Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vibram Fivefingers 2

Earlier, I posted my first reactions to my new shoes. 

That pair split a seam, and I sent them back to be replaced under warranty.  It took a couple weeks to get the new pair back.  I started wearing these on Fall Break, and for the past week or so, I have been wearing them around school, except on days when I am in front of the class teaching.

I am still very happy with how they feel, and would recommend them to anyone who likes the feel of walking barefoot.  But if you wear them in public, expect them to attract a lot of attention.  Most people have never seen or heard of shoes with toes.  People who don't know me often stare at them, or at least do a double-take, and people who do know me will often comment on them.

Reactions have ranged from 'So how do you like those FiveFingers?' to 'Toe socks? Really?'  They have been compared to ninja shoes and to frostbitten feet.

I quickly developed a fifteen-second explanation of what they are and why I am wearing them:

"These things were designed for outdoor and water sports.  They fit well and have good traction.  It gives me the health benefits of going barefoot: strengthening the joints and muscles in my legs.  Normal shoes sometimes make my knees ache."

Even strangers have started conversations.  Reenactors at King's Mountain, and sellers at an art show, asked me about them.  This makes sense; these kinds of people are more outgoing and more interested in something new and unique.

I have discovered one weakness in the shoes.  Be warned: Vibram Fivefingers are not good for kicking fire ant nests.  No matter how swiftly I kick them or what angle I strike the mound, there were always a few ants stuck between the toes or clinging to the fabric on the upper part of the foot.

Some people might be bothered by the lack of insulation.  When wearing these, your feet will be colder than normal.  For me, however, this is a big bonus, because my feet normally get too hot, especially when exercising.

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