Yes, I bought a pair of those creepy feet gloves, the Vibram FiveFingers - Bikila LS model to be exact. You may or may not have seen them, and although they’ve been around for years they’ve only recently become mainstream popular. Well, every Friday (at least I’ll attempt every Friday) I will update you on my FiveFinger training progress in a fun feature called, you guessed it, FiveFinger Friday!
So, I had looked into these shoes for a while before buying them and the last push really came from running at Disney, there were quite a number of people using them. Not only that, but when you’re wearing your medal home on the plane it sparks quite a few conversations, yes that was partially intentional. While waiting to pick up our bags plane-side after the flight from DC to Pitt, I was talking with two runners who swear by FiveFingers. The one guy said he had nothing but knee pain and plantar fasciitis when he would run, until he switched to these funky shoes. That was really all I needed to hear- I have sometimes severe knee pain, the result of many years of dancing. So, I picked up my pair at REI during their 20% off member's sale, yay!
I couldn't get home fast enough, I just had to try them out. The moment I got in the door I put them on and started up the treadmill. I didn't run very long, I was just curious to see how they felt. These shoes force you to change your running form, stride and all, which makes your body work different muscles. Instead of heel striking you land more forward on your foot, which limits the impact to your knees, definitely a plus for me! When you push off you end up rolling through the ball of your foot and using your toes more. It’s a change that you’ll notice when you’re running, but it feels more natural and fluid.
I’ve been told by several people to use these shoes as a training aid and not a full replacement for my regular running shoes, so I plan to heed that advice. You also need to work into them slowly. Vibram recommends not running 2 days back to back when you're starting out and to run only 10% of your normal mileage, if that. I decided that on Wednesday I'd wear them for a portion of my run and then switch shoes. I ran for about 10 minutes in the Bikilas, I didn't want to push it and risk any injury. I was over-thinking my form for a few minutes, granted on a treadmill your form is skewed anyway, so I took a few deep breaths and just ran as my body intended. My form self-corrected and everything felt great, despite the minimal footbed, the Bikila LS has great support for my high arches.
I plan to put some more mileage on them this weekend hopefully outside if the weather continues to cooperate (we went from torrential rain mid 40's, the low 30's and snow, to mid 50's this week, Mother Nature has a serious problem with her sense of humor!). Check back next week to see how it goes!