Saturday, 7 July 2012

STYLE@LXG: Vibram Five Fingers KSO!

Well its no secret to some that I've been on the lookout for these beauties for a quite a while now - not just for their reputed ergonomic design, but simply because they look so outrageously wild! As far as footwear is concerned, there's nothing else that quite looks like a pair of Five Fingers

The Vibram Fivefingers was named one of the best inventions of 2007 by Time magazine, and I've been curious about them ever since. Just by the looks of them, it would be easy to dismiss them as a sales gimmick - trainers that are designed to look just like your actual feet. I mean that does look pretty cool...

But subsequent research and feedback from professional athletes actually attests to the effectiveness of Fivefingers in both training and everyday use. Voted “Most Popular” of all the models available, because of its versatility, the KSO features a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide and breathable mesh upper that wraps around the entire forefoot to literally “Keep Stuff Out”. A single hook-and-loop closure helps secure the fit. The non-marking 3.5mm Vibram® TC1 performance rubber outsole is 'razor-siped' for enhanced flexibility and a sure grip on wet or dry surfaces... Well that's what it says on the label, and I am blinded enough by the science of it to believe them...

So with all of these salient points in its favour, I finally went ahead and got me a pair of Fivefinger KSO's. And how cool are they!

Just admiring their shape and form - its great when designers get to go mad with their creations, and still see them come to life as they intended, without any compromises having had to be made for the sake of sensibility and conservativeness.

Yes, at first glimpse, you would hardly call a pair of FiveFingers a sensible pair of shoes - in fact they are not so much shoes as foot covers with a pocket for each toe.

So how do they feel? Well, the thin flexible soles allow you to feel absolutely everything under your feet. And this may be disconcerting to some - especially those that appreciate the spongy comfort of padded soles as they run in the park or trek over hillsides...

Indeed the Fivefingers are not cushioned,  so they make every run, walk or hike an engaging event. They are considered a training device because they force your body to adapt to a new style of  footwear. That, in turn, apparently stimulates the muscles in your feet and lower legs to build strength and improve range of motion.

But this is quite a radical adaptation from the norm, and in fact the accompanying guide also recommends for the first week or two of wear, that you just use the Fivefingers for about an hour or two a day. And this evening, after having proudly worn mine around town for at least four hours, I understood why...

I had muscles that I never even knew existed in my foot, cramping with aches and pains, and my calf felt like it had been repeatedly beaten with a hammer. But that's my own fault for overdoing it on the first day. A couple of hours later on, and my feet now have a pleasantly warm and buzzing sensation... So obviously its going to take a gradual getting used to...   

That eventual adaptation is said to result in increased balance, greater mobility and improved core stability. Only time will tell...

I'll let you know after I take my KSO's out for a proper spin!