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Vibram Five Fingers
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By Jimmie Espenoza
From Jackson, Wyoming
Apr 8, 2011

I was looking at some new trail running shoes and have heard some good things about the Vibram Five Finger Models, but they are pretty pricey so I was looking for some feedback before I commit, I'm looking at either the Regular KSO or the KSO Trek. So what do you think worth the price or not?


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By bwalt822
Apr 8, 2011

Jimmie Espenoza wrote:
I was looking at some new trail running shoes and have heard some good things about the Vibram Five Finger Models, but they are pretty pricey so I was looking for some feedback before I commit, I'm looking at either the Regular KSO or the KSO Trek. So what do you think worth the price or not?


Don't be a hippie.


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By berl
From Oregon
Apr 8, 2011

way more going on here than just the price. if you haven't been running barefoot or in minimalist shoes, you're in for some serious soreness in muscles you didn't know you had.

if you have an REI nearby, there's a good chance they show up at scratch and dent sales, but their popularity is on the rise so you'll have to fend off yoga moms to get them. also, definitely try them on at a store before ordering them online or grabbing a used pair.


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Apr 8, 2011

I use the regular KSOs for walking around, approach shoes and driving, they're great for all three. As berl said, they do use different muscles, so walking before running might be a good idea. You'll also learn to be more careful where you put your feet, I still stub my toe at least once a day in the things.

I was advised by a salesperson that the "Trek" version behaves more like a regular shoe than a barefoot/minimalist shoe, so if you want the full barefoot effect you might want to avoid that.


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By Nick Przybysz
From Boulder, CO
Apr 8, 2011

I got a pair of the traditional ones back when they first came out. I've never gone back to running shoes. I have the Flows. They have a little thicker bottom and neoprene top for cooler weather. I love taking them on trails. You find that you hook your toes over things and just go about walking/hiking differently. Terrain can be an issue for them though. Any sort of scree or boulder fields are not very fun in this type of footwear. You also have to pay attention to where you are placing your feet a lot more, and plan a few steps ahead, so if you are big into looking at the scenery...


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By Chris Duca
Administrator
From Havertown, PA
Apr 8, 2011
Finishing up Elusive Dream at the King Wall.  Adirondacks, NY.

I've heard feedback that spans the gamut, though the the thread that seems to run through both the positive and negative sides is if you want to experience some pretty significant regression in your mileage, buy a pair. You will, without a doubt, have to re-invent the mechanics behind your personal stride. My advice is if you've had good luck with specific brands/models up to now, stick with them. Why fix something that isn't broken?


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By Jimmie Espenoza
From Jackson, Wyoming
Apr 8, 2011

Thanks for the replies I apprectiate it. I have been using minimalist shoes but I'm heading to try some on tomorrow and I suppose then I can make my final decision. If I don't like them then it's back to my old pair for a while I suppose. Thanks for the input


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By Jason N.
From Grand Junction
Apr 9, 2011
Indy pass

Chris Duca wrote:
I've heard feedback that spans the gamut, though the the thread that seems to run through both the positive and negative sides is if you want to experience some pretty significant regression in your mileage, buy a pair. You will, without a doubt, have to re-invent the mechanics behind your personal stride. My advice is if you've had good luck with specific brands/models up to now, stick with them. Why fix something that isn't broken?


By the time you realize something is "broken," maybe you're in for extended periods of injury (assuming you are using these for running for example).


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By JohnJ80302
From Boulder, Colorado
Apr 9, 2011

Be careful with barefoot shoes: my wife started running in Vibrams this winter, and probably overdid it too soon. She ended up with intense heel pain, likely plantar fascitis or achilles tendonitis, that has prevented her from running for 2 months...and she sold her Vibrams on Ebay.

Like people have said, if you try these shoes, WALK in them for a few weeks and then run lightly on a soccer field or other soft surface for another few weeks. And forget about bombing down trails in barefoot shoes -- use your regular shoes for that IMHO.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 9, 2011

JohnJ80302 wrote:
Be careful with barefoot shoes: my wife started running in Vibrams this winter, and probably overdid it too soon.


Can you elaborate on this a bit more? I am just getting into bare footing and want to avoid injury. Thanks, and sorry to hear that your wife had a tough go at it.


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By Tim Davis
From Atlanta
Apr 9, 2011

I agree with those who have said to start slowly at first. You will get very sore feet and calves for a while until you adjust. My feet would crack and pop every morning for a few months until my body adapted to a new gait.

