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It has come to this with my VFF

  • Tuesday, January 18 2011 @ 12:23 AM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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I love and hate my Vibram FiveFingers Bikila running shoes.

I love that I can wear them and have beautiful runs like today, where I had a segment that felt perfect and effortless. I love that they have great traction on wet surfaces (better than my bare feet). I love that I can wear them in the rain and not come home with stanky socks. I love that they protect my feet from sticks and stones and other pointy things.

I hate that I can no longer wear my VFF with only my bare feet inside. There is a seam on the insole along the inside arch area that rubs a raw spot after a few miles of running. Wearing Injinji toe socks eliminates this problem, but I only have a single pair of these socks.

* Update 5.11.2011 * The rubbing eventually went away, perhaps due to subtle change in my form, and I continued to run in my VFF for weeks after this rubbing incident. VFF became my highest mileage shoe until I received my Altra Running Instincts.

* Update 11.14.2016 * I now just always use toe socks (such as Injinji). All the rubbing issues are gone forever and VFF are now more prevalent in my shoe rotation.

Today I used large bandaids and athletic / medical tape wrapped around my foot to prevent the rubbing. Pictured below is my VFF and foot with the quick bandaid / tape job:

I think part of the issue is that the VFF Bikila is too loose around the ankle. This contributes to the sliding and rubbing. With a single velcro strap positioned where it is on the Bikilas, there is really no way to correct this. Pulling the velcro strap too tight puts too much pressure around the middle of the foot, constricts the tendons, and leads to eventual pain in the forefoot.

Besides the seam rubbing a raw spot on my foot, I also get a cramps at the very front of my arches somewhere after the first mile. The cramps go away eventually so I can proceed with my run, but it is very annoying. I'm not sure if it is weak feet or something to do with the toe pockets. These arch cramps do not happen in my Mizuno Wave Universe 3 shoes. I have put just about the same number of miles on my VFF and MWU3 (120-130 miles each).

I'm not happy that I have to take these extra precautions to avoid the rubbing. It makes me want to look at other shoes. The VFF toe pockets are a neat idea, but I think we can do better.

I am very glad there are new minimalist shoe alternatives from companies such as Altra Running, Merrell, and New Balance.
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  • It has come to this with my VFF
  • Authored by: cewyattjr on Friday, June 24 2011 @ 10:47 PM UTC
I've only just bought a pair, about a week ago, and have seen the same stitching rubbing issue on the inside of my left foot, looks like the same spot in your photo. It felt to me like the stitching on one show is raised more than the other. I'm thinking about doing a return and see if I can get a better pair, but otherwise I'll be running with surgical tape on the spot, Or those funky toe socks.


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