Vibram Five Fingers KSO EVO Review UPDATE for Forefoot Running


Today, Im doing an updated review on the vibram
five fingers kso evo, which are Vibrams softer, lighter, more flexible running shoe made for
both trail and road running and the material conditions of the shoe has improved in ways
where the shoe does really well when running in the rain and can be used for watersports,
such as kayaking and kiteboarding so alongside of being an excellent running shoe, specially
for speed work because of their lightness and their barely-there-feel, the KSO EVOs
are also an impressive water shoe. I’ve had the KSO EVOs for about 2 years. I’ve racked up huge mileage on the them. I typically run 18-21 km a day, mostly on
soft pavement, but also, I do lots of runs on grass and dirt trails, but I have never
worn the KSO EVOs during the winter because my go-to winter running shoes, especially
in the snow, are the Altra Escalante and the Sockwa x8, because they do a better job at
keeping my toes warm, but that’s just my experience. I’ve read a lot of reviews reporting that
the kso evo’s are pretty thermal in that they provide similar warmth as the Vibram Trek
Ascent LR, so some people have had great luck with the kso evo’s in keeping their feet warm
during the winter months. Probably the most robust features of the vibram
kso evo’s are the flexibility of the toe sockets, the overall softness and stretchability of
the shoes infrastructure and the 4.7 mm thin rubber outsole, that really gives you an open
volume of sensory feedback, but also the rubber outsole has a zig zag tread pattern that provides
adequate grip on wet surfaces. So, I’m just going to outline, in more detail
the specifications of the shoe, how they contrast to other vibram fivefinger models as well
as other minimalist running shoes and how the KSO EVOs plays their part in how they
can help you run better to levels not often experienced in the traditional running shoe. In focusing on the toe sockets of the KSO
EVO, they are significantly more stretchy and softer as compared to the vibram five
fingers kso classics, your toes are better able to spread out in the kso evo’s whereby
toe spreading is actually one of the imperative needs of the feet to remain strong and also
to spread stability during running. The flexible, adaptable toe sockets keeps
the toes engaged at a very high level at each step, enabling for greater flexion and extension,
which provides a special opportunity for the toes to self-strengthen, an opportunity that
we don’t normally have in regular traditional running shoes. When the toes are weak, this does not sustain
well for balance stability during running. Ultimately, in the KSO EVO’s, the pliable
toe sockets give the toes a more proactive role in securing, steady and sturdy footballs
during forefoot running which is going to pay-off big time in helping you avoid ankle
injury. There is no way to get stronger feet unless
the entire framework of the shoe works with your foot, not against it. This is another asset of the kso evo, is the
entire upper is very stretchy, and adaptable; there’s no obstruction or mechanical interference
of natural foot movements which going to deepen and intensify muscular and soft tissue engagement
within the foot. Thus, the KSO EVOs are great to use as a development
tool that build up foot strength, which also, drives better balance stability and the more
you wear shoes like this, where your feet engage more freely, the more likely the feet
are to be healthier for years to come. Just as equally important, a lot of people
are unaware that strengthening the feet actually requires sensory input that flows continuously
through the bottom of the bare foot. Most of the growth in foot strength actually
comes from the sensory input that stimulates the bottom of the bare foot; this of course
is optimized when you run and walk barefoot, especially on natural surfaces, but if you
don’t want to run barefoot you can definitely rely on the kso evo’s to help finish the job
in helping make your feet stronger than they were in traditional running shoes whereby
the 4.7 mm thin rubber outsole of the KSO EVOs gives more open volumes of sensory input
which can be harnessed to make more effective changes in foot strength, but also the sensory
input clarity helps you be constantly evaluating you’re running form, especially at the foot
strike level, helping you successfully manage your forefoot strike, and from there, definitely
charts the mechanical path that avoids high-impact landings because you are going to be more
mindful of your foot strike intensity. So this is how the KSO EVOS can have a real
strategic purpose in helping deliver the change you want to see in your mechanics, making
you less prone to mechanical recklessness. In looking at the lacing system, the KSO EVO
has a very convenient quick lacing framework, with extra velcro to prevent the cord from
moving around and come loose; it keeps the cord securely locked in place even when wet. This dynamic lacing structure gives a more
controlled fit, if that makes sense, because the bungee cord lacing is what really helps
