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Vibram FiveFingers - How many people have used these?

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by tox, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. tox

    tox New Member

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    I'm starting my Camino on July 14th and am going to buy VSO Treks tomorrow. How many people have used these? I've only read of 2-3 people so far. Would you recommend them to others? What problems/difficulties did you encounter?

    I will have a pair of Tevo Sandals with as a backup, and I'm not too worried about getting the Treks so close to departure because the shoes I already wear are as close to FiveFingers as possible: Clark Momo Spirits: http://www.clarks.co.uk/find/department ... s-00118712 I love these, but am possitive they're not for long-distance walking.

    ANYHOW, original question: how many people have walked using FiveFingers?

  2. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    I cannot say how many have used them, but I can say I have seen about ten sets of Five Fingers clawing their way toward Santiago over the Meseta this year. One young man from Michigan said he loves his, they are "way comfortable," but he was feeling every big and pointy stone on the path... he was aware of how lucky he was to be only 20 years old, and he would not recommend them to "older people." (He was having some real issues with socks, as he needed special toe-socks that go with the shoes, and someone had swiped one of his.)

    Aside from their Scientific Design and Support System, I understand Five Fingers always get peoples´ attention, sort-of like walking with a donkey. That appeals to a certain kind of person.

  3. tox

    tox New Member

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    Rebekah. Cool, did you get any impressions from the other 10? I'm 43, but 95% ready to take the plunge and do it.

    (A side question: how did you see so many people going by? Were you sitting on the road, or going more slowly than others? Or were there really a lot of people walking by, i.e. crowded?)

  4. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    Dang. Now I am ashamed to wear my feather boa on my next camino.

    My son runs in Vibrams daily, so they have their adherents. He still wears boots for hiking.

  5. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Tox, I live on the Camino Frances, and I see the pilgrims who walk through town, or stop for a rest in the plaza. Moratinos is home to a mere 20 people, so strangers wearing toe-gloves are noticeable. I don´t talk to them all. The Michigan guy stayed over at our house, so the convo worked itself around to his marvellous shoes and socks (which he seriously refered to as his "footwear system.")
    (which means that you and I simply "lose a sock," which is an "inconvenience" ...but when he does, it is "total system breakdown!") :shock:

    Gotta love it.
    Reb

  6. tox

    tox New Member

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    Wow! That's cool that you live there!

  7. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I have a couple pairs of VFFs and I love them. I don't wear them for the "shock" value. I wear them because they are comfortable. I plan to walk my next Camino in them. I currently wear them at work and for hiking and walking.

    As for the guy who felt he needed socks with them....I would argue against those. I've tried hiking with my VFFs and the toe sock liners and find them to be too bulky. Just my personal preference.

    If you are planning to use VFFs on the Camino, I highly recommend you break them in. It's not the shoes that need the breaking in, it's your body. You will be using different muscles than even the Clark's that you showed in your original post. It took me almost a month to get used to mine, and I definitely pushed the break-in period because they were so comfortable to wear. I always felt it later! Don't say you weren't warned..... :)

    The KSO Treks have a thicker sole than say the regular KSOs, and I find that makes a huge difference in what I feel as I walk. I have a pair of the Bikila lace-ups, as well as a regular pair of the KSOs. I don't notice the rocks and stuff as much with the Bikilas as I did with the KSOs. Good luck and I expect a full report!

  8. tox

    tox New Member

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    I decided not to use them because a) not enough time to break them in, b) I don't want to add any additional suffering, and b) it feels like, for me, it would be too much of a distraction mentally and emotionally.

    Kudos to all who wear them, though. I'll be keeping my eye out for these unique individuals while out there, and will think of using them if I do the Camino again.

  9. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    What are you planning to use instead? Two weeks is not a lot of time to break in shoes or boots.

  10. tox

    tox New Member

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    I'll be using the Salomon's that I have used hiking around Hong Kong for this last year, and I will be wearing a brand new pair of Teva Hiking sandals in my down time, or as an alternative to my Salomons. I'm breaking in the sandals for hiking even now, and for the next two weeks. But again, the Salomons will be my main shoe. I'm not worried about them.

    These are my Salomons.

    http://www.travelcountry.com/shop/salom ... 6679462819
    ..
    ..

  11. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I ended up with Salomons after my other trail runners became too small! Bought a pair in Logrono. They served me well.

  12. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Just for the record: I met a French couple this morning, 50-something, both wearing Five Fingers shoes in bright blue. They LOVE their shoes, they said.

