Vibram FiveFingers Women’s Speed XC

| March 19, 2013 | 10 Comments

vff-W3684_blkrswht_500x500FiveFingers is a misnomer.

I have finger toes. The gene was passed down from both parents so I ended up with spindly toes that make up more than a quarter of the length of my foot. They tend to get stubbed, bruised, and broken if left uncontained for any length of time, especially if not in, at the very least, a protective pair of sandals around deck furniture and stairs. And I cannot get them into a pair of FiveFingers to save my life.

Which is why I was glad to see that the Vibram FiveFingers Women’s Speed XC ($140; comes with a three-step, multi-paragraph, illustrated list of instructions outlining how to get them on your feet.

But I still could never muster the energy to try it—until today. Here’s how it went:

Step 1: With the laces loosened and tongue pulled up, insert your foot while gradually aligning each toe with the appropriate toe pocket—it’s often best to start with your big toe and work down to the little toe, gradually inching forward as each toe finds its place. Check to make sure one toe is in each pocket.

Each of my toes points a different direction, making step one easier said than done. I tugged at the laces to open the shoe as wide as possible. I folded the tongue forward and peered inside at the toe pockets. They looked pretty square, kind of wide, and much too short. Looks are deceiving, I thought and went for it. I put my foot in the shoe and slid my toes in gently. I never did get my big toe all the way into its designated place and ended up with at least two toes in one of the middle pockets, the last couple toes smashed against the outside lining. I removed my foot, took another look inside the shoe, and tried again. I got the majority of my toes in pockets and, though I couldn’t feel whether they were necessarily in the right ones, I decided to move on to step two.

I'm not alone in this issue. WAM staffer Marleigh Hill shares the finger toe trait.

I’m not alone in this issue. WAM staffer Marleigh Hill shares the finger toe trait.

Step 2: AFTER each toe is in place, pull up the heel cup and nestle your own heel (not someone else’s heel) into the FiveFingers heel cup. It’s important to get your heel firmly seated in the heel cup.

The heel cup would not rise over my Achilles. It made it about to the edge of the callous on the bottom of my foot and stopped short. But I’d measured for fit before ordering these so knew they had to be the right size for the length of my foot. I pulled harder on the heel pocket. It’s not stretchy enough. I removed the shoe.

Step 3: Adjust the laces to desired tightness and secure. Make sure the tongue is centered on the top portion of the foot. Wiggle your toes and adjust accordingly to find your ideal comfort.

I tucked the tongue back into the shoe, pulled the laces tight, and nestled the shoe back in the box, under its tissue paper covers. I wiggled my bare toes before putting them safely back in my ballet flat and slid the Vibram box onto the shelf for safe keeping until the day my toes shrink.

For better success than I had at wearing Vibram FiveFingers and running properly in them, visit the brand’s educational section at Let me know how it goes!

Category: Gear

About the Author ()

Also called "Editor Jenn" at Women’s Adventure, Jennifer Olson learns as much from you as she hopes you learn from the magazine and this website. Playing with magnetic poetry on her refrigerator helped Jennifer develop a philosophy by which she still lives: “If you publish a cliché, go explore real inspiration." Visit me on Google+

Comments (10)

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  1. Mary McKhann says:

    I bought a pair a few years back and have worn them a few times. They are a huge pain to put on, and when I got some ultralight Merrell’s the FiveFingers basically went on the shelf. Not sure why anyone thought trying to schmosh your toes into glove-like extensions was a good idea. But I guess they are selling…

  2. Desiree T says:

    I got a pair of TrekSports because no matter what physical activity I’m doing, (whether its running or lifting) sneakers kill my feet. The five fingers eliminated that and are my favorite shoes to wear. To be fair, though, I have really average feet, and my toes have never touched each other anyway.

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s good to know they work for you, Desiree! A lot of people do find them comfy and beneficial, just not me or my feet unfortunately.

      And, Mary, I’ve tried and like the Merrell Pace Gloves, too!

  3. Sarah H says:

    I have the finger toes too, and I LOVE my Merrell Barefoots. Definitely try them, much more comfy!

  4. Fun read! I can’t even wear the toe socks because my feet are so weird.

  5. Liz P says:

    I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one with Finger Toes out there 🙂 I have not tried five fingers on and now I won’t ever bother- thanks! But I will look into the Merrell Barefoots.

  6. Jennifer says:

    You have no idea how much better I feel about my finger toes knowing I’m not alone! Thanks, gals! 😉

  7. Patty says:

    Your finger toes are cute & fun to poke fun at! Just by looking @ the photo I could have told you, never gonna work… I love Merrell shoes, maybe I will try the “barefoot” in an 8.5.

    • Jennifer says:

      Haha! You’ve seen my toes in person and still think they’re cute?! I broke another toe last month and so am favoring it when I run and getting blisters as a result. Oops!

  8. Opeens weet іk waardoor kwid zo belabberd schrijft!

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