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Vibram FiveFingers

by ViTo • September 3, 2009 1 comment

Farà un parell de mesos, el següent article sobre calçat esportiu i córrer descalç va arribar a la pàgina principal de Digg; fou la primera vegada que vaig sentir a parlar de Vibram i el seus nous tipus de calçat. Donat que acostumo a córrer uns 11 kilòmetres vàries vegades per setmana i noto el desgast que comporta per les articulacions dels turmells i genolls, d’entrada vaig trobar el concepte de córrer descalç força interessant. Tot i això, resulta difícil de creure que les sabatilles esportives amb càmeres d’aire i tecnologies diverses puguin ser perjudicials. Al cap i a la fi, tothom les fa servir!

A partir d’aquell moment, en un període de menys de dues setmanes vaig trobar diversos articles defensant l’ús de sabatilles minimalistes. Aquí n’hi ha uns quants (en anglès): the 4 hour week, Mail Online, CrunchGear, Wired, the Daily Show, i fins it tot la revista TIME va premiar aquest nou tipus de calçat com una de les  millors invencions del 2007.

Aquí teniu una curta entrevista que va tenir lloc el passat 18 d’agost al Daily Show. Parlen sobre una tribu mexicana que corren descalços més de 100 km sense parar, i ho fan sense lesions:

Tal interès em va cridar l’atenció i em féu reflexionar. La veritat és que quan era petit anava descalç tot el dia. Sens dubte era el més còmode, però fa tan de temps d’això… què en diuen la gent que s’ha comprat unes “bambes” Vibram? Per sort, estan disponibles a Amazon, on vàries persones se les han comprat i han deixat comentaris al respecte (tots positius).

I noticed most owners are initially reticent (like me); running injuries, pain or just curiosity leads them to buy into this new barefoot trend; after an initial adaptation period, they simply love their Vibrams. I was so intrigued that I decided to join the FiveFingers club; After a quick visit to the official website (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/), I learnt they were available in the Sports Chalet from Huntington Beach. After all, there’s no way I am buying something like this without physically testing them first. A couple of hours later, there I was, with my brand new “shoes”…

Hobbit shoes Vibram FiveFingers Sprint

So here’s my take on them… I’ll admit at the beginning they feel kind of funny, and most of the time, you can definitely see people staring at them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, since they are certainly noticeable; but who cares!?
The attention is granted, but reactions are diverse; some people simply find them horrible (my roommate started laughing when he saw them for the first time), while some others think they are cool and inquire about their name or where I got them. “Are they some kind of water shoes?“, “Are they for climbing?“, “They look comfortable, are they?“. Even my girlfriend hates them; although with a little bit of luck, I might be able to convert her 🙂 .

Somewhere online a guy was comparing them to the feeling of wearing gloves instead of mittens; it sounded funny but now I actually think it’s a pretty accurate comparison. When you walk, you can actually feel the ground, which turns out to be a nice feeling. Try to think of it as when you walk barefoot in the beach; isn’t it pleasant to feel the sand on your soles? Obviously, asphalt or concrete is not the same thing, but you get the idea.

As soon as you put them on and try to walk, you’ll realize you cannot land with the heel first (as we are used to do), so you try to use the balls of your feet; kind of like walking on the tips of your toes. It feels a little bit unnatural at first since you tend to overdo it. However, after a bit of practice, the feet will land almost flat on the ground; it just happens that the front does it a fraction of a second earlier.

I read some people were concerned about them smelling. The truth is they are quite open so your feet don’t feel that hot. I already washed mine a couple of times, but it was not due to the smell (and I live in hot Southern California); I just wanted them to recover that bright shiny red color 🙂
Probably, a cold weather would be a bigger inconvenience for this type of open shoes; I guess that’s why Vibram created the KSO and other models which cover the whole foot and offer more protection.

I’d like to emphasize there is an adaptation period (which is clearly stated in the box). Don’t expect your feet and leg to be comfortable with them right away. If you haven’t used your feet muscles properly in a long time, don’t expect them to strengthen overnight. At first, your calves and feet arches will feel sore for a few days, but a couple of weeks later the transition should be complete; that is why, the more you wear them, the more comfortable they feel. At this point, I own them for over a month and I use them as often as I can. I tried running with them but I haven’t gone over 2 miles yet. Even running with regular shoes, I can feel my stride is different than it used to be. I ran over different surface types and so far I only had a problem with loose gravel on top of a hard surface such as concrete. Although I still don’t know whether my feet should get tougher or it’s simply not the appropriate surface.

My main concerns are regarding their durability. Not that I encountered any problems so far, but being made just of a thin rubber sole and some elastic cloth on top, they might give up on me sooner than I’d like. Another worry I have, is the lack of protection for the feet; I wear them regularly to the gym and I could see how some unfortunate accident could be fatal for my toes.

The bottom line is I’m really happy with them; so I guess I’m just like most other Vibram owners I had previously read about 🙂 . If you have doubts, I’d definitely encourage you to give them a try.

Isn’t it ironic how much we are moving forward only to realize some things we just did better in the past…?



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  1. 通販 スニーカー

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!