My Vibram Five Finger Treksports

I originally got started with barefoot and minimalist running when I bought my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers, my black KSO’s.

The black KSO (which stands for “keep stuff out”) is the most popular model of Vibram’s toe shoes, and it’s no surprise. They’re simple, discreet, and incredibly versatile.

I’ve had my KSO’s for a while now, and I wear them for all kinds of activities: jogging, sprinting, climbing, Crossfit, hiking, swimming, etc. Throughout all of this they’ve taken quite a bit of punishment, including several tears in the outer covering.

Thankfully, their simple design and fabrication materials made them easy to repair. A little Shoe Goo or some fabric glue and they were good as new.

Whenever I go for a workout, my Vibram Five Finger KSO’s are my shoe of choice.

The Vibram Five Finger Treksport, while seeming very similar to the KSO’s, has some very subtle differences. For one, it has a treaded sole that feels noticeably thicker than the smooth KSO bottoms. Of course, the difference in thickness might not be apparent to somebody first trying Five Fingers (they’ll all seem very thin) for somebody who has been wearing them a while it will be obvious.

The Treksport also has a new feature that was requested by fans of the shoes, a special protective coating over the top of the toes. I understand quite well how beneficial this coating is from my past mishaps with my KSO’s. There is only a thin bit of fabric over the top of your toes when you’re wearing KSO’s, so if you scrape the top of your foot on a rough surface, you will feel it.

Overall, I think the Treksport is a very sturdy shoe that is well designed for hiking or moderate intensity outdoor activities. I tried wearing my pair for regular walks and the thick sole just seemed like too much for asphalt.

However, out in the woods in the dirt and when scrambling up riverbanks, the tread really comes in handy.

Further, the special protective coating and the fabric outer doesn’t seem well equipped to handle the rigor of a full-on sprint training session. To my dismay, I discovered a small tear in the top fabric after doing some sprints one night.

I just don’t think the integrated covering was designed to handle that kind of torque. However, for lower intensity jaunts through the wilderness, I think they’ll do just fine.

If yours tear, don’t worry, I was able to reinforce the fabric with some glue and a small patch so that the rip wouldn’t get any worse.


My Vibram Five Finger KSO's

If you’re thinking about buying a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and aren’t sure which kind to get, let me at least give you some advice on these two models. If you’re planning on running mostly on asphalt or concrete, I’d go with the standard KSO’s. They’ll also be good if you want to do mixed modality type workouts like Crossfit.

If you plan on doing a lot of hiking and trail running, then the Treksports will probably be a better option. I wish I had them back when I last did some hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

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16 Responses to Comparing the Vibram Five Finger KSO and the Treksport

  1. Brian says:

    I have both the KSO and Trek as well. I find the Trek more versatile than the KSO. Meaning I can go from the gym to a short casual 5km more comfortably and easier in my Treks than the KSO. I have had any issues with the Treks and tears on the toes like you describe. If I was a more regular outdoor/smooth surface runner than I would probably stick with the KSOs but since I’m not, the Treks usually are my go to vibrams

  2. Jason says:

    This is erie…first the beef jerky now this. I was just about to finish a blog about my adventure with my Bikilas and my Trek Sports. Just to touch on the Bikilas for a moment, they are amazing. They are so light and fit basically like a foot glove. I thought all vibrams were like that, but when i purchased the Trek Sports i realized they had a completely different feel. They are not a snug but tend to breathe a little better. I use my Bikilas strictly for running and the Treks for working out/CrossFit and plan to use them in the Spartan Race in April. I agree in that the Treks have too much sole for asphalt especially coming off of the micro thin Bikilas. I could see the Treks being my go to vibrams for casual activity and workouts, but for hardcore running on asphalt i’m going with the Bikilas everytime.

    • David Csonka says:

      That makes sense to me, with the Bikilas being meant for running and all. It seems like Vibram really knows what they’re doing.

      Be careful with using VFF’s for stuff like suicide drills or quick-stop-turn movements in Crossfit. I got some nasty blisters from that. Also, you might want to use the Treksports for rowing, I got upper heel blisters from my KSO’s, bu the Treksports have that nice padded heel backing.

  3. Jason says:

    YES! The padded heel backing is my favorite part of the Treks. I have been blister free so far while running, but i have been keeping a close eye on it. I bought a pair of Inji toe socks but they really take away from the whole barefoot experience.

  4. Stuart says:

    Great topic! I’m just gathering info at the moment for a blog on barefoot vs shoes.
    Couldn’t agree more with high lateral movement stuff, you’re likely to blow through Vibrams.
    I have a pair of KSO’s and recently got a pair of Bakilas. Now that I’m used to running barefoot the Bakilas feel almost like normal shoes to me, so in that respect they are much better for normal/asphalt running and for people just getting into it.
    I bought a pair of the injinji socks a while ago for track sprint work/basketball to alleviate blisters on the toes, which they do but I have to agree with Jason that it kills the barefoot experience.

  5. Bryan says:

    I opted for the Merrell Barefoot with my webbed toes. I find myself wearing them all the time. Great product.

  6. Jeff says:

    I bought the TrekSports as my first pair. Thinking they would be mostly used on trails. But as I wanted my feet to get use to them ive been wearing them everyday around the block walking the dogs… I now wish I would have bought the KSO. The TrekSports are starting to wear out / Wear Flat. Maybe i Just need another pair of KSO’s for the pavement and Keep the Trek SPorts for Trail Use.

  7. [...] linked to something about the new Trek shoe from Vibram before, but this review suggests I really should get a pair before my next Lake District [...]

  8. Chris says:

    After putting 1000 miles on my KSOs – I finally had to retire them (holes in the bottoms of the toes, small rips here and there, and the SMELL…). But I didn’t have the option of getting my size in KSOs, I stepped up to the Treksports. It’s not a completely different feeling, but noticeable. And I appreciate the small band underneath the ball of the foot for protection. The break-in period and how long this blister on the side of my foot sticks around will determine if I take them back and keep hunting for new KSOs.

  9. Walter says:

    Hello, im stuck on wich pair of vffs i should get. I live in a rule area and do alot of swimming in creeks and lakes and trail running but i do run on pavement also. wich one should i get. plz help.

    • David Csonka says:

      If the creeks are really cold water, you might consider the VFF Flows, they are made with neoprene so will act like wetsuit boots for your feet.

      If the water is higher than 50 degrees, then you might just consider getting the VFF KSO’s. I’ve worn mine for swimming/running combo workouts, and I could swim just fine in them. They also dry pretty fast.

      • Walter says:

        Thank you,i live in Mississippi so the water is warm i think ill have to go with the kso’s