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Archive for September 15th, 2010

Today I went a bit crazy… I’ve been experiencing a mad desire to get new running shoes (VFF’s, of course), so today I went out and bought two pairs! Yikes!!
Fortunately, my significant other (the love of my life) remained calm and just let it pass. I’m sure I’ll have to pay the piper some other day, but for now, no Mt. Etna. Phew!!
Anyhooo, I got a pair of brown KSO Treks and a pair of grey/green Bikila’s.
I was so jazzed, I broke my shoe review rules and wore the Bikila’s out for an evening jog – 70 Min, about 4 miles.   Slow and easy.  My initial reactions were quite varied.  To start off, the shoes are very difficult to get on.  The are completely different from my black-grey camo’s (normal KSO’s).  Those are soft and extremely flexible.  The Bikila’s are neither.  They are stiff like normal jogging shoes.  They bend thru the sole easily, but the tops are quite firm.  They have a heel-back which goes up much farther than the KSO.  I have to really pull them to get them on.  They are size M47, which is the largest they come.  Once on, there is much less play in the heel than with my KSOs.  The Bikila’s have the “pad” effect on the bottom of the soles (see the photos).  This makes them feel much more safe (and probably durable), but it also makes it seem like you’re further away from the ground.  Oh, yeah.  One last observation – the Bikila’s reek coming out of the box.  They smell of man-made, petrochemical, funk.  I can already tell these are going to stink to high-heaven with a little sweat in them (if they stink this bad already).  The KSO-Treks, on the other hand, have a sensual swede / leather smell and touch.  They tickle your nose and your fingertips.
Out for the spin…
When moving the front of the shoe feels like a second skin.  As I started going, my heel seemed to drift away from the shoe-heel and almost felt as if there wasn’t any shoe heel.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  I take it as good for now as it means no heel blisters while I’m breaking them in (and while they’re breaking me in).
After a few minutes, the pod/pads really started to annoy me.  I guess everyone’s feet are different and there’s no perfect place to put the pads.  They don’t seem to quite match up with my toes.  The ball of the foot feels fine, but my second toe feels like it’s going to blister.  I shift around a bit as I move and although I’m vaguely aware of the pads, they stop irritating.
I’m going very slow (only on my mid-foot and the balls of my feet).  After about 15 minutes, my calves start playing up.  Again, just relax and change the stride for a while and this too passes.  I’m reminded this is my first go in the shoes and I have to take it easy.  When I first started the POSE/Chi running style, I about crippled myself by trying to run through calve pain.
At just about the 1 Hr mark, the balls of my feet really start to hurt.  This is very unusual.  It’s very much like the next day foot soreness after a real long run, but it’s intense and it’s NOW!!  I’ve only got 2 more laps to go to 4 miles, so I decide to push through it.  At the end, I feel like if I go much farther I’m going to be limping for a week.
I stop.  Stretch my calves a bit and by the time I cross the street and walk in the house the pain is completely gone.  With ANY normal shoes, I would expect some residual pain and soreness – but there is none.  I sit on the floor and do a bit of leg stretching.  My feet have NO soreness at all when I stand up.  In fact, it feels like I haven’t jogged at all.
The only thing I can imagine is the pads/pods must be lying on some pressure points in my foot which were telling me “enough for one day but otherwise, we like these shoes.”
I’ve been up and down on my feet for a couple of hours now and I’m ready to go to bed and the feet still feel good to go.
Now that I’ve broken my rules for my sticking to the test shoe during the whole test period, I guess I’ll have to decide if I should continue to mix shoes and track the distance separately.  I’m only about 40 miles in on the 2nd pair.  I’m not terribly happy with them for jogging, but they are quite comfortable for just wearing around.  Still, I don’t want to wear them walking much as this will influence my end review of the shoe wear.
Oh, well, I’ll try to be fair, but will be, will be…
In case you’re wondering, we’ve been going through an operating system upgrade at work so I’ve had a good chunk of OT, which I splurged with to get these two pairs of VFFs.  Once again, I thank God to be working and able to afford these personal items, (when I should be paying down the credit card bill).  I guess someone’s got to keep the economy ticking over – might as well be me.
One final note, the images are from Vibram’s site (or from one of the various retailers that sell VFFs) and I make no claim to them.  I’m just a proud owner of their products.
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