How Vibram Five Fingers Came to Be
Vibram is an Italian company that has been producing some of the finest rubber for shoes since 1935. Nearly all of the best high-end hiking boots utilize Vibram rubber and they are the leader in shoe soling technology.
The Vibram Five Fingers sole technology started out as extensive research and design project. When Vibram approached shoe manufactures about incorporating this revolutionary barefoot rubber sole into their products it fell upon deaf ears. So Vibram set out to build and sell the Five Finger shoes all by themselves.
The premise of Five Finger shoes is to allow wearers to get all the benefits of running barefoot and still provide protection for the feet. Barefoot running has gained popularity in recent years as a means to strengthen the lower leg and correct poor running form. Barefoot running promotes a healthy and natural mid foot strike saving your knees and lower back from excess strain.
There are some reasons to be cautious though. You should never rush into barefoot running. It is a very gradual process. If you do not “build-up” to running barefoot slowly you can end up injuring yourself. I’ve personally seen it happen several times. So, please be patient when just getting started with Vibram Five Fingers.
Vibram Five Fingers KSO
The KSO or “Keep Stuff Out” Was One of the Original
Five Finger shoes to be introduced. It has gained a widespread following as being a “do-it-all” Vibram. This is a great option for water sports, travel, the gym and running.
If you want support, cushion or padding this isn’t a great running shoe. If you need correction to your stride this won’t be great running option for you either. However, if you have a neutral stride, the KSO could be a good option for you.
The KSO is 100% synthetic so you can wash it with water and soap or even toss them in a washing machine (hang dry only). There is an anti-microbial lining to help prevent foul odors. And yes you can wear these without socks or with them if you prefer (injinji makes the most popular “toe socks”).
A breathable mesh upper helps keep your feet cool, while still keeping rocks and pebbles out. The KSO is secured in place with one Velcro strap that also tightens up on the Achilles tendon. And the heart and soul of the shoe, the patented Vibram rubber sole, hugs the bottom of your feet like a glove. I’ve heard people describe it as feeling, “ like sticky rubber glued to the bottom of my feet.”
The shoe itself is extremely basic. There are no frills – and that is the point. It’s a completely natural, barefoot experience that protects your feet from the elements.
Now the sole is thin and flexible, and I’ve been asked several times “doesn’t it hurt if you step on something?”
Well my answer is always the same…
1. The shoe makes your run “softer” so if you do step on something – it doesn’t hurt too much.
2. Running with Vibram shoes makes you much more “agile” and “aware”, so I rarely step on anything that would hurt.
Who should use the Vibram KSO?
I think there are two groups of people that benefit from the KSO the most.
First: the experienced runner that has a great stride and wants to mix up their running regime could add 1 day a week of Vibram running. This would help strengthen the lower leg and just “mix things up.”
Second: someone that has already worked up to a consistent 10-20 miles per week, but doesn’t have great form. This person could switch to KSO’s, drop their volume to 10% of their normal mileage, and increase by 10% per week. They could then decide to switch back to traditional shoes or continue on with Vibram KSO’s with their improved running form.
Who SHOULDN’T use the Vibram KSO?
If you are brand new to running this isn’t the best shoe to start with. If you would like to lose a few pounds, this also isn’t a great shoe to start with.
In Conclusion, the Vibram Five Fingers KSO is a great shoe if you use it properly, but like any tool it can be harmful if misused. It’s a great option for someone already running on a consistent basis and a bad option if you are just getting started.
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