Has anyone here tried Vibram running shoes? What has your experience been like?
I don't have anything helpful to add, sorry. I just wanted to be notified when new posts are added, as I'm also looking into Vibrams and would appreciate any insight people have. I'm very excited about the new Bikila shoes and can't wait for the local store to get them in so that I can try them out!
The Vibram Five Fingers shoes are a tool to help a person run more like they are barefoot. But, the Vibram Five Fingers shoes should be seen as just that a tool for your workouts or getting fit. There is a huge adaptive nature to this product. I would not recommend anyone going out and just start working out in this type of product without adapting to the product first, which means walking in the product. At first for an hour, than 2 hours etc... I wear mine to work and at work one day per week, walking only and will this weekend use them for a one mile run. I have had mine since August 2009.
I barefoot run everyday - from my front door to the end of my drive way (to get the newspaper) and back, a total of 100 yards. It reminds my body of proper running form and in my opinion that is the benefit of the Vibram Five Fingers shoes, it allows the feet to land mid-foot (little to zero heel strike) in proper running (natural) form. The major issue comes when the body starts to fatigue and you can not maintain proper form. Your heel will strike and their is nothing to prevent significant impact to the ground. We strike the ground approximately 1700 times per mile with 3 to 10 times the force of our body weight on top of our foot, it will not very long for an injury to occur if we are barefoot.
Another point to remember is that you can use racing flats and other light weight product to achieve similar feel to the Five Fingers with less initial risk. But again in my opinion the benefit is achieving a more natural form and learning and practicing that form.
I've been wearing the KSO's for about a month now, I was/am a underpronating heel striker, the first day with the new toy was great until about the 5th km then my calves said stop!! for four days after my calves where rebelling but perseverance won and my calves have adjusted somewhat. I find while getting use to them I can't run as fast I believe I'm thinking about landing mid foot too much. It takes time I guess!! a guy I spoke to said it took him a couple of months before fully adjusting. I have a 5km race this weekend and was debating wearing them but I think I'll wear my running flats and keep taking my time breaking in my body to the new running method.
Would I recommend them, YES but take your time don't think you'll be trotting off for a long run right away take your time.
"a guy I spoke to said it took him a couple of months before fully adjusting."
For me this and your own experience suggest that the shoes are not necessarily that miraculous. After two months of using I would prabably be "adjusted" to run even with wooden shoes...
I have a couple of friends who tried them and they love it immediately. But of course, there are couples of pointers to take note.
Since 5 fingers are designed to simulate barefoot running, you will need some time to get adjusted to it.
Perhaps try running in shorter stride lengths with high cadence for your feet to adjust to it.
Meanwhile increase your distance progressively and don't suddenly increase your mileage as you might incur more stress onto your feet.
Avoid landing on your heels since the impact strikes down will be about 2-3 times of your body weight on your heels.
Just some advices which I heard from my friends. Hope it will be useful.
I started using FF last summer (after reading Born to Run, like many other people I suspect). What other posters have said about needing to go slow is correct. I was a heel striker, and usually used heavy stability shoes like Kayanos. There is no way you can be a heel striker in FF's, and as a result, I worked at changing my footstrike to forefoot or midfoot.
It is only now, 9 or 10 months later, that I am truly feeling comfortable with the rebuilt stride, but I am very pleased. In fact, ran a 10K today with a PR. Nothing spectacular, just 42:00, but it has got me thinking that moving my marathon PR from 3:27 to somewhere under 3:15 is easily in reach.
But it wasn't a smooth ride. I live in Canada, and with winter temps going below -30C, FF are not a winter option unless I am on the treadmill. As well, running on icy and uneven terrain this winter with the new stride caused extensor tendonitis on the top of one foot. It took a lot of time off to get that under control, and in fact, I ran the 10K to gauge whether I could handle a training load again. Seems I can, because I have no issues right now, and am starting to use the FF again during recovery runs.
There is of course a lot of controversy over whether barefoot/minimalist running is good or bad. I suspect it depends on the individual instead of one size (or shoe) fitting all. It seems to be working for me for now, but I'm going to continue with it slow, and I doubt whether it will ever be my primary running shoe. More likely it will be my everyday walking around shoe, and while running, a way of ensuring I keep away from bad habits.
They look kinda funny, i prefer my addidas boston shoes they loom the part and they are lightweight and comfortable at the same time
ShyamMaharaj wrote: They look kinda funny, i prefer my addidas boston shoes they loom the part and they are lightweight and comfortable at the same time
They really do look funny!
I've never seen people wear them.
Probably better that you don't wear them with a race, people will stare at them and fall in front off you
If they're in front of you, how would they see your shoes?
