Vibram Five Fingers vs. Xero Shoes huaraches

Barefoot running is becoming more popular every day.

And, with the growing number of people throwing away their shoes comes… shoes!

Barefoot shoes, that is.

Chris McDougall’s book, Born To Run, featured the Vibram Five Fingers shoes (sort of like a glove for your feet) as well as the low-tech, traditional Mexican huaraches, which the Tarahumara Indians would sometimes make by cutting a strip of rubber off of an old tire and lacing it to their feet.

The Xero Shoes huaraches are a hi-tech update, made with a 4mm Vibram Cherry sole, which gives great protection from debris and dangers, and the most barefoot-like feel you can possibly get (short of just gluing the sole to your foot).

Comparing the Vibram Five Fingers to the Xero Shoes huaraches is a bit tricky. Obviously people will have individual preferences.

Nonetheless, some comparisons are obvious:

  • The Xero Shoes are more minimalist.
  • They’re much lighter.
  • The soles on Xero Shoes are even more flexible and give a more barefoot feel.
  • Xero Shoes are easy to slip on and off, even if your feet are swollen or sweaty.
  • They’re less expensive.
  • There’s no fabric to tear.
  • FFs give more protection to the fronts and sides of your toes (though, I’ve never had a problem while wearing my huaraches).
  • Xero Shoes will fit any foot since they’re made just for you (whether you DIY or buy custom shoes) whereas some people find the toes on FF have either too much or not enough room for their particular toe shape.
  • You can get them (FFs have been sold out in a lot of places).
  • You can wear Xero Shoes without people thinking you’re a monkey-boy (or girl). 😉

I know I can sound biased, and I have no doubt some people will comment about why FFs are better than huaraches. But the bottom line is that whatever works for you, depending on your situation and desires.

6 thoughts on “Vibram Five Fingers vs. Xero Shoes huaraches

  1. Been hearing from friends about those Five Finger shoes. Makes ya think. It may look funny, but then again… sometime back I was looking up MDB shoes. And then something happened, Nike’s new style of sports shoes do resemble that function… got one and it does feel like walking on air. Okay, back to the Five Fingers, I heard some say avoid doing over 1/2 mile on your first time out. I guess it takes some adapting and getting used to. Word has it, it force your toes to be spread open.
    Mark Martinez,

  2. Something that nobody else seem to mention: when I’m barefoot my toes are NOT separated from each other, as with FF. My toes hurt with the FF mainly for this reason.

  3. My feet are often the source of commentary or being sunburned or cut, so I like to protect them from these unnecessary things. Otherwise, being barefoot feels great. My ultra cheap canvas ($10.00) shoes feel mostly barefoot.

  4. I have both! Xero for everyday use, VFF for workouts (not running)…I like both for different reasons.

  5. In Finland, you can use sandals 2-3 months. The rest of the year is cold (and often wet) or freezing, so VFF is an excellent choice:) Especially now when they have made some weatherproof models. I’m happy with my Speed XC, ’cause it’s snowing outside and I still want to run. But I just ordered my first pair of Xero’s so let the summer come soon:) I get comments everytime when I use my VFF’s but they are always positive, and they give me a good chance to tell about minimalist or barefoot running, so it’s not a bad thing to have funny looking shoes.

    1. Lena and I LOVE Finland… and while I wear Xeros year round in Colorado, I’m not sure I’d do the same on some frigid Finnish January days.

      That said, take a look at 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *