Monday, January 4, 2010

Five Fingers After Six Months

Well, I've owned a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes for six months now. It was a decision that was both controversial, and amusing, among my circle of friends. Reactions included the following;

- Wow, gorilla shoes.
- You wear them in PUBLIC?

I also had a friend who viewed the following article;

...and asked if my wife had ghost-written it.

To all these critics, I share the following;

This shot was taken at a design museum in Milan -- the home of Vibram Corporation, the maker of the shoes. It was touted as another great example of modern Italian industrial design.

If the industrial design gurus of Milan think its great -- its good enough for me!

Now onto more practical concerns...

First -- despite my original plan to run in these shoes, it didn't work out. My calves aren't strong enough to handle running on pavement and concrete. I've been a flat foot runner for too many years. Converting to forefoot running would require additional classes and training.

Second -- these guys aren't that durable.

From Storehouse

Those holes are from me walking in them on rough pavement in the city. The bottoms of these things are strong. But the tops are not. Also, if smell-o-vision existed on blogs, you'd notice a fetid aroma coming from these things. That would be the sweat of my feet seeping into the skin of the shoes -- and coming out slowly. Still haven't figured out how to wash these guys properly.

Third -- they are still useful for other applications. I wear these for Krav Maga classes and other conditioning classes that I do. For that, these are perfect. They are very light, and they teach you in a very painful way how to do a proper front kick to the bladder. If you've done it wrong, there is no padding to protect your toes from being broken or strained.

I also found out that the Crossfit guys at the same school use these shoes a lot. They swear by them. I concur with them. Doing squats with these shoes, you are more sensitive to wear your heels and toes are, and it makes it easier to put weight on the heels instead of the toes or the balls of your feet.

Naturally -- everyone at the school asks about them. Instructors see my shoes, and chuckle.

Final Verdict -- don't expect miracles from these shoes. They are useful. But they won't solve everything. There has to be other things done in conjunction with these shoes.


  1. Wow looks like yous have taken a beating. I've had my Flow's for almost two years and run in them semi regularly as of late and they haven't gotten torn up that badly, yet.

  2. "Still haven't figured out how to wash these guys properly."

    A good place to start would be as the manufacturer reccomends: "CARE AND CLEANING
    Vibram FiveFingers are machine washable. Use gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent. Hang to air dry. Make sure to keep the KSO Trek, Performa, and Moc away from direct sunlight or heat source while drying."

    Which works quite well for most situations and a dilute solution of vinegar and water has proven to work for many.

  3. "Those holes are from me walking in them on rough pavement in the city. The bottoms of these things are strong. But the tops are not."

    Were you wearing them upside down? :)

    Just not sure how the surface you were walking on would damage the top of the shoe, unless maybe it was sulfuric acid or something.

    ps - love my fivefingers!

  4. The tear on the side of the toe is a pretty common defect. I had the same thing happen to mine from just running around in them in less than a month after purchase. Fortunately it hasn't happened again with the replacement pair.