I was all set to jump to barefoot running and looking closely at the vibrams. I currently wear Brooks Addiction (for over-pronating). When I went to a local running store, the owner said that he has seen a tremendous number of people wanting to switch to these or something like the Nike Free. Apparently the majority of people that switch do so too quickly and end up back again with an injury (some end up having to go to a higher level of MC shoe than they started with). If you are wearing a neutral shoe now, then you can probably make the adjustment without too much trouble. But if you are in any sort of MC shoe, you should consider stepping down on level at a time to get to a neutral shoe first. Just ask yourself if it is worth the risk of being side-lined for a month...
On a side note, I was told that some companies like Brooks, view the increase in interest in barefoot running as a fad and they don't have plans to make a Nike Free-like shoe. Nike on the other hand, as well as a few others, plan to introduce more products with very thin soles and flexible shoes. Nike says they can't keep the Nike Free stocked in many areas. So, perhaps there will be more offerings soon. All of this from an store owner, so take that for what it is.
The vibrams are very neat, and I doubt anyone will make anything quite like them soon, but I have been told that runners report that they tend to wear out 2-3 times faster than a typical pair of running shoes.
Hope that helps.
I guess Brooks decided that it wasn't a fad that they could ignore anymore considering they just came out with the Pure line which is just about the same as the Nike Free. The problem is that Brooks and other companys have all been riding this fad called running shoes that in the big picture haven't been around all that long. I am not a bearfoot runner (yet) but it seems like shoes are out of hand and the store owners love to sell the most expensive... I wonder why?
These "shoes" are meant to be minor abrasion protection for your barefeet. You are essentially strapping 7 mm of rubber and eva to the bottom of your foot. I am a regular barefoot runner, going out with naked feet around twice a week. I feel it is an excellent way to correct your stride and it is certainly a lot of fun. A post above mentioned that VFF's last no where near as long as running shoes. The opposite is true. There are no materials that really break down in them and I have heard you can get in the upwards of 600-800 miles out of them opposed to the 400-600 miles from trainers and 200 or so from flats. I personally do believe that these things can work for everyone and that everyone can run barefoot. It will take more time for others to adapt due to a number of factors, but human beings were made to run and were running barefoot for a very long time. Did I also mention it's a blast?
For those who aren't sure about VFF or barefoot running; go out to some grass, take off your shoes, and go wild. Grass is almost like being in a cushioned shoe and not the best for correcting form or running fast, but you will get the general idea. It is still possible to heelstrike barefoot while on grass, whereas on a hard surface you will be forced on the front of your foot.
Hope this helps ;D
Addition: I run mostly in shoes. I run faster in shoes. I probably have more fun running barefoot on my short, easy runs.
I agree with several of the responses that a racing flat serves the same purpose.
One friend of mine who just turned 70 wears a raciing flat for Marathons.
The shoe he wears adiZero adios. He claims the midsole allows his foot move naturally like bare feet.
He states the material of the under the ball of his foot gives him a bouncy feeling - "energy return".
Abi Bikila ran barefoot all his life and won an Olympic gold medal iin barefeet.
Most mortal runners have been wearing shoes all of our lives so a little extra support is safer and serves the same purpose .
I've been running in the VFF's for several months now and it's changed everything. I used to have an undiagnosable knee pain that limited my runs to about 2 miles, now I'm training for a half marathon. I can get much further into specifics if you like, but I can also highly recommend the book "born to run" by Christopher McDougall. It catelogues his investigation into barefoot running.
Remember, the running style itself is very different and takes time to adjust into (average is 2-3 months) but once you do, there's less impact on your feet and joints and much more fun factor. I work with them every day in my proffession so please don't hesitate to ask if there's anything you're curious about.
I have to begin by saying I am a believer in running in minimalistic shoes. "SHOES "not socks with rubber bottoms.
I feel bad for all the people who buy the wrong shoes...too much support...wrong size ...too soft...etc.
Lot's of good shoes are being made that allow the foot to move naturally.
Lot's of good shoes for peple that need support...and some people really need it.
I have been running since 1964. I used to run in shoes that were just about as flimsy as the five fingers.
I have had every injury in the books. Almost all were because of over use and not replaceing worn out shoes.
I couldn't afford a new pair every 600 miles. And back then in the 70's running 100 miles a week was a must if you wanted to compete.... 2:30 marathons were just avereage.
I rememer running my second Marathon (1972) in a real light weight almost barefoot flat. Did great for 15 miles and than my calves and achiles were on fire. I finished in a dissapointing 2:36. If I had a litlle more shoe I know I would have run around 2:25. I was hurting for 3 weeks after that....can't imagine why anyone wants to run in barefeet unless they can't afford shoes.
I just read an article 'The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic" that quoted podiatrist and PT's saying there is a recent running injury epedemic with barefoot runners.
