Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My New Shoes

In a previous post, I commented on barefoot running.  I commented how I wasn't so certain about the whole concept of running barefoot, but that I might be willing to give a certain shoe a try.  The shoe was the Vibram FiveFingers, and it's very form fitting and designed to give your foot protection while still allowing you to keep the barefoot feel.  I almost got some last year instead of my sneakers, but I wasn't quite sold on them so I refrained.  Apparently, though, I've been talking about them more than I thought because this year my mom decided to get me some for my birthday.  She surprised me by finding out where they were sold and making me drive to the location.

So, what's the verdict?  I LOVE them.  I want to spend all my time in them.  I think they're fantastic.  I haven't tried running in them yet, because I want my feet to really get used to walking in them first, but honestly they're amazing.  Since I'm terrible at really describing what they're like, I'll take a quote from the Vibram website.

Remember going barefoot as a child? It’s the way you first discovered and conquered your world—without the constraint of shoes. Or the sense of duty you acquired later on.
Now you can experience that same physical and visceral sensation in Vibram FiveFingers—the only footwear to offer the exhilarating joy of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram® sole.
FiveFingers footwear connects you to the earth and your surroundings in a way that is simply not possible in conventional shoes. It puts you in touch with the earth beneath your feet and liberates you to move in a more natural, healthy way. FiveFingers stimulate the muscles in your feet and lower legs to build strength and improve range of motion. Our customers report an increased sense of balance, greater agility, and visibly improved posture.

And then there's this:

The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

Many experts believe the shoes we wear not only cast the foot in a protective form, but also weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more prone to injury. And while there are many occasions where traditional footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security, it is equally important to stimulate and exercise the foot in a more natural state on a regular basis.

There we go!  That pretty much describes it.  I can say that I find those statements to be very true, especially the first one.  I've been wearing my Vibrams to train the dogs, and I am more comfortable than I was in regular shoes.  I wore the Vibrams on Saturday when we went on the hike, and I definitely felt more comfortable jumping across rocks and running with the dogs.

I will tell you that they look a little odd, and you'll hear remarks from everything from "Are those those new running shoes?" to "What on Earth is on your feet?"  Plus, they do take some getting used to.  The first couple of days my pinky toe protested because it didn't like being separated from my other toes.  Then, as I started walking more in them, my feet and legs said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Where's the padding?"  Now, though, I'm extremely comfortable in them.  I can't wait to put them on in the morning, and I often don't want to take them off at night.  That's something I've never felt about a shoe before.  So, if you're considering it, then I recommend them.  If you want to know what on they are, check out Vibram.  Or you can just check out my picture below.

Yes, there are some reflective bits on the shoes.  Yes I love them.  Yes, there was someone else on the trail who had them.  Oh, and yes, I got a little wet when the dogs splashed me.
 Like I said, I love these shoes!

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