Hudson, MA 01749


Inexpensive Alternative to Vibram 5-Fingers

alternatives to Vibram 5-fingers

I am a huge proponent of barefoot minimalist footwear. I wear my Vibram 5-Fingers shoes whether I am gardening, teach postural alignment classes, or work with my clients.  “Do I have to wear those funny-looking toe shoes too?”  I can easily hear a hidden horror in a question, especially from a well-dressed woman in a fancy footwear.

I personally own about 10 pairs of various models of Vibram 5-Fingers. I often wear them while traveling and I am proud to report that they inspired some cases of uncontrollable spontaneous laughter on the streets of various cities abroad. So, I totally understand that people may feel reserved about parading in these weird-looking shoes. Not to mention that they also cost a lot and require some initial training to put on your feet.

Vibram 5-fingers

Where to Find Vibram 5-Fingers Alternatives

Are there any alternatives to Vibram 5-Fingers? Yes. Last fall, I was very happy to find on the minimalist footwear that falls into “barefoot, hiking, trail, water shoes” category. Unlike 5-Fingers though, these shoes look like normal sporty footwear and some are quite attractive. They meet all the desired characteristics of minimal shoes – wide toe-box,  thin and extremely flexible sole, no arch support, and no heel. On a top of it, they cost from $20 to $40 – unheard of prices for minimal footwear! I bought one pair for myself first, loved it, and bought 3 more pairs this month – one for my mother and two for my husband. See the pictures below:

My Mom's shoes - size 37 (US 7)
alternatives to Vibram 5-fingers
Men shoe, sold as 11.5, shoes size 45 and larger than size 12 below.
Men shoe - size 45, sold as size 12 (my husband wears 11.5 and it fits tight)

Please make sure when ordering that your model/ size combination allows free returns. That’s one of the major reasons I pay for Amazon Prime – it becomes pretty expensive to pay return shipping.

The only word of caution – these shoes are sold as water shoes and therefore, they have a row of small holes on the sole. When it’s dry outside, it’s impossible to feel but in rainy weather they allow water to get into a shoe. And so do the Vibram 5-Fingers. So, if you are adventurous enough and ready to try minimal footwear, this is very affordable alternative to funny toe-shoes.

If you never heard of minimal footwear and wondering what it’s all about, get Katy Bowman’s book Whole Body Barefoot – Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear. 

Picture of Natalia Dashkovskaya

Natalia Dashkovskaya

One Response

  1. thanks for the heads up, I have been looking for something to wear when I wash the car in our gravel driveway and my feet do not like rubber thongs,(flip flops).

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