Yes! Finally i got hold of one of these Vibram (pronounced as VEE-BRUM and not VAI-BRUM) FiveFingers shoes. I have seen many people wearing it for the SG TITANS training. I got myself the VIBRAM KSO TREKSPORT. Where KSO stands for “Keep Stuff Out” and TREK is “Trekking”? Hahaha.
Its very light, its comfy and most importantly, it has 5-toes slots for you to insert your toes (DUHH?!) in it. Ok, so the last point isn’t THAT important but the main or supposedly breakthrough technology thing about the Vibram is that it makes you feel like you’re running BAREFOOT. AND… barefoot running is seriously very different from running with those comfy and “shock-absorbent” sponge shoes.
I could really do a long post on the history and reasons of barefoot running but let me summarize it up in a few words if i may. You see, for thousands of years HUMANS have been walking, running and jumping and hopping on this earth – barefoot. When Adam and Eve were sent to Earth, im sure God didnt give them Nikes, Reeboks, Adidas etc to walk with. Moving on to an earlier era, the African hunters (who can walk for miles and miles and run buttnaked chasing cheetahs) yes, they too run barefoot. This isnt really “a few words” aint it? 😛
Im sure by now you get where im running at, pun intended. ;P
For performance wise, i had the privilege to run with the KSO TrekSport during the Salomon X-Trail 2010 (which i will tell you more, like really more about THAT run soon). Personally, i didnt quite use the shoe for the whole 12km of the race as i was afraid as it isnt seasoned yet and that i might not be accustomed to running forefoot and the run would be torturous instead of fun blah blah blah. Thus, i lugged it around in my small bag all the way for like 10km. It wasnt heavy at all thus, it didnt feel like a chore. Also thanks to NS Route marches/fast march, whats a few hundred grams compared to 20 kilo worth of ARMY stuffs right?
With an added 2mm worth of rubber sole and midsoles as compared to the KSO(which is 2mm only) , the KSO TrekSport provides great cushioning and protection from the uneven and rocky grounds at MacRitchie. Since its a new shoe still, the toe-slots were still pretty stiff and cant really “grip” over the rocks like how your toes would naturally. But the grooves on the toes were a great substitute for it anyways. 🙂 They were like jagged inwards if you could look closely. Good for gripping onto rocks for rock climbing i must say.
With the KSO TrekSport, running along the last 2km+ route was pretty AMAZING. About 1km of trail and another 1km of road/pavement run was a breeze. With my feet feeling so light & free and the feeling of a little barefootness in the run, i was bouncing and leaping bounds along the route. Along muddy paths and soil, it felt even nicer to run on as its soft and wet. And since its not so thick in terms of material wise, your feet wont quite feel soaked and flooded as you continue progressing in the run.
As i reached the pavement portion of the run, i could feel the difference in my strides as i was running forefoot, compared to running in the trail with uneven grounds and such. I didnt really had time to think of how my feet running movement was. Anyways, along the hot flat pavement surface, i could feel the heat somewhere in the middle of my feet area as the middle portion of the sole of the shoe had lesser rubber outsoles. But nonetheless, it was a smooth run along a flat surface.
At the end of the day, i feel that the Vibram KSO TrekSport is a pretty awesome shoe to run with. However, because it will cause you to run “naturally” forefoot rather than on your heels like when you wear your normal running shoes, some people (i reckon, particularly older runners) might find it awkward and stressful on their feet. This is because the feet and body might not be used to having an impact on the balls of the feet. And with less ankle support that conventional running shoes provide, it MIGHT take you some time to adapt to the barefoot running style.
When i first tried it on (NOT FOR THE RACE), it does feel a little weird. I DO NOT RECOMMEND this shoe to be used for marathons and half marathons as probably because it would take some time to get used to forefoot/barefoot running. And furthermore, with minimal padding for your feet, one MIGHT hurt himself/herself without proper conditioning of the feet to the shoe. But once you get used to it, i’m sure its HEY HO, LET’S GO!
The Vibram FiveFingers is supposedly good for the following reasons:
- Strengthens muscles in feet& lower legs
- Improves range of motion in ankles, feet & toes
- Improves balance & agility
- Improves proprioception (awareness of the position of one’s body)
- Reduces heel lift to align spine & improves posture
- Allows the foot & body to move naturally
- Be as close to nature (without compromising on safety)
But with such a short time running with the shoe, i cant really say it has improved my posture, balance or agility. Or strengthen my feet muscles and legs yet. But what i can tell you is that running with the Vibram KSO TrekSport is truly a very awesome experience. I prefer running forefoot as somehow, it propels you faster as you run. But that’s just me i guess. AND I cant wait to try out this shoe for water sports as well as rock climbing. YEAH!
Additional Info on the VIBRAM KSO TREKSPORT:
- VIBRAM KSO TREKSPORT is recommended for Light trekking, Climbing/bouldering, Running, Fitness (static/minimal movement exercises) & Travelling too.
- It does not uses laces but it uses straps to allow faster and adjustable security and fit to your feet.
- The Aegis Microbe Shield provides protection against odour, staining and deterioration
- Its washable, repairable (the top can be sewn back if it tears) and its to be air dry.
- It comes in Black & Grey, Black & Brown and Black & Red colour combination for you to choose from
- It costs S$209 (as of Nov 2010) at selected outlets. Particularly, at Velocity Shopping Mall @ Novena.
- The VIBRAM KSO costs S$199, add S$10 more and u get double the sole thickness and also bragging rights to the latest VIBRAM KSO range of shoes. 😉
Till next time, Guten Tag!