It was time for new shoes, and given my problems with walking through the past season, getting more of the same concerned me. Besides, I've not walked enough in those shoes this year to have worn them out.
So I spoke with Danger. For the last year, he has worn Vibram Five Fingers. At first, I thought he was caught up in a fad, but when he had his physician write a letter to the Air Force to endorse Danger wearing the Vibrams during PT, I suspected more was up. After a chat, I went with that feeling.
He came up to visit last Sunday, and after lunch, we went over to try some on. At $100 a pair, I wasn't interested in learning by trial and error. I'm glad I took him, because I might have never pulled them on my feet without him. He first told me some of the tricks. He also repeated that the first time was the hardest.
I worked up a sweat that day putting on those shoes.
He and I walked about three miles that afternoon. He was in his pair as I think he wears nothing else anymore. For the rest of the week, I wore them a couple of hours at a stretch for two or three times a day, depending on the day. I (usually) walked a couple of miles each time I wore them.
Yes, it takes some getting used to being in them. If you're a runner, and you're enamored of the barefoot running thing, take a couple of weeks to let your feet grow accustomed to them. You really are going barefooted in the Vibrams, and that means not only are different muscles at work, but the entire foot and leg dynamic is different.
Your stride is going to shorten. You're not going to land and roll over your heel and onto your toes as you do in regular shoes. Your forefoot is going to carry more weight and apply more pressure as your step. The jarring that you feel now and that you're running shoes absorb will (mostly) disappear. Your arch is going to become a shock absorber.
So, big fellow, if you cannot run five miles barefooted now, you might want to wait a couple of weeks before trying it in the Vibrams.
Now, one thing. They look different. If you're sensitive to wearing something that looks different, these shoes are going to be a problem for you. I value function over form by whopping amounts, and they could look like shark fins for all I care, just as long as there's a chance my feet will feel better.
Let me be clear: I do not give a rat's bohuncus what they look like.
Yes, that's a battle scar on the one shin from a brief encounter some over 20 years ago.
By them looking so different, people are going to want to talk to you about them, just like when I wear the kilt, especially on airplanes. (Just how many times have you had a complete stranger walk up with a smile and ask you, quite seriously, about your underwear?) I can only imagine what's going to happen when I wear them both.
Now, you might be wondering just how well I like them. That's a fair question. I think they're going to work for me, and while they are pricey as shoes go, they're about right for good running shoes, and Danger runs everywhere in his now. Let me answer you this way: I went out yesterday to get a second pair so I can rotate to let them adequately dry. (That's good form with all running shoes.)
And yes, I can put them on now as quickly as any other pair of shoes. My toes are learning their places, and they're also learning that they can move independently. That's a good thing to feel again. Even Bigger Bunion appears to have it's on place in these shoes.
My only sadness here, if I have a sadness at all, is that Zappos.com does not carry these shoes, not yet, anyway.
Oh yes, the model. Komodo Sport. I chose it because (1) that's what Danger wears, and (2) the name made the protracted adolescent in me giggle.