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Author Topic: How long? Transition or break in period? Tell us your story  (Read 10449 times)
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paintboy
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« on: January 01, 2011, 12:19:21 PM »

I think this is one of the biggest questions anyone new to VFF's wants answered. I found another thread in the general section but it drifted off topic quickly. I figure the newb section would be a good place to start a thread that might answer this question.

I'm new. I don't have the answer. I hoping that some experienced veterans can share their stories here. That way we can consolidate the info in one place. Since the answer is going to be a bit different for everyone I think having one thread in this section would help them find it.

Perhaps personal stories could include running, experience, age, weight, injuries, tips and tricks etc.

Thanks
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« on: January 01, 2011, 12:19:21 PM »

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barefootin
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 11:38:42 PM »

I'm 38 and Male.  I fell into VFF's after going to the doctor for back and leg pain which was impacting my life.  I already knew I had 'issues' and had worn orthotics and a lift since I was a teenager.  All the tests showed my one leg was now 1/2" shorter and an increase in a curve in my spine (scoliosis).  The doc wanted new $$$ orthotics in my already $130 NB's.   I found some articles on VFF's after running into a couple wearing them in the airport while I was on a business trip.  They had all kinds of praise for them and the relief of back pain.  I decided to take the $85 challenge and I won!!!  I am lift and orthotic free and haven't had back pain in close to 9 months, since I totally gave up on conventional footware.
 
It depends on your planned usage...  If for pleasure, work into them over a couple days or weeks if your feet are use to being in coffins the majority of the time...  I was normally bare when I could be so transitioning was quick, but I still pushed it with 14 miles of hiking the week after i bought my first pair (because they felt so good).  If for running, read Michael Sandlers book Barefoot Running (runbare.com) or go to Barefoot Ted's site for some transitioning tips.  A word of caution as I struggled making the transition to the Trek's for running distances as I couldn't get my footplant just right (landing too hard and not enough feedback through the thicker soles).  I'm getting better with it, but I still run better and prefer to be barefoot or in my KSO's.  I recommend learning to run barefoot first, you might just like it bare and then the VFF's will become the replacement for the times you need shod Grin.  If you are into lifting, I've found the KSO's also great for squat's and dead's.  For me, they keep me stable as my hips don't shift as my heals squish into the soft sole of standard shoes or boots.  This always resulted in a "shift" that would end up causing my back pain. 

Good Luck and set those piggies free! 
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2011, 12:41:15 AM »

If for pleasure, work into them over a couple days or weeks if your feet are use to being in coffins the majority of the time...  I was normally bare when I could be so transitioning was quick

This matches my experience, as well. I'm a 28 year old female, 5'5, ~125 pounds. I go barefoot whenever possible and before my VFF, wore sandals most of the time. My use is casual. I gave myself no adjustment time - the morning after I bought the VFFs I was crawling all over a racecar working on a new windshield, getting parts in place, adjusting things, etc. With my Sprints, I did have some issues with rubbing on my heels/ankles, but a bandaid per foot handled it.

My Sprints definitely stretched after some use. The W38s I tried on in the store caused pain in my pinky toes, with the way I, as a novice, put them on. The W39s were tight on the pinky toe, but loose on my big toe and 2nd toe. After the shoes stretched and I got better at putting them on, the pinky toe is now just a bit long, and the big toe and 2nd toe are definitely long. I might have had fewer rubbing issues at the beginning with the W38s (but my 5th toes likely would have hurt for a bit).
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 12:05:42 PM »

My transition mirrors barfootin and euiraptor, I recieved mine and switched immediately for casual wear.  I am about 5'10" and when I received them it was the of May this year and was about 260lbs.  I bought my first pair of sprints predominantly for paddling but when I put them on I fell in love with them.  The big toe on my right foot was a little tight but stretched out quickly.  The next week I was sight seeing in Ottawa and wore them on concrete and marble the whole week with no trouble, also went on a 5 hour back country hike, and my feet faired better then my legs(read legs were scratched up).

However for running I stuck with my regular shoes and orthotics until October as I was still learning how to run.  About August I read about barefoot running but since I had a race coming up in October (my first 10k) I stuck to the regular shoes but tried to consciously change my stride to a more mid-foot strike.  Well the 10th of October I ran the race and the 11th I was out in my Sprints.  What I did was start back running as if I was learning all over again.  I ran 1 min walked 1 min and every second run I added a minute to the run time. 

