different softness of the soles


In trying out a couple pairs of Classics, I discovered that there is a BIG difference in the rubber soles of Mauve vs. Black classic!  I was looking at 2 pairs of W38.  the black had much harder/structured soles, and the mauve is considerably softer (e.g. you can very easily squeeze and fold the bottom of the toes sideways.  the Black soles, as well as the soles of my lichen sprint, are much harder/tougher.)  

Has anyone else noticed this about Mauve vs. black soles, or perhaps it's a common difference b/w darker vs. lighter colored soles??
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  • ok, my mystery solved: my Mauve/purple classic's sole is 1mm thick, and the black classic and lichen sprint's soles are 3mms.  The difference is huge as seen in the photo. 

    My question is whether this 1mm sole is standard on the mauve classic, or did I happen to get an abnormal/defective pair?  I have to say the thin soles make the pair extra comfortable, even though I suspect they won't last very long... definitely not for trail running.
  • OMG, I have the same issue with my Blue camo KSOs.  :o I just took a look at them and they bottoms are not as thick as my other VFFs (2 other KSOs, 2 pairs of classics, all 4 different colors, but with 3 mm rubber soles).

    I'm sure it's quality control/defective products because they shouldn't be that thin, I haven't had them very long at all. But you're right the thinner soles makes my toes more flexible and sort of more comfortable. I am worried about how long I'll be able to use them so I might be making a trip to the store to return them. The soles shouldn't be that thin for brand new VFFS! My fuschia/grey KSos are older than my blue camo KSos, but the sole is almost brand new on the fuschia/grey and super thin on my new blue camo KSos.  >:(

    Hey Toastergirl, can you check your blue camo KSOs against your classics for the same defect?
  • I have "defective soles" on my right black KSO but not on my left. I noticed this a month ago. I'm still waiting for pictures from my friend... but i'll show when I get them

    This is what my toe sole profile feels like. I dont think it's an extra 2 mm of sole on the bottom but the edges go up more. It lets more water in! And probably slightly less durability, but not by much.
    vfftoesoleprofile.png

    *Update 8/1/2010* With a closer look I realize my diagram is misleading, I think there is not much of an edge as I described, just the glue that attaches the fabric to the sole. What is certain is that the sole is thinner all under, see my later post in this thread.
  • hmm....hawkeye...I happened to notice the bottom of my KSO's starting to wear - I run on the road in them quite a bit, but now I think that this might have something to do with it. 

    I just checked and yes...the soles (at least the part by the toes) is thicker on my black classics than my KSO's.  my KSO's feel more flexible and thinner than my KSO's, but i figured that was because the classics are newer and needed to be broken in. maybe its beacause of the thinner sole...

  • Hmm, I'm going to check out some more of the blue camo KSos at whole earth provisions. If the thinner soles is a trait of the blue camo ksos then my replacement pair might have to be another color. I don't want to pay the same price, but get less vff. I wish Vibram would seriosuly get a handle on their quality control.  >:(

    Your toes/forefoot area wears out first and you only have 1/3 of the rubber sole of other vffs? Unacceptable.

    I also wondered why my blue camo VFFs were so much lighter than my grey/fuschia ones. Lacking 2 mm of sole really cuts the weight.
  • on 1258926306:

    I have "defective soles" on my right black KSO but not on my left. I noticed this a month ago. I'm still waiting for pictures from my friend... but i'll show when I get them

    This is what my toe sole profile feels like. I dont think it's an extra 2 mm of sole on the bottom but the edges go up more. It lets more water in! And probably slightly less durability, but not by much.
    vfftoesoleprofile.png