    They were leading a donkey.

    Reb.

  13. tox

    tox New Member

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    That's so hilarious! Kudos to them all! Now... if only I could get a donkey!

  14. wdbillingsley

    wdbillingsley New Member

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    The only other American I met on the trail was wearing a pair but he swapped them out with a pair of standard hiking boots, depending on the road conditions and how his feet were feeling.

  15. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Looking back at my Camino last year, I would probably have done the same. There were days when I was walking through streams of water and mud and days when it was sunshine and roses....I don't like wearing mine in the rain. Personal preference. I think it's also good for your feet to get a different workout....trading off boots with the VFFs would do that.

  16. tox

    tox New Member

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    So, renegade pilgrim, you wore VFF's exclusively?

  17. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Nope. I did not. As I stated previously, I wore trail shoes. I'm planning for next year's walk and based on when I plan to walk, using only VFF could be a problem due to weather. I've also been looking at the Merrell barefoot shoes which are less "showy" and use the same zero-heel technology as the VFF. Lots of options out there.

  18. Caminando

    Caminando New Member

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    Overall, a blizzard of consumerist jargon.

  19. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    If you have nothing positive to contribute, why must you comment?

  20. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Bullying people on this forum is NOT going to be tolerated. Neither is threatening.

  21. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Don't worry, I'll still be here standing up to your bullying and troll-like behavior. :)

  22. tox

    tox New Member

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    Don't worry about it all guys, renegadepilgrim and caminado. I would lve to hear someone say VFFs suck and give another perspective, perhaps from someone who tried them, but hated them. And, while I believe in this whole barefoot phenom and it's benefits, I'm honest- some may percieve it as a fad!

    That's fine, it may be.

    But I'm still going to try it, just not on the camino.

    It does though seem to be catching on everywhere. Two years ago, when I first heard about the benefits of bare footing I tried to find some VFFs here in Hong Kong. I couldn't. I would have had to order them from Singapore. It was only a month ago that I saw a poster for them at some new sports store, and walked to see them right there. I almost bought a pair on the spot, but controlled myself and went home to do more research. Then the other day I noticed them in an average shoe store in a mall next to me home, out in the New Territories!!! Crazy.

    So let the naysayers speak, I look forward to their comments and will absolutely listen with respect. I want to hear all perspectives. :D

    So everyone gets their say.

  23. spursfan

    spursfan Member

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    A previous post mentioned the Merrell barefeet shoes - TrailGlove or PaceGlove - I've just bought a pair and used them a couple of times - for a Summer camino, their lightness alone (under 400g for a pair of UK size 9) makes them well worth considering and the heel stability is much better than my North Face trainers that heel blisters would be much less likely - they're meant for trail runners and the Vibram sole should give great grip though less cushioning (so the less time spent on roads and pavements the better) - I did get a couple of rubbing spots but plasters should sort those out - and they look like proper trail shoes (the only giveaway is the lack of socks)

  24. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I've also been looking at those Merrell shoes. I'm waiting to get a pair. Love my VFFs so much, not sure I need the shoes.....I'll be interested to hear if you use them on the Camino and what your experience is.

    You can wear socks with them....as you can with the VFFs, though I prefer to not wear socks unless it's cold outside.

  25. ffp13

    ffp13 Member

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    Saw three yanks wearing these , two had bad blisters , one could no longer walk due to the severity! [​IMG]

  26. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Wonder if they allowed proper break in and actually carried a pack when breaking in?

  27. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    yes, that is my concern. I would happily wear the Merrells on our daily 7 km. dog-run, but when I am carrying 6 kg on my back over 20 km, my feet demand a lot more support than these shoes could offer.

  28. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I'm going backpacking for the first time this weekend with my VFFs. I have done day hikes in them and had no problems, but my pack is considerably lighter on day hikes than when backpacking. I'll be sure to give a report after I return on Sunday. I think my pack will be hovering around 25-30 lbs for the weekend (I have to carry dog food and her travel bed!), so considerably more than my Camino pack weight.

  29. tox

    tox New Member

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    Thanks ffp13 for a real example of people struggling with VFFs. It's good to hear from the other side. And this discussion of additional weight because of backpacks is also very helpful. I hadn't considered that before.