I didn't get any joint or muscle injuries by doing that, in part probably because I was always in barefeet prior to my VFFs, and after May was only in traditional shoes for dress occaisions when my wife wouldn't let me wear them, or if I needed to shovel the driveway or had to have steel toes for safety.  What I did have was after I reached about the 6-7km runs I started trail running and that transition lead to sore feet for a few days, but that was more just getting used to running on rocks, twigs etc.

Now I am down to about 215lbs and run between 30 and 50k a week in my bikilas with some ininji socks to keep my feet warm in these Halifax winters.

The biggest thing I can say from my experience is start slow if you are going to run or do extra activites start slow and listen to your body.  Like anything break-in periods are different for each person and your body will tell you if you are doing too much too fast, and just adjust, either cut the distance if anything STARTS to hurt, or take a few days off to allow for healing a minor ache or pain before it becomes an injury.

I wish everyone good luck and hope that they enjoy their VFFs as much as I do!
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 12:05:42 PM »

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 03:55:30 PM »

So I have been running in sneakers forever and have completed countless races from 5K to marathons. I have always struggled with hip and back pain so I became interested in VFFs as a possible resolution to all that. I am female, 39, 135 lbs, 5'6". I run about 30 miles per week unless I am training for a LD race, and then it's usually about 50 miles per week. I am not fast, about 8 minute miles. I run on a crushed granite trail. I also try to lift weights about twice per week.

I decided to take my new VFFs for a spin on one of my regular 5 mile runs. Sore calves but other than that, I felt great! I was faster and less winded. I decided to try a few more times to see what happened. Nothing but sore calves and faster running. After the fourth or fifth 5 mile run with VFFs, I came home and went nuts in the garden. I guess I just lifted too many garden rocks and wacked my back again. So I didn't run for a week. When the back pain subsided, I hit the trail in my VFFs again for 5 miles. After that run, my ankle started hurting. I thought it was weird that my calves didn't hurt this time, but my the tissue right below my ankle became swollen and painful. I took a day off and then tried another run. IT's KILLING ME. I am using my Stick to massage the calves, but the ankle is still swollen three days after the last run. I feel like an idiot because I feel like I should have tried a slower transition, but the first week went so well with only calf soreness that I let myself continue.

Did any other runners experience this? How did you resolve it and how long did it take. Please don't tell me that I need to stop running while this goes away. Since I work from home, I really rely on my time on the trail to keep me balanced, sane, and nice to my family.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 04:45:48 PM »

Back in high school I did lots of sports and had a ba injury on my right knee, been going to the same old foot doctor telling me pointless things to have me keep coming back. I ended up going to a new doctor that was a young doctor that practices more in sports, recomended vff so went for the kso's last year and never had a problem since, I am mow up to 8 or so miles average in my runs.

 As for a transition period for me was about 2 months  it started as wearing them only on my days off work that requires regular shoes, for running the transition was about three months only cuz I did tje whole "too much too soon" and was unable to walk right for 2 weeks.

For anyone who is new and wants to jump in without injuring yourself I suggest take a walk in them for 45 mins 5 days a week but only walk, when you wear them you will get those urges to move quicker and jog around, dont do it until 2-3 weeks in as well as tretching your toes out before and after your walks.   
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 03:23:31 AM »

Eh. I am a little autistic and do what they call 'idiopathic toe walking' when autistic people do it. It's a forefoot strike, performed when walking or running. Sometimes with no heel contact at all. Lots of autistic people do it. I had a pretty good laugh over it when I read Daniel Leiberman's studies about the biomechanics of barefoot vs. shod running and his conclusion that my stride is actually the more mechanically sound, healthy and 'natural.' Though this is not really all that funny when you know that people are still trying to train autistic kids not to do it, and sometimes go so far as to put their feet in casts that force them to stomp around with an inflexible plantigrade strike, and every autistic person I know who does this was at some point or another told, or had their parents told, that 'idiopathic toe walking' would lead to malformed bones in the forefoot, and/or a shortened achilles tendon.

Anyway, I didn't have a transition period to the VFFs. I bought them because I thought they looked like they would actually suit my way of walking. Often my shoes crack along the ball of the foot. I was surprised at how great they work for me, though -- I am suddenly a great deal less clumsy. The minute I put them on I found I could run twice as far as I could before, without getting tired or stumbling. I jump around and am just a lot less of a spaz. I might even approach graceful at times. Smiley I also think they improve my cognitive function. The constant sensory feedback I get from the good ground-feel in my KSOs keeps me more focused, less anxious. They're a sensory integration tool.

