your Questions Answered by the Experts at Baselayer™ -Authorised Vibram® Fivefingers® Barefoot Partner since 2007

What are Fivefingers® made from?
The upper is made with a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch synthetic fabric. The patented Vibram® soles are made from Vibram's® TC1 performance rubber compound, it's non-marking, non-shrinking and provides excellent grip and ground feel in both wet and dry conditions.

Can I Try Before I Buy?
Of course.  We are more than happy to receive customers at our offices in order that they can try before buying.  Clearly we are based in one location in North Kent and it's not always practical to travel to us logistically.  So where there is doubt about sizing or model type, we accept that customers may want to buy across 2 sizes or models and see which one is best for them.  Simply do this, keep all the packaging and tags in tact, and then you can simply return the pair that you do not require.  But please, to assist you as best we can, do drop us an email which we will respond to quickly at or call us....we actually have "human beings" on the end of a real land line number to speak to you and guide you through your selection options: 01689 603675.

How Should I Ensure I Get The Right Size?
Fivefingers® footwear are designed to fit the "length" of the foot and are constructed on a generic foot platform.  You must ensure you measure accurately for a good fit.  The guidelines for measuring are detailed here however, if you are at the very top end of the sizing range in one size, we strongly advise you to move up one size.  Remember also, Toe Socks are available for Fivefingers® so you will want some allowance for these if you intend to wear them.  If you choose the right size following our size guide and instructions, then the socks should not require you to buy a larger size than our guide indicates.

Can I guarantee My Fivefingers® from Baselayer™ Are Authentic?
OK so there are as we well know, plenty of "fakes" out there in the market.  Just e-Bay them and take a look.  Want them?  Go ahead but remember you have no idea where they originate, what labour conditions they have been manufactured under and we guarantee....dye will run, seams will be raised and uncomfortable and they will fall apart and you will definitely be aware they are not the real thing.  Trademark infringements are a massive problem globally and let's face it, we know where they all originate!  Enough said.

Baselayer™ is an authorised Vibram® partner and all our Fivefingers® footwear come from Vibram's own factories across the globe.  All our footwear is under-pinned by Vibram® with their manufacturer warranties.  You won't get any of that from a £30 pair from e-Bay that's for sure.  See Avoiding Fakes for more information.

How long will the soles last....I've heard it said they don't last as long as trainers.

It's a subjective view but do be aware, the "tread" of the KSO is the lightest of all of the shoes and the thinnest so will they last as long as a conventional trainer?  No, I doubt it but here's the thing.  Think tyres.  The KSO is an intermediate tread tyre and the V-Trail is an off-road tyre. Nobody buys conventional trainers with such a thin tread depth these days, they just don't really make them unless it's a pair of school plimsoles!

In 90% of cases, the physical tread depth of the Fivefingers sole is equal to that of many conventional trainers.  As a consequence, most VFF's should last as long as a conventional equivalent trainer on roads etc {KSO Evo aside as explained}.

However and this is quite important too.  You will likely get different wear on the soles of your VFF's as your run style will change due to stride pattern and foot strike.  So for sure, you will get little or no wear on the heels as you won't heel strike whereas in conventional trainers, most of us heel strike to a degree.

So you often see a very small wear zone on VFF's and concentrated and this in turn, leads many people to say they don't last when in fact they do.  It's just because of the very small focused contact with the floor in almost exactly the same pattern every time.

As with all footwear, it's a question of what you want to do in them.  Yes the KSO gives you the most feel from the thinnest sole but if you want to run 10 miles a day off road then there are better options to choose.  Even conventional trainers have choices depending on what you intend to use them for.

Vibram® also make soles for most of the world's leading brand names.....that I think says a lot too.

Why don't my toes all fill the pockets?
The shoes are constructed on what we term as "a perfect rake" meaning the toes rake away from the big toe in a perfect fan.....90% of us however don't have a perfect rake at all!  As a consequence the smaller toes very often don't fill the pockets as expected but this should not be an issue at all unless the toes are not even in the pockets in the first place in which case, the shoes are most likely too big anyway. If the longest toe fits the pocket well and the width is comfortable, then these are very likely the correct size and fit. 

