Well, actually...I have ten fingers. And ten toes, which I put into my FiveFingers. We ran 5K yesterday, me and my ten toes and FiveFingers. My ten fingers are still wiggling in the air with spirited excitement. Confused? You need a visual.
Ten toes in my Vibram FiveFingers. NOW do you get it? I knew you would. And yes, I really did run a 5K yesterday. Clocked in under 30 minutes, too which I'm fairly proud of. It takes some time to get used to running in FiveFingers, and I think it's now safe to say that I'm getting used to it. Can't wait for the ground to thaw so I can really test 'em out. It's so hard to run long distances on a treadmill. BO-RING! But I digress. Back to the FiveFingers. The above is what they call the Bikila model, made "exclusively for a more natural running experience." And I'd say that's exactly what it does—for me, at least. As obvious as this sounds, it really does feel like you're running barefoot. While you think that might be uncomfortable, it's actually not. But you can't just slip on some Bikilas and go. You have to ease into it, which I've been doing since I got them for Christmas. A little bit of running here and there, a lot of walking. Circuit Sculpting, too. This is all because you have to get used to the forefoot striking method, rather than the heel striking style of running (which is what we all typically do in a standard pair of running shoes). That's why the bottom of the shoe looks like this:
Lots of pads here and there to protect the "26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments" inside your foot. Yeah, and you thought it was just a foot with toes and a heel. Your body fooled you!
So here's what I've learned (so far) about running in the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila shoe:
1) Go one size up if you fall in between, and measure according to the instructions on the FiveFingers
website. They've got it down to a science. And not all Vibrams run the same, so be sure to check out
their Size Conversion chart, too. Also trustworthy.
2) You really do feel barefoot. It's true! I liken them to water socks. Or sturdy flip-flops in terms of
comfort, though they far surpass both in support. Believe it or not, FiveFingers do support your feet.
Just enough, really. That's what makes them so cool.
3) They will draw attention to your feet. Every single time I wear them, someone makes a comment. It
ranges from "do you like those?" to "what the heck are you wearing?" to "how far can you run in
them?" to "your feet look like frogs' feet." to...well, you get the picture.
4) They don't offer much lateral support. I have to be really careful when I wear them in my Circuit
Sculpt class because they make side-to-side movements a little tricky. But really, you don't run that
way so I expected as much.
5) If your feet sweat, expect to feel it. Probably my biggest complaint, but really...it's not that bad. I
feel it more in these shoes simply because I don't have socks on. But you can find socks with
individual toe slots, so I probably just need to buy a pair.
6) It's super easy to wash them. Warm water, gentle cycle. Air dry. Done and done.
7) Start out with about 10% of your typical distance and build from there. You know the rule about too
much too soon...it applies to FiveFingers, too. Take it easy, don't expect to jump right in. Your body
will need to adjust and it will. If it doesn't, just back off and take it even easier.
8) I barely even notice the toe factor. It's like that strap on a flip-flop sandal. You know it's there, but it
doesn't bother you.
9) You'll feel it in your calf muscles, so it's going to be fairly essential that you stretch them out every
single time you slip a pair of FiveFingers on or off.
10) Hold on to the little tab in back to successfully get your foot in, then adjust your toes. Someone
else might tell you a different way to get them on and off, but I find this works the best for me.
I am certain that I've still got much to learn, so I will keep you updated as I progress. Until then, I feel compelled to share yesterday's mid-afternoon snack. Jason and I met up at the grocery store salad bar for lunch, and I purposely ate a smallish salad because what I really wanted was a smoothie. I knew that I had the ingredients for one at home, so when I sat down mid-afternoon to write this here post—I ended up indulging in what can only be described as one of my best creations yet.
I don't like to brag, but...man. I can't get over it! Ingredients? Two tablespoons each of plain Greek yogurt and Peanut Butter & Company's Dark Chocolate Dreams, one cup of milk, one small banana and one teaspoon each of Chia seeds, crushed almonds and natural vanilla extract.
Sssllluuurrrppp. And gone.
Question: Do you run in FiveFingers? What tips can you offer?