I bought those silly five-fingered shoes. Yup. I paid $120 for the new model. And I go out in public wearing my Vibram FiveFingers too. It’s OK, because I love the trash talk. The following is my take on these trail running shoes. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I was stoked when I got these kicks. The salesman told me the Spyridon LS is designed specifically for trail running. Perfect! I climb mountains. So I put them to the test. First I went a short distance, just two miles on Tillamook Head from Seaside. They felt great. Snug like a natural extension of my feet. However, one downside to the Vibrams is that your toes can get wet quickly. Once I stopped running my toes were cold and going numb. I got out of them right away and put them through the wash. They were caked in clay and mud.
The second hike I took wearing Vibrams was around Cape Falcon, and Short Sands, in Oswald West State Park along the Oregon Coast. I jogged parts of my 7.35 mile hike, and made a few stops to checkout the surfers and ocean views. I finished in 3:05 hours. My feet started to ache around the six-mile mark, but I just wasn’t use to the shoes yet. That will take a long time, maybe years. You’ve got to hike this state park. There’s nothing like it. Bring your camera.
I’ve had my Vibrams for a few months now, and they’ve performed great. But here’s the ugly. I snagged my pinky toe on something and one small part of the sole ripped away from the upper. An easy fix soon with shoe glue, but annoying now. Also, the rubber is pretty thin, so walking on gravel sucks, and going far on pavement isn’t fun. Plus, they are low top and don’t have much support on the sides. My advice to Vibram owners is to go slower than normal. Another annoying thing about these shoes is even though they are the right size, my little toe has a tendency to pop out of its home. Then I have to readjust by hand. It’s best to pull them really tight to avoid toe slippage.
In addition, like it or not, these shoes will attract attention. Be prepared to answer a million questions about them. Strangers approach me all the time to ask questions. And be ready to be made fun of. Lots of people think that Vibrams are ugly. I think they are beautifully designed, so there! But you won’t see me wearing this around town much. They were absolutely created for the outdoors.
Having said all that, I strongly recommend you look into the barefoot running, and walking movement. It’s taking off, and for good reason. Shoes may be the worst invention ever! If you wear Vibrams or some other minimalist shoe you will strengthen your ankles and legs, in my opinion. They will take some time to get use to. You may want to buy a transition shoe first that has more of a sole. Try on all the different brands and styles, and figure out what’s right for you. Survival Bros says ditch the kicks and feel with your feet. Peace.