Back in March I posted a review of my toe shoes. Since then, I discovered that the shoes I had purchased were in fact not genuine Vibrams.
I was very disappointed when after only 3 months, a hole started to appear on the sole under the ball of my foot. I soldiered on with the shoes for another month until they were unwearable, and struggled to decide what to do next. If the Vibram shoes wore out this quickly, then they were not worth the expense. On the other hand, I did really like them. They were comfortable and felt so much better to walk in than regular shoes that I wasn’t ready to give them up.
I read a bit more online and noticed that the people whose shoes seemed to last the longest were wearing the running sole rather than the classic sole. I was heading out on a trip to London that was to include a 10 mile walk around the city, so I really needed some decent footwear. I decided to take the chance and buy another pair of Vibrams. I was running out of time to order online so I had my other half drive me to Sheffield where a store called Naked Ape sell a great range of FiveFingers.
I chose the Speeds, a style with the running sole that looks more like regular trainers than the rest of the Vibram range. I tried them on in the store and found them to be extremely comfortable. I told the guy in the store about my classics and how they had worn out so quickly, and we took a look at the same pair from his stock side by side with mine. It was quite obvious that they didn’t match.
My original pair of classics was the correct shape and size, all the Vibram logos were in the correct places, so when comparing them to photographs online I couldn’t find any reason to think that they might not be genuine. However, comparing them to a real pair was a different matter. The fabric was a slightly different colour and texture. The rubber sole was slightly shiny rather than matte. The stitching on the logo was very different. It was clear that they were not the same shoe. Mine were not genuine. I was both irritated and relieved at discovery.
On the one hand, I had spent £55 on a pair of shoes that had lasted me only 4 months because I believed them to be something that they weren’t. I had been conned. I was pretty annoyed about that. On the other hand, I had found out why my wonderful shoes had worn out so fast. They were not the durable Vibram soles that I had thought they were. This gave me more confidence that the new pair would hold out.
I have been wearing my speeds for about 5 weeks now, and they are brilliant. They are more comfortable than the classics were, and because they cover my whole foot, they are much warmer in cold weather. In hot weather they do get very sweaty, but this doesn’t cause any discomfort, it’s just not too pleasant. I do have to wash them often to stop them from smelling, but fresh out the machine they look good as new. There isn’t a single bit of visible wear and tear on the sole.
Despite my disappointment at the fake classics, I am really glad that I took the chance on the FiveFingers. They are most certainly not cheap, my speeds were £120, but they are definitely worth it. I even attempt to go jogging on a semi regular basis, something that I haven’t done since school when it was compulsory.
Unfortunately the store I bought the fake classics from denied that they were fake and didn’t offer me a refund. I reported them to trading standards.