Like a sore thumb

Now it might seem a little crazy to spend 80 quid on a pair of shoes that when you put them on, feel like you’re  not actually wearing shoes but that’s exactly what I did a few weeks back.

I can honestly say it’s the best shoe purchase I’ve ever made.

fivefingers

True, the toe pods might make my feet look rather Neanderthal, and I can imagine some puzzled faces if anyone noticed my footprints on a muddy stretch of grass, but it’s not about looks. Fashion issues are beside the point. What’s important is how these shoes feel.

For anyone who’s kicked off their shoes and gone barefoot these shoes might come as something of a surprise. And the surprise is that when you put them on you still feel as if you’re in bare feet. You can still feel the ground under your feet and if you do step on a stone, you’ll feel it. You have to walk differently, be lighter on your feet, and not thump down on your heels, just as you do when you walk or run barefoot.

I’ve been running in them for about a week now and I’ve had to go back to basics, starting again with a walk/run programme because just like barefoot running, if you don’t build up slowly your feet will be sore and your calf muscles will scream.

And possibly, the good people you pass by on your run will point their fingers in amazement at your choice of footwear. But I can’t tell you about that, because I was too busy enjoying myself to notice anyone around me.

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11 comments

  1. Hi, Debra! I’m glad to see you’re getting back to running again! Are those the vibram five fingers? I’ve thought about getting them too. What’s the advantage of them over being completely barefoot? The one time I ran a mile and a half barefoot, I wound up with big, deep blisters on the bottom of my feet.

    I just bought some new Sauconys, which had a lot more cushion and bounce than the Brooks I’m used to. I ran about ten miles in them, and they felt so sloppy and my ankles were killing me at the end. I took them off and walked barefoot to my car for the last quarter mile or so. It felt so good to be in contact with the ground again. I returned the Sauconys and got the Brooks trail shoe, which I have yet to try out. Regardless, I’ll be shoe-free at the end of my runs anyway.

    Btw, are you running on pavement or trails or both?

    Cheers!
    Al

    • Al, they are vibram five fingers. I got with the aim of running as close to barefoot as I can all year round. So the idea is that they’ll see me through the winter and I won’t need to readjust to barefoot running in the spring after having worn normal running shoes in winter.

      I’m running mainly on pavement/asphalt at the moment, as I build it up I’m planning to run some trails, but right now I don’t do enough mileage for that.

  2. An online friend of mine got some of those and she said that while she got odd looks from people, she had never felt so good about running as she did while wearing them.

    I love to be barefoot, I am truly intrigued by these.

  3. I just got a pair of these too. I’ve been refusing to wear my other shoes now and I think I need a second pair to have a good wash cycle. It’s crazy how getting used to these is more like a new pair of feet than a new pair of shoes. I’ve got the kind with the strap over the top, what do you think about the open top on yours?

    Al: The soles on these things are awesome. They feel like they are barely there, but they are pretty thick. I think it has to do with them being flat, but with little razor cuts in them for grip and flex. There is absolutely nothing sloppy about these shoes (at least my strapped variant). They grip your feet like rubber gloves. The strange thing is, after wearing these for a couple weeks, I’ve started running barefoot again too. Your feet really toughen up even wearing them. The shoes are ok on pavement, and awesome on dirt. No ankle rolling.

    I don’t get a lot of odd looks. I do when they are noticed, but I find most people are completely oblivious to them. I wore them to work for three days before anyone noticed. I posted my review of the Vibram KSO here.

    • Zog – The open tops are fine – they don’t slip at all. I’m also thinking about getting another pair, ones like yours for winter use. I agree that most people don’t seem to notice them, so I’ve had no reactions while out running in them. Running barefoot in Amsterdam, on the other hand, almost got me arrested.

  4. Arrested, really? Do they have laws against being barefoot?
    If you want a winter pair, you may want the neoprene model. The mesh ones I have are great for summer, but they aren’t warm or water resistant.

  5. Hey thanks for providing me with a review… I’d like to try these out. Can you give me and anyone else reading your review tips on where one can buy these? In Amsterdam, or do you have to have them shipped from the USA?

    • Hi Jonathan, I’m afraid I can’t help much on where to buy five fingers in Amsterdam as I got mine in the UK. I think I saw them in Bever a couple of years back, so you could try there, other than that, a google search might help.

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