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Vibram Five Fingers??
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John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Keep us updated, Chris. on 03/26/2010 17:15:46 MDT Print View

I'd like to hear what you have to say about VFF vs racing flats. I can tell you that I've been wearing my sprints 2-3 times a week for 3 1/2 years and they're still going strong. I've not heard the same for racing flats, but hopefully there's a pair out there without EVA cushion and with durable outsole material. It seems that most are designed to be disposable. Do you have any suggestions for a durable racing flat?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Five Fingers on 03/26/2010 17:58:45 MDT Print View

Ok, I broke down and just picked up a pair of black KSOs.
First concern is sizing- as these fit like gloves and I hope I dialed it in OK. I'm somewhere in between a 46 and 47, went with the 47 to accommodate foot swelling. Just hope I don't snag a toe on something.

I'll run 3-4 miles in them tonight or tomorrow morning and see what the initial verdict is.

First thing my 6 year old daughter said: "Eeeeewww. Those are ugly Dad."

First thing my 8 year old son said: "I want some!"

And my wife: "Those are ugly. You're really supposed to run in them?....You're going to wear those out to dinner, aren't you?"

I can see how the soles would be pretty durable though. The more I wear them around the house, the more natural they feel. They'll definitely be sweaty though.

So I'm anxious to compare them with running in my MT100s. I'll keep people posted if interested.

Edited by xnomanx on 03/26/2010 17:59:17 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Five Fingers on 03/26/2010 18:29:42 MDT Print View


Please report back on the G,B,&U.

Noel Hong
(arborrider08) - F

Locale: SouthShore of Lake Superior
KSO, durability on 03/26/2010 19:14:38 MDT Print View

Started trail running last season in a pair of KSO. If your foot structure is relatively strong its a smooth transition from traditional shoes. You will still need to up the km gradually. Only complaints are KeepStuffOut, up to a point. End up with some fine debris like sand getting in. Could be my foot shape around the heel. Gaps (see photo). The new version posted above may deal with the issue. Seem to be holding up much better than expected. A bit of peeling after the 1st ~100km.V5F Gap at Heel

Just for fun took a short (~10k) day hike with ~18kg load wearing the 5F. Feet felt fine during, after and the next day. Not sure what consecutive days with more hours on the feet would feel like. My feet started not enjoying "barefoot" running in cooler (sub 50*F) wet conditions.

Edited by arborrider08 on 03/26/2010 19:23:38 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Five Fingers: Dissappointed on 03/26/2010 20:59:13 MDT Print View

So I've worn these for a few hours around the house today and just returned from a quick 5k run around my neighborhood. Mind you, I can do the same 5k run completely barefoot comfortably.

Overall, I like the feel, but I'm looking at two problems:


1. There's a ridge on the bottom of the shoe's forefoot (marked with yellow arrows in my picture). This ridge shouldn't be there- I can feel it with every footstrike as I roll through towards my toes. It feels like I'm stepping on a hard edge of some sort with every stride. Way too much of a pressure point for me to be able to count on these shoes to be comfortable at any significant distance. I can see it's part of the design idea- placing thicker rubber under the forefoot- but the edge of that thicker part falls right under the bones in my forefoot.

2. The red arrow shows the location of a pretty hefty seam on the instep of the shoe...big enough that I don't trust it at all. If I can subtly feel it there on a 5k, it'll be a massive blister by 25k. Socks would remedy this...but, in my opinion, that completely negates the point of these shoes. No good, not what I'm looking for.

If this is supposed to be getting me closer to "barefoot" but I'm feeling seams and ridges and might have to wear socks...well, that's not working too well with the "barefoot" idea for me.

I really don't understand why every shoemaker on earth seems to find it critical to put gimmickry, weird seams, ridges, swooshes, and other nonsense on their shoes.

Other than this, I actually like them. They feel good, have great flexibility, feel pretty natural- just enough armor to not worry about puncture wounds. I just don't think they fit my feet well, not to mention I'll likely be able to run faster in flats due to more toe protection (not worrying as much about foot placement- which wears you down mentally).