That being said, I am faster when I run in my fives (I think my model is called the 'Sprint') and I enjoy the run more. When I run in my old shoes (Brooks Adrenaline), they feel clunky and my legs get tired quickly on a run (probably due to the fact that I have changed to a stride that is difficult in standard shoes). I am a convert, but will not say that barefoot or quasi-barefoot is "the way." My advice would be to check out some of the other minimalist style shoes that are on the market. The Nike Frees and NB Minimus might be a happy medium that you can use to transistion into the fives. Addtionally, the use of a sock with those two might be nice, as I was very prone to blistering in my fives when I first started using them. But to answer you question, to me they have been worth the money. I have used my original pair for over a year now and they are still going strong despite some holes in the upper. They are more durable than I had originally expected.

I hope this helps and just remember not to do too much too quicky. That is a recipe for a running injury no matter what you wear.

Cheers,

Tim

Here is a link to a brief article on the more recent history of barefoot running in Running Times. www.runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=22417


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By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2011
Rewritten

Having been barefoot running for a while now, I disagree with the advice of starting on a soft surface.

Soft surfaces are great, but when you switch from a "normal" shoe to a minimalist shoe, you need to change your stride and the best way to do that is on a hard surface.

Naturally, people land on the balls of their feet when running. However, the "modern" running shoe (since 1970s nikes) have so much heel padding that people have learned to strike heal first, which has been associated with a whole host of problems.

The problem with starting in a minimalist shoe on a soft surface is that you won't likely change your stride enough to adapt.

My suggestion (especially now that it is summer and getting warmer) is to start by either going completely barefoot or use the thinest thing you can find, and run on a hard, smooth running/biking trail (sidewalk). Start out by running 100 yards the first day. It would hurt like hell to strike heel first, so you will naturally adapt. You want to land on the balls of your feet but you don't want to exaggerate it so much that you are running on your tip-toes (if you do that you will strain your calves).

Slowly, over the course of weeks, increase the distance from a 100 yards to a couple of miles. Do not expect to go straight to running the distance that you used to run with shoes (do both for a while if you need the exercise).

People who go out and start trying to run in minimalist shoes without any training will almost always end up with injuries to their Achilles tendon, since it won't be used to the strain.

As for the Vibrams... I had a pair, but I won't buy another. I love their sole, but if your toes don't have average proportions, they don't fit right, plus they are a pain to put on. I also see very little advantage of individual toes. I wish they would make a similar shoe without the five fingers.

My other problem with the VFF is that for some reason, the rubber on the side of the big toe cuts into my skin, making me bleed after a few miles...

I mostly use a cheap pair of water shoes as minimalist footwear:
www.rei.com/product/763923
The bottom padding can be removed to make them thinner... and they cost half of what the fancy "minimalist" sneakers cost.

I recently bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. They are much thicker than the VFF which is unfortunate, but I am hoping they will be good for running over rougher terrain. I haven't had them long enough to have an informed comment, however...


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By Tim Davis
From Atlanta
Apr 9, 2011

Julius Beres wrote:
Having been barefoot running for a while now, I disagree with the advice of starting on a soft surface. Soft surfaces are great, but when you switch from a "normal" shoe to a minimalist shoe, you need to change your stride and the best way to do that is on a hard surface.


Great point Julius. I totally agree. If one decides to go with fives, running on a soft surface may prevent you from running in the 'barefoot style,' i.e., you may still heel strike.


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By JohnJ80302
From Boulder, Colorado
Apr 9, 2011

Sounds like Julius knows what he's talking about. My wife, I believe, made the mistake of running long distances before her stride changed. I think she incurred too many heel strikes on hard surfaces, and would wake up with severe heel pain upon getting out of bed. After a 2-month hiatus with icing and light stretching, she's back to light hikes.


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By George Marsden
Apr 9, 2011

A good rule of thumb for switching to VFF is:

Running - start with 10% of your normal workout and add 10% every 2 weeks

Cross training - start with 20% of your normal work out and add 20% every 2 weeks

ex. You normally run 30 miles/week. First week with your VFF do 3 miles in them and the rest in your regular shoes. Probably want to start working on changing your gait in your normal shoes. Third week move up to 6 miles in your VFF....

This is the basic guideline I have heard from VFF reps. YMMV


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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Apr 9, 2011
Thanks Hank Caylor!

Found this video
news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_weekend/20110408/ts_yblog_weekend/do->>>


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By Jimmie Espenoza
From Jackson, Wyoming
Apr 10, 2011

I ended up coming home with a pair of komodo sport five fingers yesterday as the store I went to was having a great clearance sale and I managed to snag them for about $50 so I thought I'd give them a try. I've been running in some pretty thin, flat, enclosed sandal type shoes and primarily using a front strike these seem like they might be a little different but I'm guessing/hoping that the change won't be too dramatic. I'm definitely not going to push it too much with them for a while regardless and spent most of the day yesterday and all day today walking around in them to try to get a feel and start getting my feet adjusted.

