Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Vibram Five Fingers Invasion!

Last year when I bought my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs)(their website), I was nervous that it was one of my radical, rash and rushed decisions. As an 'artistic' individual, sometimes those are the best ones and sometimes I rue-the-day. It was a slow start for me to get into shape running in a totally new style, but by the end of last summer I was getting the hang of it.

Naturally, Leora and Anwyn loved my shoes. I'm always looking for ways to encourage the girls to be more active. So when I started running with Anwyn's school-mates to train for the Bridge-City Boogie (a 5km fun run), I hit upon an idea to try and inspire them. They are both pretty good at saving their allowance and always have several hundred dollars in their bank accounts. Anwyn, who usually has twice her sister's savings (or mine, for that matter), said she would be willing to buy herself a pair ($110 after tax). I agreed and offered to repay her $30 (the price of a new pair of sneakers) plus $1 per kilometer that she runs this summer. The idea was not to pay them to run (which I think would be a mistake), but rather show support for their efforts at a healthy lifestyle decision. This is an extension of a standing policy that Wendy and I have. The family members make their own purchases for non-necessities, and if they manage to make the purchase benefit the family or our lifestyle, they will be reimbursed. We did the same thing with a bike trailer for Anwyn two years ago and it worked beautifully.

A rare "partly sunny" training run
Anwyn and I walked to Pedestrian on Broadway after doing our noon-hour training run and bought a pair  of KSOs(short for "Keep Stuff Out") the same day I made her the offer. It was pouring rain and we felt alive from running in it. Leora quickly followed suit two days later, though we had to trek to Escape Sports on 19th to get her size. They wear them ALL THE TIME. Their feet haven't had time to get into the debilitated state that most adult feet have and they haven't experienced any discomfort during the transition.

Look at that form! (2.92m)
Anwyn has already earned back $40. Leora, no less enthusiastic about the shoes, prefers walking and gymnastics. She'll bear the financial brunt of that decision, but I think everyone is happy with the current state of things. The second picture is Leo representing Greystone's under 13s in long jump at the city track meet. She wore her FFs with pride and despite being the shortest kid on the field managed to place in the middle of the pack. I won't pretend it's because of the shoes, but they certainly look great.

Recently, I read a couple of interesting write-ups on bare-footing. Zenhabits did a piece and in it linked to an article by Barefoot Ted called so you wanna start running barefoot. Both worth a read, if you are barefoot curious ;)