We spent over 2 years traveling full time – and we traveled light. In our search for the best travel shoes, we found Vibram and their awesome footwear. On this post, you’ll find the Vibram Furoshiki and Five Fingers review: best travel shoes!
*Vibram sent us a few pairs of their shoes for trial, but the opinions are 100% ours
First thoughts on the Five Finger shoes
Our first contact with them was the Five Fingers shoes in Canada. Well, I think they’re horrid but who am I to say anything? I wore Crocs nearly my whole motherhood. I’d never wear a Five Fingers, but Angelo and kid #2 (Joao) bought a pair each and they fell in love.
It was a great conversation starter, as people actually stopped them to ask about the shoes; and it was highly comfortable for our summer travels – lightweight, breathable, barefoot sensation.
So after looking on their website for another pair, we found the Furoshiki. Kid #1 said it was just as horrible but I loved it and wanted it badly. I was really tired of my uncomfortable hiking shoes, and my one pair of Merrel sandals were thinning out of so much use. Check my favorite travel sandal below!
Vibram sent us 3 pairs of shoes: one more Five Fingers for Angelo and Kid #2, and a Furoshiki for me. And we tried it.
For over a year of constant use. Now we feel comfortable reviewing it thoroughly.
Five Fingers shoe review
It’s not beautiful. It even looks like socks. In countries like Japan, we heard a lot of people commenting that the boys were wearing socks with no shoes. See the pair Joao chose below!
For summer travel, it was great. They could wear it anywhere. The lighter versions could be worn all the way through: from the city to the beach, even in the water, and out. It’s highly breathable and comfortable – like a sock, really.
If the floor was too hot, they felt it but it didn’t burn them, they just felt the heat.
It was the best shoes for touristing, as it would allow long walks 100% comfortably.
Although they don’t fold well, they fit any corner of your bag as they go almost flat, so it makes for a great second pair of shoes for those who travel light or those who always have a full-to-the-brim bag.
Five Fingers for winter
It was comfortable enough and Angelo wore it throughout the winter. This one below was the pair he chose – check the latest prices!
Kid #2 said his feet got a little too cold and it was nearly impossible wearing 2 pairs of socks because the shoes are made to be worn snuggly and tight so we had to buy him a new pair of winter shoes for our winter travels.
They do have winter options, but they are hard to find on the bigger sizes, and Angelo couldn’t find one to fit him anywhere.
He still claims it’s the best traveling shoes for men and I’d even put that for some women too!
Pros and Cons of the Vibram Five Fingers shoes
- Lots of different models, colors, and sizes for every kind of person and activity
- Packs small and light (some models more than others, but every model packs better than a regular sneaker)
- Extremely comfortable
- It’s a great icebreaker
- It dries relatively quickly
- It’s incredibly durable – even with over 10 months of daily use, several washes and a few dries, it still looks good as new
- There aren’t many options for people with larger feet and they’re not easy to find
- It takes a little longer to place each toe correctly in its place than a regular shoe
- Needs special socks
Vibram Furoshiki Shoes Review
I absolutely love it!
I have an orange one of the original model and just recently got myself another pair. Check the latest prices on Amazon below!
But first, I have a confession: I’m not a shoe person. I hate shoes and I’d rather have one single pair that works for everything rather than have a pair for every occasion.
And maybe that’s why I loved it so much.
It looks great with jeans and a cuter blouse, with my comfy airplane attire, with my mom-going-to-the-supermarket outfit, with my gym clothes (that are worn for trails and hikes and touristing days). Maybe not with fancy party clothes – that I don’t own anyway.
So, yes, it meets all my travel needs and my mom needs, so I don’t need to carry any other pair if I don’t want to!
The reasons why Vibram Furoshiki shoes are the best pair of travel shoes
- It’s a barefoot shoe, which means it’s like I’m only wearing socks.
- It’s perfect for air travel as they stretch so swollen feet won’t be a problem and I don’t even feel the need to take it off!
- Ah, and it has no metals and it’s so discreet, so there’s absolutely no need to take the shoes off to go through security on most airports. I didn’t have to, not even once, on our 16-month trip after we got it!
- Also, it’s so comfortable I can walk the whole day and albeit tired, my feet will be just fine.
- It dries really fast, so you can wash at the sink and let it air dry anywhere. You can also wear it in the water and go out and have no problems!
- The best is that it comes in a small bag and it can be folded and put away in any corner of your bag. Mine fit perfectly in my underwear packing cube! By the way, if you don’t have a packing cube yet, you need it! Click here to grab one!
