Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS Review

 Posted by on March 19, 2012  Add comments
Mar 192012
 
Vibram-Mens-SpyridonLS-MilitaryGreenGreyBlack

Brand: Vibram FiveFingers

Name: Spyridon LS

Color Options:  Dark Olive/Black/Orange (for Men), Military Green/Grey/Black (for Men & Women), & Orange/Grey (for Women)

Weight: 6.88oz each (13.76oz per pair) *varies per size

Drop: 0 mm heel to toe

Other: 3.5mm XSTrek Vibram Rubber sole with a 3mm Polyurethane Insole Anti-Microbial Dri-Lex Sockliner

Price: $120.00


Overview

The Spyridon LS is one of the new FiveFingers for the spring 2012 line-up.  The biggest addition the Spyridon brings to the table is its new XSTrek Vibram Rubber sole which I have obsessively mentioned in two previous posts (Skoras, Altras, and Vibrams, OH MY! and A Run in the Spyridons and a Quick Look at the Lontra).  This addition is hands-down one of the most impressive attributes the Spyridon LS offers.  Otherwise, the Spyridon LS is not much different than the Bikila LS; both models tout a closed speed lace system, a Stretch Mesh/Polyamide upper, and a 3mm Polyurethane footbed with a Dri-Lex Sockliner.  As I’ve said many times before (I’m sure I am beginning to sound like a broken record), the sole is where it’s at.  The “rock block” effect they mention in the picture to the left is something that you have to feel to fully understand.  Essentially what happens is the sole re-focuses the pressure of a rock/stick/piece of debris across the surface area of the shoe keeping the foot safe in cross-country or hiking situations without completely diminishing ground feel.  My first encounter with the rock block effect was during a run through our local arboretum where I was running on and off the concrete trail and encountered a piece of loose concrete. Although my foot still felt the pressure and the shape of the rock, the sole wrapped around the other parts of my foot stopping any potential injuries from happening.

 

Performance

As I mentioned before the Spyridon doesn’t differ in feel that much from that of the Bikila (more specifically, when wearing it casually),  so when it comes to performance everything is based on the terrain you’re running on.  For example, here in Wisconsin, we have been dealing with a record breaking winter and although I’m sure you think I mean lots of snow, in fact, I mean very high temperatures (we just had an 85 degree day!).  What that means for terrain, is very muddy trails to test the Spyridon on.  I have been able to put the Spyridon through many different tests: 10k on road, 5K on muddy hills, 5k on gravel trails, and casual wear (just to name a few).  I’ll start by saying these shoes are clearly not made for road running, but after a quick run in SeeYas I quickly realized my feet were not yet properly trained for that thin of a sole, so, for our most recent race (a 10k Shamrock Shuffle), I decided to run in Spyridons in order to have a little extra cushion during my run.  Surprisingly, they performed extremely well, my only complaint being that they are one of the heavier models so it did affect my energy levels during the race.

Although my road race went well, where the thick tire-like tread of the Spyridon really shines is during a trail run.  While going up and down the winding hills of the Arboretum, through gravel, mud, and grass you might think one would struggle with traction, but not with the Spyridon.  It’s like going from two wheel drive to four wheel drive, there is no obstacle too difficult (enter silly car slogan here ___).

Comfort/Barefoot Feel

The rock block effect is the key ingredient to making the Spyridon a contender for minimalist shoe stardom.  I never thought that having this much tread could still allow for any ground feel.  I won’t lie and say that the ground feel is anything like that of the Leming (AKA Stem) or a Huarache, but it more than holds its ground (pun intended) versus some of the other trail runners (i.e. Pace Glove/Embark Glove or the New Balance Minimus WT 20) available.  It gives just enough feedback that you can differentiate textures, but enough tread that it keeps your foot safe if you plan to go hiking or running on rougher trails in them.

