Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Product Review: Vibram FiveFingers - KOMODOSPORT

"With today's athlete in mind, Vibram FiveFingers has raised the intensity with the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport. This aggressive multisport design inherits what we love about the KSO with functional improvements that appeal to the most active fitness enthusiast. For the first time ever, Vibram introduces a stitch-free, seamless 2mmfootbed to reduce friction. Heel and instep hook-and-loop closures help secure the stretch nylon upper to the contours of your foot-just like a second skin. The KomodoSport wouldn't be complete without a4mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole which provides the grip and protection you need for a variety of cross training activities. Machine Wash, Air Dry.” ~

General Product Info:
Type: Running, fitness, minimalist
Cost: $110
Materials: UPPER - Stretch Mesh and Polyamide - SOLE - TC-1 Rubber - FOOTBED - 3mm PU & CoolMax - Machine washable. - Air dry away from sun or heat source.

My thoughts:
I had considered buying a pair of these since I first saw a fellow participant wearing them at the 2009 McGuire “Beast of the East” Mud Run and since then have gotten close to buying a pair several times, but could never seem to pull the trigger. Just after this past Christmas, in need of a little extra something to get me motivated enough to go for a run in the cold, I decided to just go for it and buy a pair.

"Stadiums are for spectators.  We runners have nature and that is much better. ~Juha Väätäinen
Prior to buying them, I was concerned about how comfortable it would be having my toes separated. However, after wrestling with the shoe to get them on, and finally getting all of my toes into the right spots, I knew that these funny looking shoes were going to be fun! They were much more comfortable than I was expecting. They felt more like an extension of my foot as opposed to something I was wearing on my foot.
"Running is real and relatively smple, but it ain't easy." ~Mark Will-Weber
Minimalist shoes, like those offered by Vibram, have really gained in popularity ever since Christopher McGougall's "Born to Run” book hit shelves in 2009. The book tells the story of how the Tarahumara Indians are able to run great distances barefoot. Since then, many articles have been written to the pros and cons of running barefoot or with minimalist shoes. The pro camp claims that the human body was designed to run. And only recently have we begun doing wearing shoes. The con camp claims that most people are not perfect running machines and shoes can assist runners compensate for their physical shortcomings. Both camps claim to be the healthier, better option.

"Every run is a great run!" ~Sasha Azevedo
Before buying the shoes, and since, I’ve read quite a few articles about how to properly ease into this type or running to avoid injury. Most runners won’t be able to put on a pair and run as they normally would without some discomfort. Typical running shoes absorb much of the impact and provide stability to the runner. Since these shoes don’t provide cushion, or additional stability, the runner must adjust his/her stride to feel totally comfortable while running. It does take a few minutes to get your stride down but once you do it feels very comfortable and natural. However, I found my feet and legs got tired very quickly. This was because my muscles were being used in new ways. Experts recommend transitioning to these shoes be done slowly. Starting off with about 10% of your normal running load and slowly building up and I would certainly agree... but too many miles too fast isn’t the only way one can hurt themselves.
"Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder. ~William Sigei
My interest in these shoes had nothing to proper running form or healthy running. I was more interested in wearing them to get muddy. This pair in particular, I bought to wear during the Tough Mudder event I’ll be doing in April. So far, all of my running I’ve done in these shoes has been done in the woods on and off the trails. Instead of avoiding mud, I aimed for the mud. (Yes, the mud feels cold and mushy between the toes.) Who needs bridges? Not me, when I could just run in the creek.
"Life is short... running makes it seem longer." ~Baron Hanson
So... I got hurt. I pulled something in my leg. But my injury wasn’t because of too many miles, or poor running form, it was done trying to do something silly. I hurt my leg while trying to jump out of a creek onto a steep muddy embankment and crawl up the hill. Why was I trying to do this? I’m not sure, it was not the first odd decision I made on that run but it was the last.
"My greatest ideas stem from running." ~Sasha Azevedo
So would I recommend a pair? Absolutely. The shoes are comfortable and easy to wash. Up until my injury, I had fun every time I wore them. Actually, I had fun the time I hurt myself too!  But if you get a pair use them wisely -start slow and remember you are not a superhero just because you are wearing super shoes.