on November 11, 2012
Yes, I said it. I'm overweight. I'm a runner. I wear minimalist shoes. Most people are shocked that I actually run...let alone in "non-supprrtive" shoes (because fat people need EXTRA support lol). Everyone told me I was nuts to do any type of minimalist running and that I was going to damage my feet and knees because I was (nicely put) "heavier".
I started the C25k training in February 2012. By the time June came, I was ready to quit. I could not get past week 5 day 3 (in retrospect, the anxious waiting for the tone to put me out of my misery was more of a hindrance...another story for another day). But something else was happening.
When I first started, I bought the best pair of Brooks I could find. The running guy told me I was an over pronator and needed the support. After a good 2 months of 3 day a week running, I would get frequent spasms in my back, my feet would ache badly after a run and in the morning (plantar fasciitis), and my knees felt like they were slowly falling apart. Of course, the curse of being fat set in and I was convinced that this running thing was too much for "someone like me". Besides, everyone I saw running were skinny anyway. I started a serious stretching regimen before and after a run....it didn't help.
In July, I bought a groupon to a local running shoe store. The groupon was for my mom, but she didn't like the selection, so I had to use it. Of course I tried on another pair of Brooks. I saw the Vibrams and on a whim decided to try them on. I hopped on the treadmill in the store and immediately noticed that I was not landing on my heels, but on the ball of my foot. The guy in the store told me to take it slow. He explained that running barefoot had little to do with weight, but patience, and endurance. He told me to ease into it and cut back to only a mile a day....I never looked back.
That month, I also read Born to Run and was absolutely sold on barefoot running. My first run was on a hotel treadmill while on vacation...it felt great. I kept my distance to a mile. Afterwards, I felt sore in my calves and lower legs, but not unbearable pain. I continued running a mile for 3 days a week for about a month and the. Increased to two miles.
The LS version are best for me because I have flat feet (the version with the strap was too tight across the top of my foot). I also have the Kimodo Sport LS and I like these way better. These are more comfortable in the toe area and feel less crowded than the Kimodo Sport (seems like there is more material in the toe slots). I'm able to run longer and farther than ever before. I no longer heel strike and land on the middle of my foot. Because its less cushion, I consciously land lighter and take shorter strides. Because the shoe is so light, I don't feel like I'm simply shuffling across the ground, but actually...moving and lifting up my feet. I even enjoy feeling different surfaces under my feet. I never knew that a track is made from rubber until I ran on it with my Vibrams. The back spasms, plantar fasciitis and constant knee pain is GONE....just the occasional running soreness. I don't even have to do serious stretching before running unless my muscles feel tight. After a run, I simply stand on the edge of a step and stretch my calves and Achilles muscles and I feel great. Also, now that its cold outside (I live in Philadelphia), I have not noticed a difference in performance. I will invest in a pair of injinji socks, but I went out a few days ago in 40 degree weather and my feet were not cold. I'll test them when it's snow on the ground and see what happens.
At any rate, I'm sold on "barefoot running". I never finished C25K. I just go out and run and I've noticed a significant improvement in my distance and endurance. At some point ill catch up in speed and ill successfully run a 5K.....in my Vibrams.
on June 5, 2011
I received my Bikila LS shoes last week (ordered from Amazon, but on a relative's account). I am so impressed and pleased with them, that I am now a convert. I don't care how odd they look, I want to wear only Vibram FiveFingers from now on!
Firstly, the shoes are very well made. The materials are of a very high quality and the colours very vibrant. The reflecting fabric on the sides make the shoes suitable for road running at night. The fabric upper of the Bikila LS is buttery soft. The shoes are very lightweight. If you've never tried on Vibrams before, get ready for a struggle. The first time I tried getting them on, my toes went crazy. I was pulling on one end, while my boyfriend was trying to squeeze my toes into the individual toe pockets. I got a bit worried that it might be too much hassle to put them on every time I want to go for a run. Instructions are included, you're supposed to get your toes in first, then gently slip the heel cup around your heel. I am happy to report that my brain seems to have caught on to the technique, as subsequent fittings were no trouble at all. They slip on so easily now that I am willing to take them off to show others. That's another thing you need to be aware of, people will comment on your shoes. Expect a lot of questions and even people touching your toes!
