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Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

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Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby Digdawg » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:44 am

I was wondering if anyone has tried the Vibram Five Finger watershoes for kiteboarding. I end up kiting in a number of places I have to wear booties. I've tried several different ones and I never feel like I have a good fit with my foot straps which causes me problems jumping. When I can ride bare foot I'm a happy kiter. Thought these might be a decent alternative for when I have to wear something. Any experience or ideas?

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby airsurfer » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:58 am

I haven't tried the Vibram but when I have to wear foot protection I like these Ion Ballistic toes 2.0 ES they're light and segmented and the closest I've found to barefoot feel with good protection from the reef etc...theyve held up well considering the abuse
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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby lindseym » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:12 am

Plus one on the Ion Ballistic. I've tried many different types, including Vibrams, and the Ballistics are the best. My primary issue with the Vib is that they salt water destroyed them and they provided no flex or feel. They are just too bulky.

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby iriejohn » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:26 am

In winter I always wear Atan Mistral 3mm round toe boots which give as near to a bare foot feel as you can get wearing boots.

There is a split toe version which many of my fellow kitesurfer like, and there's also a new Kevlar reinforced version which I haven't tried because I kite on sandy beaches.

Atan boots aren't cheap but there's nothing I've found that gives anything like the feel they do.

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby OzBungy » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:59 pm

5 Fingers are absolute crap for kitesurfing. The soles are too stiff so they don't fit nicely into straps or pads.

They don't come up far enough on your ankle so sand and shell grit get in. It is extremely painful when it works down between your toes.

I am perfectly happy with any of the standard surf booties available. They work fine. I like a low cut boot with a fairly high ankle so I can tuck my wetsuit in and cinch the craw cord snug. That keeps sand and stuff out and stops water running up the leg of the wetsuit.

I avoid boots with drain holes. The holes let in sand. I also avoid split toes because the fabric tears. You can get hidden split, or hard joined splits that last fairly well.

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby JaDan » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:27 pm

I can also attest to the fact that the vibrams don’t hold up under kiteboarding conditions.

The rubber sole starts to peel off pretty quickly when they are constantly under water.

I use to use them when I first started kiting and they worked well and give good feel, but just didn’t last long enough.

I don’t believe they were designed to be a water shoe anyway. I’ve seen them advertised as an alternative to running barefoot.

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby JaDan » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:30 pm

I have a friend that uses the ion water shoes
I think they may be a better option , I’ve also seen a video of someone wearing Kevlar socks.

I think that would be a good option also, I just haven’t found out where to get them.

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby Sombra » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:36 pm


I'm using my vibram's for the 3rd or 4th winter.
No problem so far.
But I have the watersport neopren model.
No problem with TT o strapless. Only foiling with straps was a problem. As each toe has its own "pocket" in my case the pockets are oversized. If you want to put your foot into the straps the little toe got stuck against the strap and the foot can not slip inside the strap. With no "individual toes" this is not happening.


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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby Da Yoda » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:39 pm

I used to use the original Vibram Surge neoprene surf bootie (no longer available), but they sucked with straps. They often (almost always) got hung up on the pinky toe when trying to insert them into the straps. However for strapless riding they were heaven!
Several years later I tried Vibram's Signa for some foot protection, but they suffered the same problem as the Surge booties with the toes getting hung up.

Here's what I think may be your problem... imo the "blunt" shape/profile of most surf booties are not as sufficient for getting into straps to achieve a secure fit. Ideally a bootie with more of a "pointed" shape/profile like what's found on NPSurf's Round model booties and some of Prolimit's models like the Predator bootie. I'm currently using NP's Mission Round bootie and have used the Prolimit Predator in the past and both have worked out so much better for me with straps than any bootie with a "blunt" toe shape.

NPSurf's marking for their Mission Round model says it all...
"Engineered with windsurfers and kitesurfers in mind, the Mission booties fit footstraps perfectly for full feeling and control of the board." (corrected spelling error for "footsteps")

If all else fails or if bad fitting is an overall issue, you might try out the customizable (heat moldable) booties from Solite and see how they work out...
The Mission booties could fit me better, so I'm planning to order some of these to try out.

Good luck! :thumb:

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Re: Vibram five finger booties for kiteboarding

Postby downunder » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:11 am

Interesting read.

My 8th season with Vibrams, 3rd pair, Signa model now. Never had any issues, and I think a lot of above is due to a small or tight straps.

I'm using only North NTT's straps on all my boards and would not blame Vibram for straps or foot problems, particularly Signa which is ultra low profile almost like a sock. Comparing 5 fingers with one toe is like gloves and mittens - no comparison, sorry.

The grip with 5 fingers on board is absolutely fantastic. Not to mention self draining with Signa, which wasn't the case on previous models. And no, they do not take sand ;) A small shell, here and there yes. And it's annoying.

Durability might be the issue only if not dipped in tap water after the sesh. Riding 150-500 hours each year, figure out...The loop on top is for drying, use a peg. Do not leave them on the Sun to dry, coz heat WILL slowly kill it. But that's valid for wetties as well, isn't it?

Trying it is a must before the purchase. Half the size difference is a no go. Awkward foot is a no go.

This topic is prone to individual experience with the shoes of all kind ;) One shoe does not fit all.


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