I’ve been wanting to pick up a pair of these for a long time now. I’ve been intrigued by barefoot running for about as long as I’ve been running, I’ve read a lot about it and I know how much better it can be for you. Better performance, better injury resistance, better form and posture, stronger feet, and better overall health for your running parts. I always had tough feet as a kid because I loved being barefoot, but I was still afraid to try running around town without shoes on. When I found out about Vibram Five Fingers, I knew I needed to try them. I’ve read a ton of great reviews about them, but unfortunately, they’re not easy to find. Only a few stores seem to carry them and none of them are convenient to get to for me. Normally, I’d just order online, but I felt like this was the kind of thing that needed to be tried on.
Well, I got around to making out to one of these stores yesterday and I tried a pair on. Definitely an interesting feel. They weren’t too hard to get on, but it did take a couple minutes to coax each of my toes to go into the right pocket. After walking around the store for a few minutes, I figured it was time to hand over some money. My fiancée and I both walked out with a pair of the KSO model. For $85 each, it wasn’t too bad compared to most running shoes, though it’s a bit more than the shoes I’m retiring because I never believed in expensive running shoes–just like stretching, there are many studies that support this feeling.
This morning was the first run with them. We mentally prepared ourselves for something that was probably going to be a bit different than we were used to. Most things we’ve read said to just do a mile the first time, we did two.
The first mile was definitely a bit awkward. The shoes feel different on than you’re used to and even though they provide a lot protection from getting your feet sliced up, you do feel most of what you’re stepping on. I landed on an acorn about a minute in and, trust me, I felt it. After that acorn, the I started watching where my foot was landing with each step to make sure it was a clear landing. My feet felt like they were landing hard at first and it felt like I was landing with my entire foot flat instead of on the ball of my foot like I do normally and like you’re supposed to. We were trying to pace ourselves very slowly to ease our bodies into it, it felt like we were only going at about a ten minute mile pace, but at the one mile mark, RunKeeper chimed in my ear to let me know that we were at about 9:10/mile. I was a little shocked. I felt like we were running much more slowly than that.
The second mile was completely different story than the first. My body felt like it eased into the Vibrams and my legs felt like giant springs, they wanted to go. I forgot all about the fact that I was trying out something different I just wanted to fly down the street. I held myself back to prevent myself from doing anything stupid and regretting it tomorrow, but my legs felt peppy and great. By this point, it didn’t even feel like I was wearing anything. The Vibrams just felt like a second skin and I even stopped paying attention to what I was stepping on. They responded amazingly to every move my body made, much better than a sneaker. I felt great.
I’m really impressed with the way these shoes felt today. I can’t wait to get out and run in them again. I don’t want to hold back with my next run, I want to do a nice 5 mile run at 8 minutes per mile.
Most of what I’ve read from people about their experiences with Vibrams included that the first couple of runs left them feeling sore in muscles they didn’t even know they had. I don’t feel sore at all right now. I actually feel great. Before the run, I had some ankle pain left over from Thursday’s 8 mile run, nothing major though. That feels slightly better now, surprisingly. We’ll see how my legs feel tomorrow, but I feel like between all the mountain biking I used to do and the snowboarding, there aren’t really any muscles in my legs that haven’t been put through the paces already. We’ll see though, I haven’t been on a bike in quite a long time and my snowboard has been collecting dust since February.
All in all, after one run, I love these things, I would definitely recommend them. But it was just one run so far, we’ll see how I feel about them after a few weeks. I’m excited though. I plan to run in the full time, including all races. If everything I’ve heard is true, my knees should thank me.
What I’ve read about them suggests that should last between 1,000 and 2,000 miles, easily. I’m stoked about that, much better than sneakers. And the KSO is recommended for everything; running, trail-running, climbing, trekking, kayaking, general water-shoe replacements. I feel like these are going to get a ton of use. Oh! And they’re machine washable!
My suggestion for anyone looking to get them though is to run two miles the first time. Quit there and don’t over do it, but don’t let the first mile be an indicator of anything.