I used the size guide on the Vibram FiveFingers website. The fit is perfect. I opted for the LS style, because the adjustable lacing system seemed to offer a better chance of a good fit. I went out for a jog in them as soon as I got them. It felt amazing. I'd been running barefoot for a while to prepare myself and get used to using the proper technique (you use a forefoot strike when running in Vibrams, never land on your heel!). Running in the Vibrams just made everything come together - the pleasure of running barefoot, without worrying about hurting yourself on road debris.
For the first time in my life, I enjoy the feel of a shoe so much that I want to go out running just to be able to wear these shoes. I've also used them for indoor exercising on tiles. I can't get over how much range of movement they allow my feet to engage in. Going back to regular trainers will feel like wearing concrete blocks. The other surprising thing is how these shoes have changed my walk. I actually use all of my toes now. Instead of plodding along, I use my entire foot and it feels good.
These shoes are made from a very thin (hardly there) fabric, so they won't keep your feet warm. I have noticed that after a run, my feet are toasty warm for quite a while, but if you wear them casually, they offer very little in terms of insulation. On the plus side, they are machine washable and because they're so thin, will air dry rapidly. I generally don't wear shoes without socks, but these feel great without socks. You do get toe-socks to wear with them, but I don't think they're necessary.
One piece of advice when starting to wear these for the first time is to take it slow when exercising. If you're used to wearing conventional shoes, you're going to use completely different muscles. Even if you used to run for miles in your regular Nikes, you'll have to start from square one when transitioning to minimalist shoes. Even though I knew I was supposed to take it easy, I still managed to overdo it on a recent run. Switching to a barefoot/minimalist technique will strengthen your feet and ankles, but if you jump into it unprepared, you're risking injury.
If you're just interested in wearing them for comfort, then go for it. These are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, and I'm including slippers. After trying mine on, my mom and sister are also ordering VFFs (Vibram FiveFingers).
on December 16, 2011
I bought these at a BOGO sale locally. I bought this pair, a Jaya, a KomondoSport LS, a KomondoSport, and a TrekSport(see my other reviews on those).
This shoe is sized accurately to width and length. I wear a solid 41 in EU size(look on the tounge of your favorite athletic shoe in the EU section for this number).
I like the tread on this shoe for running. Just enough variance to make good traction on most road conditions.
I like the simplicity of the design. The patterns are just printed on the material, not sewn. Less points of potential blister rubs.
Clear toe rubber abrasion protection ontop of your toes.
Velcro strap to adjust fit.
Light breathable material.
Snug fit to the material itself.
While I have skinny feet, people with normal to wide feet might find the tightness of this design troublesome. My hubby liked this shoe the best look wise, but had to opt for the LS version(laces) because the material was just too tight on the top of his foot. And his feet seem pretty normal to me size wise.
I find these shoes to be exactly what they should be & nothing they aren't. A good, solid running shoe that fits like a glove with good, all weather tread for road running. While they aren't my favorite in my stable of VFFs, they are like that old reliable car that gets you to work everyday & yet never gets any afterthought. You don't think about it because it just is perfect.
There really is nothing I would change about these shoes, which says something.
A note on fitting the odd toes....
I have a second toe that is longer than my first, by alot actually. In every other shoe I own, this causes me to need to size up a half size in US(so one number in EU). VFFs are no different. My other toes might have a little extra room to move in the ends but this is my normal mode of operating so my feet are used to it. This causes me no issues in these shoes.
VFF has sizing info on their website about measuring your feet to the correct sizing. It's pretty spot on. Just measure your longest toe(which might not always be your big toe!)
on January 1, 2012
I don't care what your "orthopedist" said about knees and crap with toe shoes. I had people and doctors tell me vibrams were awful. Meanwhile, my shin splints were getting worse, I couldn't run anymore, and my knees (which have Oscgood-Schlatter's) were in terrible pain.
I had gone barefoot on the beach my whole life. So...I got me some Vibrams. I got these because they seemed to have great support on the bottom and also looked to support high arches (which I have, Thanks Drumline!).
