leather KSO fit, stretch, suitability for hiking

I need some advice and/or reassurance about which size to pick.  Pictures are below, but for the record, I have hammer toes and my foot sizes are:

Left: 10-3/4" long
Right: 10-13/16" long
Both: 4-3/8" wide

I currently have a pair of TrekSports in champagne/red that I picked up about 18 months ago on sale.  They are my first FiveFingers and I love them.  They're size 43; they don't fit perfectly and no matter how tight they are, I get a fold at the heel.  There's also a tiny bit of space in the big toe (my longest toe), so I assume that they're just a teensy bit too big.  I only wear them at the gym 3 times a week, for no more than an hour at a time on an elliptical, so it's never been a big deal.

REI recently had (well, still has) the FiveFingers KSO Trek Multisport in kangaroo leather for $31.  I go backpacking a lot, and while leather may not be the best choice, I thought they might be pretty durable (if not especially breathable) and I'd give KSOs a shot.  Vibram recommends 42 (exactly) for my left foot and 43 (rounded up to 11") for my right.  I got both sizes.

I wore the 42s out on a walk and they felt fine, so I wore them to the gym.  By the end of my workout, my left toe (for which the shoe is supposed to be "perfect") hurt a bit at the tip...but they felt like they fit better and I didn't get the fold at the back.  I wore the 43s around the house and while they felt okay, they're just like my TrekSports in that they fold at the back.  There's also a teensy bit of room at the tip of the big toe on each.

I know sizing is a big deal and somewhat difficult...and rarely perfect.  So what do y'all suggest?  My other ones are probably too big, so there wasn't any discomfort during the breaking in.  But these are a different style, and leather instead of mesh.

Do any of you have an experience similar to this?
Any experience with the leather KSOs and whether they will stretch?
If you have a larger size with a fold at the heel, have you found it problematic?

I feel like the general suggestion is to go bigger if there's a question, but given that I'm so very close to fitting one size perfectly (rather than being squarely in the middle of sizes), I wonder if I should hope/plan on a tiny bit of stretching and going with the smaller size.

Also, anyone here tried hiking/backpacking in KSOs, specifically the leather ones?  What was your experience?

Sorry for the small novel and thanks for any and all feedback!

Where I'm pinching is the empty space past the toe tip on the size 43s
8827993556_95ddd2162f_n.jpg 8827992764_fa493c0c49_n.jpg

Fold on the size 43s
8827993202_67450e822b_n.jpg

My hammer toes (normal on the left, "clenched" - which is how I walk a lot - on the right)
8827992304_ecddec270b_n.jpg 8827991940_fdbfb734cb_n.jpg

Comments

  • Your feet swell during exercise and the strap of the KSO makes a loop around your heel. Maybe this simple, but very genius, strap mod would help.

    https://forum.birthdayshoes.com/mods-and-repairs/instead-of-removing-the-strap/
  • My toes don't curl up like that but I have extra toe space in a few of my toe pockes on some pairs of my vff's and not others. I would rather have extra space than them rubbing the side which would make you scrunch up your toes. Yet in some pairs my toes do almost touch the end or they do touch it and once the shoes were broken in it didnt bother me. I have also heated up shoes with a blow dryer and pulled on the toes a bit to make them longer or bend the other way whatever.

    Curious to see a photo of this folding up you are speaking of.
  • on 1369504319:

    Your feet swell during exercise and the strap of the KSO makes a loop around your heel. Maybe this simple, but very genius, strap mod would help.

    https://forum.birthdayshoes.com/mods-and-repairs/instead-of-removing-the-strap/

    Well, the straps are borderline too long wearing the 43s (whereas they're the perfect length on the 42s).  It looks like that mod is for straps that are too short (showing extra velcro).

    on 1369504454:

    My toes don't curl up like that but I have extra toe space in a few of my toe pockes on some pairs of my vff's and not others. I would rather have extra space than them rubbing the side which would make you scrunch up your toes. Yet in some pairs my toes do almost touch the end or they do touch it and once the shoes were broken in it didnt bother me. I have also heated up shoes with a blow dryer and pulled on the toes a bit to make them longer or bend the other way whatever.

    Curious to see a photo of this folding up you are speaking of.

    See the pictures below.  The one on the left is after wearing them around the house for 30 minutes.  It's like my feet slide forward and so there's a gap at the back.  The strap is pretty tight, but it's like it slips down my achilles and causes the fold.  The one on the right (which looks normal) is after I grab the loop on the back and pull it up my tendon.  It slips back down after walking in them for a minute or two.  Does that make sense?

    This doesn't happen in the 42s.

    8829873604_0cdce1f6db.jpg 8829872652_f7c15d2724.jpg
  • "Well, the straps are borderline too long wearing the 43s (whereas they're the perfect length on the 42s).  It looks like that mod is for straps that are too short (showing extra velcro)."

    The mod will let the strap "stretch". So when you feet need more space (swelling), the strap won't interfere your feet expand.  Anyway this my two cents worth.
  • The 43s are too big for you - now sell them to me !! ;) ;D
  • on 1369509921:
    The mod will let the strap "stretch". So when you feet need more space (swelling), the strap won't interfere your feet expand.  Anyway this my two cents worth.

    It's possible I don't understand the mod.  The shoes are snug when I put them on, but not uncomfortably so...though the tip of my big toe touches the end of the toe pocket.  Since my old pair are 43s and probably ARE a bit too big, I'm wondering if the small amount of soreness that resulted from my 1-hour workout was part of the normal break-in process that comes with a new pair that fits well.

    I just don't want to get 10 miles down the trail and realize they were the worse choice, you know?  Especially if y'all could say pretty definitively that I should go with the larger ones (despite the fact that there's a gap at the heel when I walk).

    on 1369510627:
    The 43s are too big for you - now sell them to me !! ;) ;D

    You might as well buy them directly from REI...they still have 43s in stock for both the black and the brown: http://www.rei.com/product/843161/vibram-fivefingers-kso-trek-multisport-shoes-mens-2012-overstock

    It's something like $33 after tax with free shipping on orders over $50 or free to your closest REI (if you have them near you).

    :)
  • Upon seeing this I def say you need 42s and if you need to stretch the toes do so. 
  • on 1369511099:


    on 1369510627:
    The 43s are too big for you - now sell them to me !! ;) ;D

    You might as well buy them directly from REI...they still have 43s in stock for both the black and the brown: http://www.rei.com/product/843161/vibram-fivefingers-kso-trek-multisport-shoes-mens-2012-overstock

    It's something like $33 after tax with free shipping on orders over $50 or free to your closest REI (if you have them near you).

    :)


    They dont ship to the UK  :(
  • Agree...size down...I have flows and treks in 41 and does the same thing yet my Speeds are 41 and fit snug...just shows how Vibrams sizing is off by a little.
  • Thanks for all of the advice!  I kept the 42s and did the stretch mod on the big toe using a broom handle and a Zippo lighter :P

    Whatever little bit I added seems to have done the trick...it feels good and snug, but after another hour long workout in them, my toes didn't hurt at all (even the little bit that they did that first time).

    Thanks again!
  • I have a bunion, hammer toes, wide front foot and narrow heel, low arches but none of that matters with the construction of orthofeet's shoes. I used to have pain in my heels and balls of my feet but no more. Yesterday I walked 7 miles and didn't come home with that "I can't wait to get these shoes off" feeling you get with other brands. They start off comfortable and stay comfortable. Thank you!!!!
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