Author Topic: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes  (Read 61510 times)

Offline Fyrediver

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Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« on: October 11, 2010, 11:27:10 PM »
So I got a pair of the ugliest shoes I could find.  My girlfriend's daughter is sure I did it just to embarrass her but that's not really the case, although I AM going to get all the mileage I can.  ;)

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/    I got the TrekSport model which has lightly lugged soles.  I think my next pair are going to be the Sprint with the smoother siped sole.

I recently had to have a hip replaced and found during my rehab that my conventional running shoes made the hip hurt worse.  My running shoes made agility and balance exercises more difficult due to the soft sole collapsing when dynamically side loaded.  I could do better barefoot than wearing my shoes.  I also experienced increased pain due to the tendency to heel strike when I attempted to run.  Additionally, I think the thick sole and heels of the running shoes put my new hip at an awkward angle.

Prior to my surgery I'd had complaints about my running shoes (good brand, new, professionally fitted) while weightlifting.  When I'd do heavy squats I'd feel the shoes collapsing and making me unstable.   Also, a kettle bell workout that's making the rounds at work requires you to be barefoot to avoid these issues and to strengthen one's feet during the dynamic movements.  I know they're running shoes and not weightlifting shoes but they're the ones I had. 

I'd been reading about barefoot running and Five Fingers for a while and finally decided to finally get them.

Initial impressions: 

Not the easiest to get on.  My toes are NOT acclimated to going into their own pockets.  The material between the toes does feel strange but that only lasts a few seconds.

Comfortable once on, increases sensitivity dramatically but still protects against sharp objects. 

They appear to be very well made.  They're extremely light and flexible.

The lightly lugged sole was a bit more slippery than I expected on my slimy driveway during the rain.  They provide great traction on all other surfaces that I've been on.

Balance and agility exercises are much easier with these shoes.  They allow your toes to become actively and independently engaged in the process.  Also, the increase in sensitivity provides enhanced feedback to increase balance and proprioception.

Weightlifting seems to be more controlled as well.  There is no sole to compress.

Running is still difficult for me, but I've been able to go farther more comfortably than with my conventional shoes.  Luckily I have very strong calves and feet already and haven't had any major pain from adjusting to them.  When running with these shoes one stays on the balls of your feet and your calves absorb the impact of each stride.  You DON'T land on your heels unless you're really masochistic.

One does tend to get funny looks from some people when they're trying to figure out what are on your feet.  Could potentially be a great icebreaker . . . 8)
 



Offline Remman

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 08:31:43 AM »
I've been wearing the VFF's for the last year and I too love them.  I have the KSO's.

Offline Howard Wallace

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 09:37:01 AM »
I've had the 5 fingers for a while.  They are very interesting and make running a completely different experience than with shoes.

If you get some and intend to run in them don't overdo it.  Adjust slowly.  Running barefoot or with this kind of minimal shoe places different stresses on bones, muscles and ligaments in the foot, stresses that most of us are not used to.  When I first got the shoes I started running in them every morning, but after a while doing this my feet started to hurt.  I backed off on the frequency and the pain went away.

I think barefoot really is the most natural way to run, but especially if your older and haven't been doing it for most of your life it is good to procede carefully.

Offline AtADeadRun

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 12:26:14 PM »
I switched primarily to the Vibram Bikila -- a very aggressive-tread model intended for running -- a month and a half or two months ago.

Transition running *very* slowly.  I went from twenty-odd miles a week in conventional shoes to the Vibrams in two and a half weeks or so, and found that to be much too fast.  I ended up with some metatarsal injury (bruise, probably) and had to quit running entirely for a couple weeks to let it heal.  Protip:  even if you're mostly a road runner, spend as much time as possible during early transition on grass and trails, and slowly build up to more road time.  The balls of your feet will thank you.

I get the impression I'll end up significantly faster after the transition is complete.  My sense is that full transition, i.e., the ability to run a marathon wearing these things, will take six months or so as the biomechanical changes necessary for efficient use of the new stride occurs.  As it stands, with only a few weeks in them, I'm 2-3% faster than in my conventional Mizunos, part of which is attributable to the much lighter weight of the Vibram shoes.

