Tuesday, January 7, 2014

FTT Unpaid Product Review: Vibram Five Fingers

The Hope For 2014
For the record: haven't made a dime, not likely to either, from the following. Use or don't, I'm just filling the blog hole, rather than pretend that I know anything about college pro football.

I run. Persistently, badly, painfully, for over four figures in miles a year, on treadmills, roads and an indoor track. I stop for any number of reasons: cramping, knee problems, lack of time, and most happily, actually reaching my goal. It takes a long time, and if I miss too many days, it hurts even more, because I can't usually go more than 6 or 7 miles in a day -- admittedly in an hour or so -- which means it takes a lot to make up for lost time. So I've been trying to figure out ways to, well, run better. Enter the Five Fingers Of Freakishness.

These are basically pull-on slippers that are a glove for your foot. There isn't anything in the way of arch support, laces, a solid heel, cushioning, etc.; it's basically designed around the idea that we're monkeys, dammit, and monkeys run barefoot. Well. With their toes reaching all the way out, no matter how unseemly that may seem. (Mine cost me just a hair over $50 through Amazon, where Street Moda was the vendor, and I had a gift certificate for $50, so they were kind of a free roll.)

And they work, kind of. I doubt I'm going to run outdoors in wet weather with them, or with any kind of coldness because I am middle-aged and have relentlessly poor circulation, but they worked fine tonight in the gym. It's nice not to worry about laces for once, or socks, for starters. And since there is no support for the heel, you don't have the ability to just clop along on them, like a plow horse, which is terrible for your speed and knees, but something you can do, mindlessly, when tired. So you put these on, and you run on the balls of your feet, like you are supposed to, and you run a little faster, and better. They are also absurdly light -- just a hair under 4 and a quarter ounces, which is crazy light, and will make you faster just from the simple act of having less weight to move around.

The downside? Well, no padding is no padding; and it's going to hurt the first few times you use them. Or, at least, that's the hope, as I've only tried it for the first time tonight, and after my usual six miles, my smallest toe had a nice shining redness, and when I plunged my feet into the whirlpool for the post-workout cooldown, there was all kinds of grouchiness from everything below the ankle. None from the knees, which is a nice change of events, but still. Check back with me in a few weeks, and I'll let you know if things have gotten better. There's enough potential for improvement here that I'm going to keep at it.

Oh, and there's one other downside. You feel kind of silly wearing them, because they don't look like anything else that anyone is wearing. At least for now.


We are Houserspawn(tm). said...

Obligatory: http://xkcd.com/1065/

Five Tool Ninja said...

Obligatory: http://xkcd.com/1065/

DMtShooter said...

The FTN wins the Internet for most relevant comment link ever.

Also, Day 2: 6 more miles, knees still happy, hamstrings ready to be used for violin bows. Adjustments.

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