Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meet My New Running Toe Shoes

 I remember getting toe socks when I was about twelve. They were all the rage for a year or two, knee high and brightly striped. Well, the new Vibram Five Fingers don't come in stripes, and they only had my size in one available color so there wasn't much choice there either, but they definitely have toes! I've been doing a fair bit of barefoot running on grass this summer and have really enjoyed it and thought that it helped my running form out. But in the rainy winters here, grass turns to mud, so I was looking for something I could trail run in and these seemed to be the best option. I wanted to make sure they would work well before taking them outside, so I tried them out yesterday on the indoor track and treadmill at the gym. I ran a total of two miles, so here's my short review:

Overall: The fit is comfortable, the toes don't feel as weird as I thought they might. I fell right between two sizes and the smaller size was the only one available so I bought those. They actually fit pretty well. My only complaint so far is that the top strap has the scratchy side of the velcro facing your foot, so you have to really make sure it is matched up well or you'll rub a raw spot on the top of your foot. I'm not sure why they didn't sew the velcro the other way around, the way most sandals do. The arch support is quite nice, one thing I was worried about since I have high arches.

On the Treadmill:
Very comfortable to run in. Normally I can feel the beginnings of shin splints within five minutes on the treadmill (so I never run on treadmills), I had none of that with the FiveFingers shoes.

On the Indoor Track: Not so comfortable. Our track is concrete and I don't think I'd want to run very long on concrete in these shoes. One thing I noticed immediately is that the shoes really prevent you from heel striking, because the feedback is pretty immediate. So I was definitely forced into a more mid-foot-to-toe area for landing.

Today I'm going to try to take them to one of our local bark running trails and see how they work out there. I'll let you know!

My other posts on Vibram Five Fingers:


hak said...

Very interesting. I'm curious to see how they work on the trail.

barefootrunner said...

The 5Fingers will prevent heel strike, as they should. This product (despite its many faults) does in fact allow forefoot (aka barefoot) running. This is how our bodies were made to run, but due to shoes (gee, thanks Nike) our feet, arches, calf muscles, knees, etc. have become week and mis-formed. Go slow, but go barefoot. 5Fingers exactly what you describe, an environmental prohibiting alternative to bare feet. Happy running! To your feet!

Ron said...

You should thank Nike, they have the Nike Free's now. I don't see any other companies trying to simulate barefoot running (other than this one and it was more of a "oh we could sell a lot of these if we marketed them for running" sort of deal. Barefoot running is great, until you get a piece of glass lodged into your foot.

joshua said...

hey ya ron,
a piece of glass in the foot is about as natural as nike's
maybe you should stop throwing your beer bottles out of the window.

Robin said...

Being a barefoot kind of gal, I've had plenty of pieces of glass (not to mention metal objects, safety pins, a burning cigarette, and at one memorable time a sailmaker's needle) lodged in my feet. I'm more than happy to have some protection over them, and so far these Vibrams have worked out great!

Liz said...

I've never tried them, but Terra Plana makes a whole line of shoes meant to simulate that barefoot feeling, called "Vivo Barefoot". Within that line, there's a simple cross trainer with a 3mm puncture proof sole that would be lovely for weight training and then hopping on the treadmill between sets.

They're pricey though: $125.00

Here's the link Terra Plana or The "Lucy", their ladies' cross trainer.