Just wanted to start by saying, I R-E-A-L-L-Y like my KSO's. They are by far my favorite running shoe, except for my bare feet that is, but that aside the KSO's are just awesome. I have yet to find another pair that I like as much, but I have also not had any reason to go see what else is out there. My KSO's have not given me a reason too, all they have done for the last 3 plus years is perform. Yes, before you ask, I have had the same pair of KSO's for 3 years, talk about longevity.
I laugh and shake my head when I see people changing out their running shoes after 300 to 500 miles logged, sure lets go spend $100 to $200 on new shoes every 3 to 4 months. My little ole KSO's that were purchased for $80 (I believe they are around $95.00 today) have logged some serious miles, both via the run and as my everyday shoe, miles well above 2000 and probably closer to 3000 miles I am sure.
Let's put that into perspective, my shoes have lasted me for 3 years at $80, so that is 1096 days (don't forget about the leap year) or 7 cents a day and I figure I will get at least another year out of them. Or another way of looking at is the mile aspect just based on 2000 miles that would be 4 cents a mile, that some serious bang for your buck.
While your standard running shoe at the low end is $100.00 used for 3 months of running only is $1.11 and that is not running every day. Or 500 miles (I'm using the high end) or 20 cents a mile. So if that is every 3 months, over 3 years that would be 12 pairs of shoes at $1200.00 or $13.32 a day or $2.40 a mile. Well I am no math guru but I am quite sure I am saving a little bit of coinage with my Vibrams, don't you.
My KSO's have been seen every type of running terrain over the last three years, road, trail, mud, streams, snow, ice, rock and sand. They have never complained, bitched or whined about where I was taking them, they just ate it all up and went looking for more. Sure I get funny comments like, 'Look at the gorilla feet' and 'You just need to paint the toes pink' and 'What the hell are those', and the double takes are always entertaining. But for everyone of those, I get a 'Man, those are so cool, where can I get some', to that question I always answer City Park Runners on Portage Avenue.
My KSO's are my favorite because they are just the right amount of shoe. I have tried some of the other Vibram styles, the Flows, the Biklas, etc. just not my cup of tea. The KSO's are basic, no flair (except for the toes) just a true to form, ground feeling beast. They fit my feet like a glove and I feel the ground but provide me with enough protection when I need it. I am a little strange I like to feel the rocks, roots and all the other irregularities of the ground and the surfaces that I am running on. That is why I like barefoot running so much, being one with the ground is very important to me. But when my soles have taken to much pounding (those extra long runs with gravel, or runs that are a little to cold) I know I can pull out the VFF's and keep on going.
The specs on the KSO's show the soles at 3.5mm thick and the weight at a generous 5.7 oz per kick. The great thing with the soles is they are the bread and butter of Vibrams success, in 3 1/2 years my KSO's show some visible wear but the tread is still very evident, even in the areas of most ground contact. Like the back of the heel from years of walking, because no matter what you do your heel hits the ground when you walk (unless you walk on your tippy toes and I do not).
The bottom of my KSO's
Still Quite A Bit of Tread Left (See the Wiggly lines)
and you can almost make out the size (by the big toe)
Even the wear from 3 years of walking is not substantial
So you would be hard pressed to convince me there is a better shoe out there minimal or not. With this in mind I also am planning to use the above shoes for The Canadian Death Race this summer, at least for Leg 4 anyway, my other portion is Leg 1 which I will be going San shoe for, because I can.
After 3 plus years of running in hers, N has retired her first pair of KSO's (N does more running mileage in her KSO's than I did in mine), and I have bought her a nice pair of black KSO's. I think she is still thinking in the back of her mind that I plan to 'borrow' them soon or something, but that could be farther from the truth. Why would I do that when I still have a good year left in my pair, but maybe next year.