There are many models nowadays, but make sure you get a Vibram Furoshiki shoes original.
I tried wearing it to the beach once – didn’t work too well. Well, the problem is that it fastens with 2 Velcro’s and sand kept getting stuck to the thing and it eventually undid itself completely.
It works on wet sand, but not on the fluffy sand like on dunes. Don’t try it. Or do.
Vibram Furoshiki winter boots
I loved my Furoshiki so much that I wanted a Furoshiki boot for our winter trip but the price was too high for my non-shoe person and I bought a pair of the cheapest boot I could find. It did the trick for a month when it started falling apart.
Then I traded it for the Furoshiki boots. And it was oh so worth it.
The sole is a little bit thicker than the original version, so it protects more from the cold, and it’s less slippery, helping me walk on snow and ice with no problems. That’s thanks to the new Arctic Grip sole.
And it’s so comfortable, warm, and snuggly. I loved it.
The problem, though – there are always problems – is that a little water came inside the folding part and got the foot wet. It was never a lot, but a little was enough to make me feel the chills.
And it’s not slip-on-slip-off like the original model.
But other than that, it was the perfect winter shoes. And it also packs very small (even though it comes in huge boxes for some reason), which makes it great for multi-climate trips.
For me, it was the best shoes for winter travel without a doubt!
The pros and cons of the Vibram Furoshiki shoes for travelers
- It’s absurdly comfortable
- I think it looks great (but husband disagrees) and the colors are pretty awesome
- It packs incredibly small
- It weights almost anything
- It washes and dries really easily
- It’s so nice the kids want it but there are no kids sizes
- The velcro works great everywhere but on sand
- If there’s water, your feet will get wet (less with the boot, more with the original)
- There are no larger sizes. For Angelo, it didn’t fit at all.
The reason why barefoot shoes are great for clumsy people… Or teens
Teenagers grow in different ways. My oldest kid has small feet and she tends to fall a lot. Her ankles aren’t also very strong.
We tried everything: hiking boots, training/running sneakers, Crocs, jandals, Toms, everything! We even got her some personalized and very expensive soles for her shoes done by a podiatrist. Nothing worked.
Until we got her a pair of Vibram Furoshiki.
She hated it. She said it was ugly and blah blah blah, but she wore it. And she felt more stable. Fell less. Her feet didn’t hurt. Her ankle didn’t fail her.
After a few months wearing them, she’s been able to wear most shoes without a problem.
If you have the same issue, and you’re looking for something, try out a pair of barefoot shoes. Seriously. Check some options here!
How to choose the best shoes for your trip
Consider these few things
- How long is your trip?
- Is it going to be mainly warm or cold? Or both?
- What kind of clothes are you taking?
- What kind of events/outings will you do?
I mean, if you’re going on a weekend trip to the beach, take a pair of flip flops only. If you’re going to receive an award or get married, you may need something fancier. If you’re going on a ski trip, then you’ll need your ski boots.
But if you’ll do a lot of things, like sightseeing, shopping, going to the beach, doing light hikes and trails, a theme park or two, then you’ll do just fine with at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes. Or maybe take a pair you really like and are used to, and a pair of a Vibram Furoshiki because it hardly takes up any space anyway. Take the original for warmer weather or the boots for a chillier weather. Or both, if you’re doing a multi-climate trip!
Just make sure you have at least one pair of comfortable shoes for walking – one that you’re comfortable in. If you can’t live without your heels, then go for it (but take a sportier pair with you too)!
How to transition from regular shoes to barefoot shoes?
It takes a while, the transition.
Really, take it slow.
Wear it around the block once. See how it feels. Then wear it for longer. And longer.
Your feet are probably used to cushioning or heels or whatever it is you wear usually. Give it time to adjust for better results.
Or be like me and go on a full day walk on your first day wearing it. Well, my heels hurt but no more than it would with a regular shoe. But I’m usually barefoot at home, so I was used to the feel.
How long does Vibram Furoshiki or Five Fingers last?
Angelo wore the same pair of Vibram Five Fingers for around 18 months nonstop. He took it off, washed it, dried it, and put it on again next day (didn’t wash it every day – just around once a week). It’s still completely fine. It’s this one here, click to see it.
His first pair is still looking great, but since it’s a more breathable version, it was tucked away during winter.
My Furoshiki shoes saw a little bit more wear. They have a few frayed strings that I trim when they bother me, but otherwise, still perfect.
To finish it…
If you’re in doubt, I highly suggest you try it!
We love it and, for all the reasons cited above, we really believe these are the best travel shoes ever!!!