I love my Vibram Five Finger “shoes” for running.
I’ve been asked multiple times how I like them and why I like them so here goes.
I started wearing Vibram’s 3 summers ago because Chad wanted to try them out. We bought the KSO’s to wear around town and while we were out biking. I never dreamt that I would actually run regularly in them, let alone run 13.1 miles!
I tested them out one day with running and was told from the get go to only build up with running half a mile each time. So the first time, I literally only ran half a mile. I felt super light on my feet and the next day I could tell that these made my legs use totally different muscles then compared with my old running shoes. I decided to keep building up and signed up to run a half marathon. I trained, didn’t lose any toenails and ran 13.1 miles in them and loved it.
I loved my KSO’s so much that I wore the sole out on the bottom. This past winter when I set out to get back into running after delivering a baby, I went searching for some new ones and found the Bikila to adapt more to my running needs (and I secretly was excited they were pink).
I trained in these, ran a 1:56:57 half marathon (a PR by over 5 minutes!) in these puppies and they are still going strong. So let’s talk about why I love them so much.
- Vibram’s re-train your body how to run. They are the next best thing compared to actual barefoot running so your feet are protected from the pavement and random objects you might encounter. Our foot muscles are so atrophied because we keep them protected in shoes or thicker soles all the time. This is why you have muscles that are sore that you never realized you had when you start running in your Vibram’s. They are re-training and re-building your leg, calf and foot muscles to model more of how our bodies were meant to be like if we didn’t have shoes protecting our feet all the time. This is an extremely important reason why you have to start out slow when you start running in your Vibram’s. I took this advice very seriously because starting out fast gives a high probability of running injuries (i.e. torn achilles! ouch!) and I just did not want to play with that fire.
- I am faster than I ever was in a traditional running shoe. Yes, I know you usually get faster the more experienced you become at running but this was an immediate improvement. Where as I was running ten minute miles before, I started easily running 9 minute miles and faster. My feet and body feels lighter and I have more endurance for those longer runs.
- I haven’t lost one single toenail since I have started running in these. When I ran my first full marathon, I lost 4 toenails. Count them, 4! That’s ridiculous and downright painful. I still notice that whenever I go on longer walks and I’ve thrown my old running shoes back on, my toenails are sore. Vibram’s protect my toenails by being a snug fit, not allowing my foot to move back and forth against a traditional toe part of a running shoe, therefore no nail lossage.
- I have more endurance while running in these. I find myself easily able to run longer than if I was wearing a traditional running shoe. I don’t know if it’s because they are so light in weight or what, but if it works, why fix it?
- Every race I have worn these in, I have had at least one runner come alongside me to talk about them and tell me how comfortable I look running and what an awesome pace I’m keeping. That is such an encouragement because running posture and pace are super important to me so when someone I don’t know comments on them, well, hey, I like it!
I totally get these “shoes” aren’t for everyone but I think they are pretty snazzy and if you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge, do it! Worse comes to worst, you don’t use them for running but you can bike around town, go on long walks, run errands, etc. and still get the great benefits of building up your legs, calves and feet to more of how they were meant to be!
I’ve become proud to look “goofy” to other people while wearing these, especially when I pop into the grocery store but they get an A+ in my book so I’ll wear them loud and proud.
Any Vibram lovers out there?! Why do you love your Vibram’s?
Or, any other questions or thoughts about “barefoot running”?