Vibram

Vibram Five Fingers Running Shoes

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Many an Engineer will agree that the human foot is a marvel of biomechanics. Evolution provided us with a near perfect interface for our body to meet the Earth below us. Many will argue that our pursuit for better function and fashion has been ruining our feet as well as other joints. If you belong to a gym you have probably seen someone wearing some variation of the Vibram Five Finger shoe.

They are available in several styles. The glove-like appearance raises interest in everyone. The sole of the Five Finger is minimal yet enough to protect your foot from abrasion. The soles of the KSO model that I have are also razor sipped to provide traction much like the ridges of our own skin.

I have been wearing the KSO model for about four months now and I am constantly asked “ What are those,” or “ Are those things comfortable?” My response is always the same, “For me, they are the most comfortable shoes I have, and I wish I could wear them all the time.” The truth is these are the only shoes I have ever been able to run in for any length of time. I wear them to the gym 3-5 days a week and run cross-country 5-10 miles a week as well.

It does take some time to get used to exercising in them. The muscles in my calves have never been more sore than after my first 10 minute run in these fleet feet. It gives credibility to the claim that modern shoes limit how many of our muscles we actually use. More and more studies are giving credence to the benefits of barefoot running. After progressing to longer runs in my KSO’s I find I am no longer sore. My running technique is also much improved because of these shoes. I no longer strike my heals like I did in conventional running shoes. The result is a smoother stride with less impact on my joints.

Another interesting thing has happened to me while wearing these shoes. I am much more aware of were I am placing my feet. It is similar to Mountain Biking, where you are thinking several feet ahead about were you want your tires to be. I find myself scanning the trail as I run knowing were I want each foot to land. In traditional shoes I was less attentive to my
foot placement.

So how would I rate these shoes? I have found that these shoes are well suited to all types of exercise, indoor and out, and for any type of casual wear. I have worn them doing everything from cutting the grass to camping and even out to a casual dinner with friends. I feel the wash and wear materials lend themselves well to outdoor activities. Just machine wash and hang up to dry. Five Finger shoes are light and pack easily.

Other models have more aggressive tread patterns for even more protection. Sizing is important and these shoes may not fit everyone. Sizing in most styles runs from 9.5 to 12 in men’s and 8 1/8 to 10 1/8 in women’s. Kids sizes are also available. The pricing is reasonable, $75 to $125, and they seem to be holding up well under my 250 pound frame. I find myself wanting another pair with more aggressive soles for my other outdoor adventures.

Related – Vasque Juxt Hiking Shoe

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

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