Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Running Barefoot (Almost!)

Gorilla feet!
Have you noticed those wicked "gorilla-feet" footwear used by some runners during races? It struck my curiousness; at first, I find them really funny and over-rated shoes. I even told myself that I will never be caught wearing one myself!

It changed when I had a chance to talk to more users of VFF and research about the benefits of Barefoot running. Finally, last Thursday, I was finally convinced to try and get one for myself.

VFF KSO: Solid stuff!
Meet "Chiz", my VFF-KSO! KSO means Keep Stuff Out which is considered as the most popular model of VFF out there in the market. It has a non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber sole is razor-siped for a sure grip, and a 2mm EVA insole enhances plating protection and comfort. a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper that wraps your entire forefoot to "Keep Stuff Out."* 

With barely 2 weeks of using my new toy, here are my "learnings" about Barefoot Running (almost in my case):

Lesson #1: Change of Running Form - you will have to adjust from heel-striking to forefoot midfoot when you wear these babies. It's the same reason that I took some time-off from racing as I want to improve my form and do some serious forefoot training. Chiz is now my constant partner in achieving these goals.

Lesson #2: Do it gradually - It is advisable to start running in VFF within short distances (i.e. 3K) and increase it gradually. I was stubborn so I tried doing 6K immediately on my first road training, 11K on the second and 11K on the third. That killed my calves and gave me blisters as big as my big toe!!!

Adobo Run: My very first Race using Chiz!

Lesson #3: Blisters will haunt you - I never had such blisters in my entire life! Probably this is caused by the speed work + minimal protection I've had from Chiz. I need to invest on toe socks to minimize blistering or slow down during my training runs with her.

Lesson #4: Distance Does Matter - KSO's have thinner soles compared to Bikila's. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who observed this but if you hit distances above 10K in a fast pace, the blisters will be coming after you. I think this can be minimized by using socks (if you have any advice on how to prevent this, please let me know)

Lesson #5: Different Strength! - Barefoot Running strengthens the calves. For now they hurt like hell but in the long run, they will be developed and grow stronger. Sanayan lang yan! Also, I observed that I'm improving my stamina already! If only I didn't had the blisters last Adobo run, I can still do another 10-12K of run using the same tempo pace :D

Developed not monster calves!!!

Lesson #6: Watch out where you are stepping - Since Chiz has minimal cushioning, you can really feel the surface of whatever your stepping at (to the nth level!). Grass is good, they are soft but you'll hate it when you accidentally step on small stones! I did last Saturday and it felt like a nail was put through my toe! :(. Again, this is not to scare you away from using them but just be extra careful on the things you stepped on (di ko pa naranasan sa "landmines")

You'll hate the small rocks... promise!

Lesson #7: Pabida effect: Lastly, using them will give you the curious stares from people. True to the testaments, you'll feel awkward at first as you get different comments about them. There are laughter, questions and even people who wants to try it themselves. I felt like an ambassador of BFR whenever people approached me on why the hell I am wearing such strange but cool footwears

Even he will roll his eyes when he sees you in VFF :))

It still a little early to observe any significant  improvements using Chiz but I do love the process of learning how to run with her. I'm still a noob with this style of running but it is an investment to my goal of improving in the sport that I really love. 

If you have the extra moolah, try to get one for yourself. I assure you it will be a fun yet fruitful experience running with these babies :D
They come in different colors and styles too! :D

For my next goal, I'm planning to log 16K with her next weekend. We'll see if she's up to the challenge! :D

I'll buy her sister on November but I'm still undecided if it will be "Trixie" or "Komina" :))

To be continued... (for more info about VFF, visit their site at

* - description from Vibram's website

Picture Credits:Various sources from the internet

1 comment:

  1. If you want to try something even "more barefoot" (and less gorilla-like), you should check out Invisible Shoes running sandals (

    I couldn't fit in VFFs, but the sandals work great for me.


Proudly Pinoy!