Reviews

I wanna feel the sand beneath my feet

30 June, 2010 (12:00) | Reviews

So I got a pairs of the Vibram Five Finger KSOs out of curiosity.  I tried grabbing a pair in stores, but no one had any stock left, at least in my size.  I was able to try on a size close to mine, so I could go online and order direct.  Even online was out of stock of the styles I wanted.

About the shoes specifically, the soles were thinner than I expected.  Because they were so thin, I would think that the material would be harder/firmer, but it’s not really.  It’s still very flexible, which I can’t knock since it will only add to the purpose of being able to use your toes individually.

So my first run was a little awkward.  Not physically, but mentally.  You have to get used to the sensation of running at a fast pace bare foot.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that.  I wasn’t expecting to be able to feel the cracks and separations in the sidewalk or the sewer grates.  Even the manhole covers are a new sensation.  I’m no longer putting flat surface to flat surface, which, I realize, is the point.

As a result, the shoes do get you to run on the balls of your feet.  I’ve been doing that all along, so that wasn’t a new pain to learn, but having the ability to react quicker as a result was.  Where I used to hit the corner of the curb and just naturally “see-saw” to the flat surface, I’m actually responding to the ledge and balancing and grabbing on with my toes.  After my first 4.5 mile run, the bottom of my calves were sore for 2 days.  After the 2nd run, which I ran much faster, my calves were sore immediately.  Pain means they’re working, right?

I do all of my running in the city.  There’s a track up at schenley that i can use, but I rarely do.  I like the different terrain.  I think that the vibrams would benefit from a softer surface like a clay track, but I also think their dynamic intent would be wasted there.

Over all, I think they’re working, and for the moment, they’re a little bit of a motivator to run since I’m ostentatious and enjoy people giving me weird looks and asking me what they are.  Once the novelty wears off though, I see myself going back, or at least sharing time, with traditional running shoes.  Even the guy at Elite Runners suggested that they’re not an end all.  I’ll ride out this season on them, with the Urbanathlon in October, and we’ll see if switching back becomes less agreeable.

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