You all know by now if you read this blog or follow me on twitter that my new favorite hobby is barefoot running. I can’t explain how much fun it is. You just need to go out and try it! While I was in Portland this weekend I hit up REI to see if they had any good sale items. I saw that they had Vibram’s FiveFinger Sprint’s in stock (I previously used the Classic’s) and tried them on.
They felt good, albeit quite snug. The store clerk mentioned that they fit a little different than the Classic’s, and I thought it would be better to go a little on the snug side than the loose side. I’ve been using the Classic’s for a few months and they are good, but they cause a bit of chafing near my achilles tendon. It got to the point where I tried taping the area with medical tape before every run (didn’t work) and then duct tape to keep my skin from rubbing raw. After a mile of running it would be uncomfortable and after two miles painful.
You can see in the photo below where the Classic’s have a rubber heel tab that could definitely be problematic for certain foot types. The Sprint’s (photo above) didn’t have this rubber on the heel tab, so I figured they would be better for me.
I drove home in the Sprint’s and have since spent a day walking around in them, been to the gym for a workout and just got back from a 2 mile run with them. WOW! They are so much better for me than the Classic’s! Not only does my achilles not chafe, I also feel like they fit so much better. The strap across the top of the Sprint’s gives them a more snug fit (I don’t do anything to the straps on the sides of the heels, since my heel is snug enough without tightening them).
The other thing to note is that I got a size smaller in the Sprint’s vs the Classic’s. The smaller and snugger fit definitely makes them feel more responsive when running. They really feel like a second skin. Another thing, noticed that I haven’t “tripped” on them or caught my toes on anything while walking around (this happened every now and then with the Classic’s). The tighter fit might have something to do with it.
So, ultimately I think that had I gotten a size smaller in the Classic’s they would have felt better and maybe not caused as much pain in my achilles, but the Sprint’s win hands-down as my preferred barefoot runner since they don’t cause chafing and the top-strap helps me get the right fit. If you are looking to get a pair of VFF’s for barefoot running, definitely consider the Sprint’s.
btw…I didn’t try the KSO model (they didn’t have them in my size), but they don’t seem to have the annoying rubber-chafing-torture-thing on the heel either so you may want to consider them until Vibram releases their running specific FiveFinger model next year.