Between the lay press coverage, Steve Runner's experiences with minimalist shoes, the Runner's Round Table, and Born to Run, the roars of support for minimalist/barefoot running have deafened me and I decided to take the plunge and add them to my Amazon wish list. So, happy birthday to me and thanks to my Mom and Dad M. for the black and orange Vibram Five Fingers KSO's. I took them out this morning for my first run.
I had tried on a pair of size 44's a while back to check out the fit and they were pretty darn good this morning. One big toenail needs a little clipping and it was a little scrunched in the tip of the shoe, but not bad, so I went with it. Today was a run basically all on pavement with a little concrete and just one or two spots with uneven surfaces. Breaking into my stride, I ended up landing on my forefoot for the first 3 miles or so. The sensation was quite interesting. The padding is plenty enough to keep the rough road surface from hurting, but you can still feel the coarse rock in segments of pavement. In terms of time, I was definitely running more slowly, concentrating on form and landing, my pace was about 30-45 seconds slower than typical.
Now, I have simulated barefoot runs several times in the past by forcibly landing on my forefoot using regular Ascis Gel Enduros. It works pretty well and I know to expect some serious calf ache afterwards. This time the ache set in at about mile 2.5 of my 4 mile out and back course. (ie: no cutting it short, because I still had to get home :-P) Then the blisters started. I could feel them starting to crop up near the end of the run and sure enough when I got home, I could see a good one under my second toe, another on the inside of my big toe, and there was a small subcutaneous hemorrhage on the other big toe where I think I landed and took off from right on top of a pebble.
Bottom line: Felt great during the run, need to find a solution for the blisters.
I read some other blogs and comments about the VFF and I found two general opinions:
1) The blisters will be less as my feet become accustomed to the VFF
2) Toe socks (like Injinji's) can help a lot
I'm hoping that using the VFF once a week or so will be a good "strengthening" addition to my runs and add some ankle/foot/toe stability.