I have a friend who spends so much time outdoors that the existence of his house is debatable. Obviously, whenever there is a “revolutionary” product for use outdoors, he’s the first person to have his hands on it. In this case, though, it was his feet.
About two years ago, when the solesmiths at Vibram first released their FiveFingers design, he immediately bought a pair and raved on and on about how amazing they were. If you do not know what these FiveFingers are, see the subtitle of this post. They are, literally, grown up toe socks. The shoes, or lack thereof, have been designed to give the wearer a barefoot running experience without the plausible chance of contracting ringworm or the aggravation and pain of the sticks and stones that roads and trails have to offer.
I recently purchased my very own pair of the FiveFingers KSO (Keep Stuff Out) iteration of the shoe as an alternative to not only tennis shoes on my daily venture to the gym, but also as a replacement for boots in the summer when I rock climb or hike. The KSO differs from the previously reviewed Sprints, as they are more “rugged” in terms of overall foot protection and designed for more hiking and water-based activities. After wearing the shoes around campus for the past week in various conditions (rain and shine) and enduring a million “what on earth are those?” questions, I see why my friend raved so much about them.
Working out in them is an entirely different experience, as you have to run on the balls of your feet (as you are supposed to anyways, apparently). While they do require a bit of adjusting to (and a little time to learn how to even put the darn things on), they are definitely worth giving a shot, especially if you are plagued by back pain. If you choose to give it a go, we, as always, recommend the orange and black.
Author’s Note: Order direct from Vibram, as they typically offer the best pricing on the net. Kudos to them for that class move.