Vibram Five Fingers - The "Why bother with shoes?" shoes

Brother Michael

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I have been most intrigued by these things ever since they hit the market and will definitely be getting a pair at some point.

HOWEVER I will go against the masses here and say that I will most certainly not use them for running. You see I run a lot, including most likely my second marathon in August. And as I am somewhat of a running enthusiast, I am not willing to start all over with these. Second of all I already have a hip issue and my knees aren't 100% which means that I prefer my running shoes to be the more expensive kind, yet "traditional" running shoes. At the moment I am sporting the Adidas Adistar Cushion 6 which at the time (two-three years ago) was the top of the line non-professional athlete level shoe they offered and has worked like a charm. It was at the time the most flexible and "softest" (not soft like a pillow) shoe Adidas made and it was exactly what I needed for my legs.

The Vibrams however great they may be, would be too big a sacrifice for me and I would lose everything I have learned and gotten used to over the years and I don't want to do that while risking injury.

Now though I do want something a bit more hardcore, a more focused shoe since my current pair is or more like has been past its due date for months now but the Vibram will be too much for me and the amount of running that I do. Added to that I run in the winter also which requires a traditional pair anyway and I really don't like the idea of having to switch back and forth between the styles of running every season.

I would like to get the Vibrams for casual, daily use for which I am positive they would be a blast. My normal daily shoes are already thinsoled, basic Nikes, which have no forgiveness anyway, so I would certainly take a whack at these.

But for my sole running shoe ? No...not for me.
 
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equiraptor

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HOWEVER I will go against the masses here and say that I will most certainly not use them for running. You see I run a lot, including most likely my second marathon in August. And as I am somewhat of a running enthusiast, I am not willing to start all over with these.
That makes great sense.

Second of all I already have a hip issue and my knees aren't 100% which means that I prefer my running shoes to be the more expensive kind, yet "traditional" running shoes. At the moment I am sporting the Adidas Adistar Cushion 6 which at the time (two-three years ago) was the top of the line non-professional athlete level shoe they offered and has worked like a charm. It was at the time the most flexible and "softest" (not soft like a pillow) shoe Adidas made and it was exactly what I needed for my legs.
This is where I'd like to see more research. I don't recommend the shoes to people for running. If they ask me if they're running shoes, I say they're not, but many people use them as running shoes. I explain that they require a different movement from normal shoes, and people lose interest, and the conversation moves on. :)

I don't think it's "against the grain" to use VFFs for things other than running. The Vibrams were not developed as running shoes, and their Bikila and other running-modified shoes came after demand.

Added to that I run in the winter also which requires a traditional pair anyway and I really don't like the idea of having to switch back and forth between the styles of running every season.
Vibram is developing some warmer shoes, and there are other barefoot-style shoes that are warmer. By next winter, I expect to see enough "warmer" options to avoid needing to change running styles for the colder season. I'm not trying to be one of those, "OMG YOU MUST DO THIS" people, just mentioning that there are more options.

As your wear would be casual, which styles interest you?
 

Brother Michael

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First and foremost the KSO and the Bikila are the two that interest me the most, especially the Bikila since it is the most "running shoe like" of the lot and the KSO because it would seem to be very...natural feeling while the KSOTrek and the TrekSport are already on the sturdier side. I do like to have the top of my foot covered and the feeling of a strap to secure the shoe to my foot so I personally won't go for the more open Classic, Sprint and other such models.

I'd say while the more expensive of the two, the Bikila would be my first choice before trying either one on.
 
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equiraptor

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A new article has been posted about the fall 2011 Vibram offerings. It includes a picture of the Cervinia.



Hideous, Vibram, simply hideous.

Ok, they're maybe a bit less hideous than than Kanga from the first page. Still, one of the things I want from my "boots" is the ability to waterproof, or mostly waterproof, the lower portion (so stepping in a shallow puddle doesn't give me a wet foot). With the leather offerings, this is possible. People have waterproofed their KSO Treks (full leather upper, trek-style sole, KSO coverage). As a result, I'd be interested in the Bormio, if they were offered in women-friendly sizes, but it sounds like they won't be.

