UFIT Urban Fitness, Singapore's Leading Independent Fitness Provider – Fitter, Leaner, Stronger!

Vibrams IV

Hello folks, it’s good to be back! It has been a long time since I posted anything other than a UFIT Run update so it is high time I re-started! And what better way to start than with a Vibram’s update, the fourth πŸ™‚

It was November 1 when I last wrote about my “experiment” with the Vibram’s. I am now onto my third pair, another pair of Bikila’s but this time the red version.

There have been several issues with wearing the shoe –

  1. I developed an achilles tendon problem due to overusing the shoe. I don’t believe I have an ankle mobility issue and as I had never had such a problem before I’m assuming it was due to the Vibram’s.
  2. On wet surfaces they are very slippery and I mentioned this in Vibram’s I but I want to reinforce it. You will need another shoe for rainy days.
  3. Smell……..

Ok so one by one lets have a quick look πŸ™‚

The achilles soreness was a result of several factors. One is the Vibram’s are flat, so our achilles tendon and in fact all the muscles and connective tissues around the foot will start to behave differently. The feedback mechanism discussed in Vibram’s III activates this region differently to how it is activated wearing a conventional shoe. Muscles and tissue that have been a little “sleepy” are suddenly woken up and have to pull their weight.

By this I mean by wearing conventional sports/training shoes our feet get enveloped in the mass of the shoe, the rubber, the material, the plastic etc. Our feet get “cosseted”! The sensory nature of our feet (Vibrams III again) is inhibited, even shutdown and muscles/tendons stop functioning the way they were intended by nature (as in going barefoot a.k.a the “barefoot running movement”). In fact as far as the achilles is concerned, the high heel support in a lot of sports shoes shortens it.

In my situation and it’s not uncommon, David H had a similar experience, the “shortened” achilles gets overworked, lengthens and gets inflammed. Regular massage and specific warm-up stretching prior to training has solved the problem for me. I also alternate the use of the shoe with Nike Free’sΒ 3.0. Yes I never thought I would ever buy a pair of Nike’s again but I did! And I really like them, the link is of the ver2 model, I can’t wait to get a pair! The Free’s aren’t really a barefoot running shoe, Nike say they are but they’re just cashing in on the craze but they are very lightweight AND they have a minimal heel lift.

Point 2 regarding the slippery nature of the soles of the Vibram’s is a concern. No matter what the company literature says, they are slippery!! Only in the wet mind you so it’s not all bad πŸ™‚ I am sure they are aware of the issue and are attempting to rectify it.

What will be hard to fix is the smell!! They do stink after a while. Some of my female friends say they wash them after every use but that is hardly sustainable and I don’t see too many guys doing that πŸ˜‰ What I did is buy the socks. That is helping a lot. It does add to the fiddle factor (e.g. getting toes into little sock compartments and then toes with socks into toe compartments of the shoes…lol).

But for all that Vibram’s are GREAT!! And I don’t mind Nike Free 3.0 either (be sure to buy 3.0 and NOT 5.0/7.0, the heel lift is higher in the others).

Ok so post 1 of 2011 done, more to come on food, exercise and the path to becoming fitter, leaner, stronger πŸ™‚



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