Since I started kayaking a few years ago, I’m searching for appropriate footwear that is lightweight, has a strong sole and works well with water. I tried several options ranging from neoprene-surf-socks and beach shoes up to the legendary crocs, but none of them really ticked required boxes on my check-list.
Already back in december I stumbled upon Vibram’s own FiveFingers brand, which offers a wide range of minimalist barefoot running shoes while stating that “moving and running in FiveFingers can make us healthier, happier, and more connected to our bodies”. This relates to an ongoing discourse about the concept of minimalism and minimalist running.
What I really like in Vibram’s approach, is that they seem to really care about your inherent foot and biomechanics. We all know that running barefoot is triggering more muscles and should feel healthier and more natural than everything else. Following Vibram’s Getting Started pages opened my mind towards this whole barefoot running / walking thingy even more.
When considering that I would use my FiveFingers in or near the water, the obvious choice was to go for the KSO model. KSO stands for “Keep Stuff Out.” and refers to the breathable mesh that wraps your entire forefoot. As an alternative, I ordered a pair of “Classics”. A 2012-model – which to my surprise – is featuring the same nylon-stretch and sole material, while coming along in a more open shape and an easy-to-use back-strap for tightening the overall fit.
Keeping in mind that I will mainly use these shoes in warmer conditions and temperatures, I decided to go for the more lightweight Classic model. It’s not only cheaper in price but easier to put on and tighten while the Vibram TC-1 performance rubber sole delivers the same excellent traction (even on slippery surfaces) as the KSO model.
After wearing the Classic model for a bit more than two hours in-doors, they feel like a perfect fit to my feet (I’m wearing half-size smaller than I do in regular shoes). Putting them on for the first time takes some time, but once you are done, your toes are finding their way quite naturally. Of course my feet are slightly hurting after this first session, but an adjustment period is normal as your feet and lower legs are increasing strength and mobility.
Can’t wait to wear them outdoors!
These blog entries might also be of interest for you.