Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I had not planned to buy more running shoes yesterday but when I saw that several Vibram models were on sale at a local store I decided to get a pair. I decided on the Sprint because of the combination of the thinner sole and the adjustable cross-strap which makes the shoe fit my foot better because of my high arch.
I ran in them this afternoon. Because I did not want to be distracted I left the heart rate monitor at home and focused on this new experience. The first mile I ran on the treadmill. The shoes were very comfortable although having something between my toes felt strange at first. Then I tried running outside on all kinds of surfaces: asphalt, concrete, fine gravel, very coarse gravel, grass, bark and soft dirt. I definitely had less ground feel than barefoot and surprisingly I think I had no more ground feel than in any of my different types of aqua shoes.
When I went up a somewhat uneven grassy hill the Vibrams performed better than aqua shoes because my feet did not slip around at all and I had better grip. Downhill there was less of a difference.
After that I tried some uphill walking, both on the treadmill with incline on 15 and outside. The first time I tried I got a cramp in my midfoot until I went back to jogging. The second time I focused on relaxing my feet and the cramp did not recur.
The temperature was in the upper 40's and my feet did not get too cold while running outside.
Overall I can't say that I prefer Vibrams to water shoes.
In order to be worth the price they would have to last at least 5 times as long as water shoes. In addition they cannot be worn with regular socks and toe socks are very expensive in comparison. It is possible that wearing Vibrams regularly would lead to a better distribution of body weight while running because the toes start spreading out a little more. It seemed that I was feeling a little more pressure on my big toe and less on the ball of my foot while running. After I took off the Vibrams and put my water shoes back on it felt like my heel was lower in the water shoes than in the Vibrams, which is strange because the Vibrams don't have a built-up heel.
I will try a MAF test on the treadmill in Vibrams tomorrow and see if there is any difference one way or the other.