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12856 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Jul 8, 2011 9:17 PM by Tri4MyLife 1 2 Previous Next
fusatia Rookie 4 posts since
Feb 18, 2009
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Oct 19, 2009 2:48 PM

Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?



I do apologize if this has been asked before (I searched and found nothing though) but I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on these Fivefingers "shoes" from Vibram? I have only been able to find positive comments about them! It seems almost too good to be true. I know someone who has them (he hates shoes) and I've personally been on a backpacking trip with him (4.5mi in, 4.5mi out) and he wore them the entire time. REI's website has 16 reviews, and the worst rating was a 3/5 (only two of those, the rest were 5/5).


So, I decided to take the plunge and shell out $85+tax for a pair of my own (the 'KSO' or 'Keep Stuff Out' model)... But I was wondering if anyone has ever trained in them? Used them in a tri? I'm looking for advice on adjusting because, if it goes well, I would like to wear them almost exclusively (assuming they live up to the hyped health benefits and are comfortable).


If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a link :-)


Thanks for your comments!!

  • Stewart22476 Rookie 3 posts since
    Oct 13, 2009
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    1. Dec 1, 2009 9:31 AM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I use them for track workouts.  They really force (teach) you to run properly and not heal strike.  If you buy the concept of POSE and CHI running techniques (and I do), it gets you back to a natural, more efficient form of running.

  • caesar_august Pro 85 posts since
    Aug 3, 2009
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    2. Dec 1, 2009 9:56 AM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    REI sells these? I need to find a place that sells these.

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  • The Scott Amateur 35 posts since
    Sep 22, 2008
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    4. Feb 25, 2010 6:39 AM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    Just keep in mind. You foot is probably not used to running barefoot all the time. Don't go to hard to fast in them. Work up your leg muscles that are now working, that were not when in regular cushioned shoes.


    Try walking a full day in them, then 2 and so on.


    Next do a light run on grass or soft surface for about 15-20mins twice a week.


    If your going to be running on pavement, after a month or so, add a light run focusing on form on the pavement. Alternate from VFF & your normal shoes, until you can go a full run in your VFF comfortably.


    Trail runs are awesom in KSO's. I wear my Sprints every were.


    Good luck



    And Yes people do do 26.2 in them. The only problem i see for a tri is in T2 when putting them on from the bike. They are not a easy as shoes, but after a while you do get used to it. It not really the VFF either, its the face that your toes are so used to being together and bent. VFF seprate your toes and straighten them out. Witch makes in turn for a nice sore first 2-3 days in them

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  • caesar_august Pro 85 posts since
    Aug 3, 2009
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    5. Feb 26, 2010 2:46 PM (in response to Stewart22476)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I just wanted to say thanks for the link.  I was able to find the shoes on the site (ordered a pair for myself and my wife).

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  • Ms. Chita Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 3, 2010
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    6. Aug 5, 2010 11:14 AM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I just bought a pair and love love love them. Although I went hard in them, from the time I placed the shoe on my feet until I took them off. I have no complaints.

    My feet and legs were sore in places that were not usualy sore, but overall I am happy with them.

  • Rehab United Pro 42 posts since
    Feb 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Oct 12, 2010 2:49 PM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    As a triathlon and running coach, I get this question all the time.  Whether or not the shoes will benefit you depends entirely on your foot - if you have flexible/mobile feet and calves, the shoes can be a great addition to your training (in this case I agree to use them during track workouts or shorter runs).


    If you have a rigid foot (and/or tight calves), I would not recommend these shoes.  Coaches recommend stability shoes for a reason - because the shoe must do what your foot can not.  A mobile foot fits the ground and goes through the proper biomechanical chain reaction to allow your shins, thighs, hips, and everything else above them do what they are supposed to do during gait.  Rigid feet stall this process and, thus, something else above the chain (shins, knees, hips, back, etc) take on extra force, which leads to pain and/or injury.   "KSO" is an attempt to force your feet to work naturally, but if you don't have the natural tools, they will just hurt.


    Hope that makes sense - please write back with any questions.



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  • drmiles85 Pro 84 posts since
    Nov 5, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Oct 13, 2010 12:52 PM (in response to Rehab United)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I just picked up a pair, and really like them.  They're certainly different, but I think that's a good thing.  I hope they stretch just a bit though, because the 2nd toe isn't quite the right length... yet.


    I consider myself to have pretty rigid ankles and feet (because if I try to bend them a little bit wrong, I feel it for a long time), but have really had good luck - whatever that's worth after 2 runs.

