Everyone's talking about the new shoe that looks like a rubber toe sock, and as with any revolutionary concept, there are plenty of questions. Here are some of them.

How are FiveFingers different from regular shoes?

Vibram FiveFingers are unique in two primary ways. First and most obvious - the toes are separated individually. This allows you to engage more of the muscles in your foot for balance and propulsion. Second, there is no (or in some models, minimal) midsole to absorb shock. Because of this, it's less comfortable to land on your heels. Therefore, many who wear FiveFingers shift to a midfoot strike and use their muscles, connective tissue, and joints to absorb the shock as opposed to the skeletal impact usually caused by heel striking.

What activities should I use FiveFingers for?

Depending on the particular model, Vibram FiveFingers can be used for running, hiking, walking, yoga, bouldering, water sports, or fitness training.

How will Vibram FiveFingers feel?

FiveFingers initially feel different compared to standard footwear. First, because there's material between each toe, and second, because there's no cushy padding under the foot. Most people get used to the feel of FiveFingers after a few sessions.

How far can I run in them?

You can run as far in FiveFingers as you can with any other shoe, but you have to work up to it. You are using a slightly different set of muscles with FiveFingers, and your feet and legs will fatigue faster than normal during the first few sessions.

How well do FiveFingers protect my feet from injury?

While FiveFingers do provide some rubber in front of your toes, it's certainly not up to the level of toe protection provided by the typical hiking boot. You have to be more aware of how and where you are running/stepping. Direct impact with sticks and curbs is not advised. Also, because of minimal cushioning in FiveFingers, special care should also be taken while descending a rocky trail, especially if your feet are tired.

How do I determine which FiveFinger size to order?

Most FiveFingers returns result from sizing issues. To achieve the best-fitting results, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS:

Stand with your heels flat against a vertical wall.

Slide a ruler under your longest foot and measure it (in inches) from the heel to the tip of the longest toe. Consult the FiveFingers size chart (see FiveFingers product pages for appropriate size chart link) to convert your foot length to the correct shoe size.

How should my FiveFingers fit?

Ideally, you will want your toes and heel to fit into each pocket so that they're comfortably snug, with your longest toe grazing the end of the toe pocket. You do not want the standard room desired in traditional footwear.

Although it is perfectly fine for your toes to graze the end of the toe pockets, make sure each toe can extend fully. If any of your toes are scrunched or curled due to lack of space, you need to go up in size. If you wiggle your toes and they slip out of the toe pockets, you need to go down in size. Ultimately, you should find a pair that you are comfortable in and that allow you to perform activities freely and naturally - as if you were wearing no shoes at all!

How hard is it to put FiveFingers on?

It can take a while at first. But as you get used to moving your toes independently, and as your toes naturally spread from repeated wearing, putting on FiveFingers becomes as easy as putting on a glove.

I'm a man; can I wear women's sizes? (Or, I'm a woman; can I wear men's sizes?)

Many male consumers try on a women's-size FiveFingers with great success. The only difference between men's and women's FiveFingers is that men's models are slightly wider and longer than women's. If your foot is smaller than the smallest men's size, certainly try on a women's size based on your measurement in inches. You may have much better luck! If you are a woman and your foot is bigger than the largest women's size, try on a men's model based on your foot measurement in inches.

Can I wash Vibram FiveFingers?

FiveFingers are machine washable. Use a gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent. Hang to air dry. Make sure to keep the KSO Trek away from direct sunlight or heat source while drying.

Do FiveFingers come in widths?

FiveFingers use a stretch fabric upper that accommodates most medium and wide widths (up to EEE) comfortably.

Can I use my orthotics in my FiveFingers?

Vibram FiveFingers are designed to be worn directly against the sole of your foot, promoting better foot mechanics naturally. Putting something between the two would defeat their purpose. If you have an extremely flat foot, you will need to work into wearing your FiveFingers gradually, as your muscles will need time to adapt and strengthen.

Can I wear FiveFingers if I have webbed toes or syndactyly?

Unfortunately, the design of Vibram FiveFingers does not accommodate webbed toes or syndactyly. Vibram is unable to make custom FiveFingers to fit specific foot needs at this time.

Do FiveFingers come in children's sizes?

FiveFingers start at size 34 for women, which equates to an 8 1/8 in. foot length. This is too big for most children, but many youth sizes can fit into smaller women's models.

Can I wear socks with FiveFingers?

You can wear toe socks in FiveFingers but it's a question of preference. Wearing socks with Vibram FiveFingers can reduce transition time for sensitive feet, friction/hot spots, and odor from sweat, and increase thermal regulation.

Still have questions about FiveFingers? Please contact Eastern Mountain Sports Customer Service at 1-203-379-2233