After 5 weeks on back order, I finally received my Vibram FiveFingers KSOs in the mail. I ripped the box open and a new rubber shoe smell surrounded me. I lifted them from the box and slipped my toes inside.
They felt odd at first, but not in a bad way. They just fit snug like they were designed to fit. Until then, I had only worn the traditional running shoes to the gym. Walking in them for the first time felt as if you were only wearing socks. My feet adjusted to the fit of these unusual shoes within five minutes. Vibrams FiveFingers felt great.
I’ve been punishing them with every WOD, and they’ve stayed with the challenge. I even switched my CrossFit warm-up to include more running, and wow, forefoot running is a beast the first time. After your first time forefoot running your calves will be sore over the following few days, but it’s bearable. Or you may already be a forefront runner, I was not. Be sure to read the caution note inside the box about taking your time adjusting to Vibram FiveFingers (VFFs).
The first few times I completed WODs with double-unders hurt. It was my fault, I was too anxious to wear them for every WOD instead of gradually adjusting to them. Stupid, I know, but I am a dude. What do you from me?
Anyway, these little “barefoot” shoes amazed me how much difference they made.
VFFs launch conversations between people who don’t even know one another. People will stop you to ask what they are, how they feel, and why am you’re wearing a pair. Some who even sport them will quiz you as to why you run in them because they have no heel cushion. It’s interesting.
Most people either roll their eyes, or they tilt their head when I mention I’m switching to forefoot running. (Caution: Tell a marathon runner that forefoot running is more efficient and faster, you may find yourself in a tussle. But don’t worry, most marathoners are bony; just pick them up for a light, quick set of OHSs. Just kidding . . . sort of.)
My family and I were vacationing in South Dakota, just south of Mount Rushmore. We stopped to grab a meal for our little ones and we were standing in line when a lady who had just walked next to me started giggling. She tapped me on the shoulder and asked what I was wearing on my feet. I told her, and she replied, “What will they think of next.” ”I think they wanted to tug on my toes”
Now, her husband and their troop of kids were staring at my toes. I think they wanted to tug on my toes. I didn’t think the food line was an appropriate place for an impromptu VFFs fashion show. The shoes speak for themselves.
On the same vacation we pulled off the road and steered into the parking lot of the Rushmore Cave. We bought tickets for a one-hour tour deep into the cave. I had never worn my VFFs in a situation like this before. Since the sole appears slick I worried that I’d slip on a stalagmite and crash on my ass in the cave.
But no, they performed flawlessly. Though, I did notice the people wearing sneakers were the most unstable navigating the dicey, damp, and dark underground terrain. The ability to use your toes for balance and coordination without worrying about injuring your soles brings an entire new perspective to getting around. Score 1 for VFFs, 0 for sneakers.
I bought my VFFs to wear for stability during CrossFit WODs, but discovered a whole new angle on shoes. These badboys are strapped to my feet whenever I can because they’re so versatile. In the gym, on the trail, and exploring in the dark are only the beginning of my VFFs adventures.
I hope to see you on the trail dressed in a pair. Errr, and in running clothes.
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