Jun 16, 2009 | 5 comments »
Tina (Her blog) writes in about her enormous Vibram Five Fingers collection, which consists of two pairs of KSOs, two pairs of Classics, and a pair each of Flows and Surges (The Surges have been discontinued). No Sprints (yet!). Here's what Tina had to say about her collection:
I bought my first pair of VFFs in May of last year from Mountain Equipment Coop in Calgary. I’m fortunate to live in a place where VFFs are sold so close and easy to find to try on, which I think is really important for a good fit. I tried on the Sprints, KSOs and Flows, and ended up buying the grey/palm upper, grey bottom KSOs because they were the most comfortable for me (they’re still my favourite pair). I walked out of the store with them on and got a lot of funny looks from the staff and customers. I instantly noticed that the usual pain in my back while walking was nonexistent! Since then, I’ve been a VFF convert.
The next pair I got was the mauve/sand upper, grey bottom Classics, they were a gift during the summer. I like them for warmer weather. I find they are a little tighter on my toes than the KSOs but are a little better now that I’ve removed the elastic, which I was incredibly apprehensive to do, but glad I did because I find them more comfortable now.
I wanted a shoe that I could wear to work or school, so acquired the black KSOs next. People don’t seem to notice them as much as the grey ones and they’re just as comfortable.
When the weather turned colder in the fall, I found a pair of Surges online and was ecstatic because Vibram had stopped selling them on their site. I bought them in the same size as my KSOs thinking that they would feel similar but they are a little too tight on my toes to wear for long, however.
I wanted to compare the Flows to the Surges so I got a pair of grey upper, green camo bottom Flows. I think Vibram significantly improved the fit and comfort with the redesign/new model and I love the Flows for colder weather. I wear a pair of toe socks with the Flows usually and am comfortable to about 0C with them.
My last pair of the collection, the black Classics, was acquired late last year. I went to Edmonton (about a 3 hour drive from Calgary) to get them because there weren’t any around here. I got them to wear as more dressy shoes and I think they are perfect for that function (for women anyway).
And that’s the story of my VFF collection. I haven’t worn regular shoes for months now and dread when it becomes necessary again. Until then, I have very happy feet in my VFFs.
Jun 16, 2009 | Leave a comment »
Reader Chad sent in the above two pictures taken at the finish line of the Hatfield & McCoy Marathon in Williamson, West Virginia. This was Chad's first marathon run in his Vibram Five Finger KSOs.
Chad had the following to say about his training in VFFs and the recently completed marathon:
Love your site! Always good to see what other people are doing with their Fivefingers. I've been wearing mine (one pair Classics and one pair KSOs) since January, mostly for running. I've been using them to make the transition from heel striking to midfoot striking. I started out slowly, up to three miles at a time, then upped my mileage to the point where I could run 20 miles.
This past Saturday I ran the Hatfield & McCoy Marathon in Williamson, WV in my KSOs. I was a little hesitant, as I hadn't run a race in them that far. However, my fears were allayed, as I did the entire 26.2 in them without a problem. A couple of miles were gravel/mud, which slowed me down a bit, but I'm pleased to say that my last mile was my fastest.
So, I'm hooked on my Fivefingers for running from now on. ...
Chad also passed on that his unofficial time was 3:43:39, which was 20th overall. Great run, Chad! And thanks for sending in the photos showing off your impressive feet!
Jun 15, 2009 | 9 comments »
Be sure and check out my interview with Christopher McDougall!
In it, Chris talks about denying your nature, the sports shoe industry, getting to barefoot, cross-pollinating ideas, and more!
Christopher McDougall, author of the recently released Born to Run, talked to Ron Hogan about how he had regressed in his running form after switching back to wearing running shoes. The solution? Keeping his form honest by wearing Vibram Five Fingers. Here's the video, and I've transcribed much of what McDougall says below:
And if you prefer to read it, here's my transcription.
"I thought that once I learned how to run like those [ultra long distance runners] do, my problems are gone forever except that while I was writing [Born to Run] the problem came back. I started getting this heel pain and I couldn't shake it. I spent nine months trying to shake this stupid heel pain.
"And I thought well it can't be the way I run because now I run perfectly. I've learned perfect biomechanics, it can't be that. I went through the same cycle of seeing sports medicine doctors and nothing helped. I went to see a guy who is a barefoot running coach. He took 30 seconds of video and he's like "Okay. You're cured. Problem solved." He showed me the video and I had regressed because I had gone back to wearing running shoes and I had just lost that sense of contact with the ground and I wasn't aware of where my body was in space. I regressed back to that old running form and that was what was causing the heel pain.
"So now I wear these [Vibram Five Fingers] because they keep you honest. You can't be sloppy in these things because there's basically nothing to them. It's basically like dipping your foot in paint . . . it's just a chunk of rubber and a velcro strap.
"A lot of barefoot runners have taken to these things like wildfire. They really love them. The cool thing is that once they are on your feet you forget you're wearing them. It's like you're barefoot all the time.
"Even when you're in the house. Ordinarily you're in the house you kick your shoes off - you forget you're wearing these. You just leave them on all the time."
Justin here. I don't know about you, but my copy of BtR is presently in the mail from Amazon (Update: read and reviewed Born to Run — read the review here). I thought this was a great video from McDougall and it really illustrates how even knowing the correct way to run is impaired by the "noise" caused by running in your typical running shoes. Knowing you run wrong, and knowing how to run right just isn't enough. The best solution is to minimize the interference between your feet and the ground. This means running completely barefoot (Ideal) or wearing only a minimal amount of footwear (As in with fivefingers or huaraches, for example), if anything.
