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Sneaky Sir 12-01-2012 12:08 AM

Vibrams/Running Shoes
Well lately, I keep telling myself that I need to get back into shape, eat healthy, the whole nine yards. But I can never motivate myself to workout and stick with it. Always excuses: shoes suck, sore everywhere, back pain, etc. But frankly I'm just sick of being out of shape (could stand to lose a healthy 30 pounds and tone up), constantly being unable to catch my breathe no matter what I'm doing (even sitting I always seem short of air. I'll be frank this post will be a little lengthy.

Little background, haven't excercised at all really since early high school (about 6 years ago). Diet sucks, but I'm trying to work on it but I can't tolerate green foods, another topic for a different time. Was involved in a Snowmobile accident 7 years ago, broke both femurs. 7 weeks ago I had a rod removed from my right femur (from that accident) in an attempt to eliminate the constant intense pain in my right leg and knee. So far it feels the best it has in 5 years, so I don't want the pain to return because my legs and body are too weak and straining it.

I'm in need of a good pair of running, workout, and possibly biking (might buy a bike finally once winter is over). I figured I would finally start working out by beginning with running (it's free and I can do it anywhere), as the nearest gym is 30 minutes away and I can't afford to spend money on gas and membership fees, plus I don't have time for the extra commute. I want to buy products that will help eliminate some of the pain I'm having and help me want to workout. Once I get a running routine setup, I'll start transistioning into weight lifting and more fitness workouts, but gotta start somewhere and my legs and lungs are what need desperate help. I don't plan to do any real long distance, I want to eventually to be able to do 5-10 miles runs a few times a week once I can.

A little location info: currently I live out in the country in central MN (winter time, hopefully see some snow soon), nearest town in 10 miles away, so mainly hard gravel roads to run on (about 3 miles to tar). Plenty of nice flat terrain though and fresh air :)

I've been doing a little searching on here and the great Google and came across the Vibram shoes. I do like the idea, because I do prefer barefoot walking compared to shoes as I can never find ones that fit just right, and walking that way is more comfortable to me.

Who here all have them and what are your thoughts on them? I'm specifically interested in feedback from running on gravel/dirt roads, pavement, and also just as a workout shoe (as these are my intended uses). Anyone have model recommendations? How are they with sweat? I'm like a leaky faucet :p How do they fair against wear and tear from hard surfaces and what's a reasonable life they'll survive?

Pricewise they're almost the same as others I can find locally than besides the options that just plain suck unless I make a trip to a larger town where they'll have Asics, Nike, etc. on hand and a large selection with better shops, but I don't believe there are any local running stores to check out. I'm fine with ordering them online if needed.

If you would recommend against me getting Vibrams, what other shoes would be on the list to consider? I need to get shoes regardless before I can start running anyways as I don't have a pair of shoes that will work without breaking my ankles and knees in the process. I'm thinking running shoes might be an appropriate Christmas and New Years present.

HokiePB 12-01-2012 12:34 AM

I have two pairs of the Merrell barefoot shoes (trail gloves and road gloves) and I love them. My girlfriend has several pairs of Vibrams FiveFingers and is equally pleased with hers. We run trails in them and wear them hiking, and she wears a one pair of her fivefingers to work when the weather is warm. Both the Merrell and Vibrams shoes are incredibly durable, and since they have zero padding between your foot and the ground there is very little to actually wear out other than a tough Vibram sole (the Merrel's have Vibram brand soles in them also).

Now, having said that I can't really recommend you start running in a pair of barefoot shoes - especially if considering the injuries you're recovering from. Most people take a while to adapt to running in shoes with zero cusion and zero heel rise - if you heel strike in those shoes, even a little bit, you will injure youself. Think of barefoot shoes like the vibrams as really thick calluses and you'll have an idea of what they feel like. There really isn't much between your feet and the ground. You can feel everything, and running on a surface like pavement mixed with gravel can be painful even if you're used to the shoes.

The best thing that you could possibly do to start a long, injury free running career would be to find a local store that specializes in running shoes. Not athletic shoes - running shoes. A good store will have close to 100 different types and will let you try as many as you need to ensure a good fit. They should let you actually run in the shoes (possibly on a treadmill in the store), and should do a gait analysis to determine the type of shoe that you need. There is a running specific store here in Blacksburg that will let you return a pair of shoes for their full value in store credit up to a month after their original purchase if you decide they don't feel right.

After you're set up with an quality pair of running shoes (Brooks, Asics, Mizuno, and New Balance are all good brands) spend some time running and decide if you're still interested in trying barefoot running. If you are, Newton makes a great line of shoes aimed at helping runners transition from conventional shoes to "barefoot"

gainman 12-01-2012 09:12 PM

i run in semi barefoot shoes, as they are not true zero drop, but very close to 0.

