Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa: First (and second) Impressions


Since I know that I can run comfortably with the Spyridons (see the note below), I thought I would introduce the FiveFingers SeeYa's into the rotation. 


VFF SeeYa's ready for take off
Initial (Pre-Run) Observations:The fit is roughly the same as the Spyridons.  They slipped on just as easily and hugged my foot with exactly the same feel.  I am a bigger fan of laces than hook and loop straps.  That being said, the strap on the Spyridons is pretty comfortable and provides a good fit.  Even with laces, the SeeYa's are noticeably less shoe than the Spyridons, however.  The outsole is much thinner and the tread is less chunky.  The upper material is also thinner, i.e. nearly transparent.  In the hot weather we have been experiencing, this is definitely a good thing.  They may even ride a little lower on the ankle.  With these shoes on, I can forget that I'm wearing shoes.


Observations On The Run
I headed out to run on the packed gravel paths near my house.  They are softer than asphalt or concrete, yet firm enough for a good push off.  They are also not perfectly smooth.  I wanted to see how much ground I felt through the shoe.  I found my answer very quickly: much more than the Spyridons. 


Hot sun and not much shade
The shoes are definitely comfortable, but the thinner outsole let me feel everything that I was running over.  With the paths I was running on, this was not a problem.  I even ran over clumps of weeds that grow on the edges of the paths and over larger stones.  Apart from bits of weeds getting stuck between my toes, there were no problems I felt really well protected.   The thinner upper material was ideal on a day like today because the shoe was cooler temperature-wise.  I did just over 30 minutes and the shoes performed marvellously. 
Post-Run Observations
When I took the shoes off at home, I noticed a couple of abrasions on the top of my left big toe and on the main part of my foot close to the big toe.  Had I run any longer, they would have evolved into full-blown blisters.  I will need to keep an eye on this.  My calves, soleus, Achilles tendons and shins felt fine -no complaints there.  All in all, the SeeYa's felt great and I'm looking forward to running in them again.


Run #2 - the Next Day
Since I did fine in the SeeYa's yesterday, I thought I would give them a tray today.  The weather conditions were almost the same: hot, humid, bright sunshine.  Because I didn't want the abraded spots to blister, I applied Body Glide to the top of my right foot and toes.  I hear that this works, and I hoped that the experiment would succeed today.

Merely a flesh wound
The run felt great.  I stuck to the shady side of the path because the sun was punishing.  As they have been for the past couple of weeks, the deer flies were horrendous.  I was constantly harassed by them today.  I even managed to swallow one and I gagged so hard that I saw my breakfast again.  Not fun.  On the upside, I was detecting no pain from the hot spots on my feet that developed yesterday.  As it turns out, pain is not always an indicator.
Yesterday's hot spots became today's blisters, which opened up and I bled through the shoes.  I will treat the blisters and give the SeeYa's another shot.  Until then, I will switch back to the Spyridons until the blisters heal.




NOTE
This is how the blister issue with the Spyridons ended up being resolved:
  1. I cinched in the strap tighter on the left shoe so that the spot where the d-ring is sewed to the upper does not move around as much.  Blisters are caused by friction (from rubbing) and the best way to eliminate friction is to stop things from moving around. 
  2. The blistered area on my left instep has morphed into a small callous a little bigger than a thumb tack head.