As runners out there know, the type of shoes used is very important. Chi runners advocate for shoes that allow for better balance and give you the most flexibility for a mid-foot strike. Since majority of running shoes focus on shock absorption for heel strikers, it became challenging to find shoes that did not have a lot of that shock technology.
I wanted something light, malleable, and without a thick padding around it. I considered Newtons, but they were outrageously expensive. Then I discovered the five-finger shoe after reading "Born To Run" . When I read the chi runners blog a few days ago, Vibram FiveFingers was listed among the shoes recommended, as well.
Intrigued, I tried it on the next time I was at a running shop. It was a challenge putting it on- slipping every single toe into the proper slot. But as soon as I looped the strap around my foot and took a few steps, I was hooked! I bought the Vibram KSO model in black (yes, they do look like gorilla's feet).
"As soon as I looped the strap around my foot and took a few steps, I was hooked!"
I woke up earlier than usual, excited to run on the treadmill with the Vibram. I gingerly put the shoe on, taking the time to fit each toe into the shoe (after a few times it becomes easier, as I was told at the running store). I walked around the house for a few minutes, then performed my warm-up exercise. I got on the treamill and began walking to further warm-up. Man, this is easy, I thought. I was walking faster and lighter. There was a slight tightness at first (I thought the shoe was a size smaller for me), then it eventually disappeared as the shoe began to stretch during my warm-up walk.
I increased the speed on my treadmill and begun running. I controlled my speed as I observed the different sensations I was feeling. My feet landed on the treadmill with more balance. My ankles were not wobbling and I was lifting my heel higher because my feet felt lighter. Midway through my usual run, I noticed that I was not breathing as heavy. My breathing was actually closer to my normal breath. I was not feeling tired like I normally would during this point of my run! When I entered the last phase of my running, I felt I could go another round, but I did not want to push it (it was still a new shoe, after all, and I did not want to risk an injury, as I am preparing for my first 5k).
By the end of my run, the shoe actually felt like second skin. I did not have the usual post-run discomfort on my ankles or on my waist. When I reviewed my stats, I actually ran a half-mile longer with less effort.
Overall, the Vibram was not disappointing. But it is my first experience, and I hope that running with it would only get better.
I will run on the track or on the streets with it next weekend and see if the experience is any different.
(guest blogger of Running-Girl)