New Balance MT10

New Balance Shoes Men's Barefoot Footwear Minimus Barefoot Running Mt10 MT10OB

I have over 1k miles on them already and you would think they are brand new still aside from being dirty. Mind you that I am 6'4'' 245 (all muscle baby) so my shoes get the hell beat out of them

Keys_JR 12-01-2012 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by CJOttawa (Post 2549557)
Two points:

1) the "barefoot running" fad isn't all it's hyped to be; look at other running shoe options
2) see a pedorthist and get a video gait analysis, maybe orthotic insoles

I could barely walk on account of foot pain. The pedorthist started with slow mo video of me walking on a treadmill followed by recommending certain types of runner and not others. (I had no idea there were different types of support, denoted by a grey rubber section on the inside arch)

Are you a roller? That's what I've seen the grey bars used for, my father got the anti-roll new balance shoes and hasn't had nearly the foot pain he had prior to them.

More related to the OP: I have a pair of five fingers and I love them. I've always liked the feeling of the ground on my feet, I just didn't like the pain of a sharp rock or twig going into my foot. I got the komodosport and they have a thicker sole to them then the other models. I tend to run and walk on my toes and that is more what these shoes are intended, a lot of pain in my feet has gone away since I've started using the five fingers, and more specifically thin soled shoes (I wear puma trend shoes with a nice thin sole typically).

I won't say that they are the be all end all of shoes, but I really do like mine.

Urb 12-19-2012 09:23 PM

If you are used to the typical shoe that has a lot of support it will take some time to get used to running low support or minimalist. Over time you will prevent more injuries cause you develop the strength and support your body was missing. Typically your running form will get better. Like anything it would be useful to get your stride assessed.

Have fun with your training. Nothing better for your fitness than running.

matt 12-20-2012 09:18 AM

Damn. I wrote a long whole reply, but accidentally refreshed the page...

To sum up what I said. Get Vibrams. If you love being barefoot, there is no substitute.
I have had my first pair for at least 2 year and they held up great. I just got my new pair because the old ones where finally falling apart. The big toe ripped and the sole was coming unglued from individual toes. Again, that was after rough use, including dirt and trail running, weight lifting, and just in general rigorous use.

Just when you do get them, start off running slowly. One mile at first, if that. You will feel it. Listen to your body, when you feel you are recovered enough, do another mile, maybe just a tad longer. Pretty quickly you will recover quicker and then can begin doing longer distances.

Let me know if there is any other question I can answer for you.

Millar156 12-20-2012 10:10 AM

This is a pretty good resource.

Shoe Advisor | Runner's World & Running Times

You really need to look at the wear patterns of your shoes to see how your foot strikes the ground to determine what shoe would be best for you.

Surf2Live 12-23-2012 01:29 AM

Get the Vibrams and read this: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen: Christopher McDougall: 9780307279187: Books

senghing27 12-23-2012 06:13 PM

There is a ton of helpful advice in this thread. The best advice is to go to your local running store and have them fit you for your running style/foot type.

I'm still trying to grasp this whole running thing. I don't enjoy it where I go "Hey let's go running for giggles.." but more so "I'm running to get in shape and become a better me."

I understand there isn't a large selection of running shoe stores near you, but go to your nearest one whenever it is convenient.

Have them fit you, make mental note of what felt the most comfortable, thank them for their time, and then leave.
If that isn't an option by any means, try the one calculator/chart that was posted earlier or use this chart by roadrunner.
Shoe Categories

I do own a pair of vibrams, they are super comfy to run in, but I only use them for trails/grass compared to the road. The pair that I own are called KSO. The amount of padding/cushioning is pretty much non-existent. It's great for running on the road, but after 7 miles or so, I tend to chaff a bit on the inside of my one toe.
So if you're going gravel or harder surfaces, IMO it would be best to go to the models that have more padding. My pair is currently about 2 years old and still in pretty fantastic shape. With sweat, they stay put pretty well. In water, that's another story :p
My current pair

The pair that I want to get for trails and gravel
One last thing about vibrams,
Just guessing on the size will be an issue because you want them to be spot on.

My favorite pair of shoes and there is about 60+ miles on them (1 half marathon, 2 5ks, and runs around the block)

Now to my second point, I have to somewhat agree with CJ, the barefoot running thing is a bit of a fad. Running in vibrams isn't for everyone. Everyone has different styles of running, personal preference, and so on. I don't use vibrams for everything I do. So while I may not be a "barefooter" like some, I am a proponent of the low drop/midstrike, and dabble into the minimalist realm.

So here are some recommendations from things that I personally use, but then again, this is my body mechanics and not yours.

For running:

Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2 $69ish
Buy Mens Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2 Running Shoe at Road Runner Sports
-low drop
-cushioning in all the right places

Brooks Pureflows $80ish (got them on sale for $50)
-cushioning feels right to me

For working out:
Nike Zoom Elite ($50 at a running expo)
ASICS GEL-Kanbarra 5 ($40ish on sale, usually around $70)


So at the end of it all, here's my advice.
-Make the drive to the nearest running store and see what you like/fits well
-Buy a low drop shoe to get you started in running, and to adjust into the vibram/minimalist shoes
-Decide if running is something that you want to commit to, decide if vibrams are something you want to try/invest in, and then grab a pair.
-Get in shape.

Good luck!

TylerAA 12-23-2012 08:38 PM

I have a pair of the Merrell barefoot shoes, and i'm thinking of playing in them this coming spring :P I would suggest getting a pair!

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