Are Fivefingers® Waterproof?
Vibram® Fivefingers® range now incorporates some models that are water resistant such as the Ascent Warm™  Even so, as with any footwear, the very nature of water is that it will find it's way through the smallest of gaps.  The water resistant collection have a fully water resistant multi-layer laminate fabric upper and all the seams and joints are secure taped and sealed.  This increases the water resistance enormously to the point that they can be considered as Water Resistant to a very high degree. 100% guaranteed?  Unlikely in reality.  Wellies are your option there!

Are They Warm?
Vibram Fivefingers® are designed to bring you as close to the ground as is possible without being "actually" barefoot.  As a result, Fivefingers® in the main, cannot reasonably be considered as "thermally" effective with one exception, the Ascent Insulated™.  These have been designed to provide warmth and water resistance in equal measure and will be more thermally efficient as a result.

Which Model Is Best For My Needs?
Firstly, let's dispel some myths.  ANY Fivefingers® model can be used for ANY discipline you wish to use them for.  The model variations offer certain features that "compliment" certain activities and therefore you may find a particular model suits your needs better for the activity you intend to use them for.  However there are no "rules" that state you must use a specific model for this activity or a certain model for that's up to you at the end of the day.  We will always provide advice based on your specific needs and our extensive experience but there is a Use Chart here that helps you narrow it down.  Baselayer™ has been a Vibram® Fivefingers® Authorised Supplier since 2007 so we do have a wealth of experience to help you.  Feel free to call and speak to a human being, we promise no question is too small to answer.  You have questions because you are unsure so let us assure you: 01689 603675 or

Getting the Right Size - How Should They Feel When On?
Fivefingers® are designed to "Fit like a glove.....but not a Golf glove".  This is the analogy we use.  You need some "wiggle room" within these so a small gap of a couple of millimetres at the end of the longest toe is best.  Remember, nobody has "perfect" feet so whilst the bigger toes should fill the toe pockets, it could be that the smaller toes might not fill the toe pockets quite as well.  This is very normal.  Test the fit by placing your foot on the floor and forcing your heel into the back of the heel cup.  You should end up with 2 to 3 mm of space at the end of your longest toe.  Another indicator is that if they have the Velcro® strap, this strap should pretty much meet the opposite side when closed fully.  If too much Velcro® is showing than they may be too tight.  If the strap has lots of extra overlapping the Velcro, then probably too big.

I Have Wide Feet/High Insteps, Will Fivefingers Work For Me?
Fivefingers® are designed to work in harmony with your feet and mirror what your feet are designed by nature to do.  Wide feet or high insteps are in 99% of situations, not an issue for the footwear because the sole is designed to spread and wrap the bottom of your foot as closely as possible.  We would however suggest that for a greater level of comfort and ease of getting them on and off, that the LS versions of the footwear are often better suited to people with very wide feet or high insteps.  Alternatively the EL-X™ versions that have a very flexible and breathable upper that is easier to get on and off.

I have "Flat Feet" What Are The Implications of Wearing Fivefingers® With This Disorder?
The big debate continues.....Vibram® Fivefingers® are designed to encourage your feet to do what comes naturally.  If you are experiencing alleged "Flat Feet" then this is very likely what your feet want to do. The barefoot brigade have a view on this and that is to let them!  This link here will give you more in-depth information relating to the "mechanics" of Barefooting and will probably answer many of your initial questions.

I Have Very Long Toes / Mortons Toe Syndrome.  Will Fivefingers Work For Me?
In essence there should be no issues with the Fivefingers® and long toes other than the fact that the web end of the toes is not as close to the beginning of the toe pockets on the footwear.  The key here is comfort.  A larger pair will give you greater all round foot room but ostensibly the toe pockets are pretty much the same standard depth per size in the range within a few millimetres.  The Fivefingers are made to fit a "generic" foot and don't accommodate the peculiarities of peoples feet.

As long as your longest toe fits in it's pocket close to the end of the pocket without pressing hard on the tip, the remaining toes should fit in their respective pockets likewise although, some people's little toes don't always fill the pocket fully but that doesn't seem to be an issue at all.  You should be fine as long as they feel comfortable.  There should be no detrimental effect on the use of the footwear in a barefoot capacity.

Having said all this, if the Mortons Toe Syndrome is present and quite extreme of say in excess of a centimetre, you "may" find 2 or even 3 subsequent pockets don't accommodate the toes very well and in that instance I'm afraid you may be one of the unlucky few who simply fall into the category where the Fivefingers® simply don't work for them!

