Friday, July 16, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila: Learning about the Name behind the Name & Fast Shoe Look

Bikila: Ethiopia's Barefoot OlympianAbebe Bikila was a two time olympic marathon winner. In 1960, he ran barefoot - the way he had trained - when the shoe sponsor Adidas didn't have shoes that he liked. Cool is that (a) he won (b) he broke the record (c) it's the first gold medal for Africa in Olympic history. He won gold in the 64 olympics, too.  What's amazing is that he died young, at 41, four years after a tragic car accident that left him a parapalegic.

Vibram has a new shoe out designed specifically for runners and for running. They could have called their new shoe anything. They've called it Bikila. When you know something about Abebe Bikila's remarkable story, Vibram picked a pretty potent person to honor. As such, however, the shoe has a lot to live up to to be worthy of the name.

This is a first post quick look at this new shoe that was initiated at the 2010 Boston Marathon.

First point - to me, and chatting with birthdayshoes Justin - they fit more like the classic than the kso with slightly more shallow toe pockets. At least one other reviewer finds them more like a "second skin" than his other VFF's. Not sure there. They are the same size no. for me as the KSO - but i'm going to check a size smaller just to confirm this is right (see what i mean by prelimnary review?)

The shoes are also stiffer in the foot bed and  more contoured than other VFF's and the inner thickness of the foot bed is more Flow like than KSO. The lining is very nice. very comfy. The tread is also intriguing with additional little tread bits for traction. The uppers are designed to look like the uppers of the kso, but they're actually one piece of soft silky like material.
Another unique to this model feature is the strap in: there is one strap across the top, that pulls to the inside rather than the outside, but there is no strap running to the back. So these need to wrap around the foot like a stiff sock to stay on. And it seems to work. Everything is smooth and seemingly seamless.

Barefoot Runner: The Life of Marathon Champion Abebe BikilaInitially these were the hardest vff's to put on, but after a few attempts, they do respond to the usual toes first, rock 'em in, pull up the heal. They're pretty, too. And that's not bad.

Feel. They definitely feel like there's more shoe there than in the other VFF's - even the flow. And that may be from the stiffness of the shoe and the extra tread bits - stiffness is not a bad thing.

The buzz in the commnity about the bikila's is that they're rocking runners.  That will be for a follow up post. But for now, while i worry about sizing, i'm just thinking about Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia. Keen to learn more about not just a great athlete but a great spirit, too. May be one of the best things that VFF has done is getting more of us to learn about the inspiration for their shoe's name-sake.

(quick update on sizing here - take away: stick with kso sizing)
Related Resources


Jim Hansen said...

Here is the dramatic video of Bikila running in Rome at night for the Gold medal.

Unknown said...

He finished his career in shoes. wisdom accumulates over time.

dr. m.c. said...

Thank you
Isn't u tube awesome

Yes indeed
Sponsorship is a grand thing
And those shoes in 68
Still passed
the twist test


dr. m.c. said...

have now put the vid in the post. thanks again

Unknown said...

Great review. I've been looking to buy Vibrams Bikila - and you've provided more information that people like me need. Thanks!


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