    Hmm I think most of my VFFs are flat. I guess I'll wait to see a picture so I know exactly what you're referring to.
  • my kso's are thinner than my classics - but now that I looked at your pic enlarged the difference is not that pronounced.  how old are your kso's?  maybe they are older and have more wear than mine. i got my kso's in June, but just started running in them in late sept/early oct.  but not much, only 2-3 days per week and 3mi max.  have been running more seriously for the last 3 weeks.  just noticed the wearing of the mid foot this week....
  • I was going to get brown Treks when they come out with the women's version, but maybe I should go for the black!  (For me, the point of having Treks would be the beefier sole.)
  • on 1258938368:

    my kso's are thinner than my classics - but now that I looked at your pic enlarged the difference is not that pronounced.  how old are your kso's?  maybe they are older and have more wear than mine. i got my kso's in June, but just started running in them in late sept/early oct.  but not much, only 2-3 days per week and 3mi max.  have been running more seriously for the last 3 weeks.  just noticed the wearing of the mid foot this week....


    Mine are pretty new like maybe a month or two. I haven't run many miles in them at all maybe less than 20 (definately less than 50)  because of my injuries. My soles aren't really worn at all, but the sole is super thin and that's how they came from the factory. :(
  • on 1258938442:

    I was going to get brown Treks when they come out with the women's version, but maybe I should go for the black!  (For me, the point of having Treks would be the beefier sole.)


    Hmm I might go for borwn since I have black classics. I hope they improve on the design or at least use a better glue since a lot of treks are coming unglued. The soles tend to peel away from the leather. Then there's the rubber cracking problem on the toes...

    I really want bikilas, but wonder what kind of problems they're going to have... e.g. pods coming unglued and falling off from the sole?

    Vibram needs to get on top of these things. I think one of their problems is that they have different factories in China making different vffs and it's not working out for consistency and quality. Letting sub-par quality product out in the market to meet high demand doesn't garner customer retention in the long run. I know it's growing pains, but VFFs aren't cheap and customers deserve a well-made product.

    I really love LL Bean for their great customer service (real people answer the phone normally on the first ring and they're in the US!) and their product guarantee.
  • the difference in the thickness of the soles (1mm vs. 3mms) are NOT due to wear, nor due to the edges coming up.  
    Both of my classics are quite new and I haven't worn them out much at all (I use my sprint for running; the classics are more like slippers for me so there are essentially no wear at all, the "W38" wording is still crystal clear.)   Neither pair has an edge, just the same flat piece of rubber of different thickness.

    I googled quite a bit but wasn't able to find any official description about how thick the soles are supposed to be.  so I guess it's hard to say if it is "defective" or just different design.. (a euphemism for lack of QC?)

    I have to say I am very happy with the thin sole on the classic (they make much softer and more barefoot-like slippers).   I would not want different thickness between left and right foot, but if the blue/camo KSO tend to have 1mm soles as well, I may try to get a pair because of it!

    Wasn't someone commenting on the Feelmax's 1mm sole?  Some of us have 1mm VFF too!  ;)  I think they are awesome (as long as I have other pairs for more serious outdoor use...)

  • Ksos are suppose to have a 3.5 mm rubber sole according to the vibram site.
    Treks are 4mm rubber sole.
    Classics and sprints weren't specified, but should have the same amount of sole as the KSO, just without the 2mm eva footbed. That's why classics are thinner, the soles should all be the same.

    My KSos are my serious outdoor shoe until the spring when women's treks roll out. Having a thinner sole does not make me happy! It would be less of an issue if my classics had thinner soles since they're my casual shoe.

  • you are right about KSO/Trek with specific thickness specifications!  Yours, looking just like my Mauve classic, certainly is not 3.5mm. Clearly "defective"!  Vibram has to allow an exchange. 

    Let's hope the problem is not ubiquitous in all blue KSO/camo.  I am waiting for my grey/green KSO to arrive in the mail.  would be curious to see how they turn out.
  • on 1258940747:

    you are right about KSO/Trek with specific thickness specifications!   Yours, looking just like my Mauve classic, certainly is not 3.5mm. Clearly "defective"!   Vibram has to allow an exchange. 

    Let's hope the problem is not ubiquitous in all blue KSO/camo.  I am waiting for my grey/green KSO to arrive in the mail.  would be curious to see how they turn out.