Aesthetics

The Spyridon LS is styled very differently than its FiveFinger brethren.  The toe area has five curved lines that run down to the tip of each toe. This patterned area is bordered by a leather strap that extends from the outside edge of the shoe to the tip of the big toe. The closed speed lace system is complimented by a gray/white pebble textured area around the opening of the shoe.  Lastly, the heel cap is surrounded by 3M reflective material, allowing for ample light reflection while running in the dark.  All in all, the Spyridon is one of the most unique looking models of the FiveFinger line-up, but, in the same sense, it still manages to look great with a pair of jeans. This is in contrast to some of the brighter color-ways of the Komodosport and the stretch mesh of the white Bikilas, which look out of place when paired with more casual wear.

Summary

The Spyridon LS is the answer to every trail-runner who’s asked the question, “When will Vibram make a shoe specifically for us?”  If you are looking for new innovation from Vibram, then they have definitely delivered with this shoe. I just hope there are plans for the XSTrek Rubber Sole to make an appearance on future models.

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Written By: Steve

Steve is a Division Director at Robert Half Technology in Madison, WI with a business degree in Information Systems and E-Commerce from the University of Toledo. Steve loves spending his time away from work; running, gaming, watching movies, checking out new social networking tools/sites/start-ups and blogging.
  • Fred

    great review but you seem to have forgetten that before this shoe came out THEY trail running/hiking five finger shoe was the Trek/treksport/KSO Trek! Though a tad thicker at 8mm it is still an awesome shoe.

    • http://www.technicallyrunning.com/ Steve Ankney

      Good point Fred!  I suppose I have always assumed that the Trek line was more of a “hiking” shoe rather than a trail runner.  I’ll update the post to add this information.  Thanks!

  • TegynAngel

    Hey steve, great article.  It helped me decide to buy a pair.  Unfortunately, after two 100km ultras in two weeks the footbed has delaminated!  I’ve never seen or heard of this and it’s kind of frustrating. I’m going to return them to REI and in doing some research I’ve stumbled upon an anomaly – only the LS version seems available while only the non-LS (strap) version seems available here in Australia.  Any idea why this might be?  VFF are $220 vs. $120 in Australia vs. the US but I would prefer the non-LS version due to the absence of the unforgiving leather strap across the top of my foot in the LS.  

    Thanks so much for all your awesome work.
    regards
    Tegyn

    • http://www.technicallyrunning.com/ Steve Ankney

      Thanks for your kind words!  In regards to the strapped Spyridon, I honestly did not even realize those were released yet.  Would you mind commenting back with an attached image?  I think I’ve only see promo shots of the strapped Spyridon.  Also, if you still have your broken ones, I’d be curious to see what that looks like.

      Thanks!

      • TegynAngel

        Hey Steve, 
        You can check out the Strapped Spyridon on the Australia VFF site: http://www.barefootinc.com.au/product.php?range=spyridon&id=221

        I’ve attached some photos from inside the Spyridon LS which shows the footbed having delaminated in both pairs.  I thought perhaps I had caused it by putting some tape on my feet (the seams rubbed) but it delaminated on the heel as well – and there was no tape there.I’ve only put about 250km into them, so it shouldn’t be a wearing out issue… (admittedly it was in two 100km Ultras)

        • http://www.technicallyrunning.com/ Steve Ankney

          I’m pretty jealous of those Spyridons.  They look nice!  

          Those shoes look pretty uncomfortable now.  Luckily you purchased them at REI, they should be able to help you take care of the problem.  Thanks for attaching the images!!

          • TegynAngel

            Cheers Steve,
            I’m going to pick up a couple pair of the Strapped (though the Lime Green soles are confronting!) so I’ll let you know how they go.

  • nick

    can you lengthen the laces or get longer ones. I tried them on today and even at the max length the laces were digging in to my foot

    • http://www.technicallyrunning.com/ Steve Ankney

      I’m not aware of a way to lengthen the shoe laces but you could attempt to remove Vibram’s proprietary speed laces and try a third party company like http://www.speedlaces.com. I’m not sure how well those will work but it may be worth a try.

  • Nick

    Turns out that they stretch out in no time at all. They now fit perfectly with zero discomfort. When I want it tighter for trail running I just tighten the laces. I have bikila’s for road running and I find these are more comfortable for day to day wearing.

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