There now follows some thoughts on why I am now wearing gorilla feet.
(Skip ahead to the review at the end if that's all you are interested in.)
So these things were not bought on a whim. I run a lot and have various niggling problems with my hips, lower back, knees, feet (heals and arches), and I am told I pronate so need orthopaedic insoles that cost the earth. Most runners have niggles and get injured from time to time. It just part of the sport and we all have our ways of dealing with it, right?
I was surprised when I read about bare foot running and found an almost uniform agreement that running barefoot's biomechanics can remove the tendency toward all these injuries. Its pretty simple really, it removes the jarring heal strike which transmits the full force of your body hitting the ground up into your skeleton to be absorbed. This is an entirely unnatural thing that we do and is only possible because of the technology in running shoes. Unfortunately it seems out bodies have not evolved to absorb the impact that this technology now allows us to endure. The idea is that over 270,000 years (or whatever) our bodies have become well oiled bare foot running machines and over the last 100 years or so we have decided we know a better way.
Reading about that I started to think that as I get older I might want to make changes that would keep my body intact for much longer. The evidence is compelling if you do the research, but there are also the naysayers who think we are smart enough to know better than nature and say nay to running bare foot. I am not sure which side I will come down on, but I remember Zola Bud, and she seemed to run like the wind unassisted by Nike.
Check out this video Wired episode on YouTube which shows the foot strike in action (thanks Peter):http://www.wired.com/video/hot-summer-gear-vibram-fivefingers/29013939001
So thats the background but there is another thing that is important to note. If you think you can buy a par of these and then start running in them like you were born to run barefoot (giggle) then you'd be wrong.
I know that It's going to be a long process of retraining my feet, calfs, legs and body to regain its natural running form. During this time I will be running shorter distances and it will be a while before I get my speed back up. This means I will have to train in my Vibrams and my Nikes for a while as I do not want to cut down on my distance.
Really expensive in the UK, so not something you want to rush into £80-120 including P&P which is about the same as a decent pair of running shoes but they retail in the US they retail about $70-100 which is shameful! I feel like I am being robbed.
On a less contentious note Online service was brilliant, ordered at 3pm and received them by recorded delivery mail at 8am the next morning. Talk about instant gratification
My first thought when I got the box from the posty was, "Thats a small box". Next I thought, shaking it, "Its empty!"
Getting them in my hands I thought, "Very cool!" Putting them on my feet I thought, "How the hell, owe. Mother f… oh! Ahhhh, like that. OW. Not like that then!" etc until I finally had them on. You know what, they fit like a glove (giggle).
Out in the street. I was immediately up and running (giggle) and soon my heel was smacking against the hard ground and hurting. I didn't do this for long though, as my body seemed to instinctively know this was a bad thing now that it wasn't being hidden by fancy shoes. I started to land mid foot and my whole stride and form changed. Knees came up higher and stride shortened, and soon I got comfortable. It was all really quite nice. I could feel the road and the stones in the track down by the river but it wasn't uncomfortable, it was actually quite nice. After the mile I arrived at the gym and my calves, feet and muscles I did not know I had in my lower legs were all complaining but this was to be expected. All in all a very positive experience. I also ran a mile back after my bady pump session, and that felt much better.
Added bonus: 15 women wanting to talk to me in the gym. First time that's happened since I turned up in an all gold lycra mankini.http://www.primallifestyle.com/fivefingers/faq
Q: My Fivefingers seem to dig into my foot a little, what should I do?
A: It takes approximately 2 weeks of use for the shoes to mould to the owner’s feet. In the meantime, the most practical solution is to put a plaster and/or a corn pad to place over the rubbing site.
Q: Is it safe to start running in my Fivefingers immediately, or should I strengthen my feet first?
A: If you are already athletic and/or have run barefoot on the odd occasion before, you should be fine to give the Fivefingers a “trial run”. We would recommend keeping the distances short, running mainly off-road and stopping to walk if you feel tired or sore at any point. Build up to full distance running based on our guide. Note: there are plenty of athletes who have run multiple marathons and ultra’s both on- and off-road in Fivefingers.
Q: Will wearing Fivefingers get rid of my pain problem (back / hip / knee / ankle / foot)?
A: It may contribute to a decrease in many musculoskeletal symptoms because the Fivefingers help to move the body towards proper biomechanical function, which most footwear does not. It is likely, however, that you will need corrective treatment and exercise approaches to fully facilitate your recovery.
Q: Are Fivefingers okay to wear if I’ve been told I pronate?
A: Absolutely – they’re most probably exactly what your feet are crying out for. However, if you want to get the benefits without any pain, you are likely to need to consult a corrective exercise specialist who can provide you with a customized program to help you work on correcting your pronation pattern. The Fivefingers are just a part of the solution.
Q: Are Fivefingers okay for me to wear if I’ve been told I supinate?
A: Yes, but a supinated foot is a rigid foot. As such, it is advisable to make sure that your feet are mobile enough to wear Fivefingers without jarring your body. The Fivefingers will assist this increased mobility by activating more joints in the foot than any other footwear.
Q: Are Fivefingers okay for me to wear if I’ve been told I have a neutral foot?
A: Fivefingers are perfect for anyone with a neutral foot to help them stay that way. This is the type of foot that is likely to adapt most quickly to going “barefoot”.