As I live in Texas, and we don't get "real" winters, I may just end up with a pair of KSO Treks as my winter/puddle-handling Vibrams. Oh well?
 

2Billion

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Am I the only one who wishes knee-high boots would go away?
 

Werner

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I'm intrigued by the almost-bare-foot idea, but i find this shoes to ugly to wear. why don't make a regular shoe with the very thin-sole and flexibility but without the stupid toe-bits? Are there any manufacturers that do?
 

equiraptor

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why don't make a regular shoe with the very thin-sole and flexibility but without the stupid toe-bits? Are there any manufacturers that do?
Vibram doesn't. They have patents on their toe-shoe design, and they're definitely the toe-shoe place. Keep in mind, they were making soles for other manufacturers shoes well before they started making toeshoes - they may have agreements in place forbidding them from making a toe-box style shoe (I dunno, just guessing).

However, there are other manufacturers who make minimalist or barefoot shoes, without the individual toes. The comparative article I linked to earlier lists a few. Most of these look much more like, well, shoes.

The Merrel Barefoot collection has a lot of offerings, and they look something like this:

Notice the Vibram logo on these. This supports the idea that Vibram can't make toebox style shoes, only sell soles for them (and Merrel is buying Vibram).

There's the New Balance "Minimus", and I spot a Vibram logo here, as well:


There are also some soft soled moccasins and huaraches out there.
 

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I'm always barefoot, which is probably why I have glass in my big toe as I type.
I'm far to lazy to run, but FiveFingers have always intrigued me with the 'feel like barefoot' marketing.

I'm close to biting the bullet, the Classics look a little to weird and activity minded. I like the KSO's and If I had balls of steel, i'd get these.



As sadly, my balls aren't titanium... i'm thinking. :think:

 

Emarline

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Since I've been vaguely interested in these for a while, I found a local retailer that sells them today and tried on a pair. I loved them, so I did some poking around and managed to find a brand new pair of Classics on sale for $50 (marked down from $80). They should be here in 3-5 days. :)
 

Emarline

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Charcoal. I figured they'd be slightly less obtrusive, as I intend to use them as all-purpose shoes. I practically live barefoot when I'm indoors or outside at home (aka not in the urban jungle), so adjustment shouldn't be too much of an issue.
 

equiraptor

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Oh, the Smartwool Classics? That'd be the classics that come in "charcoal" color. The upper is a bit different from the standard Classics. I haven't actually tried any of them... You'll have to let us know what they're like!
 

equiraptor

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Hey, Bhatman, how are the KSOs? :D

I decided that I was going to start running (eeek!), so Monday I went for a run in my Sprints. I repeated yesterday, and am planning to run tomorrow morning, too. This is my first running for training/exercise since I was in middle school. In middle school, I was on the track team. The longest race at the middle school track meets was the mile, so that's what I ran. In middle school, my "race" mile was a bit under 7 minutes (the time I remember was 6:51). I was the only one from my school who ran the distance, and the coach gave me no attention.

I complained about this to my parents, and instead of blaming the school, Dad decided Dad would train me. That was fine by me. Among the things we did for training was an examination of stride. Dad watched me run for a bit, and then had me watch him run. He pointed out some differences in our styles. He explained to me how my running style was better for endurance and how his was better for sprinting. He explained why these features were better for each. His goal, with this, was to help me further refine my "endurance" stride, and help me learn to use a more "sprinting" style of running for the closing leg of the race. I'm not really sure how much it helped, or how much my dad really knows about the subject, but we worked on it anyway.

I recently started reading Born to Run, and as I read about the different running styles, I remembered that work with Dad. I realized something. Though these discussions happened well after "running shoes" with thick, padded soles came into being, my dad's experience with running was from before those shoes (dad turned 20 in 1968). Every stride style we discussed used a forefoot strike. I've always run with a forefoot strike, starting on the outside and rolling to the inside, even when I was wearing the bulky running shoes.