I haven't had the get-up-and-go to put a long workout on them yet, so I'm not sure how the reduced padding and increased calf usage will affect endurance above the hour mark.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 01:02:59 PM »
Was just at the running store yesterday and asked about them.  They have 2 pair in men's sizes in the store.  They have every size available in women's sizes.  Since these hit some of the national talk shows, they can't keep them on the shelves.

I don't intend on going with these, but will be transitioning to a minimal shoe when I switch.  I'm already working on running on the mid-sole to ball of the foot instead of heel striking.  My knees feel great, but my calf muscles are really feeling it.

Offline tamo42

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 02:52:51 PM »
You'll get used to it

Offline rogersorders

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 04:53:21 PM »
I got a pair a while back and it has been a long, slow transition. I'm in the army and run anywhere from 5-15 mile a week. I guess I started to go too far too soon because my calves were killing me, almost to to the point where I thought I pulled one of them. I had to stop for a while and go back to running shoes. I've started back, going much shorter distances like around the block.
Everything I've read on running barefoot is positive. It just takes a while to transition.

Offline Cullie

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 07:00:25 PM »
I would love to try these, but I can never find my size and it's not a "normal" size according to the store.   It's also my understanding that you have to try them on to get an accurate fit.   

I've got a knee injury and it's my understanding that these are supposed to be better for knee injuries as you start to run on the balls of your feet.   Has anyone else heard this or is it a misnomer?

Offline Johnny_Silver

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 07:27:47 PM »
I've had my five fingers for a few months them  now and am very pleased with them. I have the kso and rave about them, it's a shoe that gets noticed. Wear them for short periods of time at first. Run on trails as opposed to asphalt. Hard surfaces are bad on joints and spine anyway. And on top of that they transition from land to water with ease with no real noticeable detriment to swimming. They could be pretty useful in hunting as well. Enjoy and free the feet!

Offline Remman

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Offline daveinmichigan

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 07:39:27 AM »
I've been running in my KSOs for almost a year and I now hate running in anything else. I have run a couple of half marathons with them and if you give yourself enough transition time, they can make some wonderful improvements in those old aches and pains.

When we were in Orlando, my wife bought a pair of the VFF Bikila's. It has been less than 3 months and the soles are falling off the shoes! I called Vibram yesterday (I spoke with Rick) and was told that the first production run of Bikila's had trouble because the wrong adhesive was use to secure the soles to the uppers. They are going to take care of us and swap the shoes for a brand new pair. It is nice to see good customer service once in awhile.

Offline WestTx753

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2010, 05:07:26 PM »
Love my KSO Trek's- got them in brown and it looks like I am crossed with Big Foot's cousin somewhere in my family tree.

Offline PositiveForce

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2010, 10:32:51 AM »
There a couple guys at the gym that wear these, if fact I was just talking to a guy that wears them yesterday about them. They may look goofy but if you think about it they make a lot of sense, in a shoe your feet and all compressed into this small place and almost forced into an unnatural position. These five finger shoes seem like they put your feet into a position that is natural to them. The one guy yesterday says it really stablized and helped his balance while doing squats, another guy runs in them daily and said it took a little getting used to because you use more of the ball of your foot than the heel-toe step. Another guy at the gym is a welder for a living and wears big old work boots all day, he said these shoes are like a breath of fresh air for his feet.

One thing the runner told me, was that it was like being bare footed, and he felt like a kid again.... That is pretty cool actually  8)

Offline UA8

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2010, 01:57:17 PM »
I would love to try these, but I can never find my size and it's not a "normal" size according to the store.   It's also my understanding that you have to try them on to get an accurate fit.   

I've got a knee injury and it's my understanding that these are supposed to be better for knee injuries as you start to run on the balls of your feet.   Has anyone else heard this or is it a misnomer?

Cullie, this is true the five fingers are actually easier on your entire leg since they remove the jarring shock of landing on your heel (bone) which then causes shock in your knee then up to your hip.  By landing on the balls of your feet the muscles in your feet act as the first shock absorber then your calves and so on and so forth.  There fore there is much less stress place on the joints since you are using elastic systems (muscles) instead of the joints in your bones to absorb the forces.