lock and secure the shoe to your foot, giving a really snug fit, but not an uncomfortably
tight fit, but tight enough where it does a good job at preventing debris and dirt from
getting inside the shoe. The KSO EVO fits well below the ankle, which
i like, because it adds more to the barely-there feel of the shoe. As for the overall feel of the fit of the
shoe, the KSO EVO feels light and smooth against your foot, as I mentioned earlier, the inner
lining feels seamless, nothing is cutting or rubbing against the skin of your foot;
the interior of the shoe feels softer, smoother and more supple, like a sock as compared to
the KSO classics. Its for this reason, you can definitely go
sockless in the KSO EVOs without worrying about blisters. In getting back to the outsole thinness, in
terms of ground-feel resolution, you can feel the sensation of the floor and you can also
feel every little pebble, but not in a painful way. The outsole provides enough rubberized protection
where stepping on pebbles doesn’t hurt. The rubber materials on the outsole also does
a great job at protecting the underfoot against scorching, hot pavement. Therefore, the KSO EVOs outsole is really
the perfect blend of protection and ground-feel; its thin enough to be an open window for sensory
input to continuously flow in without feeling pain when you step on a rock. And, I really want to underscore that the
best way to connect with the ground is when you can feel the ground, which is one of the
most reliable ways to help bring together more effective, stable biomechanics and when
you’re more stable from the ground up, you’re less prone to ankle or knee injuries because
plantar (the bottom of the foot) sensory engagement spurs on greater motor control and greater
motor control spreads more stability during both running and walking. The KSO EVOs are excellent for running on
the roads, trails, running on grass, running on the beach and other softer surfaces; Because
there’s nothing to the shoe, there is no structural mechanical interferences, like arch support,
heel counters or posts, the KSO EVOs can help you secure good footing when doing high agility
movements because the interplay of the structural adaptability, dynamic structural framework
of the shoe, plus the sensory dimension of the shoe, helps bring together a diverse range
of reflexive engagements and reactions that can help you grasp the ground more strongly,
and because of this, the KSO EVOS are also a great choice for hiking as well as gym workouts
because again, the shoes help put into action the mechanics and reflexes that make you more
stable, while prompting resilient changes in foot health and strength. The upper is very thin and breathable which
provides decent ventilation for summer running; your feet won’t cook in the shoe in the heat,
but despite the thinness of the upper, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of people report
that the kso evo’s provide warmth during cool temperatures. I also really like that because of the shoes
stretchability, they are easy to put on, secure and take-off. I’d like to make some special points about
what I found in collecting anecdotal evidence on how the KSO EVOs can help lift you out
of injury whereby particularly telling lines of anecdotal accounts have showed the kso
evo’s emerged as a key player in relieving toe pain, reducing knee pain, remedied achilles
tendinosis and improved circulation throughout the foot, helping usher in more oxygen and
nutrient-rich blood deep within the foot muscles and soft tissue compartments of which more
progress can be made in accelerating foot strength and health. This kind of data is consistent with the idea
that less is more in giving your foot an immediate reinvigorating boost and directly adds an
element to previous research confirming that wearing minimalist shoes are well worth the
effort as a first key step in helping you steer clear of deficiencies in foot strength
and function and may help prevent you from repeating the same mechanical errors when
running in traditional running shoes. As for how the KSO EVO compares & contrasts
to other Vibram five finger models as well as other minimalist running shoes, the KSO
EVOs simulate the barefoot experience more fully than most other vibram running shoes,
however the KSO EVO closely resembles, in terms of fit, feel, ground-feel and weight,
to the Vibram E-LX. If you thought the Vibram Bikila LS was thin,
the Vibram KSO EVO is thinner all around. I wanna give you a closer inspection on the
comparison between the KSO EVO and the KSO Classics (I did a video review of the kso
classics which is linked down below in the description box). There’s actually a large magnitude of difference
between the feel and fit, but not sensory experience of the KSO EVO & the KSO Classics.The
differences can be traced back to the KSO EVO being constructed with lighter, softer,
thinner, more flexible upper and outsole materials.The KSO EVO is definitely a more-lower profile,
sleeker, adaptable variant of the KSO Classic, but both shoes provide very similar ground-feel