I'll be returning them tomorrow and sticking with my MT100s.

I am pretty interested in trying something from Feelmax- basically they're synthetic moccasins with very little apparent gimmickry on the soles.

I'm kinda bummed though, I wanted the KSOs to work for me.

Tristan Sprenkle
(Tristan570) - F
Seams on 03/26/2010 21:07:07 MDT Print View

If you're feeling seems and edges in there check them out and make sure the stitching is all ok. I read a couple reviews where people had bad stitching that was affecting their feet. I've been wearing mine for day hikes for the past couple weeks (and I'm wearing them right now) and I don't feel any seams at all. Could just be a difference in our feet too though I guess.

I'm going to try them out on a 40 mile hike next weekend, that will be the first real test I put them through. I might throw my Nike Frees in my pack just in case. Carrying the little extra weight just for this trip might really save me if the VFFs start killing my feet half way though.

Edit: I don't wear socks with them either.

Edited by Tristan570 on 03/26/2010 21:08:08 MDT.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: Seams on 03/26/2010 21:15:50 MDT Print View

I agree, about the seams. I had a seam/ stitch that was poking my left foot near the middle of my arch, and it gave me a pencil tip sized blister that was still very uncomfortable. I ended up going through both shoes with a pair of scissors, and trimming away all excess fabric at the seams. As for the single raised stitch that gave me the blister?, I took a dremel to it.

However, it seems that Craig's big prob is with that rubber layer right by the ball of his feet and toes...not sure how to remedy that. Maybe experiment with sizes?

O yeah, Tristan, aren't nike frees great? Love mine. Those really really feel like slippers to me

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/26/2010 21:17:11 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Seams on 03/26/2010 21:27:50 MDT Print View

I don't want to knock them too hard; I think it's more of a subjective foot-shape thing. Konrad is right- the biggest problem for me is the rubber ridge of the sole- it just doesn't line up properly with my bones. I was wondering if downsizing would help, but I do remember feeling it slightly when trying on a smaller pair. I could try some mods and keep wearing them, but I'd rather get my $$$ back and move on.

So I'll stick with what I know: real barefoot training and racing flats. There's no reason for me to change what I'm doing right now anyway, it was mostly just curiosity.

Now what do I spend my $90 dollars on? Yeah, $90 for shoes to run "barefoot"...only in America! The indigenous runners of the world must find us hilarious.

Noel Hong
(arborrider08) - F

Locale: SouthShore of Lake Superior
Fitting on 03/27/2010 16:31:09 MDT Print View

Craig not sure if the problem you encounter is due to flaw in construction or just a foot shape incompatibility. I have a real high arch. Maybe why I haven't experienced a similar problem. Also don't cinch the velcro strap very tight.

Length of foot, toe lengths relative to each other seem to be critical fit issues. Sounds like need to add foot shape as critical fit factor.

My soles are not tough enough to handle the loose stone on the hardpack fire roads I run on. The trails are even tougher than the fire roads on my soft bare soles. V5F deal with my soft sole problem. Back in the '70s I ran in a dirty bright blue pair of Onitsuka Tigers.
Few decades later and never finding a shoe that I liked as much as the Tigers the V5F ended up more or less the choice. Have yet to try the Nike Free. Not sure about Asics reintroduction Tiger model(s?).

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Five Fingers: Dissappointed on 03/27/2010 19:08:59 MDT Print View

I'd think you'd want to keep them just to wear them out to dinner......

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Five Fingers: heel or forefoot strike? on 03/27/2010 19:11:20 MDT Print View

So you folks now running in Five Fingers (and why aren't they called Five Toes?), do you heel strike or forefoot strike when running in them? I'm a heel striker now, should I 'convert' if I'm going to try running in them? Just curious.

Craig, did you find you changed your strike in the one run you took in them?

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Fitting on 03/27/2010 20:32:59 MDT Print View

Noel-- a blast from the past! I, too, ran in those bright blue with white Onitsuka Tigers in the 70's. I loved those shoes...