That said I've had mine for about half a year now and have not made time to truly use them as running shoes although I've gone for a few jogs.  I find that I become winded a lot more quickly but this is due to the increased use of muscle. As for workouts I would not by choice workout in anything other than the vibrams or barefoot now that I have tried them.  The increased amount of sensation and tactile nature of the shoes is extremely helpful.

The only downside of the shoes and ymmv is that they stink up quickly I've found that throwing them in the washer has worked pretty well so far just make sure that you close the velcro if the model you chose is so equipped or it will shred your other clothes.  Fyi I have the kso and think those are a good place to start although I will probably buy a pair of bikilas(sp?, the running variant) soon.  Hope this helps and that you enjoy your vibrams

p.s. make sure you actually try these on before buying them.

Offline Cullie

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2010, 09:31:59 PM »
Cullie, this is true the five fingers are actually easier on your entire leg since they remove the jarring shock of landing on your heel (bone) which then causes shock in your knee then up to your hip.  By landing on the balls of your feet the muscles in your feet act as the first shock absorber then your calves and so on and so forth.  There fore there is much less stress place on the joints since you are using elastic systems (muscles) instead of the joints in your bones to absorb the forces.

That said I've had mine for about half a year now and have not made time to truly use them as running shoes although I've gone for a few jogs.  I find that I become winded a lot more quickly but this is due to the increased use of muscle. As for workouts I would not by choice workout in anything other than the vibrams or barefoot now that I have tried them.  The increased amount of sensation and tactile nature of the shoes is extremely helpful.

The only downside of the shoes and ymmv is that they stink up quickly I've found that throwing them in the washer has worked pretty well so far just make sure that you close the velcro if the model you chose is so equipped or it will shred your other clothes.  Fyi I have the kso and think those are a good place to start although I will probably buy a pair of bikilas(sp?, the running variant) soon.  Hope this helps and that you enjoy your vibrams

p.s. make sure you actually try these on before buying them.

UA8,

Thank you for the feedback and I apologise for the late acknowledgement but I have been busy and haven't been on the site at all.   Your comments are great news for me and I'll have to take a closer look at them next time I'm at the store and I have an opportunity to try them on.

Cullie

Offline teton traveler

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2010, 11:03:08 PM »
My wife has some and loves them. They do take some time to get on, but once that is accomplished, they work great. When it is not -10 deg. here, she will wear them all of the time.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 07:20:18 AM »
I saw my first pair ever on the running trail the other day.  This guy was running towards me and I noticed the shorts, it was 27F out, so how could I miss the shorts?  On the way back, there he was again and I noticed the all black VFFs.

Offline Oni

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2011, 10:57:01 PM »
I have a pair of the KSO's.  Like them a lot.  When people ask, I tell them it was a graduation gift from ninja school.  :D

Offline tamo42

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2011, 01:56:32 PM »
Lol, I am totally stealing that!

Offline smajda

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2011, 03:41:07 PM »
am I asking to much if I want a "made in the usa" or at least on this continent version? Vibram's are made in china :/

The last pair of new balance's I bought were made in the USA.  I couldn't believe I found them. They were in the clearance rack at DSW.  I liked the other styles better and all, but I went with this pair to support us manufacturing.

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2011, 10:08:07 PM »
Just a quick note for folks that may be interested in the VFF shoes but haven't had a chance to try on a pair: if your second toe is longer than your big toe, the VFF will not fit. I know, 'cause I tried, and alas, I did not conquer. (Incidentally, I just found a website where a guy talks about using a vise and a bungee cord to lengthen the second toe pocket, but I leave that for the tinkerers among us to attempt.)

A decent alternative is the Nike Free line. These shoes are constructed with minimal padding and support, so you still get the benefits of barefoot running, only with a bit more padding and a MUCH more conventional look. The Stanford track team trains in these shoes, so you know they're good for distance. And I also like 'em because they weigh next to nothing and pack down into a pretty tiny space in your suitcase for travel.

Offline M14fan

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2011, 04:34:32 AM »
These do look interesting, but what is this 'running' of which you speak? Does this mean there are other modalities besides walk, fast walk, and Harley? ;-D

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2011, 11:40:34 AM »
These do look interesting, but what is this 'running' of which you speak? Does this mean there are other modalities besides walk, fast walk, and Harley? ;-D

Heh heh! Yeah, there's also trotting, prancing, and gallivanting. I'm a big fan of the gallivanting.