    It might be a blue camo thing or a bad batch. My husband's grey/gray KSos are 3.5mm soles. I could check the mauve/sand classics when I'm at whole earth provisions and see if they're also too thin. I remember trying them on and that they were flexible and larger than the same sized black classics.
  • Wow what a weird QC issue!

    I just checked all my pairs and I got nothin' -- I'd actually like to have a thin-soled Classic pair.

    It seems that the toe slots taper off at the ends as they curl around the end of the toe.  This makes me wonder if the toe thickness is an accurate indicator of the total thickness ... which leads me to ask -- on these thin soled versions, how deep are the sipes?
  • on 1258986270:

    Wow what a weird QC issue!

    I just checked all my pairs and I got nothin' -- I'd actually like to have a thin-soled Classic pair.

    It seems that the toe slots taper off at the ends as they curl around the end of the toe.  This makes me wonder if the toe thickness is an accurate indicator of the total thickness ... which leads me to ask -- on these thin soled versions, how deep are the sipes?



    It might be blue camo & mauve/sand specific. I'm going to whole earth provisions to check this out today.

    From the top the toes the rubber on the lips does not look too much different between the two colors, but the difference is plain to see on the bottom.

    The siping on my blue camos is there, but not as deep as the grey/fuschia ksos.

    I think thin soled classics would be ok, but not my KSOs. Although having the thinner sole dramatically shortens the life span of these vffs, which is not value for your buck.
  • i'm going to check mine out when I get home. I have sand/tan classics, all black classics which i haven't taken the tags off yet and will probably return, and all black kso's. I'll let y'all know what I find.
  • Wish I understood how they formed these soles -- right now I'm imagining pouring liquid rubber into some mold and then it gets pressed or something ... and these thin ones just don't get enough rubber I guess.

    Yeah makes sense to want thicker on high-use KSOs.  I bet you could get them swapped out by contacting Vibram -- they'd probably want to know about this QC issue.
  • I plan to return them to whole earth provision and see about getting a replacement. They've been pretty great so far.

    Is there a better way to contact Vibram other than the website's 120 character thing? I'd like to send them pictures and stuff about this problem.
  • checked mine out. they're all standard. was kind of hoping my classics were thinner...
  • on 1258998150:

    I plan to return them to whole earth provision and see about getting a replacement. They've been pretty great so far.

    Is there a better way to contact Vibram other than the website's 120 character thing? I'd like to send them pictures and stuff about this problem.


    You could try one of these -- Tim had found these email address for the petition:

    Polito Sara <[email protected]>
    cc  [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected],
    [email protected]
  • I actually used the 120 character thing with a simple message and got a reply the next morning from someone at Vibram.'

    My message was very brief, but to the point; "I'm having some sizing issues with my Treks and one of the sole lugs is coming off. Please call 480.XXX.XXXX."

    By the next morning I had a received both a voicemail and an email from someone asking to go into more detail. I didn't have time to respond right away, but since then, every time I have emailed (haven't had a chance to call during decent hours), I have had a reply in my inbox by no later than 8am Eastern each time.

    Their customer service is nothing short of amazing, I would use the 120 character thing because I'm sure it only routes your problem to the correct person so that no time is wasted in getting you through to the right person.


    Richard
  • Well, the thin soles are confirmed as a factory defect. I went to whole earth provisions (awesome store and service) and found numerous vffs with thin soles. There were 3 pairs of blue camo ksos, mauve/sand classics, and even a pair of grey/fuschia ksos that had 1 mm soles.

    There were a few pairs of blue camo ksos that had normal thick soles and I'm getting a pair shipped to me from another store and they checked to make sure it wasn't thin soled, so here's to hoping.

    The first picture is the sand/mauve classics and the second picture is the grey/fuschia ksos with thin soles.
  • Damn, that's thin. What are the disadvantages of this again?
  • on 1259127125:

    Damn, that's thin. What are the disadvantages of this again?


    Very short lifespan, no durability, less bang for your buck.
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