If you plan on using your Vibrams FiveFingers for some intense training or sports, you’d best get a design that suits your activity as much as possible. The Vibrams range is wide and varied, so it can seem like a daunting challenge to pick the perfect pair.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the most popular designs for sports and training to give you a heads up on what to look for.
Let’s get started!
Vibram Fivefingers V-TRAIN
The V-TRAIN was first released a few years back and was designed with CrossFit and intense training in mind. The upper fabric is reinforced giving the shoe greater protection from a variety of common activities. Climbing ropes and strapping your feet into machines are good examples of moves that lead to more wear on top of shoes, so this feature really helps make the V-TRAIN more durable for this type of action.
The sole of the V-TRAIN has a multi-directional tread with a rounded pattern, making it great for ballistic indoor exercises like weight training. You‘ll find it hard to beat this shoe in terms of sheer stability and maneuverability on the spot.
As you can see in the image below, the Fivefingers V-TRAIN has a rounded sole on the forefoot for great pivoting grip. When you’re lifting heavy weights or performing blastic moves, you don’t want too much grip because you’ll feel too clumsy, but not enough traction can make you feel unsure and off-balance. The curve in the V-TRAIN tread ensures your grip level is maintained as you turn and swivel in a variety of common stationary training moves.
The sole on this shoe is a little firmer than many others in the Vibrams range. It has a 2mm Polyurethane footbed, which is ideal for the extra weight you’ll take on when lifting. Used to feeling a little too unstable in normal trainers? These will erase that issue straight away.
The Vibram V-TRAIN is not designed to be the perfect running shoe. It’s fine for short bursts or getting warmed up on the treadmill, but the tread isn’t really designed for optimum performance in all-out running.
The Vibram Fivefingers V-TRAIN is perfect for gym users too.
The Vibram Fivefingers V-RUN
The V-RUN is one of the most popular designs in the Vibrams range for its versatility. It’s built to be a hybrid between a gym shoe and a running shoe. It’s very light, has a minimalistic aesthetic and can be used for a great range of activities, including casual footwear.
If you have a wide foot, the V-RUN is worth a try. If you think your feet are more narrow than most peoples, then the V-RUN will still be very comfortable for you. The more narrow your feet, the more excess lace you’re likely to experience when they’re fully fastened, but this will not make the experience worse.
The EL-X came out in 2013. The name stands for Entry Level Cross Trainer, and that’s exactly what this shoe is designed for. The EL-X is ultra minimalistic. It has no fastening mechanism, a sensitive 3.5mm sole, and is Vibram FiveFinger’s lightest men’s shoe. If you’re looking for the ultimate ‘barefoot feel’, these are the ones to go for.
- The first question to ask yourself is: ‘How much running do I plan on doing in my Vibrams?’. If your answer is ‘quite a lot’, the Vibram Fivefingers V-RUN is a good choice to try first.
- If you’re planning on living in the gym with your Vibrams, with the vast majority of your training involving weight training, then have a good look at the Vibram FiveFingers V-TRAIN.
- If you’re on a budget or think you’ll be doing a healthy mix of gym work and other activities, the El-X will prove a very good introduction to the world of Vibram FiveFingers.
Try all of the above if you’re really unsure! A huge part of finding the right training shoes comes down to personal feel!