I’m sorry it’s come to this. I sent this email to Vibram 2 weeks ago, but have not heard a response. I suppose they don’t have to care because of the popularity of their FiveFingers product. Well, I’d be curious to hear from others about durability issues.
Here was my letter:
I’ve been wearing Vibram FiveFingers for about a year now. I love *almost* everything about them. They’re comfortable. I enjoy barefoot movement without having to develop pads on my feet. I even met my girlfriend because of them.
However, they just don’t hold up. I now own 4 pairs: 1 Sprint, 1 KSO Trek, and 2 KSO’s. I exchanged my first pair of KSO’s within 30 days of use because of a hole & stitching coming apart on the big toes, and the pinky toes were separating from the rubber. The replacement KSO’s (8 months) and the Treks (6 months) are both falling apart: the KSO’s have the same big toe issues (holes & stitching). Both big toes on the Treks have separated from the rubber and one has a hole on the outside. I wear my shoes every day (though I do rotate for smell reasons), but don’t do anything that’s not pictured in your promotional materials. Though some people have had their VFF’s for years, others I speak to have had similar problems.
It is very hard to support and evangelize Vibram FiveFingers when they fall apart so quickly. I tell up to 10 people a day and blog regularly about them. I say that I love the product but durability has been an issue. It’s hard to take the “ripoff” arguments Vibram uses about durability seriously. If my shoes are going to last < 6 months, $30 is much better than $85.
In addition to feeling that some sort of warranty is in order, I would be happy to act as a “wear & durability” consultant for your company in exchange for shoes. I lead a relatively active lifestyle that includes trail running, hiking, backpacking and hanging out in public in the FiveFingers. I practically AM the guy in your brochure. I’m sure Vibram does a fair amount of testing, but this would give you an opportunity to see how the shoes wear in the real world and improve an already great–if fragile–product.
Let me know if Vibram is interested, or at least whether you’re willing to warrantee my used shoes.