I’m still going barefoot, but my Bikilas rock!

After a 4 mile run today in my new Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, my quick take is: They rock! I expect most of my running before winter to be barefoot, but Bikilas are a great compromise between barefoot and sole protection.

As far as I know, it is still the case that City Sports on Boylston Street is the only place in the world to get Bikilas. It was great fun to head into Boston, on my birthday, hours after the Marathon to a store located a block from the finish. The place was bustling with spectators and marathoners.

First, they look great with the sort of swoshy styling that runners expect. Everyone I’ve shown them to, mostly when I was parading around work today, thought they were way cool. They also feel good in your hand. Nice and light. The uppers feel kind of like heavy under armor.

My only VFF experience is with Flows; the Bikilas went on my feet much more easily. If you are a newbee, you will still find it’s a trick to get your toes in the right holes. When I heard about the thicker soles and arch support, I’d been a bit concerned that they were going to be too much. No worries. The stiffer arch section simply makes the shoe fit better. Vibram did a great job on the details. One tiny example is a little piece of fuzzy Velcro at the end of the strap that enables you to secure it from sliding through the slot even when loose (see pic below). I wore those beauties out of the store and to dinner at Jose’s in Cambridge.

Today, I took a run. Confession: My feet stung a little after 5 miles yesterday and I’m not sure how they would have handled another 4 today. So, in that sense the new shoes were welcome. Right off the bat I tried purposely stepping on sticks and stones and rough patches. Certainly, the Bikilas provide plenty of protection; you can be virtually careless about where you step. They do what they are supposed to do.

My stride felt a little different. It seemed that I was striking more on the center ball of my foot rather than my normal barefoot strike just behind my smallest two toes. But it may have just felt that way due to having something under that softer part of my foot. It didn’t feel bad in any way, just different.

If there was a negative, they felt a bit warm and I think it was only about 60 degrees out. Maybe no warmer that conventional socks and shoes, but it’s been months since I’ve worn them. I suppose the other negative is $100. Seems like a lot, particularly as I may not use them too much until Thanksgiving or so. But, on the other hand, they do rock.

I can’t imagine how Vibram could have done a better job designing a minimalist running shoe. Bikilas are a great option for folks who can’t quite do barefoot. My plan is to continue au natural, but I’ll strap these on occasionally, and I love knowing I’ve got a great fallback if my soles need a break for whatever reason.

I have to quote my clever friend, Paul Simpson, who likened barefoot running in VFFs to “streaking in your negligee.” Bikilas are one sexy negligee!

Explore posts in the same categories: Barefoot Running, Experience


You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

12 Comments on “I’m still going barefoot, but my Bikilas rock!”

  1. Thanks for the review! Very jealous you got your hands on them before the rest of us can, but I’ll be patient. Not really, but I’ll try! I’ve also been doing more barefoot miles lately, saving the VFFs for longer runs than my soles can take or for days when I’m a bit tender from pushing it on a barefoot run. The Bikilas sound great for that. Can’t wait to get them!

  2. Phil Odence Says:

    Yes, I think they are perfect for what you have in mind. Easy for me to say, but, yes, I’d wait for them. Last I heard, the official word from Vibram was “late April” in the stores.

  3. […] I’m still going barefoot, but my Bikilas rock! [Barefoot Phil] – As one of the first Vibram Five Fingers Bikila owners in the world, Phil gives us a review of the new model. In the end, even though he loves the Bikilas, he plans to stick to barefoot running most of the time! […]

  4. Nathan Says:

    Thanks for the review. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair.

  5. Those shoes are looking sharp – I like them!

  6. Aaron Says:

    Hey Phil: Great site and thanks for your review of the Bikila. I got mine Friday and added my comments to the Birthdayshoes.com Bikila post after my first long run.

    I did 7 miles on Saturday and thought the Bikilas were very good to great. My only issues is with the strap on the right foot. I can’t seem to get it placed just right in order to provide an ideal fit. It seems it is either slightly too tight or loose. I think the problem is I have a narrow foot with a high arch.

    Any thoughts?

    • Phil Odence Says:

      Thanks for pitching in Aaron. I’ll check out your comments on birthdayshoes.

      My foot is fairly wide (with a pretty high arch) and I almost felt that I didn’t need the straps. I do have a little soreness on top of one of my feet. Hoping I just had the strap too tight.

  7. barefootinit Says:

    Thanks for the great review Phil – I’m so tempted! I definitely don’t need them, but sure do want them… I recently made a pair of huaraches which were fun to make, but don’t seem quite a easy to wear as my KSOs. Perhaps I’ll invest in a pair of Bikilas before I move overseas later this year, just as a backup.

  8. Phil Odence Says:

    Yeah, I saw your huaraches…pretty in pink!
    I didn’t need the Bikilas either, but they make me smile.

  9. Sweet. I love the look of them. Like you and others, I hope to do mostly barefoot during the warm months, but on particularly gnarly trails these look like they’d be perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  10. thewholeway Says:

    Oh, thanks for that review Phil. I’m totally new to barefoot running and am fully enjoying my slide along the learning curve. I have a pair of VFF Sprints and like them for running but I am finding so much more freedom and feedback barefoot.

    Love the Paul Simpson quote…might have to requote it some time.

  11. […] barefoot mean barefoot? I’m not down on Vibram Five Fingers by any means and think my Bikilas are very cool, but I don’t wear them often, recently only a couple times when the streets were […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: