On those toe shoes

Alrighty.  I’ve had these bizarre things for a couple of weeks now.

And I maintain that they’re pretty bizarre, which was sort of my impression when I bought them, but I figured I’d give them a shot.  A couple of people have asked how I’m liking them, so I thought I’d give a little update.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve worn them running a handful of times – just for a few minutes, never more than a mile – before switching in to my regular shoes and finishing the run.  I will fully admit that I have been toying with them mostly out of curiosity, and not out of any strong desire to become a member of the Cult of the Barefoot.


  • While running, they are rather unpleasant.  I’m slapping the concrete like it insulted my momma and I feel like I’ve gained about 50 pounds.  (Running on dirt or a rubberized track would undoubtedly be more pleasant.  But that isn’t at all convenient for my everyday runs, unfortunately.)
  • My calves definitely feel tight after I run in them – not so much right then, but the next day.  From what I understand, that is to be expected.  (I tend to run on my mid-foot in regular shoes anyway, which results in perpetually tight calves, so I don’t know that being in the Vibrams really changed my stride all that much, but the lack of cushion was definitely a change.)
  • Pretty sure I look like a loon running around downtown Raleigh in these things.
  • As much as I’m not a fan of them for running, I am surprisingly smitten with just wearing them around.  They are really, really comfortable.  I wear them to the grocery store (shut up) and occasionally the bar (no really, shut up).
I know people have strong opinions when it comes to the whole minimalist/barefoot versus traditional shoe thing.  Honestly, I really don’t. Having given it quite a bit of thought over the last year or so, I think the theory behind barefoot/ultra-minimal/zero-heel-drop running makes sense, but, like…shoes are pretty nice, too.   And as one of my favorite internet running buddies is fond of saying, our ancestors ran without sports bras too, and I’m not about to give those up.
And you know what?  You can reap some of the benefits of going barefoot without spending $90 on a pair of foot gloves.  Doing barefoot strides after a workout as a great way to strengthen those little muscles.  Choosing a lighter, more flexible trainer also gets you a little closer to nature.  (There are so many of these on the market right now, it makes my head spin.)
Anyway, the bizarre toe shoes will definitely stay in rotation as a training tool.  If I lifted weights, I’d lift weights in them (but we all know that I don’t.)   We have a beach trip planned for the summer, and I’ll definitely bring them along for some beach running.

And for wearing to the bar?  Most definitely.  I might even wear them with my compression sleeves to complete the look.

Today’s EAT:  Gah, I have a shit-ton of fresh basil to use up right now!  How’s that for a white girl problem?

So I had a big pile of fresh mozzarella with basil for lunch.  I can pretty much make a meal out of cheese any day.
Today’s DRINKCatching up on a weekend wine…

This Lucinda + Millie Organic Chardonnay, sipped on Friday night alongside crab cakes, was wonderful.  Very fruity with lots of apple and pear and a little orange, but not overly sweet.  At $9, it was a great bottle that I’d buy again!
Today’s RUN: Was hot.  Seriously hot.  It’s only April and I fear that it’s time to switch over to morning workouts…until, like November.  I’m crying inside.  I hate mornings.
But I hate slogging through miserable evening runs more, so oh well.
Last week was a weird week, with lots of rest days:
M – 7 easy (1:00, 8:34 pace)
Tu – OFF
W – 2.2 easy (18:40, 8:29 pace)
Th – OFF
F – 13 long run, mixed bridle and trails (2:03:55, 9:32 pace)
Sa – OFF
Su – 7.3 easy, greenway, (1:13, 10:00 pace) + 4 w/3 at tempo, treadmill, (31:04, 7:42 pace)

Total: 33.5 miles.  I suppose that’s not bad for a 4-day week.

Today’s QUESTION: Have you ever tried Vibrams or the like?  Would you try them?  Am I a douchebaguette for wearing them to the bar?  Actually, don’t answer that last one…
(Edit: I don’t know why the paragraph spacing in this post is so wonky.  I can’t seem to fix it.  I’m going to just blame WordPress and go to bed, because I don’t feel like staying up all night trying to figure it out.)

36 responses to “On those toe shoes

  1. I bought some Vibrams back in November & haven’t really had a chance to break them in fully. I want to believe the philosophy of minimalist running, and would like to think that my body is so awesome it would be fine hauling my little flat feet over many miles. I started out just wearing them around the house & knew I had to slowly work my way up to real running in them. Unfort, with the training schedule, I just haven’t had an low(er) mileage runs or spare time to do transition work into them.

  2. I just cannot get into the Vibrams concept. I’m cool with minimalist shoes and love my Nike Frees, but I think the toes on those just creep me out a little too much.
    We used to do barefoot strides at cross country practice. I LOVED that feeling!

  3. Haha, you’re awesome for wearing them to the bar. I haven’t tried them and I don’t know if I will. I like my comfy Asics too much.

  4. You’re my hero for wearing them to the bar. Whatever, rock them out girlfriend.

  5. Actually, I can run in them. Like for more than one minute compared to regular gym shoes. (I hate running though so I never tried buying running shoes or anything). Sometimes, they do hurt my calves when I run for those whole two minutes on the treadmill when I warm up before my personal training session, but overall it is the least amount of pain I’ve experienced while running. I actually work out in them overall and I like how light they are.

    Tom swears by them.

