Vibram KSO EVO

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Vibram KSO EVO Review Facts

The Vibram KSO EVO is a pair of shoes shaped like feet. Fabric and systems wrap each toe. The durable components of the running shoe ensure safety and comfort of wearers. Performance is kept as natural and lightweight as possible without sacrificing efficacy, protection, and quality.

After many uses, the upper of this running shoes stay intact due to the durable polyester fabric. There is a soft mesh lining that is not irritating to the skin. The speed-lacing system allows fast fit adjustments. Coverage is easy to manipulate. The design of individual toes slots enhances natural versatility and dexterity of foot movement.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Breathable and flexible upper
  • Light shoe offering great ground feel
  • Quick-lacing system
  • XS TREK technology provides durability, comfort, and stability
Cons
  • Fabric wears quickly
  • Thin sole that is not very durable
  • Toes are light
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole is a high-quality compound created to withstand wear or abrasion, known as Vibram XS TREK. It holds to various surfaces with ease. The goal for runners to experience free and unlimited performance for flat surfaces and trail adventures.

The outsole is meant to be a reliable section that doesn’t lose its efficacy or wear off easily even after many uses. It is intended to afford runners with traction over various surfaces. Some customers disagree. They do not find the sole very durable and feel it is too thin.

The KSO EVO strives to be among the most minimal shoes offered by Vibram. The company takes pride in providing the ultimate connection to running surfaces. It starts with the outsole. At the thickest point, the sole is only 4.7 thick.

Runners, who used other Vibram barefoot collection shoes, will be familiar with the material used in making the outsole. Vibram’s TC-1 performance rubber is used throughout the outsole. The outsoles are flat and thin, almost considered floppy. The minimalist construction is a turn off for some people.
Midsole

Midsole

In line with minimal construction, the midsole follows suit. The material used throughout the midsole is EVA rubber. It offers sufficient protection from large stones and obstacles encountered on a daily run. The keyword about the midsole is ‘minimalism.’ Runners’ feet feel subtle ground changes while running. People who desire extra stability and support will be disappointed in the KSO EVO midsole. The EVA midsoles are two-mm thick which is much less than the usual thickness of midsoles found in running shoes.

The thin midsole is a deliberate design meant to deliver a barefoot-like experience on any terrain. It is a thin platform that is very flexible. The midsole allows feet to move naturally through the cycle of the gait. The focus was given to preference of wearers concerning performance.

The Ethylene vinyl acetate used as the cushioning system of the foot-shaped shoe is comfortable. It provides mild comfort that makes each ground contact smooth and easy. The EVA foam is covered in Drilex nylon. It features anti-moisture and anti-microbial capabilities. The interior is kept as healthy and clean as possible.
Upper

Upper

The main upper fabric KSO EVO is durable polyester. It covers the feel well, hugging them securely and snugly. The upper allows air into the shoe to keep the feet dry and cool. Smooth and soft polyester mesh is used in the lining.

The shoes can be worn without socks. The coverage does not feel irritating. An innovative lace-up system helps with the security and feel of the shoe. A speed lacing system makes adjusting the fit simple for runners. A tug on the laces makes the shoe feel adequately loose or tight. No knots are needed.

Vibram uses impressive technology in the construction of their shoe uppers. The KSO EVO is not a disappointment. The polyester stretch mesh is similar to the material used in some other favorite shoes made by Vibram. It contours around the feet of the runner and is exceptionally comfortable.

The material is thinner than the favorite Bikila line by Vibram. A ‘painted-on’ rubber material is added to give some extra structure to the uppers by covering some of the mesh. While it adds to the stability of the shoe, in some spots, it limits breathability.
Weight

Weight

The shoes are incredibly lightweight. It was a goal to limit the amount of structure and lift that surround the feet of barefoot runner. A size ten shoe for men weighs slightly more than 4.9 ounces. The lightweight construction is ideal for flat terrain speedwork.

The shoes can be folded or rolled and packed in small areas. The lack of structure makes them fabulous travel shoes. They feel like you hardly have anything on your feet. Some features are comprised due to the lightweight construction. Experienced barefoot runners like the outcome.

Breathability

Breathability

There is no concern for breathability with quality barefoot shoes. Vibram has mastered the development of shoes that allow maximum airflow to the feet. The KSO EVO follows the tradition. The polyester stretch mesh uppers provide a tremendous amount of airflow and breathability.

They are well-suited for runners who train in warm climates. Those who live in moderate or cold climates may have issues with the KSO EVO shoes. Snow, rain, and wind can permeate the upper material and cause the runner discomfort.
Comfort

Comfort

Comfort is critical for any running shoe. It may be even more crucial when wearing a barefoot model. Vibram gets the most from the minimal materials used in the upper feels good against the skin. Not all minimal shoes ensure the feet stay as comfortable as this shoe, due mostly to the lace-up system. The shoes are not plush, cushioned shoes. Those in the market for such a shoe will have to look elsewhere.
Style

Style

The style is a personal preference. Vibram has a style of its own. The look of the toe shoe is something runners either hate or love. The style of the KSO EVO is more subdued than other Vibram shoes. Colors offered for the shoes are muted. They stick to blues, blacks, and gray.