How do I care for them?
Vibram® Fivefingers® are machine washable. Use a gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent 40° is fine. Hang to air dry.  We also suggest placing your Fivefingers® in a pillow case or similar, to ensure the straps or laces do not become caught in the drum of your washing machine.  You can extend the life of your Fivefingers® by using Toe Socks that will help to manage foot odour in the same way as ordinary socks in regular shoes or trainers.  Let's be honest....feet stink unless you wash and care for them so your footwear will do the same!

Are They Heavy?
Not at all, nothing like your trainers are.  It's like wearing heavy socks!  Remember, the idea is to "feel" your surroundings, not insulate you from them.

What's The Difference Between Men's & Women's Designs?
Vibram® Fivefingers® use a stretch fabric upper that accommodates most medium and wide foot widths (up to EEE) comfortably.  As the brand grows, more sizing options will become available as demand dictates.  The Men's Fivefingers® range are generally a wider fit with larger/fatter toes pockets whilst the Women's Fivefingers® are narrower by design as women's feet generally are narrower.  Also with the women's options, the toe pockets are finer as, again, women generally have more slender toes compared to men.

Will they float?
Only momentarily when dry, once thoroughly wet they lose their buoyancy and will sink. Make sure you get the right size to fit!

Can I Use Them in Fast Flowing Water?
The full foot hybrid models such as the KSO™ or  V-Train™ offer a secure closure or quick release laces as in the V-Train™ or V-Trail™  and can be used for a variety of water sports and activities.

My little toes won't go in the toe pockets, is this a common problem?
This is not an unusual situation and does have some positive solutions in most cases. Firstly we need to establish that the shoes are the right size.  Whilst they may feel comfortable, your longest toe should be almost to the end of the pocket it occupies with a 2 to 3 mm clearance and no more.  Any more than this and we would suggest the footwear are too large.  The "rake" of the shoes are generic in that as far as the design is concerned, your second toe is "X" millimetres behind your big toe, the third toe is "Y" milliimetres behind the second toe etc etc.  However, our feet are not always generic in the same way.  Clearly you cannot design a totally bespoke shoe for every foot variation in the world, the permutations would simply be massive.

In 99% of cases, if the small toes do not occupy their respective pockets at all, then it's usually down to the shoes being too big.  This however is not always the case and in a very few instances, the Fivefingers® simply do not work for a tiny proportion of people.  However, do not expect your little toe to fill it's pocket completely anyway.  Again in 99% of cases, the little toe is perhaps only occupying half it's respective pocket but it should nevertheless, be in the pocket to some degree.

Finally, some people's toes are so distorted that they cannot get the shoes on at all.  We spend decades distorting our feet in shoes that are too tight and narrow and little toes are by far the most distorted and where most problems will occur.  It's fair to say that we have had a few customers who have simply had to give up and others who went away, stopped wearing toe crunching shoes, re-spread their toes and eventually came back for Fivefingers®.

The initial trick is accuracy of foot measurement.  If you can double check your measurements and ensure accuracy, then cross reference to our size guide and follow the instructions, then 99% of people hit the mark bang on.  Your "regular" shoe size is not always an indicator of the same size in Fivefingers®.

Will Fivefingers Work If I have Bunions?
It largely depends on the severity of the bunion in all honesty.  We have many customers with bunions and in "some" cases, the bunion is severe enough to cause restriction that prevents them getting the Fivefingers on comfortably.  However, in the main most people are OK.

When the Fivefingers take effect and your toes begin to spread, the bunions often reduce as these are usually accentuated by the toes being forced inwards by the design of some conventional shoes causing an angled big toe and the bunion developing at the bend of the toe which of course is not applicable with Fivefingers.  The very short answer is we cannot be sure.  It really is a try it too see what happens.

Do I have to Wear The Toe Socks with my Fivefingers?
It's entirely up to you! Toe Socks are an option.  Some people wear them because they prefer a barrier between their feet and the shoes but if they are on the beach for example, they wouldn't wear them as they know their feet are going to get wet. Just ensure you size your feet for sock consideration.  You should ensure you have some "wiggle room" in your toes regardless before socks are used.  A 1mm allowance all round for Toe Socks too, is generally enough additional room.

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