Friday, September 18, 2009

Vibram Fivefingers

I got myself a pair of black Vibram Fivefinger KSO's for my birthday.  I like them.  When I put them on, I don't want to take them off.*

Many people comment on how wearing them feels like being barefoot.  I didn't think so, because I am used to doing things barefoot.  Between martial arts training and the occasional barefoot jog around my parents' property, I have a lot of experience in barefoot activity**. 

They felt like sandals at first.  I was surprised at how thick the heel was.  Even though the soles are thinner than any other footwear I have tried, it felt odd.  I guess that was because it fits so much better and closer than a shoe.  But I got used to it really quickly, and after a while they started to feel like a part of my foot, instead of something I was wearing.

So, the best way to describe wearing them is that it feels like your feet have grown really thick, strangely shaped, elephantine calluses all over.  That may not sound like an appealing description, but it feels great.  You have most of the feeling and control of being barefoot, but with a nice thick layer of protection.

I just got back from a run through the woods.  I ran through complete wilderness from my house to a nearby trail, then around the trail, and then I hiked back.  They did great, protecting my feet from all of the rocks and thorns.  The traction was as good as advertised.  At one point I sank knee-deep into a mud pit, but the shoes stayed on tightly and hardly let any mud in.  When I got home, I hosed them off and they look as good as new.

The only bad thing is that leaves and seeds got stuck between my toes when I ran through dense undergrowth, and then they stayed there, held in place by the soles of the shoes.

They are certainly worth the money.  They will serve as my running shoes, my hiking shoes, my casual shoes, and my sandals.  I don't think I'll wear anything else on my feet unless I need to fit a dress code of 'business casual' or higher.

*This is partly because I know it will take a couple minutes to put them on again.

**I have jogged barefoot over a gravel driveway and through the ice of late winter.  Yes, I'm a little crazy.

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