VFF classics heel tab removal

I was so thrilled with how comfy my VFF sprints were, I went out an bough a pair of classics.  Unfortunately, I found the heel tab intolerable, no matter how loose the bungee was.  The only way to avoid the Achilles-stabbing was to flex my ankle the whole time, which was not only annoying, but also prevented me from that mid/forefoot strike I'd come to love.  So, it had to go!  I wanted the classics for casual wear, and kept the sprints for running.  So, disabling the bungee wasn't an issue.

In case anyone else runs into this problem, I detailed the mod:

See following replies for the rest!  (too much for 1 post!)

-Jess
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Comments

  • Steps 1 & 2 (matches the pictures!)

    1.) Mark how much of the tab you want to remove.  I would recommend that you mark both shoes before you proceed, so they can be the same!
    2.) Excise the yellow footbed fabric away from the rubber tab, to below the line you made.  A steady hand and a very sharp x-acto or straight razor works well. 
  • 3.) Cut away the rubber tab along the line, being careful not to cut the yellow fabric.
    4.) Super glue the yellow fabric down to the rubber for a finished look
  • 5.) If your feet don't stretch the bungee too far, you can leave them as is.
    6.) If you don't like the look, or your feet stretch the bungee and the adjuster presses against your heel, you can add velcro to hold the bungee tail down.
  • 7.) The Velcro tie-down in use.
    8.) Another option - remove the adjuster all together!  You could still velcro the tail down, but I got sick of picking up dog hair with the velcro, so I cut it off. 

    Hope that helps!

    -Jess
  • Thanks for sharing this!

    I am debating doing this... trying to build up the courage :)
  • Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I would love to have a pair of Classics but that darn tab is what has stopped me from getting them.
  • i've done the deed and chopped off the tab....*sighs* so much more comfy :D
  • That's a good idea.  It looks a lot cleaner keeping the leather like that.  The heel tab never bothered me but it's cool to see a new take on the heel mod!
  • wow you put way more work into it than I did.  5 minute mod at most to my smartwool classics.  Chopped off the bungees, chopped off the tabs with the fabric.  Two pieces of moleskin and a bit of gorilla glue to cover up the rough edge.  Your mod looks very clean though, mine looks utilitarian!
  • Just wondering if the heat gun trick, similar to the morton's toe mod might work for the heal tab on these classics.  Anyone have any thoughts on this?  I was thinking that if heat were applied to the back side, rubber side, of the tab, it might be able to be bent backwards eliminating the need for full removal.
  • Just wanted to say thanks Moosepaws for the instructions on how to do this!

    I've got grey/orange Classics and the heel tab was never a problem, but my new Smartwool Classics have  a much stiffer ecostep rubber and I found the heel tab a problem from day 1. After being rubbed the wrong way several times, I decided to take the plunge and modify them following your instructions and it was a doddle!

    The rubber shelf left behind after removing the tab had a hard edge due to the hardness of the material, so I used a modelling scalpel to radius the edge of it, cutting a smooth curve out so it has a nice depression once the grey suede-like material was glued back in place. Here's how it turned out!

    SmartwoolClassics2.jpg

    SmartwoolClassics.jpg

    Also removed the elastic as I found it unneccessary and comfort improved vastly on my original Classics after removing it as well.

  • Nice work n.vodden.  Your version of this mod looks great.  I am hoping that once I get into my Smartwools, (currently shelved due to partially missing big toe nail) the heel tab won't bother me.  If it does, I have other mod plans before getting the exacto knife out.  I am a little nervous cutting on my VFFs. 
  • on 1297978539:

    8.) Another option - remove the adjuster all together!  You could still velcro the tail down, but I got sick of picking up dog hair with the velcro, so I cut it off. 

    Hope that helps!

    -Jess


    Were you able to remove the adjuster without destroying it so it could be used again? I've wondered about taking it loose, but don't want to tear it up in case I want it back on the shoe again at some point. Thanks.
  • on 1301249712:

    wow you put way more work into it than I did.  5 minute mod at most to my smartwool classics.  Chopped off the bungees, chopped off the tabs with the fabric.  Two pieces of moleskin and a bit of gorilla glue to cover up the rough edge.  Your mod looks very clean though, mine looks utilitarian!


    Care to share a few pics?
  • on 1304604368:

    Just wanted to say thanks Moosepaws for the instructions on how to do this!

    I've got grey/orange Classics and the heel tab was never a problem, but my new Smartwool Classics have  a much stiffer ecostep rubber and I found the heel tab a problem from day 1. After being rubbed the wrong way several times, I decided to take the plunge and modify them following your instructions and it was a doddle!

    The rubber shelf left behind after removing the tab had a hard edge due to the hardness of the material, so I used a modelling scalpel to radius the edge of it, cutting a smooth curve out so it has a nice depression once the grey suede-like material was glued back in place. Here's how it turned out!

    SmartwoolClassics2.jpg

    SmartwoolClassics.jpg

    Also removed the elastic as I found it unneccessary and comfort improved vastly on my original Classics after removing it as well.




    I am excited to try this with my smartwool classics, I did not cut the heel tab down on them far enough the first time. I'm glad to see someone else has successfully done this mod
  • WOW THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!

