Matt Gornick

Vibram FiveFingers at the Gym and Running Day 3

Posted in Health, Personal by mgornick on May 1, 2009

So, I decided to experiment with my new Vibram FiveFingers KSO at the
gym today. I’ve worn them almost exclusively for 2 days in order to
build up the endurance I need to work out with them.

Lifts: Squats and leg press were great as I received more feedback
from the KSOs and my contact with the ground. It was much easier to
focus on correct form, stability, and using a variety of muscles to
stabilize.

Running: I was a sprinter back in high school so I was used to running
on the balls’ of my feet, but the design of the KSO’s pretty much
force you to do that. Running heal-toe isn’t possible as the shock
runs up your ankles, knees, etc. for each stride. Instead, your body
becomes pretty comfortable running on your toes/balls’ of your feet
which shifts the shock to your calf’s, Achilles, and arch which
actually feels quite comfortable. I ran on both concrete and a
rubberized track surface for a variety of 100-m sprints and 400-m
strides. Both felt very comfortable and didn’t cause any pain. I did
notice being sore after running on concrete, but I’m assuming that is
to be expected. I will continue to use these for my short distance
running and training.

Balance and Stability: Balancing on plates, planks, balls, and such
varied in difficulty. I found myself engaging a wider variety of my
muscles to stabilize and balance. I think this is going to greatly
help with rock climbing where flexibility and balance are critical.
On certain exercises where balancing on a plank (with a ball folcrum)
I performed quite poorly. I believe this was because using flattened
shoes push the stabilization and center of mass higher (possibly
knees); whereas, with the KSOs I felt that any slight change in my
ankles or specific points on my feet caused me to lose balance. This
was definitely a better workout with the KSOs than my Sauconys.

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Vibram FiveFingers Arrived: Review coming soon

Posted in Health, Personal by mgornick on April 28, 2009

I finally received my Vibram FiveFingers KSO from the Champaign
Surplus. I’ll be following the recommended 1-2 hour usage per day
before I start running with them. I’ll try them out at the gym soon
and see how they feel.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

New Shoes for Barefoot Running (Vibram)

Posted in Health, Personal by mgornick on April 26, 2009

A few months back, I saw a few students wearing a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes and I would definitely agree that they are an attention drawer.  For those who’ve never seen them, they looks like a glove that would fit over your foot while leaving spaces for your individual toes.  (See http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/)

I at first dismissed them for a recent fad (similar to the Croc’s), but after reading more and more about the actual mechanics of barefoot running I’ve become interested in them.  Popular Mechanics ran an article a few days ago discussing modern shoe companies vs. barefoot running (http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/4314401.html?page=1) and recently research has been surfacing about the benefits or lack there of additional shock absorption and support.  As humans, we’ve been evolving and modifying our running abilities naturally for thousands of years and thus it seems a little silly that we can’t even run without the evoluvationary advantages that we’ve acquired.

This leads me to Vibram; they are obviously a shoe company that has taken the approach of building shoes for barefoot running and sports.  Their prices are inline with other luxury vendors (Nike, Puma, etc.) while their brand is barely known.  I decided to by a pair of the KSO model to try.

Since I’m a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I had doubts that any nearby store would carry these niche shoes but to my suprise Champaign Surplus had several in stock for me to try on (http://www.champaignsurplus.com/).  They didn’t have the particular pair I wanted, probably because they haven’t sold enough of the shoes to have frequent shipments.  The sales staff was helpful and helped me get sized properly and let me try on a few different pairs.  I tried on a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers Sprint and they felt amazingly comfortable.  At that point, I was sold on ordering myself a pair and trying them out for running and lifting.

I’m currently waiting for my shipment to arrive, but it should be in this week.  Hopefully everything goes alright and I get my new shoes in soon!

Here are some reviews I read before making my purchase:

http://www.keith-in-training.com/2007/03/running-in-vibram-five-fingers-sprint.html
http://mygaragegym.blogspot.com/