Jan 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm #1267584
Addie BedfordBPL Member
Companion forum thread to:Jan 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm #1682922
Sanad ToukhlyBPL Member
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
I have the regular version of the KSOs. These things area actually a lot more durable than they seem. Last labor day weekend I did 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains. The shoes actually held up well after all the abuse of the rocky terrain I encountered. Although, most of the tread on them is now gone. I will say that my feet were bruised and very swollen by the end of the trip due to repeated hard contact with the rocks. However, they did do a fine job of preventing any serious injury to my feet. For terrain as rocky as I encountered in the Smokies, I suspect the KSO Treks might have provided just the right amount of extra cushion and tread I needed to keep my feet from bruising and swelling.
-SidJan 12, 2011 at 7:02 am #1683091
@mike_oLocale: Coastal NC
I broke my 5th metatarsal last summer and had to wear a boot for about 8 weeks. After I was out of the boot I still had some ligament damage in the adjoning toes. Doctor friend suggested that I try wearing them that by letting the toes move seperately I could stetch out the ligaments giving me problems.
I can't believe how comfortable these things are, I wear them all the time now. You have talked about using them for stream crossings I wonder how they would work for fishing?Jan 12, 2011 at 8:16 am #1683111
I did a lot of hiking and overnights in VFF Sprints at YNP last year. They did great through obsidian grit, rocks, stream crossings and machine washings. I'll have to try some KSO Treks. A little extra tread would be nice.Jan 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm #1683215
Chris RandallBPL Member
Last summer, I spent a few weekend overnights backpacking into Wild Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park – I brought my VFF Treks as camp shoes, but wound up doing my day hikes and fishing in them. I also run in other models, completing 3 half marathons last year in VFFs.Jan 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm #1683252
Does anyone make a toe cover for these things, like some sort of material strip that could go over the toes? This may be able to stop the build up of sticks and things between the toes when off track (may also tone down the image for those not into the toe shoe look).Jan 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #1683338
@chrishansonLocale: Eastern Wyoming
I Googled the KSO Treks to see what the best price I could find and came up with a place called: J23sneakers.com and they have them for $39.95! They are a foreign website so I'm guessing fakes or a scam. Anyone ever bought anything from them?Jan 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm #1683354
The color schemes and treads don't look quite right. I'm thinking VFF-Fakes.Jan 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm #1683358
Praveen MBPL Member
@prav66Locale: By the foothills of the Colorado Rockies
There are a lot of fake VFF floating around, many with nearly similar looks vibram soles until you examine the stitching. Don't expect to get a small niche product like this at deep discount, anything outside the mainstream websites at reduced prices is automatically suspect. If you want to get them cheap, wait for REI to have 30% sale. Unlike trail shoes, the thread on the KSO lasts a LONG time so you get what you pay for.Jan 13, 2011 at 9:56 am #1683516
Addie BedfordBPL Member
Added a backlink to an ORSM2010 article on Barefoot/Minimalist Footwear.Jan 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm #1683621
Dan DurstonBPL Member
I've got a pair of the KSO's and I don't really like them. I imagine this varies a lot depending on the shape of your feet, but mine are a huge pain to get on. It takes several minutes to wiggle all of my (apparently fat) toes into their places. Not good at all for sneaking out for a late night pee.
Once they are on, they work well for what they are. On technical trails I stub my pinky toe regularly, so I only use mine on day hikes on easy trails.Jan 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm #1683628
Chris WBPL Member
Dan, that supposedly gets better with time. If you've worn non-anatomical (or traditional) footwear your entire life, the problem is more likely that you lack the toe spread necessary for the Five Fingers to slip on easily.Jan 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm #1683658
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
+1 on toe spread.
excellent on pita bread.Jan 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm #1683678
JASON CUZZETTOBPL Member
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I have had these for about three months now. I love them. I had the same problem sliding them on originally. But after a few weeks they slipped on easily. My fit isn't 100% because of the shape of my foot. But over all these are great.
