Vibram KSO EVO Shoes Reviewed and Rated

8.0 score
[Editors rating (8.0)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (8.0)/10

Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
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Vibram KSO EVO Shoes Reviewed and Rated Review Facts

People always debate what kind of shoes are the best for running. Some say it’s best to go with maximum padding, while others claim it’s best to run in minimal footwear, letting your feet do their job with a little bit of extra protection. Well, there’s no true winner here, and it all boils down to what you prefer. The Vibram KSO EVO is a minimal shoe, one of the most popular models out there, and if you want to experience running barefoot, then these shoes are what you need! Read on to discover what makes the Vibram KSO EVO so popular.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Minimalist construction

Five toe pockets

Breathable mesh upper

Very lightweight

Elastic lacing system

EVA foam midsole

Grippy outsole


Not for rugged terrain or extreme weather conditions

Not supportive

Does not stabilize feet


Vibram did their best to find an optimal material blend to deliver amazing features. The KSO EVO is just like that. The upper is made out of a polyester and spandex blend. The polyester is present in the form of a mesh, found in a lot of Vibram footwear. The material blend is very comfortable, enveloping the wearer's foot and creating the best possible fit. The mesh is very thin (but not flimsy), allowing air to circulate freely, keeping your feet cool. The mesh is covered by rubber sections that add structure, but they hinder the breathability slightly. The lacing system is not traditional - instead, you will find stretch laces that are easy to adjust, giving you the chance to create the best possible fit for you.


The midsole of this running shoe is minimal, just like the rest of the shoe. Don't expect thick, comfy midsoles here! The midsoles are made out of EVA foam. These midsoles do not offer a lot of cushioning, but they do protect the feet against stones, pebbles, and everything else the wearer may encounter while running across different terrain. You will be able to feel every subtle change in the terrain, so you'll know exactly what kind of soil you're facing. Do not expect extra support or stability from the KSO EVO, and if you want these features, we advise you to look elsewhere.


This minimalist running shoe is supposed to emulate the feeling of running barefoot. The sneakers will allow you to truly connect with the ground beneath you, and you wouldn't be able to feel this if it wasn't for the outsoles. The outsoles are actually very thin, with their thickest point being only 4.7 mm! The outsoles of this running shoe are made out of the very same material most Vibram outsoles are, and that is the signature TC-1 performance rubber. The rubber is very durable and flexible, almost feeling flimsy or floppy. This is the whole point of these outsoles, as they serve only to shield you from the sharp objects found in the great outdoors while protecting you from slipping around on wet surfaces. If you're not used to feeling the ground below you, you might find this off-putting, and it will take time until you are fully comfortable with it!


When you run, the comfort of the sneaker wrapped around your feet is very important. This is especially true for minimal footwear! Although this running shoe might not appear to be so comfortable, Vibram made sure to create the best possible shoe with what they were given. One very important aspect of the KSO EVO is that it will allow you to truly feel every little bump and pebble when you run. Some people will find this enjoying and comfortable, while others will find this bothersome and a source of discomfort and pain. You might have sore feet for the first few times, but once you get used to the feeling, the pain will go away. The upper molds to the shape of the foot, and it's very breathable, so you won't experience any problems there. The lace-up system really makes sure that the shoes stay tightly on your feet. The midsoles will offer a minimal amount of cushioning and support, and if you're looking for these aspects, you won't find them here!


The KSO EVO is an extremely lightweight shoe. After all, it is the bare minimum which you can consider a shoe! Minimalist footwear is supposed to bring the weight to the minimum, to resemble going barefoot the most. These shoes weigh as much as 4.9 oz, and that is the men's size 10 we're talking about here! Smaller sizes weigh even less. Their lightweight form makes them ideal for long-distance running, especially on demanding terrain. You can also easily carry them with you no matter where you go, and they can even be folded. There's no need to wear socks with them, as that would ruin their function, but you can do so if you have the need, although they won't feel as light as a feather then. Their weight does mean that the shoes lack some basic features running sneakers have, like support or padding, but that's the point!


This running shoe is one of the most breathable sneakers we've ever come across. The upper is made out of stretch mesh that feels very comfortable, and it lets air circulate in and out of the shoes without any issues. Some parts of the mesh are covered with rubber overlays, but they won't diminish the airflow that much. The KSO EVO is ideal for hot, humid weather, but runners who like challenging themselves in colder climates might not have the use of these sneakers. Rain and snow can easily wiggle their way in the construction of the shoes, while the wind will breeze through, chilling you down to the bones.


One may wonder just how protective these shoes are, considering their construction. Well, the upper does offer some level of protection, thanks to the rubber overlays. The midsole does shield the feet from sharp edges, but you will definitely feel every rock and root and branch you may step on. People who have sensitive feet should avoid wearing these shoes on rugged terrain, as the shoes are definitely not terrain sneakers. Just keep your focus on the road and tracks free of any sharp and dangerous objects, and you should be good. Vibram does offer minimal shoes that have more protection if you need them!


Although these shoes may resemble a sock, you will be shocked at just how responsive these are! The thin outsole and the EVA foam midsole will allow the wearer to truly connect with their surroundings. This responsiveness will give experienced runners the ability to improve their cadence and have their distance crossed, while runners new to minimal footwear will discover just how great it feels to let their feet splay naturally and help propel them towards their goals.


Do not expect a lot of support from the KSO EVO. Runners that are familiar with barefoot running do not worry about support or stability that much anyway, and Vibram is well aware of that. The KSO was made to allow the user to experience what it feels like to run naturally without any padding or constricting elements. The elastic laces do support the runner though, but it will still allow them to wiggle their feet and splay their toes in the five finger pockets. If you truly need arch support or ankle stabilization, look for running sneakers that can give you what you need, as this running shoe is not one of them.


The KSO EVO is not a rugged, protective shoe. They will not do well in the harsh outdoors, and you will probably end up with sore and tired feet if you decide to wear them on the trail. These sneakers are best used on flat, even surfaces, like roads. The outsole does have ridges and grooves that create traction on slick surfaces, such as mud or grass, so at least you don't have to worry about tripping over. You can take the shoes on rough terrain, but do so on your own account, and don't expect to feel comfortable!


Minimal sneakers do not have durable materials making up their construction. Simply said, tougher fabrics would weigh the shoes down, and they would ruin the natural feel the sneakers provide. Even though these are a minimalist running shoe, they are constructed very well, and the rubber overlays and proprietary outsole can stand the test of time. However, the toe pocket area and the upper where the mesh is not protected can suffer from wear and tear damage. Avoid wearing them when it's raining, snowing, or when it's too cold, and you should get the most out of them.


Although the KSO EVO has minimal construction, the price tag is not small. The story is the same for most barefoot sneakers. Just because they lack the materials and padding doesn't mean that the price should be low! A lot of innovative ways and technologies are used to bring these sneakers to life, to give the barefoot runner just what they need. These running shoes are well worth its price if you're into minimalist footwear.

The Final Word

Vibram has created plenty of amazing minimalist footwear over the years, and the KSO EVO is one of them. The very breathable mesh upper is protected by rubber overlays, with an elastic lace-up system that offers a small amount of support. The toe pockets will keep your fingers in their natural position, while the EVA foam midsole protects you from stones and pebbles. The outsole creates traction on slick surfaces, but don't expect a lot of protection from it, as the KSO is made for roads and sideways. If you can live through the lack of support and stability, then these minimalist running shoes are the right choice for you!