What you’re looking at is a brand new pair of the Komodo, one of the newest additions to Vibram’s line of Fivefinger footwear. This is the second pair of ‘toe shoes’ that I have purchased, and I’ll start my review with a sensationalist claim: They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever put on my feet. I love the first pair of Vibrams that I bought, the Bikila. I love each and every pair of Nike Frees that I own, and I love the Fanning flip-flop from Reef that I wear over the summer to avoid pesky tan lines. However, the Komodo is the best thing to ever happen to my feet. (If you’re reading this because you’re interested in buying the shoe, do it; you needn’t read any further.
Now, while there are Fivefinger zealots out there that wear their toe shoes from dusk till dawn, regardless of event, I’m not that large of a disciple. In fact, I really only wear them for what they’re intended for; training in. If I’m at home, I’m barefoot, and if I’m walking around in public, I’m wearing something else. When it comes to training though, I’m adamant about rockin’ the five fingers.
The Komodo is different in two ways from the Bikila. Most noticeable to me was the presence of a second strap. Vibram seems to have combined the Bikila and the KSO into the Komodo. This model borrows the two-strap system of the KSO, and I thank them for it; I pulled the straps tight and almost forgot that I had anything attached to my foot. The second strap was extremely secure, and came in handy for my first workout in the Komodos. The second difference is the upgraded, more aggressive sole of the Komodo. It looks like the sole on the Bikila…only edgier. There are deeper grooves, specifically around the edges of the shoe. Perfect for lateral movements! Check out the two pictures below:
(For additional photos and a better review, you can click on THIS link to the Birthday Shoes website.)
I ordered these shoes last Tuesday from the folks over at City Sports, and they were on my porch on Thursday morning, which was great: I wanted to wear them during a sprinting workout on Friday afternoon. I haven’t ran sprints in a while, but decided to spend 20 minutes running wind sprints on the indoor track at Adelphi, which takes 9.5 laps to make a mile. Just for fun, I decided to use cariocas instead of actually running. The carioca is an under-rated locomotor pattern, and I wanted to practice it, and I was able to run sideways and test one of the things this Vibram was supposed to be better at.
Did it pass my test?
Hell yes. There was honestly a time half way through my workout where I totally forgot that I was wearing shoes at all, and began to instead think about how ridiculous I looked trying to run as fast as possible…sideways. Despite my cockamamie idea, the workout was rough, and the shoes held up very well. I usually sprint in a pair of Free Trainers, and reserve the Fivefingers for posterior chain specific lifting. You’ll see me in them if squats or deadlifts are on the agenda, but there isn’t really a purpose to doing push-ups in them. The Komodos were so comfortable that I might change that up, and wear them for some hard-surface workouts as well. I say hard surface because I don’t really like to run on hard surfaces, and I don’t really like to run for the sake of running. If I’m outside on the turf or the sand, I’ll go entirely barefoot; now I have a shoe that bridges the gap between training shoe and barefoot a little bit better.
In our short 5 day relationship, I’ve fallen in love with the Komodo; she’s smooth and secure, but aggressive and responsive when I need. The shoes work perfectly for my needs, but they might not work for yours. If you’re a distance runner, you wear orthodics, or your idea of a workout is 15 minutes on the elliptical, a machine circuit, and an Aerobic Toning class, these probably aren’t the best shoes for you. If you run with a heel strike, then they are definitely not the shoes for you. However, if you want to train your posterior chain to greatness, I’d say strap them on. You can click on the link to Vibram’s website to find out even more about them.