One of the members of my ASICS Running Club is Ripu Daman, who has already featured in this blog, with his memorable Q&A session 🙂
Ripu sometimes runs in Vibrams at our training sessions, so I asked him to tell us about them (translate as I arm-twisted him into writing :P).
Here is his very detailed and informative feedback on Vibrams.
Over to our reviewer, Ripu Daman:
My love affair with the vibrams started 4 years ago when I first stared at these weird looking souls adorning the soles of a runner friend. We were doing the PUMA urban stampede in Bangalore, (my first one) which is a corporate relay of 5kms * 4. I was running in my Nike sneakers and although, I had seen people running barefoot and in Roman styled chappals with straps tied as high as the calves, I had never seen a more weird looking shoe.
Although they looked like some animal’s claws to begin with, they started looking more familiar as moments went by.
Finally it began to make sense as they resembled the shape of our foot with the five fingers clearly defined.
The widest part being the front of the shoe starting from the toes and it continuously narrows down being at its narrowest at the heel.
I needed to know more and I started questioning my friend. Our team’s start was still some minutes away and he happily obliged.
He got his vibrams from the US as they were not readily available in India at the time.
The sole is a thin layer with no cushioning but is as sturdy and hard as it can get. The segregated five fingers are intended to
make us run in the most natural way, a far cry from the forced compression of the feet in sneakers and other running shoes.
The sole has a special design with optimal protection on the parts of the heel which come into contact with the ground on landing and is elevated at the arch.
Finally, I got my first pair of vibrams in 2016. And although I wasn’t running at the time, it motivated me to get back to running.
And when I did, I loved the feel of it.
Although it does take some getting used to as even walking, let alone running, is so synonymous to well cushioned shoes and we’re just not used to walking barefoot outdoors.
My first few runs were in vibrams and I felt completely in control exactly like I do when I walk barefoot. Whether I am running on the tarmac or soft grounds with sand and stones, these shoes are able to manage both with equal aplomb. The sole is as robust
as it can get and with some practice on soft landing, you can minimize the impact. While I have to constantly focus on maintaining a mid-foot landing in other running shoes, I feel it comes naturally to me in these.
As for pace, I have noticed that faster splits are achieved with lesser effort every time I have worn these than my other running shoes.
And to my surprise, I recently saw these creatures adorning the feet of #TheFaithRunner Samir Singh. Here’s a picture of it.
The wear and tear is a testimony to the amazing feat this man has achieved.
(Editor’s note: read more about #TheFaithRunner here)
Disclaimer: As they say, there’s never a ‘one size fits all’. Although, the vibrams could be considered a winner all the way and every runner’s dream, it’s not meant for everyone. Figure out what works for your running form, gait and seek expert advice before choosing ‘your’ pair. See you on the running track.
Ripu, thanks so much for sharing your feedback.