Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Feet

I first heard about Vibram Five Fingers (shouldn't they be called Five Toes?) through one of my favorite blogs, (never home)maker , about a year ago. Then a friend on facebook posted a picture of her wearing a pair about 6 months ago. I was intrigued, but I thought they were only for avid runners and hard core athletes.

Well, after leaving our bulky $100 Adidas (mine) and New Balance (his) running shoes behind when we left New Zealand (they were stiff and uncomfortable AND we couldn't fit them in our suitcases so it was not a difficult decision), we set out to find some replacement shoes.

Last week, after several trips to various shoe and sporting good stores, I was about to give up hope of ever finding a suitable shoe. I'm not one for shoe shopping to begin with, so I resolved to resort to the power of the internet to help me accomplish my task. I had about 25 tabs open on Zappo's for $100-$125 (!!!) running shoes, and I only actually liked a few styles.  David has avoided the topic entirely due to exasperation- the men's styles are quite bright and downright ugly; and they all give him terrible shin splints whenever he walks or runs.

natural foot molding bottom

We were out for a walk and noticed a lady with Vibram's on. YES! We went home and started to research barefoot running. While Vibram's are not barefoot running, it's the next best thing. We were hooked.

We ordered them online and waited anxiously for them to arrive. The price is steep, but not unacceptable considering the quality and fact that they should last close to forever. We both got the KSO's. Our first time putting them on was comical. I don't know who did more pinky toe stretching, but we eventually got all our toes in, strapped them on and began walking around. The first observation was just how much we felt like gorillas- toes spread apart reaching for the ground at every step. Unfortunately, I didn't get a video of David hopping across the room as a kangaroo. It was hilarious.

David stretching at the park

We set out for a short walk around our neighborhood and quickly realized that our brains were firing more neurons in response to the new sensations. I actually needed to focus on walking and nothing else for a few minutes, so we walked in silence. It was amazing.

The next day, we went to the park and walked 1/2 mile. I got a tiny rock between my toes and thought it was in my sock- until I looked down and remembered my Vibrams. I plucked the rock from between my toes. It is the closest thing to walking barefoot I can imagine, without the risky nature of being barefoot outside and around town.

Today, we walked over a mile and apart from some leg and toe muscle pain along with a small blister for me, they have been painless. The freedom is sensational! Walking on grass feels like you're walking on grass and walking on hot pavement results in warmth under your feet. It's amazing! I feel in tune with my ancestors a bit more... and it's phenomenal. Nature knows best!

at the park in our Vibram Five Fingers... James needs some now!

A few perks:

If you suffer from knee pain or shin splints with traditional shoes, these are supposed nearly eliminate those problems entirely. Generally, shin splints occur when you land on your heel in a shoe that has "arch support" and the impact sends a shock through your feet and up your leg. Vibram's mold to your feet, allowing your arches flex and perform naturally, resulting in a natural run. It takes effort to retrain your foot, but in the end, you have both stronger feet and stronger legs. Read more here.

The KSO's are waterproof so you can take them on water adventures and they are machine washable. Just be sure to air dry them away from any heat source. 

Between my Vibrams, TOMS, UGG boots and flip flops, I've got some pretty happy feet.

not just for running. base jumpers in Norway. (photo credit:Vibram FF Facebook page)

Not that I think I'm cool enough or anything, but FYI: Vibram Five Fingers did not pay or gift me for this review. They just made an awesome product. All words are my own.

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