So I started running again. Nugget and some of his coworkers are planning to run a 5k in early October. I've set a goal for myself that I fear is a bit ambitious? I want to run the 5k in 30 minutes. I don't know if my body will let me push that hard (I do have a few limitations).

In other closely related news, my calves are sore.
 

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Hey, Bhatman, how are the KSOs? :D
Well, after 3 weeks of wearing them, by far there some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I used to wear sandals alot and my feet would feel horrid after. Ive worn the KSO's during work(and got some flack...but endured it) and at the end of the day, my feet are not tired at all. The heel and pinky toes a bit sore, but that went away after a week or so. I got the ones that are in black and even as discretely they are, I still get tons of questions and comments about them. Right now it seems there sort of a fad, but there good shoes and are worth the investment if you keep breaking 15.00 to 20.00 sandals every 3 months...Ive washed them a few times so they dont get nasty and its worked quite well so far.
 

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I've been trail running in KSO Treks for about a month and a half now, with no serious injuries or anything to report. It takes getting used to, and it does require a learning curve (I do about 2 miles 3x a week, down from 5 miles 5x a week; all off road). The biggest issues were cramps and general tightness but that went away. So far the biggest weakness hasn't been me, but the shoes. I actually managed to break a pair of them in 3 weeks, but the store where I bought them changed them out for me for free (super cool!). Slowly stepping up to a 10k in the fall. It really is a giant pain to have to restart your training process all over just because of shoes, but you can cause some serious Achilles injuries among other things if you jump into it at the same level you were before.

However, I don't think I'll be staying in them long. The way they force you to run is awkward to say the least in my opinion... and if you have a job where you can't wear something that enables you to stay walking in that ball-of-foot style, then it takes getting used to every time you put them on... and since I wear combat boots on a daily basis, I'm nearly always re-learning how to walk/run in Fivefingers every time I put them on.

The New Balance Minimus MT-10 is almost 100% going to be my next shoe as I enjoy the theory of minimalist running, especially in off-road running. It sounds like most serious trail runners in the world also don't do the Fivefinger for the sport, as it doesn't offer enough support for most of the foot.

Anyone else trail run here, or you all on-road wussies? :p
 

equiraptor

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Well, after 3 weeks of wearing them, by far there some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I used to wear sandals alot and my feet would feel horrid after. Ive worn the KSO's during work(and got some flack...but endured it) and at the end of the day, my feet are not tired at all. The heel and pinky toes a bit sore, but that went away after a week or so. I got the ones that are in black and even as discretely they are, I still get tons of questions and comments about them. Right now it seems there sort of a fad, but there good shoes and are worth the investment if you keep breaking 15.00 to 20.00 sandals every 3 months...Ive washed them a few times so they dont get nasty and its worked quite well so far.
It sounds like you're on your feet all day at work? I'm glad they're (mostly) working out well for you. :D

The way they force you to run is awkward to say the least in my opinion?
<snip>
...since I wear combat boots on a daily basis, I'm nearly always re-learning how to walk/run in Fivefingers every time I put them on.

<snip>

It sounds like most serious trail runners in the world also don't do the Fivefinger for the sport, as it doesn't offer enough support for most of the foot.
Honestly, these sound like the statements of someone who doesn't want barefoot/minimalist running. Not everyone wants the minimalist stride or feel. There's nothing wrong with that - we all have different wants and needs.

Why do I say this? Well, the VFFs do not "force" me to run differently. Running in them, I run the way I always ran. When walking, sometimes I heel-strike, sometimes I strike with my forefoot, but both are normal, typical strides for me. All of these are things I did barefoot, when I could (on my delicate, modern feet), and the VFFs simply allow me to use my preferred stride on more surfaces. One of the things many of us like about these shoes is that they do not force support on our feet, but rather allow our feet to move as they would on their own. I've never liked shoes that had supposed "arch support". They always made my feet hurt.

On the contrary, my more rigid shoes, like my motorcycle boots, force me to move differently from how I prefer. Rigid shoes are not my preference.
 
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