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I just bought a pair last week. I also am just starting out running. I used to hang around the forums ages ago as Ryokan, but I was training in the martial arts and never quite got into running because it just felt ploddy.
I'm sure a bunch of folks are going to warn me against combining these two beginnings, but these are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They make me wanna dance/run/skip/jump for joy.
I did have some significant soreness on the outside of my shins for a few days after the first run, but no actual pain. I let it subside (and continued wearing the shoes for regular activities) and I'm heading back out there again today for a short one.
I started using my VFF KSO's about 2 months ago and this is how my experience has gone so far:
I have been running for 18 years now and I have never come across shoes like these, so naturally I was curious about them and I do see and agree with what "barefoot" running has to offer. That being said, my experience has not been what I expected it to be. My first few runs had some anticipated issues (shin and calf pain, soreness, etc.) but eventually came a run that changed everything for me. I had pain in my Achilles that I had never felt before and I literally had to limp home. I now only use my VFF's as a training aid by only using them to walk in. I walk a few miles each day in them so I am still getting the benefits that going "barefoot" offers but without the sacrifices that it can require when done properly.
My advice would be to really research "barefoot" running. Understand why you would want to do it and how it can help you and also make sure you understand what it takes to PROPERLY train in these shoes. You can't just put them on and go run like you usually would. The biggest frustration for me was that I had to substancially decrease my mileage and this really frustrated me. This decrease combined with my injury was simply not worth it to me. If you are willing to do what it takes to really get into "barefoot" running I say go for it, but make sure that you really do your homework.
Good luck and I hope you find what works for you!
"WITHOUT STRUGGLE, THERE WOULD BE NO PROGRESS" - Frederick Douglass
"TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST, TOUGH PEOPLE DO!"
I made the switch to Vibram "shoes" a couple of months ago and I don't think I'll ever go back. I had calf pain for the first week or so, but I absolutely love them now. I do recommend a pair of socks with toes for anything over 10 miles, but other than that I love these darn things! My Avia's have been sitting in the corner ever since I received the Vibrams!
Oooooh - I have to be the dissenter here.
I bought my VFFs some time last spring. They are cool and fun and feel neat. Unfortunately you apparently have to have the right shape foot to wear them. For instance, if you have Morton's toe, they probably won't be comfortable. Me - my toes curve slightly to the outside and although I love wearing my VFFs for sprint workouts, the fit means that over 2.5-3 miles I have blisters underneath every toe.
Most of my running is done in NB100s now. I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting the NB Minimus.
As far as the training, they are murder on your calves! I now have calves of steel! LOL Take training very very slow and easy, only wear them once or twice a week at first and no matter how COMFY you think they are do not run over about a half a mile the first time! If you are already used to low hell-toe drop shoes you will have an easier time.
Thanks for your post.
My wife has been bugging me to try VFFs (why, I don't know), but I have a pronounced Morton's toe. I have wondered about that issue, having thrown out toe socks because they didn't fit my feet.
I'll save the $$ and avoid the VFFs.
"Victory through attrition!"
Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03
The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00
I have a pair, but do not run in them; I use my VFF for errands, walking around the house and yoga. :-)
adult running life commenced: March 2009
2012 Rock n Roll USA Marathon 5:28:53 unseasonably hot day, full sunshine, sunburned and dehydrated during race
Omaha Maraton 5:17: __ yeah, new PR! Too bad the brain got in the way and slowed me down! ---recycled glass finisher medals.
April Fools 5K 32:13.7 age division: 28/71
7th half: Kansas City Hospital Hill 1/2--this thing is tough, but the heat/humidity were tougher: 2:45:43
8th half: Park 2 Park 1/2-New PR 2:21 and change
St. Louis FULL Marathon (my first!!!) Hilly, hilly, course full of turns 5:24
Sullivan Bros. Veterans' 5K 30:10 New 5K PR
4th half (5/1/10) --ran injured, DUMB move.
Sullivan Bros. Veteran's 5K/10K (11/2010) 1:07:17.7
6th half: Vegas half (12/2010) New PR! woot woot. 02:27:58
St. Patricks 8K (Wash. D.C.) (3/2009)
1st half 3:04 (5/2009)
10K 1:17 (10/31/09) HOT, humid, Kaua'i
3rd half: Vegas 1/2 (2:34:48) (12/2009)
I will live my life; life lived in fear is not living. ~~me
What is ridiculous is paying the price for the Vibrams. Seriously, how much do you think it really costs to make a pair of those? And the cheapest most basic ones are $70?
I think if you're starting out running and using them you can slowly work your muscles and ligaments up along with your other conditioning and that's not a bad way to do it. When you move away from very cushioned running shoes to the barefoot method that makes things difficult and painful for a while if you try doing too much too soon. I'm still not convinced we were ever meant to run on pavement/concrete, and and interested in seeing how barefoot running on this surface will eventually affect us.
Rock the Parkway 5k 3/27/10 37:40.6
Mother's Day 5k 5/9/10 33:19
Walk/Run for Isaiah 9/18/10 4.4k 37:26
Harvest Moon 10k 10/23/10 1:08.50
Great Santa 5k 12/5/10 33:22
Carlsbad half marathon 1/23/11
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." ~Albert Einstein