Ah, I still giggle a little bit when I get weird looks, double-takes and exclamations about my shoes.
I heard about them years ago, and on my birthday in 2010, I got the courage to try them out. Two years later, and I’ve changed my running style, have large calluses (gross) on my toes and pads of my feet, and couldn’t imagine running without them.
I still think they look creepy. I still stub my toes (even on flat pavement). Winters are tough. And my feet aren’t exactly “pretty” anymore.
But I can’t tell you how much better they make my whole body feel.
First, my back, hips and knees don’t hurt anymore. The movement is much more “natural” than heel-striking, and you add a “spring” to your leg by using your calf muscles more (read the Harvard-study article linked about about running style).
Second, I’m quiet like a ninja. Seriously. I’ve probably snuck up on you before. You just didn’t notice.
Third, there’s something more intimate about running with little-to-no barrier between you and the ground. I feel the difference in different pavement, gravels, grass, trail, etc. I am much more aware of my body; I listen to every muscle in my legs (otherwise, I have no idea how I’m going to strike next). But focusing on my legs starts a ripple effect, and I start to listen to other parts of my body too, like my arms, abs and back.
Fourth, combined with black spandex and tanktop, my black Sprint Five Fingers make me LOOK like a ninja (minus my heritage).
But seriously, I love my Five Fingers. I bought them at REI, and since have run through two pairs (working on a third). The fit isn’t perfect, but neither are my feet. I’ve got the most comfortable pair of running shoes!
Be warned, it took me ~8 months to be in decent feet-running condition. I ran one mile at a time, then put on regular shoes, slowly increasing until I could run 7-9 miles. I still haven’t run a half in them, but that comes this summer!