John - Sorry to hear that about your wife, I'll try not to overdo it it would really be a bummer to be put out of running even for a little while. I'm likely going to supplement my five finger use with my old shoes while slowly using the five fingers more until I know I can handle it. I'm glad to hear your wife's back to hiking at least and hope she's doing well

Tim- I had read that article before or one similar and that is what mostly sent me towards minimalist running thanks for sharing the link

Julius - Thanks for the suggestion, I probably won't be getting outside for a while (it's still snowing here) but I'll be sure to take it easy in the gym and work my way up to my regular routine again with five fingers

George - thanks for the info! I'll keep that in mind

Bang- there's a lot of good info in that video thanks for sharing

Again thanks for the response I appreciate all the input and suggestions


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By ryan dillon
From Tucson, AZ.
Sep 28, 2011
guardian of owl rock

Has anyone sent or know if you can send these shoes in to have them resoled somewhere?


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Sep 28, 2011
Axes glistening in the sun

I use my trek KSO's for trail running. I bought them after I got cleared to run after I ruptured my achilles last year. So I went from not running for a little over 6 months to jumping back in with these.

They will really make you change the way you run. A few things...
1) Be more aware of where you are placing your feet when you get tired. I broke my pinky toe a couple of weeks ago after hitting a rock.
2) When running on small pebbles running downhill be careful of how your heal lands. I bruised my heel yesterday and it hurts like a mother!
3) Give it time. I still enjoy running with them.
4) I haven't rolled my ankles at all which is something I did fairly often with my la sportiva trail sneakers. I feel more balanced.
5) your calves will hurt.
6) Go to the store and try them on. I had to buy 3 sizes smaller.
6) Have patience and don't worry about the funny looks you get.LOL!
7) the stitching on the big toe of mine blew after about 3 months. The ones I have are leather. Instead of returning I sewed and glued them.


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By Zappatista
Oct 3, 2011
Book me, officer.

I wear pink baseball caps. I've rocked bright yellow cordouroys at crags, shirtless, ropeless, and blasting Metallica out of an old-school boombox that plays cassettes (sorry Virginia climbers, I bet this is causing flashbacks). I've worn a PBR shirt and hat with matching beltbuckle-all at the same time. Intentionally. I have a beautiful, intelligent woman that loves me despite my lifetime commitment to Bad Taste Couture.

But I cannot for the life of me walk around in those things and not feel like an REI-worshipping tweeb just waiting to get my toes stomped on by someone weading "real shoes".

If you're wondering about whether these things are higher performance than any trail running/approach shoe-they are not. They are a gimmick that is being embraced by Disposable Income Outdoorsy Types, a few tripped-out serious runners trying to mitigate the boredom of...well, just running around all the time, and Loyal REI Drones who return 90% of their purchases when the New Shinier Version comes out.

I inherited a pair in my size from an old roommate who bought them and lost interest after half a dozen stubbed toes. I've logged a few hours in them. They will be the featured item at my next garage sale.


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By ccerling
From Boston, MA
Oct 3, 2011
me

I have never used mine as my exclusive running shoe. I used to have problems with heel striking in my running stride so I started using the five fingers one day a week or so. I was logging between 35 and 40 miles a week and I would only do between 3 and 5 in the five fingers. It took care of my heel strike in a hurry and eventually I was able to take quite a few seconds off of my mile times. I still can't get over how they look though.


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By Scott Jones
From boulder, co
Oct 3, 2011
-

on a side note, minimalist shoes not only fit really nice on a harness but they're also a bit more lightweight than regular running shoes


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By Devan Johnson
Oct 3, 2011
crag dog

I like this Killis Howard guy


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By rob rebel
From Denver, co
Oct 3, 2011
I get excited over a large desert rack

I own a pair and love running in them or hiking in them but when I see myself in the mirror or look down I want to smack myself and wouldnt blame anyone for kicking my ass if I had them on.


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By ImSoFrignXtreem
From So, CA
Oct 3, 2011
...munch munch

If you're really set on getting into running in Vibrams, maybe training in flats for a while would be a good idea first. If you've never had formal training and/or always have run in trainers, there's most likely a lot of mechanical adjustments you're going to have to make before being able to run barefoot or with those Vibrams without sustaining injury.

As far as I'm concerned, until the Nigerians start wearing those Vibrams and winning here and there, I'm not convinced that they are not a gimmick. I don't want to say that they are a gimmick though because at the last 10K I ran, I did notice Vibrams here and there. Never have I seen them in anything over 10K however (but maybe I just didn't notice). Never tried them out myself though, and can't say I plan to.

So yeah, maybe try flats first?


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By Kenny Thompson
From woodfords, california
Oct 3, 2011
gorge

Those things are so fucking lame total gimmick. got two tens for a five?


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