Monday, June 13, 2011

A Running Commentary . . .

I tried a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas on last week while I was picking up a new pair of running shoes (I'm currently running in Mizuno).  My plan is to add one or two short free-running sessions to my weekly regime, having been intrigued by so many enthusiastic converts. Primarily, I guess, I'd like to see if they push me to better awareness of my running technique and help me ease up on my heels and Achilles tendons.

 Immediate response? A whole separate work-out is involved in trying to get each toe into its little slot! I took them out of the store for a little run on concrete and they're surprisingly comfortable to run in, but given the kilometres I do on gravelly dirt roads, I decided to pass on them. Plus I'm just not up for that much attention when I'm running, and these do draw looks. I may eventually buy a pair for swimming and kayaking, though. I do most of my swimming at our beach. It's rocky and barnacle-y enough that some kind of footwear is required.

Instead of the Five Fingers, then, along with my Mizunos (for the bulk of my training, especially for longer distances), I picked up a pair of Nike Frees, as below, except with pink rather than white accents. These are supremely comfortable, and I could imagine packing them both as a walking shoe (they're cuter than they look here, especially with the dark pink trim) and for the occasional run while on holiday. Given how much Converse disappoint in the comfort department (I so agree with Want and Worth's recent post), I could see these sneaking their way into my urban trekking.

And now that I've updated you on running footwear, a word of sartorial advice for any male runners who might look in here occasionally. Okay, there really aren't any, but perhaps you could pass the word along:

On male shirtless running:
IF you are under 30, fit to the point of beauty, and don't mind causing accidents in your running wake as we all stop to admire, you're allowed.  .  .
Otherwise, put the shirt back on! If menopausal women well acquainted with hot flashes can keep our tops on as we run, so. should. you. You are simply not that hot. Not that hot at all. Nor is your pot-belly.

Sadly, there is a dearth of the first category and an astonishing overabundance of the second.


  1. I'll pass your advice on to Running Spouse, although he doesn't ever run with his shirt off (to my knowledge) ...

  2. I have a pair of Nike Frees and I love them. I wear them with or without socks.

  3. I love the look of the five fingers--fingers? Why not call then five-toed? Oh, I suppose that is too sloth-like eg. there is a three-toed sloth, so maybe by implication the marketers want to avoid five-toed.
    However, show me a man who can consistently run more than 5 continuous minutes and I bet he looks fine with his shirt off. Get pater to try it and see how many women trip over their Nike Frees or five fingers :-)

  4. DH doesn't run, but he does like to go shirtless...

  5. Would you believe it the other day as I looked admiringly at my grey converse, I thought "what would I have ever done without them?", I can walk in them for miles, seriously miles, they wash up a treat and perversely I wear mine in the rain because they dry out so quickly. One man poison et al!
    NO WAY could I wear those toe shoes, don't they remind you of that horrible Magritte painting? Emin thinks they are a brilliant idea but wouldn't the hairs on men's toes rub?
    BLAH if you hate the slack toned bodies of middle aged men, don't even go there on the feet front!

  6. Tiffany: Oh, he may hate me for it, and perhaps there's a diff. climate for running there. Here, it generally just looks silly, arrogant, or downright sad.
    Megan: yeah, and apparently they wash up easily in the machine.
    Liz: Interesting speculation re the name.
    And no, absolutely not, I've spent enough time educating the man to keep his shirt on when he's not at the beach or in his own backyard. . . ;-)
    Terri: So does my guy, see above. . .
    Alison: My feet swell up at least a size when I walk long distances, especially if there's any heat at all, and Converses (the canvas ones, at least) leave no room at all to accommodate that. I think they look great, and they're fine for three to five kilometres, but after that, they're just bad!
    Hadn't seen the Magritte painting but just googled it now -- truly creepy. Perhaps that's why they made the vibrams so determinedly chipper in colour -- to distract from that association.
    And it's not that I hate middle-aged male bodies NOR that I think they're slack toned. I just don't see why they have to parade their sweaty midriffs around while the rest of us manage to dress appropriately.

  7. I'm reading Born to Run - Great book which I highly recommend - so I'm thinking of picking up a pair of vibram's to run in

  8. When I see people wearing those shoes with toes, I just can't help myself from staring. Perhaps I will get used to them.

    My feet swell when walking for more than a couple of miles or standing more than a couple of hours, always have. Converse are bad at that, as are far too many shoes. I used to love converse for their style, but have noticed lately that I can no longer wear them for any length of time, although I did better recently by putting an arch support in.

    I seriously eyed those nike's with the pink but didn't get them.

  9. I can't wear my Converse without an insole for arch support. Do those Nike's have good arch support? They look really comfy.

  10. I highly admire Want & Worth and am so happy that you appreciate her thoughts on comfort.

    I wish I could run but the arc trainer works better for me -- low impact.

    As for beautiful men, I know what Liz means. My own man is lanky and beautiful. He would never go shirtless, but could. I like it that he wouldn't want to, but it's still a bit intimidating, at this point in life.

  11. Rachel: I've heard the book is good -- in fact, the fellow who fitted me for my shoes was talking about it. Maybe I should add it to my list.
    Mardel: That's part of why I didn't grab a pair this time -- they draw attention, definitely.
    Anon: They're quite supportive, compared to a Converse, but the point is rather for them not to be overly so. I'm not a good judge, having almost no arch at all!
    Susan: Both her blogs are admirable, especially the mixture of (relative) youth and wisdom. Yeah, my guy too. And I don't think I've explained my aversion very well, but it has something to do with gender equity and with sheer propriety, all at once. More of the latter than the former, stuffy as that makes me sound.

  12. Is there a way to write to you privately?

  13. Susan, send me an e-mail at fsproutATgmailDOTcom (making the obvious substitutions for AT and DOT)


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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