The first time I laid eyes on a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, I’ll admit there was a whole lot of pointing, chuckling and “monkey feet” comments involved. Then JK gave me the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall for Christmas, and I couldn’t put it down. I immediately ordered a pair of VFFs, and I haven’t looked back since.
I’ve always wanted to love running, but actually hated it. Blubber and panting aside, I could never even run a mile without shin pain, knee pain, ankle pain, lower back pain, or, since I really messed them up playing handball when I was growing up, rolling my ankles. With the Five Fingers, I can run pain-free (except for the exploding heart and burning lungs, of course); it’s basically like running barefoot, the way evolution intended.
It seems counterintuitive when you’ve been conditioned to think that the more padding, the better, but the second I tried them on, I was in heaven. I don’t want to wear any other kind of shoe; I even bought a second pair in black to wear when I’m not exercising. I haz munkeh feetz and I’m proud of it!
My favorite part is being able to run without the threat of twisting my ankle – this highly scientific illustration should tell you all you need to know:
The only problem, which should be pretty obvious, is that the thin soles don’t really work for real hiking. I love using them for trail running and smooth hiking trails like Rattlesnake or the Issaquah Alps, but last week we tried the VFFs on our TNAB Lite hike to Snow Lake. The hike itself is very easy, but I forgot how rocky the trail was. I felt like I spent way too much time and energy staring at my feet to make sure I didn’t step on any of the really evil, jagged rocks and not enough time enjoying the hike. JK did much better than I did, so maybe I just lack confidence (as usual) in my steps.
Now I’m on a mission to find some sort of trail running shoe that’s minimalistic enough (but with a little more protection than the VFFs) that I can wear it hiking without twisting my ankle.