Ok so here’s the third update on the Vibram’s. I have purchased my second pair, the Bikila, being the running model –
So here they are, GREAT, aren’t they??!! Oh I know there’s a lot of scepticism out there but that’s purely your preprogrammed response to something new. You need to try and work on that preprogrammed response, it maybe holding you back 😉
The Bikila has a different setup to the Treksport. The soles are smoother so when you’re running there is less resistance at the footstrike. They also have a strap that loops back across the top of the shoe in the other direction to the Treksport. The strap is also fixed at the side of the shoe and is not wrapped around the other side first, like the Treksport. The Treksport being an all-terrain shoe probably needs to offer the foot more support.
The other interesting thing about the Bikila is I had to buy a size up so 45 instead of 44 due to not being able to get my foot in and down into the size 44 shoe. The entry area of the Bikila is very stiff but the extra bit of toe room is nice 🙂 Hopefully they won’t stretch too much!
So now into week 6 or so using the Vibram’s and the (now) $429 experiment is going really well!
I believe the feedback loop that has reactivated between my feet-brain-feet has significantly improved my running technique. This feedback seems to be restricted by most shoes. The mass of plastic primarily being the chunky rubber soles of most “typical” running shoes restricts the brains ability to communicate with the feet via the feedback mechanism that we as humans have had as an inherent ability from when we were cavemen (and women).
To understand this further, think of the feet as sensors much in the way hands are. Touching things with our hands tells our brain many things about the object we are touching and we react accordingly. Is it hot, is it slippery, is it heavy?? If we are picking up something heavy, our brain receives the feedback and instructs our fingers to contract more tightly and to recruit more muscles in the forearm. The brain may even instruct us to pull the item towards our bodies to offer additional support. This is sensory feedback at work. Our feet work in a very similar way. Have you ever dipped your toe into a cold pool??
In my previous Vibram’s post, I mentioned in point 1 and 2 that the dorsi/planterflexion had improved, there was greater lower leg muscle involvement and I felt I had better cornering ability. I have realised this is all due to improved feedback and the most significant thing that is negatively impacted by your typical running shoe.
As I have said previously the longer term effects of wearing Vibram-type shoes with their minimal cushioning is at this stage unquantifiable. Maybe the improved biomechanics due to the re-opening of the feedback loop may counter this potential side-effect?
And what about the longer term social aspects of being described as an amphibian or Man from Atlantis by a “concerned UFIT member”….nevertheless, we will press on!!