  6. i still blame my foot issues on poor shoes that i used in my youth. the research about minimalist running etc. sounds great in theory but personally i know that much of whats wrong with my poor feet can be attributed to thin-soled canvas shoes. i am very happy to read about your experience with the vibrams (among other things, they look real ugly, uglier even than my toes despite the missing nails and so on!). thanks!

  7. I just can’t believe that they are comfortable. I’m hating all shoes right now – nothing makes my poor feet happy.

    On another note, do you have all that basil from your plant??? Hooray! You need to start making your own mozzarella. I bought a kit from the homebrew store – they just started stocking them. It is fun and super easy. New England Cheesemaking Supply sells the kits online.

    • Yes – that thing is a machine! I “pruned” it – along with a couple of the other plants – on Sunday and now I have a ton of fresh herbs. It’s pretty awesome. 🙂

      Homemade mozz? Now that’s ambitious!

  8. I think they’d be stellar for beach running (unless sand could in there and start rubbing around – ouch) and dorking around town, but for running on the street? No way. I have a tiny foot with a super high arch, my “contact patch” is limited enough as it is. I need stability and cushion.

    I’d rock them to the bar. Then again, I’ll go grab a drink with shower-wet hair, zero makeup, a wrinkled shirt and shorts I haven’t washed in three weeks, so…

  9. I want to wear them to the bar. It’s probably the only thing that would get guys to pay attention to me. And that’s all I want out of life anyway.

  10. I haven’t gotten into them. My friend has some, but she always favors her regular trainers over them because they’re just not that pleasant to run in (like you said).

  11. I used to do barefoot strides at the end of cross country practice. I think its something I should get back into, but I’m definitely not feeling actually running in vibrams.

  12. I’m always intrigued when I see people wearing those things. If I saw a chick drinking beer in them, I’d HAVE to go introduce myself.

  13. I want a pair of Vibrams! Not necessarily to run in because I really don’t have the patience to gradually wear them in, but I’d totally wear them out and about. When I was in Montana in August EVERYONE was wearing them. I’m going in June so I obviously have to get a pair.

  14. I would NEVER run in those things. Not only do I need shoes, I wear orthotics. Everytime I’ve tried to go to a minimalist shoe I’ve been injured. I have a lovely football field by me and used to do barefoot strides there. I should start that again.

    I might get a pair (if I found them somewhere cheap) for the beach. I’ve always felt a little freaked out not wearing shoes or something in the water. (Yes. I’m weird.)

  15. I haven’t tried them – but witnessed the after-effects of a runner during the Salem Lake 30k trail run last year. He wore vibrams for the whole 18.6 mile race & his feet were pretty much shredded at the end – with the dirt & grit getting down in the shoe & rubbing his feet for 18.6 miles. Not a pretty site.

  16. I don’t think I would ever get Vibrams – only because I hate toe socks and how it feels to have something between each toe. I have been adding a few laps around the track wearing just socks at the ends of a few of my runs lately. Might continue to do this to build up those muscles.

  17. I’m super curious about them, I would like to try a pair but don’t want to buy them for fear that I will hate them and they will have to retire to the land-of-forgotten-shoes in the back of my closet. And I would have no fear about wearing them to the bar if I liked them.

  18. I rotate between Vibrams and the New Balance Minimus. I am in love with the New Balance. For both shoes I highly suggest socks. Had to start SUPER slow in the Vibrams…similar to how you are, otherwise you will get hurt. But now I am running in one of the pairs everyday including my long runs on Saturdays. My feet are a lot stronger and they have actually shrunk down a 1/2 size…weird.

    • That is kind of weird! You would think your feet would spread out and get a little bigger, not smaller. Glad they are working out for you, though! I’ve heard really good things about the Minimus too.

  19. I’ve never tried them myself, more of a yoga girl and that doesn’t require any shoes at all! yay 🙂 However, one of my good friends just ran the Austin marathon in them this year and swears by them…

  20. I’ve never tried Vibrams & I don’t really have a desire to try them. I have considered going to a more miminalist shoe though.
    & running without a sports bra? Sounds like hell.

  21. Can you take a picture in a bathroom mirror if you wear them to the bar with compression socks? Because I’d like a new computer background photo.

  22. lizard feet!

    and PLEASE wear them to a bar with the socks. please. that would make me ever so happy

  23. My dad bought me a pair of vibrams a few weeks ago and while I’ve yet to wear them, I *have* been wearing my NB Minimus and I like them a lot! I definitely experience that pavement slapping, tight calf feeling after I wear them for a run, but just wearing them with jeans and such is awesome. They actually look kind of…hip and fashionable.

    Anddddd now I sound like a grandma.

  24. 3 things –

    1) I have a pair and feel almost exactly the same as you do. I like them as a training tool in my shoe rotation (now that the weather is nice enough.)

    2) I do lift weights in them (on the occasions that I lift weights), and I find them comfy to just wear around.

    3)I’m not about to give up my regular shoes, and I don’t feel extremely strong about the minimal/barefoot movement one way or the other.

    P.S. WordPress spacing and formatting was being a pain for me lately too. Wonder if that will get fixed soon?

  25. Actually, wearing Vibrams to the grocery store seems way more practical than wearing them running.

  26. Haha, thanks Shelby. I just realized you linked to me. I’m all for modern advance in comfort.

  27. If your ancestors jumped off of a bridge, would you jump too?

    Not interested in them for running, and I’m sure I’d look like a douchesaurus rex in them in a bar.

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