FiveFingers for Uni

Hey all, been a while. Just wanted to pop in and say two weeks ago I got myself a pair of those nifty Vibram FiveFingers KSO Treks, which are the heavy duty ‘trail running’ model made with kangaroo leather and a more rugged sole. They’re pretty rad (now that my feet have stopped hurting) for everything I’ve done in them (running, hiking, warehouse work, living, etc) as well as pretty good for unicycling.

I’ve been doing trials practice in them and I think I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my confidence when I’m practicing in them. I think they’re pretty rad.

Only downside to FiveFingers is there is no ankle bone protection, so if you flex to the side or whatever the scientific phrase is, and send your ankles into your cranks, it’s going to hurt a lot. I won’t muni in these on my '07 DX because I just know the knobs on my crank arms will just tear my ankles right off.

But on my Nimbus w/ moments, oh man, totally digging the FiveFingers. If anyone here has been on the fence about getting a pair for any reason, get a pair! I already ordered a pair of Bikilas for running. If you care to read a ‘full review’ I wrote of them, here’s a link.

Maybe you need something like these…

I’m a big fan of KSO and Classic for running. Not so sure about doing any serious trail riding in them though, not enough all around foot protection IMHO. I like having a stiff, grippy, ankle high shoe to ride trails in. I can see road riding in a pair might be fun and keep your feet a bit cooler. Again though, a stiffer shoe is better because you can generate a lot more power easier (at least that’s what I’ve noticed in wearing a flexible shoe vs a stiffer shoe).

I have a pair of KSO Treks as well - I’m loving them.

My DX cranks would just chew right through those on one good awkward UPD.

Well let me know what you choose. My ankles are torn up too. :frowning:

I have a pair of the original KSOs love them for walking and running and just riding around in them but really not a fan of using them for “serious” uni riding, just not stiff enough. (which is what makes them so awesome for everything else)

When I was riding with braces I’d wear the SixSixOne Race Braces but I don’t think they make them anymore. They’re the same thing you can buy at Big 5 for ankle protection.

But I’m not really doing muni anymore, and before that I stopped wearing the braces and just wore shoes that covered my ankle bones. I dunno!

I have some Treks for running and considering their hundred dollar plus price tag and their fragile nature, I won’t waste mine on uni.

If you want a really nice trials shoe, but think the Impacts are too stiff, try some 5.10 Freerides.

I noticed today that it’s possible to get a massive amount of grip on the upstroke by gripping the pedals.

I did my last uni-century wearing a pair of Treks. Served me well. I’ve done shorter rides in lighter models but was concerned about injuring my feet in a UPD. Gracie Sorbello riding across the country barefoot is a superstar!

I can be seen with my uni in my Treks before the century ride in this write up from a fellow centurian:

UPD fears

You’s guys are all pretty brave riding in five-fingers. I am still afraid of a bad UPD and sustaining an injury to my foot.

I am still figuring out how to run in them and though I run a very low impact Chi Running style I still hurt my left heel the other night pretty badly on a 4ish miler on asphalt with a lot of steep hills in the course. It wasn’t like I was pounding the pavement either. I think it is mostly a plantar fascia problem where it is tightening up on me and affecting the heel a lot. When I woke up this morning it was so tender I could not put any weight on it. I have a Japanese foot massage device that you stand on and that helped loosen it up a lot, then wore my New Balance running shoes all day with insoles that have a very nice heel cup. By now it is feeling better but still tender.

Not sure where to go from here. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. Once the heel heals I will give them a try on my 24" cruiser around the neighborhood to get a feel, but I don’t see myself trying to ride the 36er with them until I am much better and not worried as much about UPD’s.

BTW, Zeke and Brycer (think I see him in the background of one of the photo’s on the other post) where did you get your outrageous green skin suits??

I ordered a pair of fivefingers classic a couple of weeks ago and I’m having a blast with them!

I’m still in the learning/accustoming stage, but i definitely love to wear them for casual running and walking, both on streets and trails.

But still I don’t like them while unicycling…the sole is much lighter and thinner than the KSO trek though.

The first time I tried to do one-foot with them, the big-toe of my on-frame foot almost get stuck between the frame and the tyre :smiley:

I really don’t think they’d be very good for riding, at least not for riding very long distances or off road. They are too thin and would cause a lot of strain on the bottom of your feet over time. Think about all the force you exerting on your feet as you crank! That’s the reason that thicker, stiffer shoes are the norm for cycling.

However, for running I like them fine. I’ve run over 700 miles between my Classics, KSOs and new Luna Sandals (huaraches). I mix them in with my normal road/trail shoes, run perhaps twice a week in them and usually no more than 1/3 of my weekly mileage.

Personally I like the look, fit and feel of my huaraches much more than my VFFs so I probably won’t buy any more VFFs after these wear out (they’re getting close). Huaraches are also way cheaper and so simple that you can very easily make your own!

