Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creepy Shoes Club Critique

I got the exact same shoes in the mail today! How cool is that? After finding my size in the store I found some used vibram fivefingers classics on ebay for $50 with no signs of wear. I just got back from my first run in them and thought I'd share my review.

They remind me of rubber palmed work gloves for your feet and their construction is essentially the same with a bit more structure. So like gloves, they can be squished or rolled up which is a bonus when you want a light and compact shoe for packing. I ran a an 8:52min mile on the treadmill with them. What I liked about them is it was like running barefoot, which encourages you to keep off your heels. They felt springier than when I run in socks. I also have the problem with socks where the soles will get hot from friction against the treadmill belt. This was not a problem with the fivefingers which I suspect will save me blisters.

Now for the bad:
My first complaint is more of a personal problem. I am only 5'1" and thus my pants are often too long. I count on my shoes for the lift to keep my pants off the ground and dry. My pants were a soggy mess from walking in the wet parking lot though the shoes themselves stayed dry. My other complaint is after the run I noticed uncomfortable rubbing on my left inner heel cause by stitches. This would have become a blister had I worn them longer. There is a thread end I'll try to snip out or if that doesn't work, a fabric bandaid applied to the inner heel has always fixed this.

Other things to consider are the fit of the shoe. They literally need to fit like a glove. This is a minor issue for me since they don't make a size small enough to be snug on me in the bottom on the heel. Fivefingers must be tried on in person to find your size as their sizing does not reliably convert into your standard shoe size. Also abnormality in your toe shape can cause discomfort. Brian probably doesn't want me spreading this on the Internet, but two of his toes are webbed halfway up his foot. The shoe construction puts a lot of pressure on his mutant toe web.

All in all, I think it's a very exciting innovation in footwear which will no doubt lead to better foot health. I used to have to wear orthotics before I started barefoot running. I can remember having pain in my unusually high left arch ever since I learned to walk. Now I've beat my foot issues into submission by training on a treadmill. My hope is that these shoes will let me transfer that success into trail running.

1 comment:

Roal said...

I have had mine for over a week, and I've yet to run in them, even though I have been running a couple of times. I'm funny that way, I will buy something and then for one reason or another will take a long time to start using them. So far they are only for show. And the show starts tonight.