Of course these are the ones that are going to doctors for teatment.
Running barefoot does feel great at first....not running because you are injured does not.
Be carefull what you WISH FOR...
You're refering to the Competitor article that also says,
"What is not known is whether barefoot runners are now disproportionately represented in physical therapy and sports medicine facilities—in other words, whether barefoot runners are more likely to develop overuse injuries than shod runners. Koch and Pribut are not ready to say that this is the case.
I really like them, but as others have recommended you have to take it slowly. It is like starting to run all over again. My calves screamed for days after my first run in them. I went three miles. I had to readjust my training.
There's a saying: "Paralysis by Analysis". Try the FFs, ease into them and build it up. Listen to your body.
I am now kneepain-free for 8 months since I started in the FFs. Thats after previous multi surgeries from 30 years of competitive football - ACL replacement, cartilage treatment, miniscus shave, etc etc yuck.
LOVE THEM LOVE THEM LOVE THEM
They have saved my running and fitness. And am going for my first 42k in December.
That's the classic mistake. In my experience (as a shoe salesman) the people most likely to hurt themselves in the Vibrams are the more experienced runners. They have too much confidence and too little patience - who wants to spend anywhere from 3-5 months retooling their run? I don't care how many miles per run or per week you go in traditional running shoes - switching to barefoot is essentially like starting over from scratch. I usually recommend that people run their normal routine in their normal shoes minus just half a mile or so, then switch to the vibrams to finish up. Slowly over the weeks, you can move that transition line further and further toward the start of your run untill the whole thing is barefoot (or natural-footed, as I prefer to call it).
There are some people who think that going barefoot is somehow inherently dangerous - they are clearly idiots. People were running long distances back when Nike was still a God and not a shoe company. We spent roughly 2 million years barefoot, evolving these fantastic spring-loaded bipedal bodies of ours. I forget the name of the scientist who simply stated "evolution is smarter than you are." With all due respect to Adidas, shoe companies are out to do what all companies are out to do - sell product to make money. Just like the oil companies supressing and countering claims of global warming and tobacco companies doing the same with the harms of smoking, shoe companies have a vested interest in maintaining a certain narrative within their domain - regardless of the evidence. Industry wisdom is rarely wise.
I think Adidas (and most of the major shoe companies) would be wise to embrace this barefoot trend, not because it's a hip new fad, but because it's good for their consumers. It's true that a lot more science needs to be done, but they have ample resources to do good honest peer-reviewed studies. Don't tell me you can't move forward because you can't see while refusing to remove your own blinders at the same time. That's the move of a charlatan.
I love my vibrams. Beyond a doubt they have made a difference in how I move and how I run. There is a long adjustment process though. I started out by just going out on long hikes in them and gradually made my way up to jogging and sprinting. However, I only use my vibrams when I'm running on a soft surface, like grass or gravel. When I go out and road run I use my nike frees (sorry adidas). They let my feet move in pretty much the same way but provide a little more cushion that works out great for long runs.
I tried switching to mid foot strikes and used VFF in my shorter runs.
My experience was this:.... My calves were sore, but the dealbreaker was my achilles tendon was painful. It was painful enough to make me stop running. Went to a sports doctor and he said, mid-foot striking is still relatively new and although it worked for some it might not work for all. There is not enough data for a consensus, so he said.
Anyway, after that I went back to heel striking and no more sharp pains. But i still do midfoot strikes on slower/shorter runs.
But during my time doing fore foot running, I did run faster but with VFFs, but I get a huge blisters as all the surfaces i run on is either concrete or asphalt.
I used to get crazy blisters too. If you use BodyGlide (or another friction reducing cream/stick) then the blisters go away completely.
I have a pair of KSO's and a pair of Sprints that I run in. I feel as though my feet and ankles are getting a massage while I run. I can actually feel my ankles and feet getting stronger. FF feel like they are doing way more to tone my leges than other shoes marketed to improve musle tone in the legs(I've tried them). I am exeriencing some sorness but not pain and certainly not to the point that I have to stop running. I run about 2.5 miles 3 days a week. I'm a slow runner walker. I don't hit the pavement hard when I run. When I put on a pair of high heels believe it or not I feel more steady in them, so my impression is that my balance is improving as well as a result of wearing the FF. I will say though that the KSO's are fragile, I stubbed my toe running looked down to see if my toe was okay and noticed a snag/hole in my KSO.
Happy barefeet running to all who dare try it
I am really interested in this, however, I cannot get completely away from regular shoe running, because the US Navy will not allow me to wear them for PT. Will switching between the two cause problems?
Actually the Navy does allow you to. Here is the message. Trying to Insert link. But if it doesn't go through just google search NAVADMIN 238/11.
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