Yes, I run in Vibram FiveFingers and I love them, but sometimes I feel like the less shoe there is, the more burden I carry.
It’s sometimes hard to remember how I tricked myself into buying such goofy shoes in the first place. This week I had to think back and actually remember that it was primarily for the toe separation. I used to think they were silly, especially when I would see guys walking around the gym in them. When I started running in 2010, I was not that serious about it. As I started increasing distance a little, I realized that when I hit around 4 miles my toes would dig into each other. I have what I call “curly toes,” because my little toes lean into the toes next to them instead of sticking straight out. As a result the next toe in would start digging into my middle toe, enough that the toenail would cut into my middle toe even if it was cut short. So that’s how I justified buying myself what I thought were ridiculous shoes at the time – and after reading a bit about them I knew they could only benefit me and my running. So why not try something new?
Anyways, after a year of building up distance all over again and learning some things the hard way, I love my running shoes. I don’t know any friends or family that also run in FiveFingers yet, but I no longer care that they may look “weird.” I accept that they are not the social norm and that I am always going to get funny looks from someone when I am wearing them. Some people may call me crazy for running 10 miles in them, but I’ll continue to think I’m badass for being a minimalist runner.
Back to why I am writing this post though. Sometimes I feel like by wearing these shoes, I have to take on being a spokesperson for them. A lot of people aren’t afraid to ask me about them, and I think that’s truly great when they are inquisitive and curious. But lately I feel like I have to answer for my shoes constantly. I always get the same questions and comments along the lines of “How do you like the FiveFingers?” Or, “I heard it is hard to get used to those shoes.” As race day approaches it is also becoming, “So are you running in the Nike Half? Are you going to run in those shoes?” I have recently started feeling like a broken record, answering questions all the time with what now feels like a rehearsed response. I was starting to feel frustrated, until I reminded myself, “Hey, isn’t this part of why I set out to run a half marathon?” I am not only trying to prove to myself that I can do it, but to others that I can do it without 6mm of cushioning and a heel-strike. I am generally seen by people who don’t understand me as a pessimist or a cynic, but when it comes to running I can be quite the optimist. I truly believe not only that anyone can run, but also that anyone can run how we were meant to run. So keep the questions coming, because as long as I can continue to change people’s minds or even open their minds a little, the redundancy is worth it.
[I’m sure this will be the first but not the last of my posts on minimalist running and VFFs]