Vibram FiveFingers V-Run Review: Comfort & Performance
I've been using Vibram FiveFingers for years. Out of the 17 marathons I've completed so far, 14 have been with Vibram FiveFingers. They are fantastic shoes that provide everything you need in a shoe and nothing you don't. My most recent model has been the V-Run, with which I've completed two marathons and one Half Ironman, as well as all the associated training. I haven't kept track of the mileage I've put on them, but I'd say its well over 1000 at this point. Here's my experience so far:
On my way to the AG podium in my V-Runs at the Leavenworth Marathon!
Materials & Features:
The V-Run is the next elovution of the Bikila in the Vibram FiveFingers line, with upgrades to the materials and features. It features a stretchy polyester mesh upper with a microfiber liner. It's a very stretchy and soft material and out of all the Vibram models I've worn, these are definitely the most comfortable right out of the box! The perforations in the upper definitely help keep your feet dry (from sweat or puddles) without sacrificing much in the way of warmth if it's chilly outside. They are noticeably more breathe better than the Bikilas were. The sole is also a couple of millimeters thicker than previous models and features a more durable rubber which increases the longevity of the sole - which is very important for VFFs, because typically the only reason they need to be replaced is when the sole wears through. The lacing system involves a simple quick-lace system and is very quick and easy to secure. This, combined with the stretchiness of the fabric made them especially easy to get on - an added benefit for triathletes looking to save precious seconds in T2!
The fit is good, but not quite as good as the Bikila. To me it feels like the heel is just a little bit looser, and perhaps the stretchiness of the fabric could have something to do with that. That being said, fit with any shoe is highly subjective (especially VFFs) and I would still describe the overall fit as 'excellent.' The fit never became an issue on any of my runs. I did have some mild chaffing on the first couple runs, but I've had this with all my VFFs. They seem to just need a few miles to get 'broken in.'
These shoes are built for road-running performance - and boy do they deliver! No matter how fast you run, or over what terrain, they always seem to grip very well and give you the confidence to go as fast as you want, even on muddy trails. They are, however, designed for road running and that's where they truly excel. They provide excellent grip on the road and have the durability to go the distance. I was very pleased with their performance on all of my races with them and experienced no foot discomfort - even after 26.2 miles. There's definitely some pain though if you happen to step on an errant pebble, so you may want to consider the V-Trail for better off-road comfort.
The V-Run has above average durability compared to previous VFF running models. The use of the extra-thick and extra-durable sole results in less-than-standard wear - even after hundreds of miles. I am just now starting to wear through the big toe area on my pair, but that's after two-and-a-half marathons. Normal running shoes probably wouldn't last much longer than that anyway.
The V-Runs were a worthwhile upgrade form the Bikilas. The new fabrics and sole do well to increase the comfort, durability and road performance of the shoe. These are ideal for any road running, and also work well for some trail running as well. They may be at the higher end of the price range for VFFs, though anyone seriously looking at this shoe should know that they would be making a worthwhile investment in an above average running shoe. The fit may be the only issue for some runners - and again, fit is very subjective. I would highly recommend looking into the V-Run whether you're looking to set a PR at your next race, or just looking for a comfortable road running shoe.