Thursday, June 10, 2010
Review of Vibram Bikila Shoe
Unlike any running shoe on the market today, the Bikila is a breakthrough product that encourages a more natural, healthier, and more efficient forefoot strike. While many folks have been running in their Vibram FiveFingers for years, the Bikila is our first model designed specifically for a more natural running experience.
Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex® covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form. A more athletic padded collar and topline, a single hook and loop closure, 3M reflective surfaces, and tear resistant TPU toe protection finish off this breakthrough design.
For me, the BIGGEST difference between the KSOs and the new Bikila is the extra cushioning in the forefoot of the Bikila. It almost seems luxurious. At first I was worried about losing ground feel (which you do), but now I enjoy the extra padding. More purists may find the loss of feel frustrating. I think the EVA foam will compress after about 100 miles and it'll be just slightly more cushiony the the KSOs. Another difference is the overall seamless nature of the "sockliner" or shoe interior. The Bikila is VERY comfortable. I think Vibram will have a best seller on its hands with the new Bikila. The shoe looks great, the bottom pods are really cool and they seem to provide a touch of extra flexibility and cushioning at the same time.
For comparison purposes, here is a ranking of my main "minimalist" shoes from most minimal and greatest ground feel to least minimal (but still OK ground feel):
Barefoot > Feelmax Osma > Vibram KSO > Vibram Bikila > Mizuno Wave Universe 3 > New Balance 790
For more information, Birthday Shoes has a very good and thorough review of the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila.