As a runner, you always want to keep pushing yourself. You constantly strive to be on top of your game and conquer the pavements by striking them with your feet long and hard.
Your best efforts may pay off, but there's a high price to be paid, especially when it comes to your feet. You can suffer foot pain, blisters, and other foot conditions such as bunions. But conquering a road marathon doesn't have to cost you as much. There is footwear you can use that will free you from your running burdens so you can be on your way to beating your personal best. That footwear is the V-Run FiveFingers.
In Focus: Vibram V-Run FiveFingers
We're focusing on Vibram V-Run FiveFingers toe separator shoes because it embodies the design and features of what separator shoes should have. Here are some of the things that make the V-run special.
The V-Run's design leans toward efficiency. It puts only what is essential and functional to support several features that are useful to an athlete. Check out the following design details below.
The laces of the V-Run are not made from your typical cotton and polyester material. These types of laces need to be tied up, and it can be inefficient. To solve this, the V-Run is equipped with thin bungee lace. Instead of tying up a shoelace to tighten and secure your shoe, you get a slide-down push-button as a replacement. One of the problems with traditional shoelaces is being stepped on while walking or running. This issue is addressed with a Velcro strap at the tip of the V-Run’s laces so they can stay on top of your feet as you move about.
V-Run's Vibram rubber soles resemble a footprint design and are equally distributed in the important sections under your foot. The sole covers the forefoot, the heel, and the lateral area beside your arches—all the parts that hit the ground.
Another awesome feature of the sole is it extends to the top of the toes of your foot and acts like toe cushions for your shoes. The V-Run soles support your feet's full range of motion and ensure it covers the parts that may touch the ground.
On top of the shoe's sole lies the fabric that covers your foot. Typically normal running shoes would have a thick fabric with an additional cushion lining inside that makes the shoe comfortable. On the other hand, it isn't breathable, and it tends to weigh heavily, especially if you're running long distances.
The way V-Run shoes are made takes into account the issue of breathability and weight, so the materials are minimized. No more cushions; instead, the shoe is fitted with polyester lycra mesh and polyester microfiber, which makes the shoes stretchable and comfortable.
The V-Run shoe spacers design differentiates it from the rest. Not only because of its unique physical characteristics but also its features. Here are some of the notable ones.
Well ventilated and comfortable
The fabric used for the V-Run shoes is thin and lightweight. It has ventilation holes on the fabric that let the air circulate within the shoe. It also feels much lighter compared to traditional running shoes, which only adds to its comfort.
Despite the thin fabric material, the V-Run is durable. The fabric doesn't tear even with the addition of breathable holes on its surface. It can be machine washed, and it will still retain its original shape. On the other hand, it may loosen up a bit as time passes.
Designed for hard surfaces, wet and dry
The V-Run shoes perform well on smooth and hard surfaces, both wet and dry. The soles of the shoes allow your feet to flat out on the hard surface, giving you more power to move forward. That's why the V-Run is used for distance running by athletes.
Built-in toe separators
The V-Run's design isn't like any ordinary running shoe in the market. Instead, the design takes into account the natural spread of your toes. The shoes look like feet because it provides an allowance for each toe to spread rather than be confined to a toe box. This opens up a lot of benefits for runners.
The V-Run is designed to yield several benefits that turn it up a notch from the typical running or training shoe. Here are some of the benefits the V-Run can offer you as a runner and an athlete.
It can be used in other athletic activities
The V-Run's soles have excellent grip potential that can also be used to improve performance in other athletic activities. For example, powerlifters who want to keep their feet steady on the ground as they do deadlifts find the V-Run supports them adequately. They can do a snatch or a clean and jerk with improved stability.
Feels like you're running barefoot
Running barefoot is an extreme running style, but it is also the most effective. Unfortunately, it's also the riskiest because you're exposing your feet to possible injuries. This is the whole point of wearing a shoe—to protect your feet.
Unfortunately, shoes can be cumbersome for your feet which slows you down and may even add to your fatigue when distance running.
That's what V-Run is trying to solve when running, to have both the protection your foot needs while giving you the feeling like you're running barefoot. And it has achieved it with a lightweight design that mimics the contours of your feet; wearing these feels like you're running without shoes on, but you don't feel the roughness of the ground.
Improves running form
The V-Run does more than encourage the correct running foot strike, it also improves your overall running form. The five-finger toe separation design will help you learn how to run with a midfoot strike. In addition, this type of foot placement gives your foot a natural spread as it hits the ground, giving you stability. As a result, you're less likely to feel pain in your calves or heels, causing you to lean forward or backward respectively as you run, giving you a bad running form.
Portable for travel
As a runner, you will be traveling to places where running events are held. You won't be staying at those destinations for a long time, so you're going to have to pack light with only the essentials you need to get there and perform. Shoes are one of those things. Unfortunately, shoes also take up a lot of space in your travel suitcase.
The V-Run's minimal and lightweight design allows you to bend it and even roll it into a portable shape so you can sneak it in one of the suitcase’s pockets. It saves so much space that you’ll have more room to bring other important things.
You also don't have to worry about it being bent out of shape. As soon as you pop it out of your bag, it will retain its original form.
Can prevent bunions
The V-Run can also serve as bunion corrector shoes that you can use while running. Bunions develop on the runner's feet due to the combination of bad foot strike technique and a running shoe with a tight toe box. If a bunion becomes severe, it may hamper a runner's performance.
V-Run's toe separator feature acts as a bunion corrector because each toe has its separate slot when you wear the shoes. This effectively corrects the big toe's position and puts it back in alignment while you run.
No shoes are made perfect. So despite the V-Run having a lot of great features and useful benefits, there are several things we would like to see in future V-Run designs. Here are some of them.
A more durable sole
The thin soles will give out sooner than expected, especially for a marathoner. And if you're keen on joining trail runs, the V-Run is not the kind of shoes you should wear. It is fun running on pavement with it, but that fun is only good while it lasts—that will be at around your 100–200 mile mark. In addition, the soles' most vulnerable point is the arch area. It's prone to be torn open.
It will be nice to see an improved outer sole in future models of the V-Run. Better if they can keep it lightweight and longer-lasting. Perhaps a stronger material that also covers the arch will be the solution.
Needs specialized socks
Since the shoes have a unique design, it also needs a unique pair of socks. If you buy only the shoe, you won't be able to use it with your usual socks, so you'll be using it barefoot. If you're running for long, the sweat sets in on the foot area and the breathable fabric's ventilation might not keep it dry. When that happens, odor sets in.
In the next V-Run models, it would be great to incorporate a material that repels odor coming from sweat. In the meantime, if the odor sets in, just soak the shoes in water and a mild detergent.
Your Best Road Running Yet
Vibram's V-Run Five Finger shoes are specifically designed for athletes who like to run on pavement. If you have any expectations about V-Run improving your road running performance, you will not be disappointed. Athletes have used it for triathlons and long-distance runs, and they felt like they were in their best performance. So try it, and maybe just like other avid road runners, you'll never go back to wearing normal running shoes ever again.