I’ve always been fascinated with Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) ever since the first time I saw it. At first I thought it’s crazy because back then I always thought that shoes should be thick and soft (cushioning). Fast forward, I started running, and learned all about my feet, and eventually, shoes. Even my first post on this site is about picking the right shoe for the right feet. When VFFs came, all that became obsolete—“as long as you have feet VFFs are for you,” ultramarathoner Ronald Declarador states.
When I got to Metropolitan Club (where the VFF launch was being held) and I was asked to pick the VFF that I like, only one model caught my attention—VFF Sprint. There was the Classic and KSO (Keep Stuff Out) but I only had my eyes on the Sprint—simply because it’s Red! Right after fitting and saying that it’s “perfect” was actually the only time I noticed the other models. 🙂 (I actually didn’t want to remove it at the time but I had to wait until the launch was over before I could be reunited with it)
I couldn’t thank enough Barefootwear Inc. for giving me the pleasure to test run a VFF Sprint. Honestly if it didn’t rain heavily after the launch I would’ve ran with it towards the office some 5K away! But that moment had to wait further than planned.
Fresh off my CamSur Marathon (yes, the full 42.2K) I can’t stop thinking about using my VFF Sprint. I was actually supposed to use it then, but some last minute details forced a change of heart so since that day it was stuck on my mind. The following Wednesday was the perfect time to stage a recovery run, from the office to BHS some 6K away, where another media launch awaits. Whenever I can, I go to BHS on foot because the time it takes to travel there is just about the same as running there due to heavy traffic, but the latter is more eco-friendly. 🙂
Fitting my VFF in the confines of the office was weird. Suddenly I can feel everything under my feet—it was like rediscovering I have feet! I didn’t realize that we humans still have so many nerve endings on our feet. Imagine touching the pavement with your hands—that’s how much sensation you feel in a VFF!
Like anyone who has used VFFs would tell you, this is not a shoe that you can just buy and run! You have to unlearn wearing shoes and “devolve” to barefoot. This would probably be your lesson #1 and for me it took some 500 meters to adjust to (which I guess was pretty quick). Initially I was very weary of landing my heel (being a natural forefoot striker) so I was landing only the balls of my feet, but naturally got tired easily so I adjusted to midfoot striking. That was when everything felt more natural—and the rest was history. I finished my 6K easy run with an average of 5:28/km pace—faster than when I was using my shoes!
I’m not trying to convince anyone here to switch but personally I love my VFF experience. For the first time I can feel the road, literally. And because of that you learn not only how to properly land, but also where to land! That in itself would likely reduce your risk of injuries, but the benefit of working just about every muscle in your feet is amazing. You’d feel sore after your first run but you know that it’s just your muscles being worked like never before—leading to better resilience against injury and possibly even better performance on any activity that involves your feet. It’s no wonder barefoot runners are naturally fast!
Most of us were brought up with something on our feet and it’s probably too late (or dangerous) to go barefoot, but VFFs allow us to be as close to it in the safest way possible. The only thing closer to actually running barefoot that I can think of is by running wearing only your socks on your feet—and I don’t think anyone would try that. And don’t think that those über flat shoes can mimic the VFF experience—my office shoes are as thin as it could possibly be but still doesn’t feel the same as my VFF Sprint.
As a shoe VFF Sprint is very good as it provides very good traction, durable, and obviously very light. It is quite comfortable that you may forgot you’re actually wearing a shoe. It fits snugly and the hook and loop closure ensures no slip during runs. But the best part about it is that it fits all foot types, regardless of arch and landing strike, although sizing could be a challenge for those with small or huge feet. Traditional thinking though would dictate its price point being a bit on the high side considering the amount of materials used, but the quality and eventual benefits would make it a reasonable buy. Overall verdict: Excellent!
Here’s some information about this particular model:
Adjustable hook-and-loop closures cross over the instep and surround the heel for a personalized, secure fit. A thin abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric follows the contour of the foot for comfort. And a flexible, non-marking TC1 performance rubber sole is razor sipped to enhance grip over a variety of terrain.
Men’s Colors: Red/Black, Khaki/Putty/Clay, Castle Rock/Navy Blue/Grey
Women’s Colors: Black/Black, Chilli/Peach, Slate/Palm/Lichen, Fuschia/Grey/Lilac
Sizes: Men’s 40-47; Women’s 34-42 (based on European sizing)
Caring Instructions: Machine Washable, Air Dry
Best for: Light Trekking, Climbing, Canyoneering, Running, Fitness Training, Martial Arts, Yoga, Pilates, Sailing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Surfing, Flats Fishing, Travel
If there’s anything that I don’t like doing in my VFF Sprint, that would be walking—aside from not liking landing on my heels (which is how walking is done naturally), I tend to run while wearing it. 🙂
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