Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vibram Five Finger Vs. Asics Motion Control Shoes

Those who have read my postings on the Vibram Five Finger shoes have noted my conflicted views on the product.

Today I had an experience which, unexpectedly, pushed me a little more on the side of a VFF supporter.

Before I move on, I need to add a little context. On Thursday I did a sparring class at the Krav school. A fellow student who way outclassed me round kicked my thigh really hard. It hurt then, and hurts even more now two days later. Every time I kneel down, my left thigh begs for mercy.

I went to a Conditioning workout at the Krav school. My instructor has gotten into the habit of making us run a 1/4 mile in the streets around the school several times during the one hour workout. I noticed today after the fifth time around that my feet and calves felt fine. Granted, the dozens of burpees, multiple tabata drills, and box jumps, sucked a#$. But as we ran through a dirty alleyway in the Tenderloin multiple times, my feet and ankles felt OK. The asphalt & concrete didn't kill my feet and calves the way I had expected it to.

I had to squeeze a run in later today. Since I felt fine jogging in VFF's during the Conditioning class, I decided to see if I could run regularly with them. So I split the workout in half. I would run the first mile and a half with the VFF. I'd finish at home, switch into regular running shoes, and run back out for another mile and half with my regular running shoes; Asics motion Control shoes with an off-the-shelf sole insert.

As expected, I had to be careful running with the VFF's, and had to take it slow. The asphalt and concrete were hard on my calves and feet. But it was not as severe as last summer during my failed experiment with forefoot running. I finished my mile and a half, got home, swapped shoes.

THAT was when the pain began.

To my shock and surprise, the very spot on my thigh where two days before I had taken a nasty round kick began to hurt every time my foot struck the ground. From what I can tell, striking with my heel in my Asics activated the very same muscles in my thigh that were still traumatized by that kick I took a few days ago.

Running in the VFF's, however, I didn't notice my injured thigh. Maybe I was fixating on landing properly with my forefoot. But more likely, my calves were taking the bulk of the impact when I was running with the VFF's, sparing my thigh muscles the pounding they would have gotten if I had worn my Asics for the whole run.

So what happens now?

It's a risk, and I'm going to have scale back any big ambitious running plans during the next few months, but I think I'm ready now to try and use the VFF's as a regular running shoe. The mile and a half I did today went alright. Maybe my feet & calves can handle two miles tomorrow, three miles next week.

Now if only they made a VFF KSO that wouldn't rip at the seams.


  1. No doubt vibram five finger shoes is comfortable and flexible on foot. I tested it many times and I was amazed to its performance. This is a great running shoes.