Multipurpose, minimal, stylish, comfortable, and form fitting: these are all descriptions of the Vibram Fivefinger’s KSO. In the original lineup of Fivefingers the KSO quickly sailed to the top as the best selling, best all around shoe. It’s name stands for Keep-Stuff-Out, and it does just that with an upper fabric that comes up below the ankle. In this review I want to talk about all the features that make the KSO the “original” best selling all-purpose Vibram Fivefinger.
The idea behind Fivefingers was creating a shoe that allowed you to be practically barefoot, but with a layer of protection so you could go anywhere and do anything. The original series of Fivefingers (Classic, Sprint, and KSO) all featured the same Vibram rubber bottom. The base is made from Vibram TC-1 performance rubber about 3.5mm thick and then inside there is a 2mm Antimicrobial microfiber foot bed with EVA insole. So to sum it all up, you’ve got a thin layer of incredibly sticky rubber and a super thin layer of EVA insole to create one of the most minimalist, but still protective, shoes you can buy.
Besides the minimalist design of just being closer, extremely closer, to the ground, Vibram Fivefingers has the revolutionary design of separate toe pockets. Each of your toes goes into a different “pocket.” By having your toes separate you can move each independently. Our ancestors didn’t develop the human body with the shoes we have on nowadays, they where barefoot for thousands of years and therefore evolved to allow our body mechanics to work most efficiently and most injury free, without shoes. When your toes move independently they can compensate to how you hit the ground, they can flex and push off on uneven surfaces using all the nerves on the bottom of your foot to adjust to the ground. Regular shoes stop your feet from receiving information from the ground with a huge layer of padding.
What makes the KSO different then the Classic or Sprint is it’s upper design and material. The abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric comes up to just below your ankles creating a snug glove like fit. Then a strap crosses over the top of your foot securing everything. Compared to the classic, this in my opinion is a lot more comfortable due to there not being any elastic cords biting into your skin. I also prefer the strap and material on the KSO over the sprint because the straps aren’t right up against your skin, there is a layer of fabric to stop rubbing and blistering.
Combine all the features with the Vibram Fivefinger KSO and what you get is a shoe that can go anywhere and do anything. The rubber on the bottom is incredibly sticky, even on wet surfaces. So you can do water sports, hike in the rain, hike through streams, and still grip onto rocks and other surfaces. The high cover also protects you from “stuff” getting into your shoe as you use it in the outdoors or the urban environment. It also is warmer then the other shoes, while not being sweltering because the upper fabric breathes. So feel free to take this shoe anywhere and feel confident that it will live up to the challenge, whatever it maybe. And that is just what I’ve done and will continue to do, take my KSO’s anywhere and everywhere.