Thursday, April 08, 2010

Life in Vivo Barefoot: Week 1.

The first pair arrived about a week ago, and within 48 hours I had ordered a second pair. The design options have broadened and gone in a more classic direction. Simple, minimal, and elegant looks are now available in addition to the tackier sneaker-ish designs of last year. The first pair were all white slip-ons. Boy they look nice. And they feel nice. My first impression: the sole is stiffer than I anticipated. But the same was true for the Vibram Five fingers, and they eventually got broken in. I also noticed a little more than the advertised 3mm puncture proof sole inside. There is also a odor controlling and slightly cushy insole. Though it’s one more step away from the minimal ideal, I left the insoles in place (they are easily removable) for the added comfort and odor control. I will be going with out socks most of the time.

Walking in the Vivos didn’t seem to require any great changes in my thinking. It came naturally. Less impact on the heel, more reliance on the ankle to bend with footstrike, reducing shock. Mechanically, it really is like walking barefoot. There are of course different muscle stresses. Waking up on the morning after Day One in the Vivos, I did have a mild soreness in my calves. No pain, just that strangely pleasant sensation that is the natural response after you’ve given your muscles a bit of a wake up call.

On one occasion, while loading a truck for work, I did come down out of the truck and impacted a little too hard on the ball of my left foot on the cement floor of the garage. No apparent harm though, just the instant sting that says “don’t do that again.” Learning to tread more lightly is part of the learning process with these shoes.

I liked the white slip ons so much that when I found a online coupon for 30% off, I ordered a pair of black lace-ups, a la Chuck Taylor.

The slip ons were just a touch on the roomy side, but the fit improves as I wear them, and I chose the same size for the next pair. With the the lace-ups I was able to get a perfectly snug fit.

Now as I walk through town, my feet bend and flex and get exercise. I can feel changes in the pavement and I’m getting a much richer sensory experience. Yesterday I could feel tendons in my left foot as I walked along the sidewalk. From ball to heel I could feel my facia ligament tight and hot. Felt like it needed a good stretch. This morning my feet feel great.