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Archive for the ‘Non-Political’ Category

When I was a kid – and my family can attest to this – I spent what can only be described as an inordinate amount of time running around barefoot. From the backyard to the the street to the empty field next door, you could find me sans shoes. It was a sad day when I stopped walking around barefoot outside – mostly due to the stuff I would see getting dropped on the ground around where I was living (don’t ask).

Enter Vibram FiveFingers, which I’d seen before in an article on the internet and thought looked like some weird H.P. Lovecraft monster that had swallowed the wearer’s feet. Then they started popping up on the feet of people working out at the local gym and I became intrigued. Eventually I broke down and bought a pair because over the years I’d heard great things about barefoot running and the benefits it could have for your feet and legs – not to mention knee joints (the mention of which perked my ears right up since I had torn my ACL several years before), hip joints, and even you’re back. But the downside was that there was a significant chance you’d end up injuring your feet on stuff like little rocks. Basically, your run could end up being more of a bizarre firewalk dance down the street. So I ended up with a pair of TREKSPORTS because I decided I not only wanted to wear them in the city, I wanted to see what it was like hiking in them.

The first thing I should say is that I wish I had gone to Vibram’s website to check for available colors and ordered a pair of the female version in black. I have fairly thin feet, which means men’s shoes are usually too wide and with Vibrams that’s especially true due to the fact that the shoe has to almost fit like a second skin on your feet. There’s a bit of room on the sides, not so much that it’s noticeable if you’ve never actually worn the shoes before, but after buying a pair of women’s BIKILAS (which I will review momentarily) I realize I should probably get a pair of the women’s TREKSPORTS when I get the chance.

That being said, I by no means hate my TREKSPORTS; they are fantastic shoes. I’ve hiked in them twice (not much, I know, but it is something) and they are great hiking shoes. I could grip with my toes when going both up and down inclines, and was not just confined to using the heel or very rigid toe of my shoe on any rocks or toeholds I could find. I felt like I had more control descending, which ended up being a Godsend the second time I went hiking as my knee was in screaming pain by the time I started heading back to flat ground.

One critical thing I will say about the TREKSPORT is that it is not a great shoe for running if you’re going to be running on concrete or asphalt. I’ve tried it, and trust me, while the thicker sole may be great if you want to go trail running, it doesn’t do you any favors running on asphalt; it feels a bit like you’re stuck in limbo between really using every aspect of your foot – including your toes – and having too much of a sole to effectively do that.

Overall, if you are a trail runner or hiker looking for a minimalist shoe that will protect your feet from sharp rocks and sticks while still giving you the feeling of running barefoot in nature, these are your shoes.

Now on to the BIKILA, which I bought when I realized the TREKSPORT didn’t make a good “city running shoe”. The first thing I noticed when I put the women’s version on compared to the men’s was that there was a much more snug fit; it really felt more like a second skin because it’s a narrower shoe. That was the first thing that I liked. The second thing I liked was that I could feel the ground better when I was running and I felt like I was using my toes more. I absolutely hate running (it’s true) but I really liked running in these shoes. They were built specifically for running and it definitely shows.

They are not a good shoe to wear if you’re going to be on rough terrain. As the sole is thinner than the TREKSPORT, you will definitely feel much more poking you in the foot than you will likely find comfortable to deal with. But as an urban running shoe I’ve loved wearing them when running around the track. If you have ever wanted to get into barefoot running these are great shoes to do that.

The final shoe I’ll talk about is the KOMODO SPORT. I’ll just start out by saying I love these shoes. Of the three varieties of Vibram FiveFingers I’ve tried, they are by far my favorite ones. The heel strap is a nice addition as it gives you a better overall fit. Some people have said that the inner sole (the first time that Vibram has in included a removable one in their shoes, from what I gather) decreases the barefoot feel that you get in their other shoes, but I can honestly say that is not the impression I’ve gotten from wearing them around.

While they are designed as a multisport shoe, I’ve been wearing them much like a casual sneaker and I can’t speak highly enough of them. They’re one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, though I do wish the upper breathed a little better (they have a tendency to keep your feet very warm). One thing to note is that the size you wear in this design will probably be at least one size bigger than what you would wear in the BIKILA or TREKSPORT (I learned this the hard way).

This is by no means a comprehensive review of these three shoe designs. I just wanted to give you a general idea of what each shoe’s strengths and weaknesses are. I love the whole idea of minimalist footwear and I’d like to share that with everybody else.

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