Although the laces do not look like traditional laces, they blend in more than Vibram shoes that have no laces or straps. They consist of closed-loop bungees with a velcro strap. The svelte design and slim footprint look flattering on most feet. It does not look as ‘strange’ as the EL-X The tongue and lace system make the shoe a bit taller.
Durability

Durability

With minimal shoes, durability is a significant concern. Using less material results in thin surfaces prone to wear-and-tear. The toe pockets are the spot of most concern. The outsole is rugged and durable, but the material used on the toe pockets and uppers may be prone to issues of durability.

They are not designed for extreme weather. Running under those conditions can hinder the durability. The tread is meant to be durable for a reasonable time after many miles of use. Customers lodged complaints about the durability of the sole and fabric wearing off quickly.
Protection

Protection

There should be no issue of protection on nearly any type of terrain. Runners may experience problems when running on uneven pavement and rugged trail running. There are other Vibram shoes available for those who are looking for a shoe that offers more protection.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The responsiveness category is an aspect of the KSO EVO in which the shoes shine. With the minimal construction, rummers can achieve maximum connection with the surface between their feet. That ability makes the KSO EVO among the most responsive barefoot shoes on the market.

Experienced runners appreciate the responsiveness and use it to maximize running turnover and cadence. Those new to barefoot running are pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get the connection with the road. Feet naturally splay out in the manner nature intended. Responsiveness of the KSO EVO is on a par with the best lightweight shoes available.
Support

Support

The typical barefoot runner is not concerned about support. There is no fancy motion control support offered by the KSO EVO. The minimal construction allows runners to enjoy a natural stride with very little support.

Due to the innovative lace-up system, the shoes do offer more support than shoes with no laces. The feet have no issues moving around in the shoes because of the individual toe pockets and laces. Other types of shoes will offer more stability and support for heavier runners and people looking for midfoot support.
Terrain

Terrain

Flat, even terrain provides the most comfort when wearing the KSO EVO. There are other great options for experienced runners. Grooves on the outsole offer dependable traction over mud or slick grass. It is ill-advised to take the shoes on snow are icy terrain.

Tracks, blacktop, and sidewalks are the sweet spot for this shoe. The KSO EVO allows runners to experience terrain with great flexibility and grip. The XS TREK technology provides performance that takes runners from the trail to the playground and indoor activities.
Price

Price

Vibram does not promote the KSO EVO as a bargain offer. The price of the shoe is in line with other barefoot shoes offering the technology found in a minimal package. The MSRP is $90. The price does not vary much from that amount regardless of the source.

Amazon offers many items at less than the suggested retail price. The price for the KSO EVO is the recommended $90 through Amazon also. There is at least one source that advertises a 70 percent discount, but the price shown is not 70 percent of $90.
Traction

Traction

The KSO EVO has grooves in the outsole that help runners maintain a grip on many surfaces. The shoe will not slip in minimal mud or wet grass. On many types of running surfaces, the KSO EVO excels. The extra grip found in the rubber on the pockets of the toes is appreciated by those who go off the beaten path while running. TC-1 rubber is among the materials having the most grip. It is used throughout the shoe.
Flexibility

Flexibility

Barefoot running shoes have to be flexible for runners to get the best connections to get the best connection to running the surfaces. The KSO EVO permits ample flexibility throughout the shoe’s length. Flexibility is illustrated by how easily the shoes can be folded and rolled.

Any runner who travels a great deal and has limited cargo space finds the shoes easy to pack. The KSO EVO goes beyond many barefoot shoes that allow the toes to be flexed. Runners have no problem flexing the toes downward to get a better grip on a running surface.
Stability

Stability

Stability is not a priority of the makers of running shoes. Runners who want stability choose a shoe other than the KSO EVO. The KSO EVO allows feet to move naturally within the shoes while their toes splay out. Stability is not an issue with experienced barefoot runners. Those new to Vibram’s minimal design may wish the shoes had more stability features.
Drop

Drop

There is a miniscule heel-to-toe drop in most Vibram shoes. The KSO EVO has the same drop as most barefoot shoes that are available. Runners enjoy the zero-mm drop that is comparable to the highest rated running shoes.

The lack of a raised heel allows runners to be in touch with all running surface details. It is a welcomed feature by many. It is recommended for runners new to barefoot to alternate the KSO EVO with shoes that are more substantial until the shoes are broken-in properly.

The heel fit is the best improvement made to Vibram shoes. Sections that wrap around the heel make the KSO EVO a fantastic shoe for making sharp turns and running. Additional height was added to the structure of the wing on each side of the heel and some height to the heel. The heel hugs the back of the foot. Heel sloppiness is eliminated. The additional height does not affect the heel-to-toe drop which is the difference between the height of the toe and heel,
Key Features

Key Features

Affordable
Amazing ground feel
Antimicrobial Drilex sockliner
Easy lacing system
Engineered for comfort and support
Machine washable, air dry
Polyester fabric upper material
Quick-lacing system
Responsive on unpredictable terrain
Rugged outsole
Sole durable enough for shock absorption
Stretchy, breathable upper
Two-mm EVA foam insole
Velvety soft interior
Weighs approximately 4.9 ounces
XS TREK technology for traction
Zero drop
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Vibram KSO EVO offers a combination of impressive protection and ground feel. The flexibility and grip enhance the running experience for those who wear the shoe. It is among the best running shoe for training and off-trail running. The Vibram KSO EVO runs true to size. It has a natural human foot curvative. Its strengths are the flexibility and traction. Weaknesses are stability and support.