  • Moriates Legend 292 posts since
    Jul 19, 2008
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    9. Oct 14, 2010 6:08 AM (in response to Rehab United)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    Rehab, Good post.  I think that to many people are going with the vibram that have foot issues.  The other thing is that you need to work them in slowly.  Don't plow through a 5 or 10K the first day out.  You will pay the price.



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  • Weightdog Rookie 3 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
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    10. Nov 24, 2010 3:49 PM (in response to Moriates)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I bought mine this summer to train in the sand at the beach- they are wonderful. I also run on my treadmill with them. There was an earlier comment about the Pose method of running, and on the treadmill you can really hear the difference between a heel strike and the pat-pat-pat of feet landing eveningly. I have had very good calfs, and did suffer some soreness, but was able to boost distance quickly. The funny thing was when I went back to shoes, they felt heavy, mushy, and I really had to work on my balance. I really like the feeling, but have yet to put them to the test on harder outdoor surfaces.

  • ChristopherM of Boston Amateur 22 posts since
    Aug 23, 2010
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    11. Feb 8, 2011 8:52 AM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I read a wonderful article not long about, 'mythbusting' the barefoot running trend.  I want to say it was in Competitor magazine, but I can't seem to find it - I'll do my best to dig it up.


    In the mean time, I've tried my best to listen to both sides of the argument, and it all seems to boil down to this:


    The shoes are the result of a trend set off by the book "Born to Run."  The idea, as someone mentioned, is that barefoot running forces you to run "correctly," and eliminate potentially damaging habits like heel striking.  How does it do this?  By eliminating the artificial barrier between your body and the environment, allowing direct feedback from what you do and how you run.  In other words, it's virtually impossible to heel strike barefoot (i.e. running with minimalist shoes like the VFF) because it's too bloody painful.  If you run incorrectly, your body will hurt, tell you, and you’ll have to stop and correct yourself.


    How does this translate to our world of triathlon?  Well first, it’s going to set back your running game.  Almost to the beginning.  You are basically going to have to start at zero and retrain yourself to run “correctly” wearing VFFs (and it’s going to be a lot more difficult learning to run in VFFs than is was your first time out).  I’ve watched my friends go through this, and it’s incredibly frustrating for someone who was used to running 10+ miles without much effort to all of a sudden struggle to run 1 mile.  So don’t think you can switch to VFFs and pick up your tri training where you left off.


    However, there are a lot of questions among professionals as to whether or not endurance training and racing in VFFs is a good idea.  There seem to be an equal number of discomforts and injuries related to running barefoot as there were running with traditional running shoes.  Many people who’ve tried them complain of wear and tear to their feet, and no one I know has been able to run long distances (half marathon+) comfortably in them.  Many professionals seem to believe that the human body, with certain exceptions, just isn’t designed to be able to run barefoot on asphalt & concrete for long distances.  The only way the average Joe is able to accomplish such feats is with artificial assistance in the form of: running shoes.


    Personally, I’m not going to buy into the hype just yet…

    -Christopher M

    Boston, MA

  • ChristopherM of Boston Amateur 22 posts since
    Aug 23, 2010
  • ijen0311 Amateur 9 posts since
    Oct 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Mar 22, 2011 7:59 PM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I have long toes... they don't work so well for me.

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  • PopsCampbell Rookie 1 posts since
    Oct 17, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Mar 24, 2011 5:16 PM (in response to fusatia)
    Re: Vibram Fivefingers - Thoughts & Opinions?

    I bought a pair of VFF's last autumn and started adding short distances into my training. My calves were sore, so I was glad I started with only a mile at a time. I would run 1 mile with VFF's, then change to my regular running shoes and complete my planned run. I found that my running form changed quickly and the pain in my knees went away during this period. I also increased my pace while training in them almost right away. I now run 4-5 miles at a time in my VFF's and enjoy every step. When I run in regular shoes I still land on my midfoot and the knees are still pain-free.


    I've noticed four drawbacks:

    1. I have not yet been able to run longer than 5 miles. I expect I can continue to build up the distance over time. I still use traditional running shoes for my longer runs.

    2. I couldn't use them outdoors in the winter because it was too cold this year. That set back my buildup from #1 above.

    3. Over time, the toes have shrunk a bit. Now it kind of hurts my big toe. :(

    4. They take a lot more time than regular shoes to put on, so I do not use them for triathlons. But, like I said, I no longer heel strike in my regular shoes so I'm still getting the benefit.


    I just bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves because of the open toe box. They feel really good and I can put them on faster without toe compression. I'll probably not wear my VFF's much anymore.

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