Friday, March 15, 2013

A Sign of the Times: Vibram Five Fingers Jump the Shark

Vibram Five Fingers-75% off they're giving them away

Vibram Five Fingers on deep discount at the local outdoor and running store. The barefoot, near barefoot, very minimal running shoe has jumped the shark. For many if not most, more than occasional light use is an invitation to injuries. See this NYTimes article on a recent study clearly showing the risks and real injuries from overdoing it in Five Fingers. Sure, in a 5K race I get out the super light racing flats but for training other than intervals minimal is not for me and I might say not for most.

Low or zero drop running shoes with roomy forefoot and seamless light uppers are the future  for most runs and runners. These shoes will have decent cushioning as I think, and the studies are starting to show, that super minimal shoes are really only for a very few. Running form can be adjusted for many but probably not changed, especially  during later stages of a long workout or race.

Some examples of lower drop, cushioned shoes I am running in these days:

  • The Altra Torin is a fantastic shoe. My first zero drop shoe and have had no issues with sore calves. Review soon
  • Altra Superior: zero drop pretty light cushion brief overview here ; 
  • adidas Boost (10mm drop)   review here. I will run Boston in these.
  • Hoka Tarmacs: (6 mm drop)  super cushioned, for recovery runs review here
For the trails this summer I am going to run:
  • Pearl Izumi N1 Trail (low drop about 4.5mm)  review here 
  • Tecnica X-Lites or this year's version the Demon X-Lite, a low drop wide outsole cousin of the Hokas with more flexibility, a little less cushion, and lighter  (review here)