Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vibrams FiveFingers Update: Airports and Running up that Hill - in winter?

Well, after months of successful walkthroughs through security at international airports in VFF's with no footwear removal requests, i finally hit an airport - Phoenix Arizona - where the staff said "those are classified as shoes; take them off" Is there no end to the in(s)anity? Is it ridiculous to see thin-soled foot wear as possible explosive material? is there a rationale for this? or have these folks jumped the shark? So just to note, at least one airport is catching wise to VFF's. Drat. What's your experience been? On the plus side more positive running experiences:

Of late i've been trying to gate my runs to be able to maintain breathing in through my nose throughout. I dunno, but they sure feel less stressful, easier, when this becomes the limiter for just transport runs (getting from a to b). Anyone else tried this? The pattern seems to go so well with the forefoot touch of VFF running

And what about hills and running up them? The VFF barefoot run pattern also seems to make hills less obdurate, smoother. I know that VFF is just enabling this style; it's not because of the shoes. I know i know. But. Without these i'd nay have discovered these changes.

As to those changes no doubt most of you have seen this comparison video on an evil treadmill, but in case not, here goes again.

Winter Wet and VFF Strategy?

I have a question as well: what are VFF faithful going to do for footwear when winter hits? Whether that's winter in Seattle/UK where the rain it raineth every day (and of personal interest), or in the Great White North where it's just dam cold (at least there are rubber footed snowshoe boots that can be brought to bear on city streets - effectively cheap moccasins with some tread). But what are you all doing? Post a comment and please let me know.


Thanks to Justin for the early alert about women's KSO Trek's making it to The Rest of Us in early 2010. If any gals have experience fitting the boys Treks, please share.

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Dr. Bob said...

I am looking into Vivo Barefoot shoes, but have heard they run short, which means traveling to NYC to try them on (I wear a men's 13, and live in Philly); they are also super expensive. I just ordered a pair of Teva Sling King kayaking shoes, they are $50.00, and are basically a high quality aqua sock made of neoprene with a wide toe-box. No padding, no high heel (a cheaper, more shoe-like VFF Flow?), so I'm optimistic. I'm not familiar with the snowshoes you referenced, but you've got me curious.

Thinnmann said...

I have done a run on a cold wet day in VFF's and my toes froze. Not a good idea. As a part-time barefoot runner since the summer of '04 - way before the "VFF/Born To Run Boom" - I highly recommend minimal XC shoes for winter training. Saucony Kilkenny have been the best for me. They are minimal, flat, and very flexible. And your feet won't freeze.

Kris said...

With regards to VFF and UK winter, I'm currently getting soggy cold feet on a regular occurrence!

I'm very tempted by a pair of the new KSO Trek, which may help a bit with the thicker heel and kangaroo leather?

dr. m.c. said...

Dr Bob, in canada long ago at Canadian Tire you could get cheap white suede moccasins, no lining. you'd put felt insoles in 'em and wear big sox. they were great for canadian winters. the shee shee ones had some rubber on the soles, too. for dry snowy winters, awesome. for muck, not so much.

I am not a fan of vivo barefoots. i have dealt with the company directly. I hate their stores which have a small print post purchase by the way excange only no refund "but your web site does returns" "oh that's the web site" - i'm also po'd because last year they built all their boots for women two sizes small, and this year they're advetizing larger sizes but conveniently don't have any in stock online or in their shops.

so while some folks who have them rave about them, the company in my experience is a bunch of a. holes. And yes they are short but wide, so again folks i know who have them (men) love them. if you can find a size you like you may love them too despite their arrogant company people. two fingers well up.

When the temperature hits 4 or 5 c i'm not sure what longevity anything like flows will have - do the slings have thicker insoles? or maybe you think the mitt rather than glove experience will keep the toes warm?

those Sauc's look really cool. don't suppose they do a goretex version for the wet winter weather folk??

i wore salamon gore tex xc trainers last year till i couldn't stand the stiff sole a minute longer but the gore was grand

Kris i understand the pull to the kso for winter. if you do it let me know what you find. remember that between the toes it's still fabric just like the kso toes and that tends to be wear the wet gets in that close to the sidewalk...



Richard Chignell said...

I'm going with Vivo. So far i have had excellent experiences with the company. I love fivefingers but all options are too cold for the Munich winter. I will report in on the Vivo as an alternative.

dr. m.c. said...

My bet Richard, is that you've dealt with Vivo's online company which is excellent and which vivo off loads all their web orders to this third party fulfillment group. that company is way better and way nicer to deal with than Vivo.

It was this company last year that i worked with to confirm that Yes, in fact, vivo was saying that their larger size women's boots were in fact two sizes smaller than posted on the boxes, and that they worked with vivo to update the web site with more info about fitting, but vivo refused to change the sizes on the web site even after that.

so yup online fulfillment company great, but they ain't vivo :)

if you dealt with the store and had delight i'm surprised amazed and happy for you.


dr. m.c. said...

by the way the company last winter that did the online shoe fulfillment was the

unlike the condescending, arrogant mother ship


Dr. Bob said...

Thanks for the quick response. My reasoning for the Teva Sling Kings was basically that (1) they are cheaper than VFFs, so if they aren't particularly durable (or minimalist enough to encourage proper form), then I am only out $50, as opposed to 90 for VFF Flows, (2) the shoes would allow other sock options besides ultra-thin toe socks, so I could try to squeeze my feet into them wearing thick wool socks.

Also, I went to see Christopher "Born to Run" McDougall at a library last night. He was wearing KSOs, and said that he runs completely barefoot on asphalt for about 9 months a year, and only wears the VFFs December-February, or when on less predictable terrain.

Justin said...

Thanks for the props, mc!

As for the airport security, TSA here in the States seems to be hit or miss at a rate of maybe 50/50 "take them off!" or "those look like socks, move along." I've had both happen to me. If I recall correctly, I haven't had to take off my VFFs in any international airports yet.

Also, it seems KSOs tend to "pass" (if you're wearing pants) more frequently than Classics.

As for wet VFFs, I've heard of at least one person who claims running in wet Flows can work -- the neoprene soaking the water and then heating it up to your body temp.

dr. m.c. said...

Hi Justin, good to hear from you.
As for the flows - sorry that just cannot be freezing temps of wet - in my experience the heating up the water only works sort of if you're running, not walking or waiting for a bus. It especially doesn't work if it's just starting to unfreeze in the great white north and you hit snow slush and especially not if you're wearing sox because it's so dam cold.

i want goretex treks!! now!!

thanks for the TSA update. we should keep a list!


Unknown said...

I was just researching cold weather VFFs and I came across this site. I bought my first pair of VFFs this past March (regular KSOs). I live in a mountainous portion of Virginia in the USA. Hills all around. I started running last year and at this point my speed has improved (it took about 2 months to get my speed up after making the switch). Love my VFFs and hate wearing anything else.

I was looking at some KSO Treks for the winter so I could keep running in the colder, but non-snowy days. I just don't know for sure yet.

In a few weeks I will be doing some international travel and I was curious about my VFFs and security. I have two stops in the US before going to Haiti. So we will see how that turns out.

dedlily said...

I think the real problem with wet feet in VFF is the thin sole. basically the fabric "sucks" water from the ground, even if the pavement is smooth and barely wet because there is a very thin layer of rubber underneath the foot. It happens only between toes, where fabric goes all around and only the bottom part is rubber, and very little water on the road is sufficient.
with Treks is better due to a thicker sole. I think if they could cover the side of toes with rubber it would be much better.
or Gore tex?


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