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Vibram Five Fingers Review – Hype? I don’t think so… – Running Shoe

The fact that I have had a lot of people asking me for feedback after to posting a picture of my new Vibram Five Finger KSO shoes the other day on Facebook I have decided to give a detailed review for a few different topics with these “shoes.”  These have created quite a stir in both the running world as well as other sports such as water sports, yoga, fitness, and I have even talked with some guys who are using them for weight lifting. So here is my take on this shoe and what I have found out so far…

VibramKSO

The first thing that I noticed was that when I slid my foot in that it felt like a glove.  There were “fingers” for my toes.  This was by far the weirdest sensation that I have had when it comes to footwear.  I first wore the KSO model for about four or five hours the first day that I got them.  It was really fun, and by fun I mean interesting to see what felt good in the shoes and what didn’t, and to see how different surfaces felt to walk on in these monstrosities.  The first test was a gravel driveway.  It has enough support that you can feel the rocks, but they don’t hurt.  I would not want to run on a gravel driveway to say the least, but to walk on one isn’t a big deal at all with the KSO.  The difference that I see is that when I am walking in regular shoes that I pretty much drag my feet and they smack the ground with reckless abandon.  In the Vibram’s I find myself walking lighter and feeling the ground.  (Laugh if you want, because I am sure my wife probably is right now if she is reading this.  She is a Physical Therapist, so she has been on the battleground with me about whether there are any benefits to these or other barefoot running shoes.)  But until you walk a mile (or run) in these shoes I really think you have to experience this for yourself.  The best word that can come up with for these is that they feel very natural…

I did not run in these for about a week.  I wanted to make sure that I had the right fit before going on a run.  My fear was that with the rubber and cloth in between my toes that the rubbing and motion could cause blisters.  So to my delight I didn’t have any type of friction at all.  I ran on a paved road for a while as well as a path in a park, so I did get a wide variety of running surfaces including sidewalks and grass.  I ran three miles in these and it was great.  I have used another pair of “barefoot” shoes, so I have had some experience in this, but these are above and beyond the other pair that I have tried.  There were a couple of times that I came down on a rock or crack that didn’t feel great, but it wasn’t painful or anything like that. The Vibrams are not going to be my long distance shoes by any means, but I do like the way they change the way I run.  I put on my Asics Gel Kensei 3 and they felt like I was wearing a pair of combat boots after wearing these.  Yes the Asics have way more support and more cushion, but I am not so sure anymore that is such a good thing.  Let me just say that it is different.  It is comparing apples and oranges.  I am running another half marathon at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November, so I am pretty certain that I won’t be wearing these, but at the same time I wouldn’t bat an eye to run a 5K or maybe even a 10K in a few weeks.  I think that in the future we will see more middle of the road models.  The reason that I don’t think I could run the 13.1 miles in these is that I don’t think I run enough.  I think if I trained more in these that over time that I could run one in the KSO, but for now I am just sticking to the short runs.

One part that I love about these shoes is that I have never ever in my life liked walking barefoot.  Call me a wimp or just anal, but I just hate the thought of stepping on a bee, glass, rocks, metal, nails, dog crap, bugs, whatever that might have been throw out a car window, etc.  I do love being barefoot at the beach, but other than that it is pretty much out.  So now I have the feel of being barefoot, but without the thought of all that. 🙂

Now I am not going to sugar coat this and say how they look like a million dollars.  In my mind these are not going to win you any friends for style.  But that just depends on what your logic is on that.  You will get all kinds of looks from people when they see these.  Every time I have them on I get at least four or five people ask either what they are or if I like them.  My wife is not sold on these and she keeps reminding me every time I wear them that she thinks they look ridiculous.  Cole (7) went from thinking they looked like frog shoes, to now he would probably wear a pair in a second.  Let’s just say that they grow on you…

My biggest recommendation is going to create a new Vibram Five Finger Bridal shoe.  This would of course be lined with a luxury liner of silk, sequins, and lace all around.  I think I am going to suggest to my next bride that instead of buying sandals or flipflops for all your bridesmaids for dancing at the reception that they get them all a pair of Vibrams.  🙂  So if you are reading this Vibram and want my feedback in regards in how to start giving Jimmy Choo a run for their money just let me know. 🙂

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