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My VFF Experiment

Freedom! Fresh from the store.
I'm not a fan of a lot of shoes. I tend to think of them as something of a utility. I don't get attached to shoes often. In my life I've pretty much had maybe a total of twenty shoes. I had two pairs I always wore in Elementary School, two pairs I always wore in High School (maybe four total as I tend to break them often), and when I got to work I always had three shoes in rotation. I've had a lot of shoes bought for me as gifts but most of the shoes I've bought myself I've worn out until I needed to buy new ones. Recently I've been running barefoot which is awesome, but the soles of my feet were getting sore after running just a couple of kilometers. I then decided that I would get me some Vibram Five Fingers just so that I can run more. This post is about the one week I've been using them.

First of all they're just awesome on the feet. I feel a lot more of the ground wearing these than with any other shoe I've ever put on which makes it worth it. One hour in these things brings me joy in just walking in them. I feel the ground, I'm lighter on my feet, and it generally makes me feel happier walking around than with "real shoes". They have become my default footwear of choice whenever I go anywhere. I'm glad that I work at Google where there's not much fussing about footwear.

This however is not for everyone who aren't used to walking around or running barefoot. I'm still adjusting with these on as it does change the way I run compared to when I'm actually without shoes. However it does let me travel longer distances without worrying too much about what I actually step on. My number one problem running barefoot is the fear (and pain) of stepping on debris. That's not one to take lightly especially since I'm not familiar with my immediate surroundings.

I've run three times already in these: twice in the suburbs where the sidewalk pavements aren't built the same all around and once in an urban setting. The suburb runs actually are very enjoyable since it's easier to just mind your own business and generally go around without worrying too much about cars and other pedestrians. The urban run makes me a lot more conscious only because there's a lot of people either running, walking, or staring at my feet. In total I really enjoyed running in them and I intend to run a lot more.

One of the things to look out for when running in these is maintenance of the shoe and general care. These will stink if you don't clean them often and let it dry out regularly. Even if you wear the Injini socks (which I do when I intend to run at least two kilometers) the sweat and the friction will cause all sorts of nasty smells to actually rub into the inside part of the shoe. I've already had to wash them after five days and I think they'll have to be washed at least once a week.

I'm very thankful because it's already saved myself at least a hundred or so dollars worth of health care costs as I accidentally stubbed my toe and dragged the top part of it on pavement the first time I ran in them here in the suburbs. That caused the top fabric to tear which is the bad part, but the good part is that it actually shielded my toe nail from being mutilated and ultimately injuring myself. That first run really made me a customer for life and I'm convinced that all the shoes I'll ever buy should have the Vibram soles in them. I'm already thinking of buying another pair just so that I can alternate.

All in all I think they are a very worthy investment. I'm going to be running more and more in these (as well as purely barefoot) and I will be enjoying the running more and more. I'd love to be able to explore more of the surrounding suburbs and just generally enjoy running with the "as close to barefoot" feel as I can.

This is one happy customer -- and a customer for life at that.

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