Vibram FiveFingers – Don’t Buy Online!

Buying a pair of Vibram Five Fingers is a bit of a challenge especially online as the sizing needs to be so accurate for a quality fit. The only way to get a quality fit is to try a pair on in a physical store. In Australia you can find real stores where you can try the product at these stockists here or worldwide stockists here. Below is a list of the problems with purchasing this product online:

  • Even if you watch the fitting videos and measure your feet accurately multiple times there is a good chance they won’t fit even if you have normal feet. I think the sizing chart isn’t detailed enough and more measurements are required if they are to be sold online.
  • When you receive your shoes there is no further information to telling you if they fit correctly. For example they should not fit like a glove. All your toes should have room to move inside each pocket and none should touch the end of the shoe. Vibram should put this information with every shoe sold.
  • A lot of online legit sellers especially outside the US have the incorrect sizing chart on their website. Get the official correct sizes here (click on sizing at the bottom of the page, eg 26,04cm is 26.04cm).
  • Do not remove any tags, stickers inside the shoe and make sure you wash your feet thoroughly before trying them on. As these are designed to warn barefoot which makes it extremely hard to keep them clean if they need to be returned. Even if you think your feet are clean wash them as some online sellers won’t take them back unless they are in “immaculate” condition.  This is near impossible but I guess only try them on for a few minutes and thoroughly wash your feet.
  • Even if you follow the sizing directions correctly there is a good chance you might have to change sizes.  You need to consider the return charges. With buying online you might pay $12 or more for postage for delivery to your home. To get another size you will have to pay at least $12 to have them returned to the online shop but you will have to pay another $12 to have them returned to you. So all up you will be paying for 3 lots of freight($36) if the size is incorrect. This assumes you only need one size change so it could be more. You also have to consider your time. If you get paid $20 per hour and it takes 2 hours to email the online shop and arrange the packing back up and postage back to the online shop that is another $40 so the real price is near $80 to get a size change.
  • If you look at the sizing chart there is very little difference between sizes. It is normally only about 5mm. Normally if you purchased a pair of shoes online and they were 5mm too big it wouldn’t be a problem. The FiveFingers need to be the right size to say on your feet(no laces/straps on classic). A lot of people recommend going one size above what Vibram recommend on the sizing chart but it is hard to tell if you haven’t tried on a pair before.

Many people have had the same size problem but I guess a lot of people don’t find out these problems until after they purchase.  So what can be done to fix the above:

  • Vibram puts in a note in every shoe sold explaining how they should fit on your feet so the customer will know if they are too small or too large.
  • More detailed specification for sizing so they can be purchased online with confidence.
  • If you are going to purchase online as you live in a remote location or too busy maybe consider other brands. There are a heap of similar brands and they are a 1/3 to 1/2 the cost with free shipping. Search in google/ebay or use the list here . If you like how they feel and the size is correct you can always buy a pair of Vibrams later. I would like to only recommend Vibram but until they fix this I see this as a viable alternative.

You can help get this changed/fixed. Contact Vibram/online seller quoting this article or your own concerns before purchasing. Better still just visit a physical store and avoid all these issues.