Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers

So, I purchased a pair of Vibram Five Fingers a couple of weeks ago.  I had done my research for several weeks, visiting forums and gathering as much information as I could.  I was really excited about the info I had been reading and felt that this would solve some of my issues with running.  I get shin splints easily and the pain was so intense that I had just stopped trying.  I purchased an expensive pair of Saucony's last year from The Running Room and they left me in the same painful place as all the other shoes.  I'd been eager to be able to run like many people I know, but felt that I was just not built for it.  The VFF's could be purchased online but fortunately MEC sold them  in downtown Toronto, so I set out during my lunch break to give them a try. 

I knew that I had to fit them to my longest toe (I'm one of those freaks with my second toe being longer than my big toe).  I had a hell of a time getting them on at first and after a couple of minutes of struggling, I strapped them up and walked around the store.  It felt strange at first and people trying on running shoes and hiking boots around me looked at them oddly.  My toes were uber sensitive and I didn't much like the sensation of fabric and rubber between them, but after a few moments the sensitivity diminished.

I did some light jogging and walking around the store and after about 10 minutes, I fell in love with them.  I was excited and purchased them immediately.  I showed them to my husband when I got home from work; he chuckled when he saw them.  It was fashion show time and I awkwardly shoved my toes into their snug little place.  They were much tighter trying them on in the evening and I could feel my tired, end of day, feet swelling inside them.  They were too tight!  I had to take them back and thought maybe that my freak toes were some of the ones described on various forums.  Not everyone could fit VFFs if they had freaky feet.

The next day I went back to the store before work to try a size up.  It was a bad move on my part to purchase shoes earlier in the day when my feet hadn't had time to spread out.  The size up was perfect and I made the exchange.  I no longer felt that I had freakish feet.

My first VFF running attempt was in the corridor of my apartment building (I'll admit, I was a little embarassed to take them out in public).  I trotted along lightly and got used to the feeling of running.  I had watched a number of videos featuring Barefoot Ted discussing barefoot running.  I noticed immediately that running barefoot was a completely different motion and it actually felt more fluid and natural.  I get shin splints easily and after 15 minutes of sprinting and jogging up and down the long corridor, I realized that it was all fairly effortless.  The difference between barefoot and modern running shoes is impact.  With running shoes, your foot impacts right at the heal which is why they modern running shoe has so much cushioning.  Barefoot running requires you to change the impact to the front of your foot, allowing for a more natural, springy tireless experience.

I took them for a test run outside (at night on a quiet street) and had the same wonderful experience as my apartment corridor sprint.  My movement felt silky and I the pain that I normally endured in a short amount of time never appeared.

They are, at most, quirky and I've started wearing them out in public on the weekends.  I'm still a little embarassed and have even hid my feet with my purse when I'm on the elevator with other tenants.  I'm sure I'll get over my embarrassment.

I love my Vibrams and look forward to the summer to wear them out . . . shame free.

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