I just hiked in the French Guiana jungle over the holidays and they were great. My footing was good. I just had to be careful where I stepped. But that is a good idea anyway.
I have used them in wet weather here in California and just for general walking around. My knee felt better and so did my hip. It is a much more natural feeling.
I get some funny looks in the airports because they are my favorite go to shoe (yes I where the sox). But I have never been more comfortable on a plane. My feet don't feel all sweaty and nasty even after several days traveling. The french were laughing at my shoes when I went through customs. But who cares. I just smile and not worry about it.
JasonJan 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm #1683748
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
To those of you that like them, was there a breaking in time to get used to wearing them? Were they painful at first, or were they comfortable right from the first few steps? How are they when you step on a small stone or pebble. Don't they get really hot?Jan 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm #1683777
I was always a barefoot person, putting shoes on last and taking them off first. Getting my little toes in place is still a struggle, much easier with socks as the toes just slip right in. Some folks have a week or so of adjustment while the tendons get used to the difference in movement and slight change in gait.
The biggest adjustment was with my office manager's attitude. She took one look at my Sprints and said that I could not wear them to our casually dressed office. She reminded us of the policy that we could only wear sandals or closed toe shoes. Everyone laughed and she stormed off. I suppose that I could buy some black leather KSO Treks to wear with black dress slacks for those shirt and tie days.
I was very careful walking for the first month or so, but not any more. You just adapt to rocks, rain, mud and snow. The oddest thing is that my feet feel cool, no longer warm and clammy or cold and damp from being closed inside of shoes.
It's not a cult; just walking, running and hiking the real way.Jan 14, 2011 at 12:20 am #1683803
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I've had a pair of KSOs for about 18 months. They are a struggle to get on at first, the problem is getting each toe into its proper toe condom. But with a little practice is gets pretty quick.
It does take a while for your legs to get into shape, as most people are used to a heel strike, this is especially true if you run in them. Your brain is going to force a front of the foot strike, without your permission. If you want to run in them, go slow, unless you have been running barefooted.
I no longer hike off-trail in them or in rocky areas, as my little toe kicks the occasional rock or out-cropping. I like to do short runs in them. It is almost barefoot running, without the need to toughen up the bottom of your feet. You will feel most little things like pebbles and such. I can run/hike on fine gravel roads without discomfort, but it is a funny feeling that takes a while to get used to.
If you do not like to stop to talk every hiker you meet on the trail or stop and talk to strangers around town, then these are not for you! Everyone wants to ask questions.
They do get stinky after a fairly short time. They have to be washed periodically. For really light shoes, I prefer XC racing flats, which are generally lighter than these. I am using flats less and less, because they do not last long in the terrain I frequent. For most hiking I always go back to my Salomon trail runners. I am pretty much done experimenting with shoes, overall the Salomon's do everything I need. The KSO's are nice for running (not on asphalt).Jan 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm #1684404
NMJan 16, 2011 at 8:28 pm #1684949
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Sanad notes above: "I will say that my feet were bruised and very swollen by the end of the trip due to repeated hard contact with the rocks. However, they did do a fine job of preventing any serious injury."
My feet might be swollen after a long hike, but bruised? That does not sound good to me!Jan 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm #1684950
How well minimalist footwear will work for you largely depends on the amount of training and time you spend in them on a regular basis. If you are used to wearing structured footwear with significant cushioning, it will take time for your body to adapt. When you get used to shoes deadening the rough edges of the environment, you tend to be less aware of how you are stepping and hence walk a lot rougher than you would with less on your feet. Having worn minimalist footwear for many years now, it has changed the way I walk, I am much more aware of each step I take and I rarely get any kind of bruising.Jan 17, 2011 at 12:03 am #1684981
W I S N E R !BPL Member
I've commented on these in the past but I suppose I'll sound off again. My 2 cents:
Coming from a background of barefoot running, I'm just not sure what niche VFFs occupy for me. They seem to be an unnecessary in-between in my footwear (or lack thereof).
