Admittedly, I initially decided to review the Vibram FiveFingers as a bit of a joke, however, I can’t deny that they are legitimately a very good option that you should consider for your Powerlifting arsenal!
The Vibram FiveFingers are an excellent shoe to consider for Powerlifting if you can get past their unique looks! Their exceptional grip and extremely thin sole make them a great option for Deadlifting in particular and they stand up well against most flat-soled alternatives when Squatting or Bench Pressing.
The Five Finger’s design was the brainchild of Robert Fliri, a design student who wanted a shoe that would allow him to navigate the great outdoors better. What resulted was an incredibly minimalistic design with a unique feature, the shoe had toes!
Vibram FiveFingers | General Review
The below stats are based on a US size 9.5.
- Weight 220g
- Length 265mm
- Max Width 110mm
- Width at Heel 63mm
- Sole Thickness 12mm
It goes without saying that you won’t find another shoe that looks like the Vibram FiveFingers. Their individual toed design is something I feel people will either love or hate.
Unfortunately, I fall into the hate category, I want to like them but they just look utterly ridiculous to me, which is a shame because otherwise I really like these shoes!
Rating – 2/10
The FiveFingers were a nightmare to get on! Maybe its something that would get easier over time, but trying to get each individual toe into the correct place was frustratingly difficult.
Once the shoes were on though, they were a very good fit. I suppose that’s the purpose though as they’re meant to conform to your foot shape and simulate being barefoot.
Regarding the fit, Vibram has their own unique sizing, and it’s generally recommended to go smaller than your usual shoe size. I got mine a full size down and this seemed to fit very well.
You can check out the Vibram website for more info on sizing.
Rating – 7/10
The FiveFingers were incredibly comfortable to wear, the material is very thin and stretches very easily to conform to your foot.
The purpose of the Vibram FiveFingers is to strengthen your feet by allowing you to rely on your own musculature to navigate the terrain below you.
Having the individual pockets for each toe was a great feature and really allowed all the freedom you would expect from such a design.
There is a big caveat to this comfort though, if you’re someone who is not used to walking around barefoot, then the opposite may be true.
So if you’re someone who isn’t used to barefoot walking, be aware that the FiveFingers will have a bit of an adjustment period to.navigate the terrain below you. Most normal shoes don’t do this and, in fact, can do the opposite by providing too much support to your structures.
So if you’re someone who isn’t used to barefoot walking, be aware that the FiveFingers will take some getting used to.
If you are interested in ways to strengthen your feet, you can also check out my article on the subject where I provide some great exercises for this purpose. By implementing these exercises you will prime your feet for barefoot walking or Vibram FiveFingers.
Rating – 8/10
If the unique toe design wasn’t enough for you, Vibram also has a very unique lacing system. These shoes don’t need to be tied in the traditional sense. Instead, the shoe is loosened and tightened by what could be described as more of a drawstring mechanism.
I found this very convenient and it barely took a second to have each shoe tightened appropriately (once I’d eventually managed to get my toes in the correct pocket that is!)
the drawstring also stayed firmly in place and didn’t loosen over time.
Overall I don’t have anything negative to say about the lacing system.
Rating – 10/10
The Vibram FiveFingers were designed with grip in mind. They are, after all, very popular in water sports and sailing where grip is extremely important!
It comes as no surprise then that they scored the highest so far in the Powerlifting Perfection Grip Test, with a massive score of 1.58!
Rating – 10/10
Vibram FiveFingers for Squats
I didn’t really know what to expect when I tried these out but I was honestly very pleasantly surprised. The Vibram FiveFingers can hang with the best flat-soled shoes out there.
I generally prefer a high bar Squat and a typical Weightlifting Shoe suits me more, however, I tried out the FiveFingers in a low bar position to try and give them a fairer chance and they did a perfectly admirable job of things.
The Vibrams were outstanding in the Deadlift, especially in the Sumo stance.
The huge advantage is of course that I can spread my toes as much or as little as I want and the massive amounts of grip really allow me to screw into the floor.
There was some noticeable stability missing, but conversely, I was able to use my feet more to keep everything under control.
Vibram FiveFingers for the Deadlift
The Vibrams were outstanding in the Deadlift though, especially in the Sumo stance.
Their thin sole allowed me to get as close to the floor as I will ever get without going barefoot and again, the grip was so high that I had no concerns about slipping.
One thing I feel could have made the Vibrams more tailored to the Deadlift though, would have been the inclusion of some form of ankle support, be it a high top or strap for example. Of course, they aren’t a lifting specific shoe so its no surprise this isn’t included.
Vibram FiveFingers for the Bench Press
Much like the Squat, I prefer to wear a heeled Weightlifting Shoe when I Bench Press. Because of this fact, the Vibram FiveFingers were never going to be the perfect choice here.
That said, they outperform pretty much any flat soled shoe. The grip is just on another level and they help you feel extremely well connected to the floor.
If you prefer to lift your heels or are comfortable Bench Pressing in flat shoes, the Vibram FiveFingers come highly recommended from me!
Rating – 7/10
Vibram FiveFingers Price
The Vibram FiveFingers are very competitively priced and are cheaper than most dedicated Powerlifting Shoes. They also have many uses outside of lifting, which makes the cost even easier to justify.
You can check the latest pricing of the Vibram FiveFingers at Amazon.
Truth be told though if you’re looking to save money, they don’t really offer anything extra over just training barefoot (if you can get away with this).
Rating – 9/10
Final Thoughts on the Vibram FiveFingers
I’m a big fan of innovation and the Vibram FiveFingers are one of the most innovative shoes going. They offer something most other shoes can’t and the idea that you can wear them and strengthen your feet in the process is a big selling point for me.
It’s just a shame they’re so ugly, as I just can’t see myself wearing them out in public. Granted, that’s my issue and not an issue with the shoes themselves.
As someone lucky enough to have their own home gym though, I can just train barefoot if I’m looking to reap the benefits of what the Vibrams offer.
So as much as I am really on board with the benefits of the Vibram FiveFingers, I just don’t need them.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have their own gym, however, and wants to experiment with barefoot training, I can’t recommend the Vibram FiveFingers enough, they really are that good!
Yes, you might get some odd looks from people, but so what? Hopefully, you’re not a coward like me!
Overall Rating – 8.1/10
If you’re not completely sold on the benefits of training barefoot, I would recommend you also check out my article on the subject.