resolution, or sensory feedback clarity, at least to me. Both shoes give impressive sensory strengths
which is a factor proven to improve mechanical readiness and also helps hold your foot more
stable because of the direct contact with the ground, which lays down a stronger foundation
for better balance control and is a well-known mechanical stabilizing force. The upper materials of the KSO EVO is made
of a polyester fabric that feels more delicate, soft and thin than the KSO Classics, so the
KSO Classics has a more durable, more tear-restistant upper, but in regard to the thinness and pliability
of the KSO EVO’s upper, gives rise to more stretchability; you get a more adaptable fit
which is going to do the most good for providing a more natural, sock-like, barely-there-feel
than the KSO Classics. The inside of the KSO EVO feels more seamless,
more plush and soft against the foot than the inside of the KSO Classics. I found that the inner-lining of the KSO Classics
felt a little unpleasant, a little rugged-feeling on my foot which in the beginning, gave me
blisters, whereas in the KSO EVO, I got no blisters from running long distances in the
shoe, even when the shoe was wet. This is why I consider the KSO EVO as being
compatible in the feel to that of a sock. The toe-sockets of the KSO EVOs are more flexible,
more expandable, more comfortable, which will work even better for toe-splay during running
vs the KSO Classics. Another aspect I love about the KSO EVO is
that the rubber outsole doesn’t come up the side of your foot like it does with the KSO
Classics. This is what gives the KSO EVO less structural
volume, making it feel like you’re wearing a sock, rather than a running shoe as compared
to the KSO Classics. In taking a more detailed look at the outsole,
thanks to the zig-zag tread pattern, the KSO EVO provides better grip without your foot
feeling stuck to the ground during running. In contrast, the KSO Classics are virtually
treadless, they have a completely smooth rubber outsole, but that’s not to say that the KSO
Classic doesn’t provide any traction; the KSO Classics actually provide adequate traction,
but I feel that the KSO EVOs provide more grip against wet surfaces than the KSO Classics. I find too, that the tread pattern on the
KSO EVO provides good traction when running and walking on slick, rocky, wet surfaces
than the KSO Classics. If you like the Vibram Trek, which is Vibrams
winter hiking, running & walking shoe, the KSO EVO is virtually a thinner version of
the Treks, despite the KSO EVO being thinner in the outsole and upper, it provides similar
warmth in cooler conditions. As compared with other minimalist running
shoes, the only minimalist shoe that’s more minimalistic, that’s more sensory-rich,
that gives enhanced tactile sensations on the bottom of the bare foot is the Sockwa
X8, which is prized for accurately replicating the barefoot condition. (I also did a youtube video review of the
sockwa x8 which has linked down below in the description box). Ultimately, the biggest asset of not only
the kso evo’s, but of most vibram five finger running shoes is they provide the sensory
surplus needed to stimulate more robust engagements of the withdrawal reflex of the leg, helping
you make better reflexive contributions, like greater hip extension which is tied to promoting
a high back-kick, which helps reduce over-striding, and this kind of sensory information flowing
in through the bottom of foot causes activations in motor planning areas of the brain, all
of which helps alig your motor control and forefoot strike during running to a level
that harvests better landing stability, encourages a shortened stride, faster turnover, a higher
step rate whereby to avoid impact-related injuries during running, these are definitely
the changes that you want to see in your mechanics. This kind of sensory engagement is what we
don’t have in regular traditional running shoe, and I think this is why this is one
key spot of influence of the Vibram Fivefingers in providing the special opportunity in allowing
not only rapid improvements in foot strength and sudden gains in foot function, but in
strengthening muscle memory, making significant changes to the reflexive mechanical system,
making the motor cortex more hyperactive so that you become more focused on your foot
strike pattern and intensity which are necessary precursors for avoiding high impact production,
but also makes it easier to sustain good mechanics long-term. This is really why the phrase less is more
is really starting to become conventional wisdom. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video review
of the Vibram KSO EVO. I also did a blog post version review of the
shoe which is linked down below in the description box. To stay updated on all the latest research
on all the health and performance benefits of barefoot running and minimalist running,
please hit the subscribe button below. Thanks so much for listening and watching. Have fun out there on the roads and trails. Bye for now!

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