Home > Uncategorized > 30/30 Day 7 – Newton v. Vibram

30/30 Day 7 – Newton v. Vibram

I love running in my vibrams.  Since I started this journey in October, I have run exclusively in my

vibram five fingers.  It worked out because I wasn’t able to run very far or very long, so I worked up to longer distances while adapting to barefoot running.  While I’m not weighing into the whole “barefoot v. shoe” debate, I will say that the pains I experienced while running in traditional shoes virtually disappeared when I switched.  I attribute that directly to running in my vibrams, so regardless your stance on the whole thing, I will say that my experience supports the science that says running barefoot is better for you than running in shoes.

Having said that, I swore I would never run in a shoe again.  I broke that vow after talking to some friends who run in Newtons and talking to the Newton reps at the Rock and Roll expo.  I want to say first that the reps at the expo were fantastic.  They knew their products and were able to answer my questions about the barefoot simulation provided by the Newton Trainers.  They were friendly and took time to learn about my training goals and they really took the time to listen and analyze what shoe would be best for me.  Additionally, Newton has a regular 30 day no questions return policy (extended to 60 days for the expo) so it was a chance to try the shoe out with minimal pressure.

While I loved the reps and loved the research that says that Newtons do improve performance and energy efficiency due to the lugs in the shoes, I found that I didn’t fall in love with the shoes themselves.  I took the shoes for a short run after I got home from the expo and didn’t have any problems.  I found that I was running faster, but that could have been the thrill of running in new shoes or the fact I knew it was a short run.  It was a flat run and I was able to really open up and push my body.  Having run for so long in the vibrams, I didn’t have to change my stride since I am already a mid- to forefoot striker.

I decided that I was going to run in my Newtons at the St. Patty’s Tri that weekend.  This is risky since I have been repeatedly told not to change anything major the weekend of a race.  I figured, in this case, it was only a 5k and was shorter than a long run I would do without a race so there wasn’t any harm in trying it out.  I’ve already recapped how the run went, but I do want to say that the Newtons were particularly uncomfortable on the run.  Having the lugs on the balls of my feet created a pressure that distracted from the run itself.  I don’t think this is a flaw in the design, but more a result of my not having run in a shoe in a half a year.  I also had some pain on the inside of my right ankle (pain that, strangely enough, had been echoed in my left ankle when I started running in the vibrams).  It felt like a tendon strain so it forced me to back off during the run.

I have run in my Newtons a few more times since then, but still haven’t found them to be the best shoe for me.  I really want to like them and be able to run in them, especially since I have seen the improvement in my times.  After having run in them, though, my place as a vibram man is cemented.  I absolutely love running in my five fingers.  I love the feel of the road (or track, or grass) under my feet.

I love feeling my toes flex as then grip the ground and then push off again.  I love the feeling of freedom that they give.  And, being something of a ham, I love the looks I get when running in them and the questions people ask when I’m wearing them.  I was at a camp gladiator workout yesterday and a kid almost ran into a tree because he was staring at my vibrams.  He couldn’t figure out what was going on with my feet!

So while I respect what Newton is doing and support their continued work in creating a shoe that provides a barefoot-like experience, you will find me running in my vibrams! (and guess who’s on the list for the new Bikilas that Vibram is putting out in the next month or so)

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