Monday, March 8, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers Performa Sizing Note: Go UP

This is a wee note on sizing Vibram's newish Women's Performa. This is the all-leather rather slipper like VFF that's like driving gloves for one's feet. Indeed, they only have the rubbery sole bits on the toes, forefoot and heel - hence making them designed "for indoor use only."

Suggested uses are pilates, yoga and "fitness" - whacking a heavy bag is pretty cool too: no straps on top of the foot to get in the way of a good smack. For me, it's wearing indoors when i HATE wearing shoes but the floors are too cold.

The thing is, Vibram suggests that the sizing is the same for the Performa (the guy's version is the Moc) as it is for its Classic and Sprint (for reference, here's a very long post on sizing/fitting VFF's).

Personally, after trying a pair the same size as the classics/sprints - which are generous on me - i've had to go up a size from that. By the numbers, these are the largest fit VFF's i've put on.

I thought trying these that the left foot was fine, and the right foot, the big toe, was giving me the same feeling of tightness that i was experiencing in my initial KSO's - the experience that after months of wear caused me to go for a bigger size when it seemed that my feet got bigger after months and months of wearing vff's (discussed here). It's just one of those things that i KNOW if i say oh it will stretch oh it's just me will mean i end up not wearing the shoes - so back they go to see if the bigger size is better. It was.

Sole News. Not only did they fit - they were a bit snug even so to get on - but in a good way. Another fit plus that surprised is that these slightly larger foot gloves feel better on the bottoms of the shoe than the smaller, more closely fitted ones. it's hard to describe but these are different shoes than the regular VFF's. Regular VFF's have a one piece rubber sole running from heal to toe, and around the arch. In the Performa/Moc, as shown in the image above, the rubbery stuff is separately covering toes, forefoot, heal

In the intial (smaller) pair, i really seemed to *feel* the rubbery stuff on the heels. It wasn't particularly nice - it actually felt a wee bit unevent. When i put the larger size on and did up the elastic a bit, everything felt immediately more familiar and normal. Happily the same size Performa was working both bare foot and with Injinji sox. the one down side is the bit of slack in the heal i've grown accustomed to in the classic is back. sigh. still not the best fitting models of the line. The KSO's -for me anyway - still rock as the best fitting vff's

Stores. This experience surprised me since it had been the kso/flow that needed the size change - not the sprint/classic. Oh well. This kind of try it out and swap as needed is something that makes dealing with a store a Nice Thing and for me, that's what makes city sports in boston a fave vff test spot (i get nothing from city sports to say that - it's just been a good store experience - if you have a shop you like for vff's give it a go; if you're in Oregon, kayak shed is where to head - again, no recompense for saying they just do good service).

If you have a fave VFF shop, please post a comment.

Trying One On. As i said in the previous post about my ill fated efforts with fitting a men's Trek in the current absence of a women's Trek, the leather of these Performa's is delightfully one might say buttery soft - and reputedly highly durable. My road bike shoes are made from kangaroo leather and they have ruled resiliant for a decade (yes sad but i like to buy things that are good enough to only need to buy once, whenever possible). But despite how delightful they are, it's worth perhaps considering trying on a couple sizes rather than assuming that the Classic size will fit you.

Idiosnycratic or General? I can't give you rock solid advice here because it seems my feet no longer follow Vibram's recommendation which says that the flow/kso would be a size smaller than one's classic/sprint. WHile that's exactly how i started, i now take the same size in a Flow and KSO that i do in a Classic and Sprint. And to top that all off it seems the performa's need to be one size up from those. So *IF* you find yourself in the same boat, and would like some lovely loungers or actually want to skip the matt for yoga (like yoga in a hotel room), then travelling with a pair of Performas/Mocs is going to be far more condusive to packing than having to bring a mat as well.

I downward dogged on the hotel carpet quite a bit and was pleased that yup, one really could go without a mat: these things stick in a way that barefeet don't - they slide - and they slide more on carpet when sweaty and sheesh hotel carpets/gyms can be kinda grotty, no? So functional? yes.

Whether i use these as i hope - as a general purpose indoor vff - more than i do the classics right now remains to be seen. But they look and feel pretty durn nice.

Notes to b2d. Please let me know if you've tried Performa's what you use 'em for and what your sizing experience as been.

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