And I have a pair of VFF classics that I bought recently. I am planning to try them for running (if it will quit snowing every night!). I have run short distances in them and find that I automatically run on the forefoot. I'm normally not a strong heel-striker, but I definitely land more forward on my foot with the VFFs.

Tristan Sprenkle
(Tristan570) - F
Re: Re: Seams on 03/27/2010 21:04:41 MDT Print View

"O yeah, Tristan, aren't nike frees great? Love mine. Those really really feel like slippers to me"

Yeah, I love them so far. I have the 5.0s but I'd really like to try the 3.0s but it looks like they either don't make them anymore or I just can't find them.

As to running with the VFFs, I would think heel striking with these would not work out so well, luckily for me, my heels don't even really touch the ground in my natural running stride, I stay up on my forefoot the whole time.

Also, whoever posted about the new tigers, I've tried them. They were pretty comfortable but they didn't last very long, and I was just using them for regular street shoes, no hiking or even running.

Edited by Tristan570 on 03/27/2010 21:05:24 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Heel Strike on 03/27/2010 22:51:34 MDT Print View

I just got my FiveFingers a couple days ago and I instantly switched away from heel striking when I run in these. It just happens naturally because heel striking is too harsh in bare feet and minimal footwear.

Edited by dandydan on 03/27/2010 22:52:51 MDT.

Noel Hong
(arborrider08) - F

Locale: SouthShore of Lake Superior
Run "natural" on 03/28/2010 17:46:13 MDT Print View

Heel striking will send shock waves up from heel to brain. My track coach back in the Tiger era tried to convert me into a heel striker. It just slowed me down and hurt. He more or less gave up trying to change up my stride. Next era was the overly cushioned, supportive period. Also the injury era. A decade ago enlightenment from my then 4 y/o niece. Watching her run (always at full speed) she just floated. Barefooted or flip-flop forefoot striker. After reading Christopher McDougall's book last summer I switched over to V5F. Past experience, observation and the book has convinced me that heel strike stride is "unnatural".

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
V5f Foot strike on 03/28/2010 19:37:11 MDT Print View

As everyone mentioned, youre naturally going to change your stride. Heel striking is just impossible with these shoes. However, my initial experiences (first 5 or so cumulative miles with them) showed that I subconsciously was trying to over compensate, and found myself landing strictly on the balls of my feet...almost like running on my toes. This is what the body does when its in full sprint, but trying to sustain this motion for a long period of time (ie joggiing) is just punishing on the calves, and actually lead to foot pains I had never felt before. I felt pains on the top of my foot, as in the other side of my foot arch. Did some more research on Barefoot Ted's website and found that this was a common ailment among people who are new to BF running. He gave some stretch ideas in the FAQ, and it cured my problems. I have since started landing in more of a midfoot strike. Be warned though, these might not be right for everyone. I'm dealing with a heel pain right now, which i think might have been the result of using vibrams. Its not Plantar Fasciitis but its still a dull constant pain on far back of my heel. Thankfully, I have access to some of the best sports doctors ( i go to lawschool at Boston College, and have access to the undergraduate sports doctors) and he actually recommended that i go back to my asics with blue superfeet. He did mention that there are 2 schools of vs barefoot, and he happened to be of the former. I dunno old asics gave me horrible runners knee due to heel striking, so for the moment, im trying out nike free's which allow a natural midfoot strike, have more cushioning than VFF, but lack the sensitivity of them..Kind of a nice middle ground between my asics and my vibrams. If you get the vibrams and are new to this style of running...START SLOW! its reallly easy to overdo it...your calves will let you know you F-ed up the morning after. haha

on another note, i saw a couple at bed bath and beyond today, both wearing black vibram classics. The dude looked like eurotrash* with his pant legs rolled up like capris. I didn't see a bicycle nearby to justify his rolled pant legs, so I'm assuming he wanted the world to make sure that they were seeing his awesome shoes. You guys on bpl better get on these shoes quick...its the next big thing :D

*no disrespect to the european bpl'ers I use this term loosely and just for humorous effect. Feel free to substitute it with "jersey shore" for the same effect

Edited by Konrad1013 on 03/28/2010 19:49:17 MDT.