I did eventually hurt myself running, but it was because I increased my distance too much too soon. I ended up with a sore knee. Same one that's been a little weak since I was a kid and took a hard hit there. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with the shoes except that they make running fun instead of awkward or I wouldn't have tried that.
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2011, 05:43:45 PM »

I'm a 32 year-old male, and started running in VFF KSO's in March 2010.

I transitioned between KSO's and standard running shoes (a mix of Brooks GTS's and Saucony Grid A4's) until about September 2010, at which point I was able to switch completely to VFF's.  I currently run in Bikila's, and haven't looked back since.  I love it.

In the first six months of transitioning, I put about 200 miles on VFF's (and actually it was a mix of KSO's, Treks, Sprints and Bikilas).  In total I've put probably about 500 miles on VFF's.

I've had some small pains... top of foot, arch and heel, general soreness in lower leg... but I just rested it when necessary, and slowed myself down.  As long as you listen to your body and react to what it's telling you, you should be OK. 

GOOD LUCK!
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2011, 02:22:44 PM »

Hi,
This is directed at Doc or anyone that can answer my question. I hope I am not showing any disrespect with this question ,however when you described your gate it makes me thing of woman walking in high heel shoes. Am I correct?
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 04:07:43 PM »

I am a 48 yr male, 5'11" and 200 lbs. I jogged (key word) about 6 miles a week in addition to some cycling, gym weights, and concept II rower. Overall pretty good fitness base (IMO) but could stand to lose 15 or so lbs. Anyway after watching a friend make the transition to minimalist running (POSE running + VFF) I decided to give it a go. So far I am 5 weeks in and here is my experience.

Love my VFF. I have basic black KSOs and really enjoy wearing them.  I am fortunate to work from my home office which means I am barefoot all day long. Now with my KSO's I can be "barefoot" running errands and going to the gym as well. At the gym I lift weights and use the concept II rower all while wearing my KSOs. The first couple days were pain free - then I ventured to the local college track and jogged a couple laps. All the while I heard the little voices in my head saying to take it SLOWLY and not run to far. Well...near the end of the second lap my left calf muscle painfully seized up. No warning - just BANG and I was limping. I treated with ice and 3-4 days of normal shoes and no running. To ease back into this I started wearing my VFF on the treadmill at the gym. I found that on the treadmill I could really focus on a comfortable mid-foot strike and did not have any pain. This was going well for another 2 weeks. I ventured back to the track and walked two laps barefoot and then ran a single lap on the grass border in my KSOs. Again no pain or issues. I continued to wear my KSOs full time whenever I ventured out the door.

So the last couple days my AT and ankles are getting more and more painful - mainly my left side. Mornings are a bit stiff but nothing major. However last night I was doing high knee drills with my son on blacktop and my left ankle said it had enough. So I was hoping to run a bit on the treadmill tonight but will hit the rower instead.

So at this point I don't see myself being able to really run like I used to for a long long time. My goal is to run a 1/2 marathon when I turn 50 (14 months from now). I really want to run with my VFF or perhaps a NB mimimus shoe. I am confident that the POSE method of running is the way I need to run. I just wish my body would adapt to the VFF or even barefoot sooner. I guess I am happy but admittedly a bit frustrated as well.  Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 05:51:16 PM »

28yo male 5' 11" ~200LBS I'll keep mine short and sweet. My story was a little different. I had never been a runner before so I had no prior experience in traditional shoes. I started running in my KSOs in January 2010. Like I said I hadn't been a runner so it wasn't hard to keep the mileage down because I couldn't go very far before needing a break. I maybe ran 1 or 2 miles a few times a week for 3 months! The hard part was just sticking with the training. I would get frustrated because I knew I wasn't running enough to really lose any weight, but I was slowly working my way to it. But I was able to stick with it and now 11 months later I'm able to regularly run 6 miles 4 times a week and sometimes 8-10 on a saturday or sunday (but not both). That might not sound like a lot to a lot of people here, but I took it as slowly as my legs and feet told me to.
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 11:03:37 PM »