Offline patrat

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2011, 05:44:55 PM »
I like mine, for limited activities. They are nice for on-trail hiking, and working out. They offer almost no protection from hot or cold surfaces. They are very easily punctured by plant prickers - goat heads, cactus spines, etc that would be a non issue with other shoes.

I practice Krav Maga and Parkur. The general consensus is that they are good for training, and a bad idea for actual practice. My wife is studying osteopathic medicine, and says that her instructors rave about them.

Offline Millboy

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2011, 10:44:53 AM »
I got a pair of the Camo (if you're gonna be a bear be a Grizzly right?) KSO VFF's last October, I like them.  I'll like them more when it's spring and I can enjoy going outside in the again as this past winter in New England has been VERY harsh.  I do alot of mud races and I got these to eventually do 5K's and mudraces in them.  But I'm not rushing at all.  I like my body to much to wind up on the shelf for a few weeks or longer!

Offline Vashti

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2011, 08:57:08 AM »
I love my VFFs! The only problem is that I have very small feet, so the only ones available to me were plain black Classics. I'm a size 35, and they NEVER carry that size in the stores, and almost never online. I've called/emailed the company many times without response. It's my only complaint, because I love these shoes and use them for everything. I'd like to get some of the more rugged ones, some thicker ones/ or ones with straps because these get a bit slick when wet and threaten to come off my feet. Also, my feet get too cold to wear them in the snow.

Offline Clyde

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2011, 12:27:39 PM »
I found out about these in Dec 2010, bought a pair from a guy on eBay to try them out.  Now I have 3 different pairs.  It took about 3 months for my feet to adjust to them.  Now I try to wear them everywhere, even to work!  I do get asked a lot "are those sock shoes"  Here is a great website of a guy who reviews all the styles:

http://birthdayshoes.com/

Give them a try, you never know you may just like them!

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2011, 01:52:10 PM »
I got mine awhile back, I unfortunately was what they call a heel walker (very bad!) and the first time I wore mine I went for about a 4 mile walk.  My heel was so bruised that I couldn't even look at them for months without swearing.  Now, I love em.  Convinced my wife she needed a pair (we are the same foot size) so in reality, I have two pair.

I've also been experimenting making minimalist huarache sandals like these people:
http://lunasandals.com/sandals/1-the-equus
and these:
http://www.unshoesminimalfootwear.com/feather.html

Got some vibrum off of eBay and have been having fun experimenting and have made several pair I like already.  Unfortunately, it is gardening seasons so most of my extra-curricular activities are on hold but expect to make some really nice ones this fall.

The whole minimalist footwear business is really taking off.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2011, 07:49:12 AM »
My nephew is absolutely kicking butt in trail runs while wearing these things, and my daughter is a barefoot hippy type who understands the value of shoes in an urban environment, so she's really into them too.  Seems like every run-n-gun I show up at these days, there's at least one person wearing them, and they usually do well.

My runner brother pushed the book "Born to Run" (link:
http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Superathletes-Greatest-Vintage/dp/0307279189/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312465229&sr=1-1 )
into my hands last spring, and it sort of explains the whole development of these weird things.  Fun read too.  It ties in with "evolution running" (link: http://www.evolutionrunning.com/), which, once I started with that technique, I can pretty much run arbitrary distances (albeit slowly) without any knee pain at all.

As for me, I need to find a store and try on some.  Maybe when the weather starts cooling off.

Offline vicious

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Re: Vibram Five Fingers Shoes
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2011, 09:18:51 AM »
I got a pair 2 weeks ago, and I absolutely love them. I have the KSO treksports because they offer a better tread than the standard KSO and I enjoy hiking. They're a little stiffer too, but I can say they are much better than any shoe or boot I'm used to. I wear them almost exclusively now. In my limited experience, they do well on gravel, asphalt, rock, grass, etc. We have no rain, so I can't say about wet surfaces, but they did kick butt on my last hike (first one in them). IMO they are grippier than my boots, although they do lack the ankle support I'm used to. I believe it's an equal trade off. I don't run right now, but I'm sure they would serve me well. Ultimately, I believe we'll be getting a pair for everyone in the family, and in the winter I may get a pair of their Kangaroo Trek's for added weather protection.