Just to hop in here since I started this thread.

I never managed to be able to run in Fivefingers without pain. I bought a pair of Bikila in the hopes they would be better, but they weren’t. Recently Keith Olbermann broke a bone in his foot because he was running in these.

I don’t think they’re safe. I run in Nike Free Run+ now and am much happier. No pain. The couple of times I took my FiveFingers off and ran completely barefoot, there was no pain then either. So I was forced to conclude that the FiveFingers were the result of my pain.

I don’t unicycle in them either, but these days I’ve moved mostly onto riding a fixed gear bicycle.

@amiantos: FWIW, if you couldn’t run w/o pain in VFFs it’s probably because you disregarded the advice of not over doing it. You’re the victim of “too much too soon.” Retraining your body to handle running in zero-drop, non-cushioned footwear doesn’t happen over night! I’ve been running for 20 years and it honestly took me several years to get used to more minimalist footwear and several months to get used to running even short mileage in VFFs (Classics and KSO). For new runners I’d imagine the transition would take even longer. If you’re getting hurt it’s because your running mechanics are flawed (I’d bet you’re probably heel striking). VFFs aren’t dangerous if you follow the advice on how to use them. The reason you got hurt in VFFs vs. barefoot is barefoot running you can’t “cheat” your running form, with VFFs, especially the Bakilla, they are thick enough that you can “cheat” and so go back to your old ways and so you get hurt. If not running barefoot, then the Classic is probably the next best thing. Otherwise, like you’ve done, more built up, cushioned minimalist shoes is very good. Sorry you got hurt, but it’s very common! :slight_smile:

Thanks MuniSano, this is a big help. (I know you were replying to amiantos, but it helped me too) I am not heel striking at all, but I went out too far and on really intense hills so I overdid it on my plantar fascia on my left foot and my calves on both. I have also been running for years and a couple years ago changed my biomechanics radically from a long-stride heel strike to a short-stride midfoot. So the transition from regular shoes to Five Fingers will be easier. But you are exactly right, I way overdid it and I need to slowly work into running in these. I typically jump in way too fast and expect too much too soon, so it is good to get a reminder that this is not such a good idea. :o

I am wearing the brown leather KSO Trek’s. I had only run in them twice before the other night (explained in my earlier post). While writing this I just took a quick look at the Vibram website and I can see that there is a lot that I need to read and heed.

As usual, I get excellent information and help out here on the CommUNIty, even when it is not directly related to unicycling. Thanks again MuniSano :smiley:

I think there’s a little kool-aid drinking when it comes to the Vibram thing, personally. If it really took you several years to get used to minimal footwear, why do it at all? Why recommend it to others? Seems like a lot of work.

A lot of people who are pro-barefoot running say that minimalist footwear is bad for the reasons you just describe: it fools you into thinking your foot is protected when it’s not. If someone were to ask me today how to get into barefoot running I’d say: start off by walking a fair distance every day completely barefoot on asphalt in order to try to toughen up your feet. I ran a mile completely barefoot with no callouses, and while my feet did blister in spots it wasn’t so bad. I don’t think it takes a lot to toughen your feet appropriately.

I wouldn’t recommend Fivefingers to anyone, and that’s based on experience. If it takes more than a month to “adjust” then it’s probably something you shouldn’t be putting your body through. Go all the way and run barefoot, then, when you’re adjusted to barefoot running, for rougher terrain switch to Treks or shoes when you need more protection.

Specifically this reminds me of when I was suggesting barefoot/fivefingers to everyone even while I was still running in pain, waiting to ‘adjust’ to fivefingers. I’d say: people heel strike! And some people would go “Do people really?” so I started watching the form of everyone I ever see running, from young to old, and no one heel strikes. Maybe people on treadmills do, I don’t know, but I’ve never seen anyone run on their heels, no matter what kind of shoe they’re wearing.

I think it’s one of those self-fulfilling prophecy situations. People invent an illness other people supposedly suffer from so that they can ‘cure’ themselves of it. Natural running form doesn’t even lend to heel strikes, even with ridiculously wide strides.

However, there is quite a business in telling people how they’re running wrong and selling them footwear that ‘corrects’ it, especially when the activity you’re fixing is already one most people find absolutely miserable. It’s an even better business when it’s ‘minimalist’, aka sell as little fabric and rubber as possible for in excess of $100+ a pair and you’ve got quite a tidy profit. Hmm…

First pair arrived ten minutes ago - looking forward to the pain and my morning 3.6mile ride around the block.

3.6 mile ride around the block? I have to move to Wales!

Personally I never got used to my FiveFingers on the uni. It was just a bit too little. I felt a lot more stable, and safe, in my tennis shoes. I wouldn’t want a high speed UPD in FiveFingers.