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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vibrams FiveFinger for yoga and for running

Shortly before my husband's accident last summer, he had gotten into Chi Running, which champions trotting about in bare feet. My fitness activity, yoga, also tends to be done barefooted. So when we heard about Vibram Five Finger shoes, which provide the benefits of bare feet along with protection, we inquired about trying them out.

As a blogger and reviewer, I qualified for a $25 discount off the $85 retail price. We carefully followed the ordering instructions (women's sizes run 34-42) because precise fit is imperative.

One thing to note about feet and Five Fingers is that "if the foot length varies more than 1/6 in. it will be difficult to get a precise fit for both feet." And "if your second toe is more than 1/6 in. longer than your big toe it will be difficult to get a precise fit."

After checking and double checking our sizes, I emailed our order sheets for his and her pairs. Last July.

Three months later (!), I received my pair, a KSO style in grey/fuchsia. What is KSO? The Vibram's website says "KSO IS BEST FOR: Running, Fitness Training, CrossFit, Light Trekking, Bouldering, Water Sports, & Travel."

And here is a description: ...our most versatile style for women. Featuring a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper that wraps your entire forefoot to “Keep Stuff Out.” A single hook-and-loop closure helps secure the fit. A non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole is razor-siped for a sure grip, and a 2mm EVA midsole enhances plating protection and comfort.

I've had several months now to try out my Five Fingers while doing various activities. If it's not too cold, I enjoy wearing my Five Fingers out and about. But because there's no insulation I do not wear them when the terrain is icy. Not for the slip factor but for the brrrrrr factor.

While they ARE the first pair of shoes I've ever owned that required instructions on how to put on, and while they DO take a little extra time to wriggle in to, I DO enjoy the feeling of having my toes separated. Others have told me that such a sensation would drive them nuts.

And people have told me that the color scheme I chose makes me look like I have the feet of a cadaver. Perhaps I would have done better with the camouflage blue.

These shoes have worked perfectly for me walking around and practicing yoga. And I wore them recently during a TurboKick class. All went well until the last few minutes when the underside of my big toe began to hurt. I made it to the end of class and drove home. When I removed the shoe, a small piece of grit? lint? something ordinary -- had gotten past that breathable mesh and had worn quite a blister. Youch.

Verdict? For yoga and for be-bopping around, I give Vibrams Five Fingers one thumb toe up.

And here is a review of my husband's experience with Five Fingers as a running shoe:
Know why that's blank? Because in spite of the 7 months, the 7 follow up emails and 4 followup voicemail messages, I CANNOT GET VIBRAMS FIVE FINGERS TO TAKE AND FULFILL THIS ORDER. Or even let me know why they won't.

For running? Big toes down. Both of them.

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4 chiming in:

Lollipop Goldstein said...

They look strange that I haven't been able to bring myself to try them. Somehow, you make them look cool in that yoga picture. But the guy who wore them on the Colbert Report?...

Caro said...

I have a pair too and like them for walking and cycling in the summer.

Sheri said...

I'd like to try them, but my second toe is longer than my big toe.

Even though I can't wear the Vibrams FiveFinger shoe, isn't having the second toe longer a sign of extreme intelligence? :)

Flying Monkeys said...

My BIL uses them for running and he loves them. He said it took a while for his ankle and support muscles to adjust but it's worth it. I can't stand the feel of something between my toes. It took for me to be pumping myself full of hormones during a miserable summer to finally get some flip flops.

And I can't even get near that pose.

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