Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS Review

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS Review

There’s lightweight, and there’s minimal … and there’s Vibram’s SeeYa LS, which sets the gold standard in both these categories for high-performance running shoes.

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS Features:

  • Upper: polyester and 50% PU/50% nylon microfabric
  • Outsole: TPU with Vibram TC-1 Dura Rubber overlays
  • Stack height: 6.2mm
  • 2mm EVA midsole
  • Anti-microbial insole with Dri-Lex sockliner
  • Weight: 5.07oz.
  • MSRP: $100

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS

My Experience

How do you improve a minimalist shoe that can’t get any more minimal?  That was Vibram’s task last fall before creating the SeeYa LS, an update to the lightest shoe in the FiveFingers lineup.  The most obvious change is the addition of a lacing system (thus the LS, get it?) to the previous SeeYa, but the LS also adds some structural design features that are a nice improvement over the original.

Best of all, they compromised very little weight to do it – the SeeYa LS weighs in at 5.07 oz, compared to 4.8 oz for the unlaced version.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a lighter shoe that gives better performance than the SeeYa LS.

Vibram SeeYa LS laces

The new upper has a slightly padded tongue for comfort on top of the foot, and micro-suede overlays that link the heel area to the forefoot and help midfoot stability.  In combination with the lacing system, this provides a huge improvement in foot stability compared to the original SeeYa.  I wear the LS version for trail running as well as roads, and the fit is completely locked in on steep or irregular terrain.

Product testing in sunny San Diego

Product testing in sunny San Diego

Otherwise, the upper is super light and practically transparent, which definitely makes the SeeYa LS a warm-weather shoe.  I’ve done all my running sockless, and the upper is comfortable against the skin, although I develop some chafing in a few spots on the arch of my foot where the suede is fastened to the TPU outsole if my runs stretch longer than a couple of hours.   A thin pair of socks takes care of the issue … but the reason I wear these shoes is to be as minimalist as possible, and socks don’t always fit that mold for me.

All FiveFingers are built to be completely flexible, but the thinner uppers and outsole make the SeeYa LS even more flexible than other models in the Vibram lineup.  There’s absolutely no restriction to movement here, which is the way it should be for pure minimalists.

TPU and TC-1 Dura Rubber outsole

The aforementioned outsole is only 1mm thick in the TPU areas (the blue areas), with an additional 2.2mm of durable TC1 rubber in impact areas.  Although the outsole is primarily designed for road running, it can handle fire roads and groomed trails if your feet are able to accommodate it.

Adding approximately 3mm of midsole/insole thickness to the outsole results in a total stack height of 6.2mm.  Combined with the highly flexible outsole material, this gives you outstanding ground feel; Vibram is known for having great ground feel, and in my opinion the SeeYa LS is their best option yet in this regard.

Of course, the ability to feel every rock, root, and bump in the trail is only good if you’re accustomed to it.  This isn’t by any means a transitional shoe; the SeeYa LS is for experienced minimalist runners who want to maximize the barefoot feeling as much as possible with a marginal amount of comfort and protection for the adventure.

The Good:

  • Super lightweight
  • Completely flexible
  • Very stable through midfoot and heel
  • Lace system accommodates a variety of foot shapes

The Bad:

  • Chafing along seam of arch with long-duration use
  • Strictly suited for warm-weather use

The Bottom Line

The SeeYa LS may be the closest thing you’ll feel to running barefoot while actually having something on your feet.  If the chafing issue gets resolved, this shoe may be impossible to beat from a minimalist standpoint.

Buy Now: Available at REI.com

Written By

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.