Woman + Runner + Fighter

Follow a cavewoman on her fitness journey.

Vibram FiveFingers – Run #4

Posted by cavewomanrunner on July 20, 2009

Continuing with my running experiments with the Vibram FiveFingers classic, I headed out for a nice, long run on mountainous trails. This is really the last terrain in my area that I can cover in my shoes – it’s also the aspect I’ve been most worried about. The gravel run a few days earlier boosted my confidence, so I slipped my toes in my Classics, slopped on tons of sunscreen for the 94 degree heat (it was still 94 at 8:30 pm), and headed to the hills.

I ran the trails that will host my next race (coming up in two weeks). They are nestled in foothills and are full of steep inclines, declines, rocks, pebbles, tree roots, sage brush, creeks, bike tire ruts, and molehills. The trails have also been eroded with increased rain earlier in the season, so it’s not exactly smooth sailing.

Foothills

I had to slow my pace somewhat for the really rocky parts and again my strides were much shorter and faster. My whole form actually felt better, though. I even had more “grip” when climbing uphill and trying to balance myself when faced with steep declines. There were a few extremely rocky parts where I felt it would be safer to walk across. Yet, I would have done the same thing in “regular” running shoes.

There were moments when it felt like I wasn’t even wearing shoes. I felt the exuberance, the freedom like I did running in the grass. I felt like I was getting back to my roots, running the way we should run. I also got a kick out of seeing my tracks when I turned around on one loop. It looked like Bigfoot was out running the trails! (Ok, not really since my feet are really small, but there were barefoot prints on the trails!)

The only complaint I had with my VFFs for this 10 mile run was the bit of rubbing I got again on my right back heel. I think it’s my own fault, though, for pulling the back strap too tight. I have a tiny rub mark from the back of the shoe that smarted a little when I ran, but didn’t prevent me from finishing a great training session. You can barely even see the mark.

heel rub

You’ll also notice my shoes are a bit more dirty than when I first started! I’ve been putting them to good use. It’s really just sand and dirt from my last two runs. I rinsed them off after my run last night and let them air dry. I’ll report if there are any issues from that, but you are supposed to be able to even wash these shoes in a washing machine (just don’t machine dry them).

I’m also building up some calluses on the bottoms of my feet and toes. These don’t hurt at all and I think they are just a sign of my feet getting stronger – which is exactly what I need!

 

calluses

My worries about using the VFFs on the trails are gone though. I’m even thinking about wearing them for the race in two weeks. We’ll see how my next training runs go and how I feel the day of the race. I don’t think they’d hinder my performance at all. In fact, they may even be more helpful than my other shoes.

On a side note, I can give two other reasons during my trek why running, especially in the “wild” (or as wild as we can find in today’s world) is the ultimate experience. In my first mile I spotted a little snake hanging out on the trail. I was able to snap a quick picture of him with my cell phone. I’m just glad it wasn’t a rattlesnake!

snake

Also, while I was making my return and battling the setting sun (I wish I could have kept running, but being in the dark on dangerous trails is not a great thing when you’re not prepared) I spotted another critter – this time a fox! The little guy was wandering in a parking lot just under the trail head. He came right over and looked up at me. He was a cutie! He didn’t run away, so we stood looking at each other for several moments. It was me who finally broke away, picking up my running pace again. I didn’t get a good shot with my phone in the dark, but you can see the outline of the little guy.

fox

So, to recap my experiences so far with my Vibram FiveFingers Classics:

  • sidewalks – 
  • asphalt – 
  • grass – 
  • gravel trails – 
  • mountain trails – 
  • being absolutely impressed- 
  • attracting all types of critters- 
  • being a VFF convert- 

I can honestly say I don’t think I’m going back to my old running shoes. There are a few things I still need to confirm, like the durability of the shoes and how long they will last after being exposed to these different conditions. They are supposed to come with a one year guarantee. If there are any shoe quality issues, you can send them right back to Vibram. I also want to verify that washing them doesn’t pose any issues.

However, there’s just such a difference in the way it feels when I run, how much better I can run, and how I feel afterward. I’m ready to toss my running shoes – and I’m not going to miss them!

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

5stars

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2 Responses to “Vibram FiveFingers – Run #4”

  1. alibettinger4pt said

    Very interesting and informative! Was nice to seem someone do a real trail run in the Classics! I can’t decide on Classics vs. KSO vs. Sprint. My biggest concerns are achilles rub (the KSO and Sprints have big straps back there too) and – specifically to the classic – tiny rocks getting in or having tall grassy things ‘scrape’ the foot. Have you tried the KSOs at all or have you had any problems with the openness of the classic? Really curious! Hope you dont mind the questions!

    • cavewomanrunner said

      Thanks for the comments and questions! I actually ran a half marathon in my KSOs and loved it. I have the Classic and the KSOs. With winter, I exclusively used my KSOs with toe socks to deal with the cold temperatures and snow and ice. During the summer, I used the Classics. The only real issue I had with the Classics was the back strap, it does rub on one of my heels. This might be because I have one foot slightly bigger than the other, so the back strap doesn’t exactly fit both feet. Now that the winter is winding down, I’ll be transitioning back to the Classics from the KSOs. I’ll keep posting!

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