Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO Initial Review

Check out our full review now!

 

New this year from Vibram FiveFingers is the Bikila EVO, designed for medium distance runners by offering a thick (by FiveFingers standards) sole but still being in the lightweight division, and a newly designed tread bed. If you're a medium distance runner or just looking for a pair of FiveFingers that offer more support, you may have found your match.

 

Before we get in to talking about the shoe, I just wanted to say thanks to Vibram for sending us a pair to test out. We appreciate it and will do our best with testing and reviewing the Bikila EVOs, and do not be mislead by the pictures, the Bikila EVOs are not for the snow. ;)

Also, unfortunately this isn't one of our usual reviews where we test the item for months through normal and extreme conditions. You can thank the cold harsh winters of Canada for that, especially with the latest snowstorm that hit southern Ontario. You can expect a full review later on (mid-spring maybe?), but for right now this is just an initial review where we have tested the shoe enough to give some initial thoughts and to help answer any questions you might have on the Bikila EVO model.

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The Run-Down

As you may have already heard, it's a new, fully redesigned model from Vibram which is different from other models by offering a slightly thicker sole than usual, which is most beneficial for medium-distance runners and newcomers easing in to the minimal shoe market - which enters that market at $120 USD. They also sport the classic FiveFingers lace system even though they don't have the traditional "LS" in their name. Not only does the bottom of the shoe offer a thicker sole, it also offers a new tread design that's comes with a bit more of a primal design that features strong traction with it.

 

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Design & Form

As you can see, we were sent the vibrant orange/teal/black pair which we are amazed with how well they stand out. If you're not in to that, they are offered in a variety of colors, some colors that are more natural than others, but I like my shoes to really pop - so that's why I'm a fan of this color combination.

With the latest design fads being all tied to minimalism, you can see how Vibram has released their foot off the gas a bit and kept the designs a bit more basic, compared their other models, such as the KMD Sports LS. By no means do I mean the KMD Sports LS are an eye-sore, but as a minimalist, I love where Vibram is going now. I've always been a fan of basic and minimal design.

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Not only can the design make the shoe look good, it can also help the performance. I'm talking about the tread design. It's new and - to put it simply - brilliant. Not only is it engaging, I'm loving the performance it offers, but more on that later. It's obvious that when you're passing someone, they'll be checking out your shoes and noticing you're wearing 'toe shoes' since the tread design does not let that shy away from the fact. It's also a FiveFingers pair where you'll admire your footprints more than usual since they stand out more than most pairs due to their broad tread designs.

 

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Performance & Durability

Although it's been tough giving them a good test with all this snow, I've managed to hit up a few trails and travels with them. So the ground as either been frozen, (packed down) snow or ice. On all those surfaces, it preforms fairly well, notably well on the frozen ground which means it will preform even better when the ground defrosts and the birds start chirping. I miss non-winter weather.

"More sole. More protection."

The thicker sole (max sole-thickness: 8.5mm) is nicely noticeable on those longer runs and on certain elements the trails can have to offer. Such as roots, rocks, etc. So it definitely helps with your feet and your performance by allowing you to be comfortable, more protected, without hindering the experience of the ground feedback. After all, the sole isn't that much thicker than its siblings, just enough to offer some more comfort and protection.

For durability, Vibram has really improved on their lightweight game. The top material is polyester mesh which is fairly tough, but still flexible and smooth. So you don't have to worry about tearing it them thorn bushes as much and still being able to move your feet as if you were barefoot. With the tougher and smoother material, it also makes it easier to keep them clean and as well - clean them.

The thicker sole is nicely noticeable on those longer runs and on certain elements the trails can have to offer. Such as roots, rocks, etc. The new tread design also preforms well in almost, if not all, situations and environments. They even put up a good fight against the icier trails I encountered during my runs. So even though they aren't for the winter, it helps to give you a better idea/comparison for how they will preform come the warmer months.

For durability, Vibram has really improved on their lightweight game. The top material is polyester mesh which is fairly tough, but still flexible and smooth. So you don't have to worry about tearing it them thorn bushes as much and still being able to move your feet as if you were barefoot. With the tougher and smoother material, it also makes it easier to keep them clean and as well - clean them.

 

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The Run-Up

The Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVOs over the best of both worlds - minimal footwear with increased support. So you're still able to find the barefoot effect in them. For the running I was able to do with the weather I've been dealt with, they preformed very well since they offer a snug, tight fit with a tread design that works well in all situations and environments.

 

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If you have any questions regarding the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila EVO, feel free ask in the comments section.