Finally, I'll echo Christopher's comment about VFFs in the house. I frequently throw them on for some reason (say to run outside to take out the trash) only to come back in and forget to take them off. A few hours later I'll think, "Why am I still wearing these things?"
Jun 15, 2009 | 11 comments »
See the update to the original post below!
Mike writes in with this question:
I'd like to give VFF a try, but my first toe is fully one-quarter inch longer than my big toe. Can VFF be ordered to accommodate such a thing, also known as Morton's toe/syndrome?
[T]he common term for the second toe (second from innermost) extending farther than the Hallux (big toe). Morton's Toe is typically due to a lengthened second metatarsal. This promotes an anterior position of the second metatarsal-phalangeal (MTP) joint in relation to the Hallux.
"Long toe," another name for Morton's Toe, apparently affects some 10% of the general population, enough to warrant it to be considered just a normal foot variant and not a foot disorder.
At present, Vibram does not offer a Morton's Toe variant for those with this foot variant. Depending on the difference in toe lengths, a larger size pair of Five Fingers may be enough to accomodate the discrepancy; however, your mileage may vary. This makes ordering your Five Fingers online a fairly risky gamble.
At least one person has requested that Vibram make a Morton's Toe VFF (See @robbycochran's tweet about it). Furthermore, as some anecdotal proof that Morton's Toe can still work with VFFs, Gerry, a runner/forum member at runnersworld.com who says his second toe is a full half inch longer than his big toe, notes that he runs some 12 miles a week in his Vibrams.
All of this is anecdotal and inconclusive, unfortunately. Does anyone out there know more about Morton's Toe and VFFs? If so, please comment below and tell us what you know!
Robby Cochran got back to me on Vibram's response to his request. Apparently, Vibram's CEO has Morton's Toe, and their recommendation is to measure foot length by going to the longest toe, which would be the second toe in the case of someone with Morton's. Thanks Robby!
Finally, if you're brave, you can mod your Vibram Five Fingers to accommodate Morton's Toe by lengthening the second toe.
Jun 12, 2009 | 1 comment »
|Birthday:||August 24, 1961|
|Regular shoe size:||11|
|VFF shoe size:||43|
What prompted you to get Vibram Fivefingers?
Delaine Ross, RKC in Atlanta GA was the first person I know who owned a pair and she raved on and on about them.
What type and color fivefingers do you have and how long have you had them?
Bright Red Sprints and Gray KSO. I’ve had the Sprint pair for over a year and the KSO for about 3 months.
What do you do most while wearing your fivefingers?
As an RKC instructor you do a great deal of kettlebell training. What differences do you see in using VFFs in your kettlebell training and do you think fivefingers work well with kettlebells?
One of the tenets of the RKC school of strength is “Compress the Ground.” We want to maximize our stability and take full advantage of the reactive ground force. No other footwear always me to get rooted to the deck as the Vibram Five Fingers.
Ever worried you might drop a kettlebell on your pseudo-bare feet?
No, not really. To tell you the truth unless I was wearing steel toed boots I’d be in trouble!
How do Five Fingers fit in with who you are as a person?
I’m me. I’ve never been afraid to try new things to enhance my athletic ability. For example, I was one fo the testers for this type of shoe back in 1984 or so. So Vibram Five Fingers addresses a real need for me.
Anything else you'd like to share about your Five Fingers?
They are really cool and very useful for me and my training. I wouldn’t trade them for anything now that I’ve used them. Oh and one more thing, when I wear them to the grocery I do get a lot of looks and also a chuckle every now and then. It makes me smile
The above two photos show Sandy demonstrating two stages of a Turkish Get Up, a great full-body workout you can do with kettlebells (For more info, check Sandy's YouTube video on "TGUs").
Thank you, Sandy!
In addition to his Charm City Kettlebells site, Sandy blogs and has a number of other helpful videos on kettlebell training up on YouTube (He's on Twitter, too, if you have any questions for him).
If you've ever held a "pood" (16 kg / 35 lbs) or "two pood" (twice that) kettlebell overhead with one arm, you'll appreciate the importance of your feet feeling "rooted" like Sandy describes above. And his point is well taken: even steel-toed boots would probably do little to stop a crashing "beast" (The 106 lb. kettlebell!), making foot agility all the more important when training with kettlebells. Nimble feet are "happy feet" in the event that a snatched/swung/juggled or pressed kettlebell comes loose!
Jun 12, 2009 | 2 comments »
Can you spot it?
Yep, the elastic tightener on these Vibram Five Finger Classics has been removed!
Tina had posted on the forum about how she finds her five finger Classics much more comfortable now that she's removed the elastic bands. I asked "Toe Girl" Tina to send me a picture of her five fingers mod, and she kindly obliged. Her's what she had to say:
I only wear my Classics at the most loose setting these days as I typically reserve more strenuous activity for my Vibram KSOs. I'd wager that doing such a modification almost requires that you have two pairs of fivefingers (One for heavy activity and another for light use). Of course, if you don't run, sprint, or do other activities in your Classics that involve a lot of leg pumping, this mod might be for you!
Anyone else cut the elastic out of their VFF Classics?
Has anyone tried replacing the elastic with something like a shoestring (This was another idea I had to eliminate the binding effect of the elastic while still providing a secure fit)?
Thanks for sharing, Tina!