    I did this mod and LOVE my Smartwool Classics so much more! I followed the instructions to a tee and it worked great. Thanks so much for the useful guide.
  • I wish Vibram would update their Classic and remove the heel tab altogether.  I understand that it was designed to pull the heel up and aid in getting the shoe on, but most people find it intrusive to the back of their heel and end up cutting it off anyway. 
  • on 1305902467:

    on 1301249712:

    wow you put way more work into it than I did.  5 minute mod at most to my smartwool classics.  Chopped off the bungees, chopped off the tabs with the fabric.  Two pieces of moleskin and a bit of gorilla glue to cover up the rough edge.  Your mod looks very clean though, mine looks utilitarian!


    Care to share a few pics?


    Mr. Leigh, have you gotten your smartwools back out yet? I remember you posting somewhere else your toenail is almost fixed. I just got my smartwools yesterday and within 10 minutes of having them on I cut the elastic strap, and now my right heel is being rubbed by the heel tab. I was wondering if you had tried a mod yet. I would be hesitant to chop the heel tab clean off, but I will need to do SOMETHING. Thanks
  • @ Stefanie

    I have not gotten them back out, simply because I have several pair and have been enjoying my honeymoon period with my recently acquired Speeds.  I have not removed the heel tab on any of my Classics because luckily they have not bothered me.  I am about to gain a modified pair of Walnut Classics (not Smartwool) that I found for sale on this forum, so I will see what I think of the mod.  They seller only half removed the tab, so I think I will clean the look of them up a bit by doing a full removal.  The elastic cord has been removed as well. 

    I was thinking about heating and bending the tab backwards, possibly holding it in place with a clamp for a while and then letting it cool, rather than a full removal of the heel tab on my Smartwools.  That is, of course, if I find them to be problematic.  My thought was if the tab were heated and bent, held in position a while and allowed to cool, maybe the stiffer material of the ecostep sole would remember the new location and stay further back away from the foot, therefore not rubbing on one's ankle.  Just a thought.
  • on 1310658388:

    @ Stefanie

    I have not gotten them back out, simply because I have several pair and have been enjoying my honeymoon period with my recently acquired Speeds.  I have not removed the heel tab on any of my Classics because luckily they have not bothered me.  I am about to gain a modified pair of Walnut Classics (not Smartwool) that I found for sale on this forum, so I will see what I think of the mod.  They seller only half removed the tab, so I think I will clean the look of them up a bit by doing a full removal.  The elastic cord has been removed as well. 

    I was thinking about heating and bending the tab backwards, possibly holding it in place with a clamp for a while and then letting it cool, rather than a full removal of the heel tab on my Smartwools.  That is, of course, if I find them to be problematic.  My thought was if the tab were heated and bent, held in position a while and allowed to cool, maybe the stiffer material of the ecostep sole would remember the new location and stay further back away from the foot, therefore not rubbing on one's ankle.  Just a thought.


    Makes sense, thanks!!
  • Stephanie, did you end up leaving the heel tab intact?  I saw pics on another thread and it looked like all you did was removed the elastic.  Is that correct?

    I still have not gotten around to taking the time to break in my Smartwools.  I am certain that my nail bed issue is resolved, however I am currently wearing a pair of modified Classics that I bought off the forums instead.  Elastic removed and heel tab half removed.  So far, no issues with either mod.  I usually wear sandals in the house, in the winter months, so I think I will be using my Smartwools to replace them.  Once I begin wearing them regularly, I will post comments regarding the fit, heel tab, heel inversion, etc.
  • on 1311952996:

    Stephanie, did you end up leaving the heel tab intact?  I saw pics on another thread and it looked like all you did was removed the elastic.  Is that correct?

    I still have not gotten around to taking the time to break in my Smartwools.  I am certain that my nail bed issue is resolved, however I am currently wearing a pair of modified Classics that I bought off the forums instead.  Elastic removed and heel tab half removed.  So far, no issues with either mod.  I usually wear sandals in the house, in the winter months, so I think I will be using my Smartwools to replace them.  Once I begin wearing them regularly, I will post comments regarding the fit, heel tab, heel inversion, etc.


    You are correct, Mr. Leigh. All I wound up needing to do was remove the elastic and a few 'almost' heel inversions on the right shoe. Still a little tightness in the right toe, but I still enjoy them =). I am now eyeing my next pairs.... stems and black jayas..
    & yes, do keep us updated please!
  • I too had my eye on the Stems after I read Justin's review of them.  Now that I see that Speeds will be available in an indigo blue color, I may go that route instead.
  • on 1312215239:

    I too had my eye on the Stems after I read Justin's review of them.  Now that I see that Speeds will be available in an indigo blue color, I may go that route instead.


    Wow, I just may have to invest in some black speeds (if they ever come to the U.S. for women) -- with the way you talk so highly of them! I just need a non-toe barefoot shoe for work. So I will support the stems!
  • Yes indeed, I do love my Speeds.  I was looking at the Stems as a non toe shoe alternative as well.  I tried the Merrell barefoot line, but they are far too narrow.  I have wide feet and short toes.  Hoping the Stems will be a little more forgiving.  I looked at the New Balance line, but did not bother trying them on.  I did not care for the blaze orange or yellow/gray colors they come in.
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