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Vibram FiveFingers – Run #1

Posted by cavewomanrunner on July 14, 2009

I’ve been looking at the Vibram FiveFingers barefoot running shoes for some time now. The idea is brilliant. We’ve all heard that running barefoot is the best thing for you. It’s natural. Your body and posture is not forced into some manufactured alignment. Yet how many of us can run barefoot? I’m a dancer as well as a runner and have danced barefoot for years. But that’s in a controlled environment, on a very smooth and flat surface. Running, especially trail running, is anything but smooth.

I finally found a retailer in my town where I could actually try the shoes on. The Vibram FiveFingers site discusses their sizing and provides a nice chart, but it also has the caveat that if your feet are different sizes, or if your second toe is longer than your big toe, you may not be able to get a precise fit. That made ordering the shoes online a bit risky, at least for me, as I have both of those problems with my feet.

Being able to actually try the shoes on (and having a nice saleswoman) helped ease my fears. After you get all of your five toes in their “slots” and pull the heels on, the shoes feel great. I jogged a few steps in the store and was somewhat impressed. They had a black classic pair (no strap) and I decided to take the plunge – buy them and try them out.

Vibram FiveFingers Classic

I ran trails on Sunday (9 miles) and decided to forego the first run with my Vibrams until an easy road run. So my first run in my Vibram shoes was Monday. I was slated for 5 miles and just ran the roads near my house. I was cautious my first few steps. I have a weak right ankle (shattered it playing soccer about 15 years ago and had two pins in it for about a year), so I took baby steps at first. Within the first mile I started feeling my natural stride and foot strike (mid foot, not heel) and it was great! My feet felt light and the bottoms weren’t hurting hitting the sidewalk, the pavement, even some gravel I ran through. My whole alignment – head, shoulders, hips, knees, and foot swing felt wonderful. At about 3 miles, the back of my right heel started to hurt a bit. I adjusted the back strap and then it was fine.

Heel adjustment

After mile 4, the ball of my left foot started hurting. I easily finished the 5 mile run and chalked my left foot pain up to not being used to this “barefoot” running and also putting more pressure on my left foot to compensate for my right foot.

Minor foot pain

For my first run, I was quite impressed with my new shoes. There was minimal pain and it was just related to my feet and previous injuries. The next morning, I had minimal soreness in my feet and the rest of my legs and body felt great! I really think I am going to like the Vibrams and I hope that they will improve my running and natural form! And I love that it takes me back to more primal running!

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 4_stars


4 Responses to “Vibram FiveFingers – Run #1”

  1. […] Vibram FiveFingers Run #1 and Run#2 from CaveWomanRunner: I did my speed intervals at a nearby schoolyard. I felt like a little kid, sprinting barefoot through the grass. At first I was worried about the bumps and holes in the yard, but I actually felt more in balance and stronger with the Vibrams. I could measure the ground more easily and felt more aware of changes and obstacles. With my puppies running next to me, I felt like I, too, had paws to feel the earth beneath me. Simply put, it was freeing. […]

  2. CRK said

    Just found your site through the “birthday shoes” website. You are the first person I’ve seen to “get” the connection between paleo diet and VFF (or barefoot) running. Very happy to have found you.

    I’m making the transition to minimalist footwear. Living so far north, I’m not sure what I’ll put on my feel come winter but right now I’ve gone as far as running only in racing flats and walking barefoot inside my house and for about 5-10 min. outside every day. I’m quite the tenderfoot, but getting stronger every day. 🙂 I’ll be trying on the VFF’s next time I am in the city.

    • cavewomanrunner said

      Hi CRK! Thank you for your excellent comments. Yes, to me, being Paleo and barefoot just makes sense. You can’t get much more natural than that! How is your transition going? Are you running barefoot or in your flats? I’m running into a few bumps along my road with my VFF, and I also have concerns about winter running (I’m up north, too!). Vibram does make the “Flow” that are supposed to work well for cold running weather. I may try them out when the weather changes.

  3. CRK said

    I heard there is a suede version (the Trek) coming out in September. If I like the warm weather version of the VFF, I’ll probably look into the Trek.

    My transition is slow, but very exciting!! I’m nearly 51 years old, so that’s a lot years in shoes to undo. I even wore Birks in the house all day long until about a month or two ago. I started walking barefoot outside a couple of weeks ago. My feet are responding quickly, though it was torture at first. Today I ran the last few blocks of my run barefoot, holding the shoes in hand. (Must have looked odd!) I can see how little strength I have in my feet. They feel like they are collapsing in the arch with each step. But I am sure I will build strength quickly.

    Thanks for spreading the word!

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