Jonathan Whitney
(WalksOn2Wheels) - F
So I tried on a pair... on 03/28/2010 22:49:22 MDT Print View

What the hell, right? Went to REI and the wife was really into the idea so I tried on a pair as well. I have high-ish arches, so I was a little worried about how that would work out with a relatively flat looking shoe. The models on hand were limited, so I tried one on that had the strap across the top. This managed to pull the insole right up to my arch, so that was kind of nice.

The sales girl was actually wearing a pair herself and seemed knowledgeable on sizing, etc. I began asking about the KSO Treks and, as if reading my mind, she asked, "Are you planning on hiking in them?"

"Well," I said, "I've considered it."

She simply gave me the "maternal" look and said, "No. No, don't do that," while shaking her head. Seems she wore hers up in Arkansas and while great for water crossings and camp wear, she found them to be not so fun on the rocky soil there. Granted, she wasn't wearing the Treks, but those are only a slightly beefier sole with the big upgrade being the leather upper.

The wife, on the other hand, absolutely loved them. However, when it came down to it, they were really expensive water crossing/camp shoes. So rather than drop money on those, we used our member coupon on a nice set of Merrel hiking shoes that were very similar to mine. Her current boots are crap.

The wife will probably buy a pair in the future, but I'll probably take a scale to wal-mart and pick out some cheap water shoes or sandals with enough straps to anchor them to my feet in rivers. To be honest, if I had 100 bucks, I'd get the Treks, but I'm a student and my wife is a teacher, so cheap target/wal mart water shoes must take budget priority.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Five Fingers: Dissappointed on 03/29/2010 01:32:15 MDT Print View


I never noticed either of your complaints, but just took a close look at mine. The front ridge doesn't bother me at all, never even thought about it or felt. I also have the same side seam, but didn't know it until now.

To be honest, I don't seen where these would fit into your gear. You already run barefooted, and you flats are lighter than the FFs.

You can spend $5 of your $99 on a Starbucks frapacino for me at the end our our C2C-PCT-Jo Pond loop. Starbucks is a block away from our return to the cars. :)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Five Fingers: Dissappointed on 03/29/2010 06:57:04 MDT Print View

The seam that was bugging me was only on the right foot- it looked poorly sewn.

But you're right, I just really have no logical place for these- there are faster running shoes, lighter camp shoes, real barefoot is OK with me, and I don't use "stream crossing" shoes.

But they felt cool otherwise.

I'll gladly buy you two frapuccinos Nick.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

FiveFingers on 04/03/2010 16:15:36 MDT Print View

I just got from a 2 night, fairly technical 20 mile hiking trip which was my first one wearing the FiveFingers KSO.

These shoes are comfortable on my feet. There's no rubbing, chaffing or blisters. It also feels really nice when you are walking on soft ground. I also like how light they are obviously. I crossed a number of rocky/talus slope areas and they felt pretty good actually. Grip was better than expected on slippery rocks. They also dry nice and fast. No durability issues.

They are still taking me a long time to get on. Maybe it's my toe shape, but after a week of use it still takes me 1-2 minutes per foot which is too long. I dislike this when I gotta run for a pee.

They also seem a bit too dangerous to really trust. I got 3 good pinky toe stubs over the 20 miles and I can imagine breaking a pinky toe would only be a matter of time if you were running or hiking faster than I was. I also found that I was spending too much focus looking on where I was stepping so I was losing out on some of the views.

Other smaller complaints are that they are cold without socks. Obviously this would be ideal for some trips, but using them as your only shoes with highs around 45F and lows around 30F with no socks is tolerable but not great. They also aren't going to protect your feet from bug bites in the summer which may be of some concern.

CONCLUSION: Like Nick Gatel, due mainly to the seemingly significant risk of breaking a toe out there, I won't be hiking in these very often. I like several things about them and I may take them on select trips, but I don't plan to use them in cold, buggy or highly technical trail conditions.

Edited by dandydan on 04/03/2010 16:17:21 MDT.