Last Thursday, post 20 minute nap after a long work-day , I made my way down the stairs and out into the advancing twilight of evening for a quick run. I strapped down the velcro tab on my Vibram KSO, picked up my toes and took off! Half a mile later, I stopped at my local REI. I decided to make my shoe purchase errand a short run. (Really short). But after half an hour of conversation with a very helpful sales associate, I didn't even know which shoe I wanted to try on my foot. I decided to run home, the long way (a two-mile run still didn't seem like much), and try another day. I was pleased to see that I kept a rather swift pace up, this late in the evening, arriving home to see sub 8'10" average pace. Saturday finally rolled around and my day was stacked with activities. The morning run, a trip to the farmer's market, go find a spiralizer (to make spiral zucchini "noodles" for a wheat and grain-free pasta dish. I found Helen's Spiral Slicer on sale at Kitchen Kaboodle), and do various other home-keeping tasks. I had no time to get new shoes. Therefore, after a wholesome breakfast of gluten-free granola, coconut milk, a banana, some frozen blackberries, and a cup of coffee (and time for the meal to settle), I once again strapped on the KSO's and went for my morning run. I ran my favorite loop, down around the waterfront. It was such a beautiful day!
The cooler morning air, bright sunshine, swimming geese, and multitude of other runners kept me motivated and moving at a quick clip. When I finished my route, hit the "End Workout" button on my Nike+ App, I was rewarded with the female voice letting me know I had completed four miles at an average pace of 8'15"/mile. I cut 45 seconds per mile off my run wearing the KSO's rather than a traditional tennis shoe.
That did it. SOLD.
My next shoe will be a Vibram toe-shoe. I am now a believer. Evidence points to the fact that I move faster, and with more ease, wearing these shoes than any other conventional running shoe I have tried. I decided to look into the shoes with some extra tread for the probability of rain soon to come, and the option of trail running and sparing my soles the pain they would otherwise endure on the small rocks and tree toes that are scattered across most of our trails.
Tonight, I went back to REI (they have quite an array of minimalist shoes), told the sales associate exactly what I was looking for, tried three different pairs, and came home with one. They have a little more room than the previous pair. Admittedly, I went up a size. It was brought to my attention that I have been wearing one size, or possibly two sizes, too small in this shoe. With the intention of committing to longer runs, and possibly wearing wool toe-socks this winter to keep my feet warm, the extra space provided is rather logical. We always go up a size for running shoes anyway, why not with a minimalist toe-shoe? When I first purchased the Vibram KSO I was directed that it should really fit the foot snugly. I now understand this instruction makes sense if you are boating, or possibly rock climbing, in these shoes, as the close fit will assist you. But be advised, if you're going to use your Vibrams to run, the feet swell, and buying a size up as you would for traditional running shoe purchases is smart. Your feet will thank you later.
Tomorrow morning, my new shoes and I are going to get acquainted. I'll let you know how the run goes, and whether the shoes pass muster!