  30. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Post-hiking report on the VFFs.....I did about 9 miles in these yesterday, including 2 miles carrying a full pack of about 30 lbs (best guess) and the remaining 7 miles with my pack minus the tent/sleeping bag/sleeping pad/camping pillow and most of the dog's stuff (probably about 20 lbs). The trail was around Timothy Lake in Oregon. It had a total elevation gain of 200ft (I know, a walk in the park compared to the Camino!) and was pretty soft and in some places rather dusty. The total mileage for yesterday was actually around 16 miles, but I switched out footwear half way to try out a new pair of Merrell hiking shoes I bought. I developed two hotspots on the VFFs, both on the balls of my feet. I placed Compeed on both of the hotspots. The left foot hotspot turned into a blister later today (just noticed it after taking off Compeed) after I walked another 6 miles in the VFFs on the Salmon River trail, which is very rocky and with a much more significant elevation gain. Overall, I was very pleased with how well the VFFs did. As with most shoes, you should allow plenty of time for breaking them in, and make sure you know the spots you are going to have problems with. I wore socks both days, yesterday, they were a regular thickness, today they were a liner thickness. Might try them without socks in the near future. Hope that helps!

  31. tox

    tox New Member

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    Well, I finished my Camino on August 16th. I have to say I can't imagine having done it in VFFs. As I said earlier, doing so seems like it would have been, for me, a distraction from the "experience."

    AND I did not see a single pair on my journey! Rats!

    Anyhow, here's a little video I made of my walking. I posted it already on another page, but my point is that I could walk without thinking about my feet while wearing normal shoes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z95Ribii9M

    How about VFF fans, were you able to put aside the "distraction" of where your feet would land?
    Hal likes this.

  32. jpflavin1

    jpflavin1 Active Member Donating Member

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    Enjoyed the video, thank you for sharing.

    I have never worn the VFF's myself but did see one Canadian girl wearing them on the trail. She walked the entire Frances with them.I only asked her about them once and she stated that she liked walking in them.

    Ultreya,
    Joe

  33. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    I've been wearing mine around Sto. Domingo de la Calzada the past week while hospitaleroing and have come to the conclusion I would not walk in mine exclusively, but I would definitely bring them for certain terrains and weather.

  34. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Whilst walking and talking with pilgrims and Spaniards in the past couple of weeks, it occurs to me that only us "foreigners" go in for all the heavy-duty analysis of boots, surfaces, asphalt, road-walking, foot-strike, support, etc. etc.

    I talk to tons of Spanish walkers, too. They get blisters and tendinitis, but they keep going without mentioning the pavement or asphalt or rocky conditions... their guidebooks don´t apologize for today´s hike being along a road, or with a (non-spiritual) highway in sight. They are much more Zen about walking along whatever comes their way. (with the noted exception of Big Groups of gender-specific Men or Women of a Certain Age!)

    Most remarkable are my neighbors, some of them well into their 80´s, who take substantial high-speed hikes every day along the shoulder of the N120 highway. They prefer walking on the asphalt, they say, because they are wearing their BEDROOM SLIPPERS and don´t want them to get dusty. Nary a word about GoreTex or heel cups or orthotics. What they don´t know apparently does not hurt them a bit!

    Maybe Caminando has a point?

  35. renegadepilgrim

    renegadepilgrim Veteran Pilgrim and Traveler

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    Your neighbors have just figured out the wonders of barefoot walking without knowing it. Bedroom slippers have no support, same as the VFFs. Same as flip flops (which I walked 15km one day due to swollen feet.) and same as any shoe with no support. VFFs are not the solution to blisters or tendinitis...I have gotten both while wearing them hiking in the mountains of Oregon and Washington. But, they are a viable option if used in conjunction with regular shoes or boots on the Camino. And yeah, we do get caught up in all the techno-jargon on here, but if we didn't talk about all this, then what would we talk about? :)

  36. Toobizy

    Toobizy New Member

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    I love my VFFs for neighborhood walking, short distances. I feel the muscles worked and it's an interesting difference from running/walking shoes--feels more natural. I plan to bring mine, if only for an hour's relief from the hikers. Good points made on the discussion. I would expect blisters from the VFFs. Thanks

  37. Knapczyk

    Knapczyk New Member

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    I just got back from the Camino Frances and I took a pair of VFF Trek LS with me as backup footware and evening footware and I can tell you please do not expect to do the entire Camino in just these. The path is very rocky and you will feel the "PAIN". I can honestly say I did at most 150KM out of 800KM in my VFF. They are great backup when boots become a pain or to releave blisters on the heals but more then 10-15KM will not be possable. People who say they can do the entire Camino in these are seaking off to the nearest store as soon as they get to Pamplona to get real boots or trail runners.

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