38 year old 180 lb male in need of exercise and weight lose (fat loss at least).
I don't run but am on my feet all day long (11+ hour work days) inside so concrete floors. I'd been having plantar facitis and tried the KSO Treks on in EMS on a whim (there was a sale). I later got a pair of Komodo Sports in the same size (41) and started trying to break in my feet with these. Mistake. Pain, blood, etc. I am type I insulin dependent diabetic on a pump so everything heals slower. Since it has been warmer I started with the KSO Treks and injinji toe socks (love them) for an hour a day at work and this past week have been wearing them most all of the day. I have no idea how far I walk during the course of a day but my feet generally hurt no matter what but have been much better with the Treks. However, I still have pain in-between my toes and the transverse arch. However, going back to sneakers with inserts my heels start burning with pain and the rest just doesn't feel good. Actually the other pair of boots with nothing more than the insert they came with (HiTech Magnum zipper boots) feels best other than the VFFs.
I wonder if I am simply walking wrong or falling back into old habits of hitting too hard even though I avoid heel strikes as much as I can.
I guess I am still transitioning into them but I don't want to go back to my old sneakers.
Thanks, AndyB, NH.
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2012, 10:15:13 AM »

29 y/o male.  5'11" 190lbs. 
I bought my first pair in August of 2011 because I was reading how good it was for your feet.  After years of thinking the shoes were strange I gave them a try. I lived in them for the first few months before trying anything else.  Then around November I started doing P90X and Insanity either barefoot or in VFF's.  That is when I really started pushing the transition.  Once January came around I decided to start pushing hardcore.  I got myself a pair of Bikila's and decided I was going to become a runner.  For the month of January I never ran more than a 1/2 mile.  Then I bumped it up to just under a mile, when I finished my first mile run that no longer had my legs exploding in soreness I started C25K... I finished the program this week and can now run 3 consecutive miles and enjoy my runs now.  I took a few days off to recoup and now getting ready for vacation and baseball season.  Harder workouts, longer runs, more weight loss and better fitness.  I have lost 10lbs since January and would like to lose another 15lbs.

Hit my first goal last month of 1 mile per day of March.  Now I am want to run a 5k race by the end of the month, a Rebel Race or Warrior Dash by this summer, and a 5 mil turkey trot by thanksgiving, all while building up to my year long goal of 1 mile for every day of 2012... 366 days, 366 miles.  Today is the 97th day of teh year and I have run 43miles, but now that I can run atleast 3 in a single run I can start making up ground from the first few months.
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 11:51:40 AM »

Perhaps personal stories could include running, experience, age, weight, injuries, tips and tricks etc.

I do not run at all.  I started wearing minimalist footwear in 2009, Brown/Brown KSOs and quickly shelved them do to pinky toe irritation.  In 2010 I tried them again with only marginal success in regards to comfort and did not put forth much effort to get accustomed to them.  In early 2011, I briefly tried the original Fila Skeletoes and although the combined toe pocket solved that problem for me they were an inferior product and I returned them and decided that if I was going to do this I would just have to push through the pain and force my pinky toes to cooperate.  It was the best decision I ever made where footwear is concerned.  I quickly realized that KSOs were not my favorite model and I got Classics and Speeds.  Now I tend to wear Classics as often as weather permits.  I am male age 35.  I am short for my weight.  I have not had any injuries as a result of converting to minimalist footwear, however my transition was a gradual one and I also am not a runner.  I am a casual wearer.  I wear STEMs when I cannot wear VFFS and I have a pair of Vivo Barefoot Neo Hydrophobic on order for winter, which is my biggest challenge where minimalist footwear is concerned.  I need something warm and dry.  I was fortunate to be able to wear my minimalist footwear at work, which really helped in the transition.  I was able to get in just the right amount of walking around and resting. 
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2012, 07:31:52 AM »

I transitioned fairly easily from Mizuno traditional running shoes through Nike Frees into Bikilas.
that being said, I had only been running for 4 months when I bought the Nikes and for about 8 months when I switched to the Vibrams.

my form basically fixed itself and it took me 2-3 short runs to get used to feeling every rock and pebble on the paths. I did take my distance down and gradually increased as my foot muscles were building.
I remember having a bit of foot pain after increasing back to about 8-10k, so I scaled down a bit again.

I recently came back from a year-long running break and have had no problem building my distance back up within a few runs without any pain or discomfort.
now I only run in VFFs because I get back pain and form issues with any other type of shoe. I have experienced with barefoot running a bit while on vacation, but it's not safe where I live because of glass, sharp rocks etc. on the paths.

as for the stats, I'm female, I was 28 when I switched to VFFs, I'm 30 now, 5'11'' and I weigh approx. 123 pounds.
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