I have been hearing a lot about the next generation in running gear, Vibram FiveFingers. FiveFingers are simplified shoes that are designed to allow a runner to run “barefoot” but with protection and traction of a shoe. Having a high arc, I need shoes that are highly flexible to allow my foot’s complexities to work properly. My goal was to try them out for few months to help develop stronger feet… and maybe a faster 5k time!
So, I stopped by Santa Barbara Outfitters this afternoon to check them out in person. They look a lot like my Teva Watershoes, only they have toes! Unfortunately, all they had in my size (M_40) was the Flow model, which has more insulation and neoprene that aids in crossing streams. I really want the KSO model.
Trying the M_40 on was like sitting in a big rig for the first time. You know how to drive, although you don’t really know how to get it moving. The salesman suggested slipping the front over the toes and then using your fingers to guide the toes in each “socket” or else the toes curl under and you can’t walk worth beans. So, I spent the next five minutes realizing how strange of shape my feet are compared the FiveFingers, not to mention, how fat my toes are. I managed to wrangle the big toe and the next toe into the socket before realizing that the big toe was being deprived of blood… there was no way I would even remotely get the pinky toe in the socket at this point.
The obvious next step was to try a larger size. Well, not so fast their city slicker… its seems Vibram is struggling to keep up with demand (the sign of a great product!) and this particular store had sold out of the sizes I needed. You see, the W_42 is the same size as the M_41. I have problem with buying a woman’s FiveFinger as long as it fits and is not pink! Anyway, the nice saleswoman (the salesman ditched me for greener pastures) tried hard to help, but we did not succeed. They will call me when they get the next shipment in, so this city slicker’s saga will continue!
So, what do I think of FiveFingers so far? Well, they look promising. They are nice & light, well put together, and the quality of the material seemed top notch. I worry that the grooves on the bottom of the ball area might collect dirt over time and become a hindrance, but that is just my crazy mind thinking outside the box. Overall, I can’t wait to try on a larger size and give them a full workout.
In the meantime, I found this cool blog, My FiveFingers, that shares the experience of Daniel getting to know his FiveFingers.