I love running barefoot. I like the feeling, the form, the simplicity, having tough feet, all of it. I run some fairly rough trail that has taken a good deal of time to get used to…scree, stream crossings, etc. I often do 50% of a run barefoot (typically climbing) and put on shoes for the downhill. This is a nice balance for me, as well as safe- it's hard to push too fast/reckless uphill, it lends itself to barefoot well.
That said, I've had some VFF Sprints for about 8 months. I still run in them from time to time. I'd like to like them, but I just can't figure out what purpose they serve.
If I'm running 7 miles or less and I'm in the mood, I can go barefoot. 7 miles is about my barefoot trail running threshold right now.
If I'm running more than 7 miles, I need a shoe with a rock plate and a little padding (albeit a fairly minimal shoe like the MT101 or some XC racing flats like Shay XCs).
The VFFs just don't fit in. I find them an unnecessary medium between barefoot and wearing shoes. One or the other seems to work better for me. They allow more protection than barefoot, but not enough to run as fast and worry-free as in trail racers like the MT101. Granted, VFFs are faster than barefoot, but perhaps in a bad way: I feel lured to run too fast in them- not good given they have no rock plate. Sort of a false sense of security as it's still real easy to bruise your feet on sharps or stub toes in them. I don't have this problem running barefoot as I'm slower and much more focused on foot placement.
I believe that most people would be far safer learning a barefoot style mid/forefoot strike in a neutral racing flat with a little protection than in VFFs.
I find it interesting, I've heard many people comment that VFFs would be great if only they had just a tiny bit more protection and/or some sort of cover to protect the toes and keep stuff from getting between them….
…something…a lot like…shoes?
For running on mellow surfaces like grass, sand, or nicely groomed trail, they're great…but so are bare feet.
For backpacking, I thought they sucked after only a 12 mile trip, especially in hot weather: too glove-like, the tight rubber on skin feels awful. Flip-flops, moccasins, or huaraches are far more comfortable for backpacking/walking in my opinion- at least your soles can breathe. Some say to add socks…and now we're right back to something just like a regular shoe.
I'd take a pair of homemade huaraches or cheap flip-flops over VFFs for backpacking any day.Jan 17, 2011 at 12:51 am #1684989
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Well Craig, this is kinda what I said, but you stated it much more eloquently.Jan 17, 2011 at 6:20 am #1685011
I have been wearing FiveFingers for all sorts of activity since 2006. I suppose if you come from a barefoot runners perspective, then you might not have much use for them. FiveFingers fulfill the niche for people who want to get the benefit of maximum foot strengthening without being completely barefoot. For myself, I like the foot strength benefits I get from the near barefoot conditioning, but I am not interested in conditioning the skin of my feet to handle the rough ground. In fact, the rough ground against my skin is usually the limiting factor for me when going barefoot, FiveFingers take care of this problem for me. I don't mind wearing socks in them either, in my mind it is just like layering any other type of clothing for performance/comfort reasons.
FiveFingers also have the benefit of being both secure on the foot but giving ample room in the toebox. With many light weight runners, the foot is held securely in place at the expense of the toes.
The main downside to FiveFingers for me is their limited temperature range.
I have tried huaraches for backpacking. Two issues I had with them were that they really don't handle wet conditions well at all, and secondly the strap between the toes becomes painful (especially on the downhills) when wearing a pack. I got some good blisters.
So, while completely barefoot running might be your baseline, for others it may be VFF.Jan 17, 2011 at 11:54 am #1685107
@dharmabumpkinLocale: San Gabriel Mtns
people like craig who dont like vibram five fingers but like minimalist shoes might like these:Jan 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm #1685164
Thanks for the plug Brandon ;-)
There are those, as well as several other models coming out in 2011 from companies like Merrell and Altra. Lots of interesting stuff in the near future.
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