How to Put On FiveFingers by Vibram

Vibram FiveFingers Flow
Vibram FiveFingers Flow., used by permission

Each FiveFingers product you choose has its own unique set of instructions on how to put it on. This is dictated by the features that each has. For instance, both the Signa features and the Maiori features were designed for watersports such as kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and creek-walking. But, the Signa is a low cut water shoe with only one strap and the Maiori is a high-top bootie with two straps.

However, individual features aside, there are some general principles that will work regardless of the model of FiveFingers you put-on.

Putting on Your FiveFingers

  1. Loosen all hook and loop straps. I find it easier, even necessary, to undo the strap completely.
  2. Starting with one foot, place only your toes and the front part of your foot into the FiveFingers. Do not pull the shoe up over your heel at this point.
  3. Begin aligning your toes into the toe pockets. Vibram recommends working your way down from the big toe to the pinky toe in order. The more times you put on the shoe and get used to how it feels you will instinctively know which toes to adjust to get your individual foot into the FiveFingers. I often put my big toe in, then the next toe, then I move to my pinky toe which usually tries to get in with the one next to it. At that point, the other two naturally align for me.
  4. Once all toes are into their respective toe pockets, grab the loops on the back of the heel and on the front of the shoe and pull the heel cup onto the back of your foot.
  1. You will want to ensure that your entire foot is positioned correctly. Ensure that your heel seats comfortably into the back of the FiveFingers shoe. Check each toe to make sure they are lying flat. If your toes don’t feel right, wiggle them and pull out on the toe pockets. This usually helps straighten and seat the toes in the shoe.
  1. Once your foot is positioned correctly and comfortable, secure the straps for the desired level of support.

The box that both of my FiveFingers came in includes the following statement.

"As a reminder, it may take sometime for you to adapt to FiveFingers, and everyone adapts differently. We suggest gradually increasing usage over time."

Therefore, the first time or even the first few times that you wear a FiveFingers product you should do so to get used to it and help break it in. I wouldn’t immediately go run in them. Walk around and get used to how they feel on your feet.

As far as paddling is concerned, try them out first on shorter times in your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. While my Signa and Maiori didn’t require a break-in period per se, it was nice to get used to them while just fooling around in the water prior to an extended or extreme paddle with them. If nothing else, it put my mind at ease that there really is nothing strange about them and that they wouldn’t serve as a distraction while paddling Class IV whitewater.

Learn More About FiveFingers by Vibram:

  • How to Choose a FiveFingers Toe Pocket Shoe
  • How to Find your FiveFingers Size
  • 6 FiveFingers for Kayaking, Canoeing, and Standup Paddleboarding