By Sarah Lena
When @bodies put out the question if anyone had Vibrams Five Fingers, I couldn’t do my virtual arm-waving big enough. MEEEE! I DOOOO! AND I LUUUURVE THEM!!
After all of the tap-dancing, they agreed that maybe I was enthusiastic to do a review post. And oh lawdy be, I fooled ‘em! Enthusiasm? Pshaw. What I feel for my Vibram FiveFingers is downright LUST.
So, a little bit of background about my physical tendencies and needs. I started running in 2009, but stopped in the winter of 2009 due to unbearable hip and knee pain. Hip pain is a lovely remnant of pregnancy (kids! the gift that keep on giving!), and knee pain is just crappy knees. I went to the local running store, had new orthotics, those didn’t help, blah blah blah. Didn’t matter. After every run, I was left incapacitated for a day or two, or at the very least, hobbling around like a hobbit. Who hobbles.
I started getting curious about primal eating and that sort of lifestyle the middle of this year. I had all but given up on running, and had decided that some of the “air cushioning” technology of the Reebok EasyTone was the best medicine my poor hip and knee would get. Even if I did aerobics or stair-climbing, I would wear those bad boys. And you know, in all honesty, the pain did subside quite a bit.
Well, before I had read much more, I was sold. I am a hippie at heart, and barefoot by nature. I HATE SHOES. I am the person who takes her shoes off at work. But the science behind it all — the idea that we’ve ruined our natural gaits with inserts and cushioning — really kind of made sense to me.
I found a local specialty store who carried them and I tried on a pair. I’m not gonna lie; even for the barefoot enthusiast, it takes a little getting used to. Your feet have to create “muscle memory” when it comes to sliding your toes in individual .. toes?.. and the feeling of having very little between you and the ground may be overwhelming to some. I decided on a pair of the Women’s Sprint shoes in hot pink. Because if you’re going to wear “different” shoes, might as well go whole-hog, amirite?
Yes, it was weird. That’s what you came here to see, right? It felt very weird for a day.
But after that? It was totally second nature.
I wear my Vibrams ALL. THE. TIME. Running in them is an out-of-body experience the first time; you’ll start to realize that cushioned running shoes ARE what’s throwing your body out of alignment. You’ll have to relearn your natural gait and you’ll probably be sore in new places for a couple of days. THAT’S the difference these shoes make. I wear mine to work at least two or three days a week, and I can tell when I haven’t worn them in awhile.. that miserable pain in my hip will start to creep back in. A day in my FiveFingers will fix it immediately.
Now: cold? Rain? Yes, I’ve worn my FiveFingers in both. There are specially made wool socks (although any toe-sock will do and Target has tons of ‘em) that work with these shoes if you’re in a sub-zero climate. However, I’ve worn mine out in 30-40 degree temps for workouts and haven’t had any problem with just my feet. I’ve also worn them in the rain, and they’re great at wicking dry quickly. (Your feet? Will get wet. Sorry.)
I’ve started CrossFit in the past month and love my Vibrams for that as well. They give me crazy stability and grip that normal sneakers just don’t offer, as well as leave me “on the ground” so that my alignment stays natural. They wash incredibly well and I just can’t gush enough about them.
They are kind of pricey – though about what you’d pay for decent running shoes, minus the constant inserts. So in mind, it was a worthy expense. Truth be told, if Santa brings me any spending money, I plan to go back and get a pair of the Classics in black. (For, you know, FORMAL events.)
Alright, that ends the show-and-tell portion of this presentation. Any questions?