The FIRST time I ran in these? No pain during or after. There was some new pain of muscles that had not been used yet (or very much). I have gone from not being able to run 100 feet to completing my first 5k.
What's more is that these things are built well. Aside from the strap my dog tore up because he decided he wanted to chew on velcro, these things have been through everything and survived. They are not like NIkes, meaning they actually last when you abuse them on road, mud, trails, and everything else. No seams or holes have been found. AND you can wash them.
Oh, if you don't want to wear toe socks ( I can't stand the tightness) then just stick your Vibrams in a gallon-sized bag and stick them in your freezer. Bye-bye stinky feet!
on February 17, 2013
First, a review of the shoes. I have Vibram KomodoSport LS for women, and I do not have a single complaint about my pair. I took up minimalist running in the last few months, and went with a style that I hoped would reduce the shock upon my knees (as a life long heel runner). Getting the Vibrams and learning to change my stride (a separate task from getting the shoes) has really made a difference in my running comfort and endurance. The KomodoSport LS are also great 'all around' shoes, good for most surfaces except for the roughest. For its $100 purchase price, I am really happy with what I have. One thing to note is that there are models that have special linings, so if you are shopping for Vibrams you will want to check the lining and perhaps try one that is a size higher to accommodate if that lining is thicker.
All that said, I feel its important to stress a "buyer beware" warning to keep people from wasting money. I don't work for the company or anything, but for those looking for their first pair I wanted to pass on something that happened to my friend when she purchased what she thought were Vibrams similar to mine, and at $40 less than what I paid. Once they came in and she tried them on she immediately she complained of buyer's remorse, and that her shoes seemed cheaply made. It didn't sound right to me, and I felt an obligation to check into it since she had gotten the recommendation for Vibrams in the first place from me. What we found out was that hers turned out to be counterfeit and had almost none of the qualities I told her I loved about my shoes. The description from the seller was right (copied and pasted from Vibram's site), but what she physically got was not the real thing.
First, as it turns out Vibram only sells their shoes through their own website and through 'Brick and Mortar' stores. Meaning stores that you can physically visit, have an actual address. These sites could have a website that they sell Vibrams from, and those will still be the genuine article, but the point is that the store has to be a physical presence. Any doubts, and you can go to Vibram's website to look up the authorized stores.
Secondly, there are times that the shoes will have discounts- in fact my eldest daughter got her Bikila's at 25% off at the (physical, authorized) store because it was to be a discontinued model. She loves them! The thing to watch out for however, is websites that offer shoes consistently for less, or at a wholesale price. Anything that proclaims to be 'direct from the factory' should be a warning to research the company, its physical presence, it's reviews, see if they have a real business phone number and address (not direct to voice mail or PO box). Check with Vibram's site to see if they are authorized.
Thirdly, get your feet measured for proper European sizes, and see if you can physically try on a pair before buying anywhere. This is to make sure your feet and toes will fit well into them. Two people might have a size 10 shoe (about a 40 in European size) but one may have longer toes, and the other may have a narrow foot, making the difference between whether the first should get a 41 to accommodate the toe size, and the other going with a size 40 LS model (with the laces) so that they fit snugly to the feet.
Again, this is only to give you information to make an informed choice- I do not know which third party sellers here on Amazon sell the real thing or the knockoffs (or if they even know which is which, as naive sellers may not be aware either). So my advice if you order online is go the extra few minutes of research to make sure you get the real thing.
on September 26, 2011
After reading a ton of reviews for these shoes, I decided to pick up a pair. I am a man with feet that aren't large enough for the "mens" section of VFF, so I had to go with the womens Bikila LS (size 40). The fit is exactly as measured via their website.
The first time you put the shoes on, it will definitely take a while! I spent a little under 5 minutes getting both of my shoes on the first time. You really have to cram them on. After the first walk/run, they stretch out enough so that subsequent times it isn't so difficult.
Run #1 - 1/2 mile walk + 1/2 mile run. I've heard lots of thing about these shoes causing injury if you do too much too fast. I took my first adventure very easy considering i typically run about 5-6 miles most days. When I got back home I felt just fine. The only bothersome thing was running up hills. You flex at the ankle more with these shoes than in typical running shoes.
