08-06-10 - Vibram

I fucking hate Vibram. I need to buy some damn hiking shoes (my hipster slipper-tennis-shoes are not ideal for backpacking), but it's basically impossible because vibram seems to have cornered the market. Having vibram under me feels like I'm walking on wet wood, or ice cubes, or something else unreasonably stiff and slippery.

I guess it's a durable material, but shoe soles (like car tires) have the property that durable and grippy are inherently opposite. I want the softest rubber you can get on my feet. In fact I would love to get just regular shoes that have that super grippy climbing shoe rubber that wears off in like a week. Fine, I'll replace them periodically, but at least in the mean time I will have soft sticky contact with the ground.


castano said...

hmm... I use these vibram shoes and I'm very happy with them. I'm generally more concerned about fit than about grip, though. And these shoes fit notably better than any other that I tried. I've been using them since April 2008 and now the sole is nearly flat. I should have replaced them a while ago, but they are still OK for light hiking and everyday use. The grip is noticeably bad, but I don't think it was too bad originally.

Sir Sarna said...

Not very trendy for hiking, but the slip-resistant soles will cling to anything:

brian said...

I've been wearing the fivefingers nearly exclusively for several weeks now. They're tackier rubber, closer to climbing shoes, so I think Vibram has a range they use. I've taken them on pretty rugged hikes and they've been totally fine. The only time they struggle is in loose very dry dusty dirt, because they don't have any tread to speak of... but I noticed that I seemed still to be slipping around less than my friends who were wearing big-tread hiking shoes.

cbloom said...

Yeah I like the idea of the five fingers for hiking, but I worry they might not be so great backpacking.

Generally I prefer lightweight minimal shoes; I think the idea that you need "support" is all wrong, but fivefingers+backpack seems excessive.

brian said...

I don't wear the VFF in specialized situations like biking and dancing, but otherwise the only time I'd consider not wearing them is if I hurt my foot somehow and needed the equivalent of a crutch.

Because that's what I tell people when they say "But they don't have any SUPPORT!" I say, if you started using crutches to walk just for the hell of it, and someone suggested you stop walking with crutches, you could argue that you were, in fact, giving up "support." Since crutches support you. Similarly, all shoe structures that support you in a way that you could do with your own muscle is unhealthy and causes chronic problems, I believe.

I've thought about it and think I'd have no problem going backpacking with my VFF.

Speaking of which, if we go backpacking this coming weekend, wanna come? It's kind of a long shot at this point since Eric hasn't actually told me we're going yet, but, you know, maybe.

old rants