I realized, yesterday, it was time for a new pair workout shoes. After looking at Kohl's and DSW I was disappointed to find very few shoes that met my criteria and were in my size. I wanted a shoe that was similar to the pair I replaced, my Pumas. My old Pumas were light-weight, had a thin flexible sole and a very thin heel- the opposite of most running shoes. I liked them because they were versitile. They worked well for weight lifting, but at the same time, I could use them to run or play basketball. Most importantly, and what I was looking for in my new shoes, was the fact that you got a really good feel for the ground.
I decided to look into Vibram's Five Fingers. I spoke to many people who owned a pair, and they all had glowing reviews. I found a pair at Rusted Moon Outfitters in Broadripple. I was able to try on a few styles in my size. I decided on the KSO model, which according to their website is their most popular model.
Putting them to the test.
I wore the Five Fingers for the first time during a workout at the gym today. I was excited to see how they felt and how they differed from my other shoes. The first thing I noticed is how my gait changed. With a thinner sole (about 2-3mm) you feel the ground better. You naturally land more on the forefoot and midfoot and use you calf as a shock absorber. This reduces the pressure on the heel.
Interestingly, the other difference had to do with my toes. The Five Fingers have individual "fingers" for each toe. With the various movements I noticed my toes spreading apart and gripping the ground. The was especially true of my little toe.
I am very happy with my Vibram Five Fingers and look forward to deriving the benefit of barefoot training. However, this type of footware is definately not mainstream and people will stare at you, wondering what you are wearing. But, I am used to that.