Run #2 - 2.5 mile run. I went out for a nice easy run, trying out different speeds and cadences. I did a lot of hills and some stairs. When I got back from the run, I felt pretty good! I had no leg issues at all. The next morning though, my calves were tight as concrete and definitely had a "good" soreness to them. In my standard running shoe I can run 8-10 miles and not have any muscle soreness. It was a huge change to be getting muscle soreness at such low distances! It actually felt good that I'm strengthening more muscles.
So far so good! I'll keep you posted as the runs come along.
on April 10, 2011
I've been transitioning from heel strike running to a midfoot strike, and I was eager to try these as an alternative to barefoot running.
I followed their size guidelines, and the size I ordered was perfect for my foot length, but my high (and very rigid) arches wouldn't let my feet collapse enough to it comfortably in these shoes. Even with the strap wide open, they were tight enough on the top of my foot that they cut off the circulation to my toes. I figured they would stretch, but after two weeks, they were just as tight as ever.
If you have high arches, do not buy this model!
on January 28, 2011
These shoes are incredible. I wore them home yesterday and when i went to get out of the car I looked for my shoes. They were so comfortable i forgot i had them on.
on December 20, 2014
First off, a little about me and why I tried these shoes -
I am 61 yrs young and pretty active. I had a horrible motorcycle accident a few years ago and shattered my ankle. Nothing I put on would stop the nerves being pinched and causing shooting pain with every step. Then I noticed that it was just when I was wearing shoes that this happened. That was what started the search - well that and reading Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint book and him talking about going barefoot on his website. So after I started paying attention to where and when the pain was....I realized these people wearing the Vibrams were on to something. I was highly skeptical of anything that goes inbetween my toes.....but I went ahead and took the plunge because of the reviews and how people were saying it made their walking and running less painful (in some instances they were even pain free).
I am so glad I did.... These are like wearing a glove on your foot. :I have been wearing them for about two weeks now and LOVE THEM!!!!!
I am way more stable on my feet now....I feel like I can grip the ground when moving about on any kind of surface...especially when I hike the woods behind my house where there are sizable rocks and other things that I used to wobble on. I wear these on my rebounder when I work out....I find myself wanting to get outside and walk way more than I used to and I think its because I am not afraid of falling and turning my ankle in the process. I feel more stable because my toes are able to move and grip uneven surfaces and I know I am strenthening the muscles in my feet that have become "less than" from wearing shoes too much. The transition time for me was not as bad because I was going barefoot in my house all the time....yeah I guess I was just a tiny but slow on the uptake on that one....but hey, at least I figured it out.
They fit me perfect....I did the outline of my foot on paper and measured from that. I actually did it both ways, standing on a ruler first and then doing the outline. The outline was 1/4" longer than what I got from standing on the ruler so I went with the larger. They recommend going to the next size if you are in between....which I did. I have a little bit of room in the toes which is perfect if you want to wear socks...which I am doing because its December in the Inland Pacific. The first time putting them on I had some trouble but only because I wasn't getting my toes lined up right. Once you get your toes lined up just grab the loop on the heel and pull them on. The more you do it, the easier it gets. But do it the first few times WITHOUT socks....its easier to figure it out. It feels like at first you can't get the laces loose enough but really its not them getting in the way, its getting your toes lined up and once you have them on then being able to tighten the laces makes them feel even more like a glove.
I would recommend these to anyone who wants to feel good on their feet again.....
on July 8, 2011
So these are definitely comfortable to walk in. I would recommend trying them on in a store first. I wear a US size 9 in womens but the conversion for this shoe put me at a size 10. I have somewhat wider feet so perhaps thats why. They took some time to adjust to..as I could feel tension in my ankle that I constantly injury. However, I do believe that they helped to strengthen my ankle.... I couldnt wear heels for a longtime after my last ankle twist....but these got me back to wearing heals. They have a thick enough sole that you dont feel every thing on the ground....so its feels like wearing flats...but it doesnt have the same thick bottom of gym shoes, so running my not . My feet got so use to these that gym shoes feel weird. All and all they are a comfortable shoe.