I finally succumbed to peer pressure.
After some careful online research (like here, here, and here) and being persuaded by my co-worker Stephane, I finally mozied on down to get myself a pair of Vibram FiveFingers. After all, being named one of Time Magazine’s Inventions of the Year couldn’t be all that bad… right?
After perusing their website, I found only two retailers on Oahu that sold them.
- Uyeda Shoe Store across from Puck’s Alley (map)
- The Wheatgrass Center behind the Bank of Hawaii on Waialae (map)
After calling Uyeda’s several times and being greeted with one of those funky fax feedback tones each time (note – please update your online phone number), I finally decided to ring up The Wheatgrass Center. For those of you instructionally-impaired like myself, just take a left on Waialae Ave. before the Bank of Hawaii heading Kahala bound. Located behind the bank, The Wheatgrass Center is quite an interesting store selling both the Vibram FiveFingers and of course… wheatgrass. (Why people want to ruminate like cows is still truly beyond me.)
When I first saw the Vibram FiveFinger, I did what any other (semi) normal human being would do – I laughed. Not any normal laugh, mind you – but a “there’s no f-in way I’m wearing that in public” laugh. They resemble footwear of a ninja-in-training, and since I’m neither of the two (a ninja or in training), I really couldn’t fathom seeing myself in a pair.
But after trying them on, I was immediately taken back; back to small kid time when I ran barefoot and carefree in the red dirt hills of Mililani. The Vibram FiveFingers not only allows you to feel the contour of the ground, but also provides protection to the soles of your feet. After being given the sales pitch by Mr. Fukuda, I was sold. There’s a few models; I ended up purchasing the Classic. (Check out their website to see the entire product line). Not to mention, Mr. Fukuda
instructed ordered me to wear the pair out the door. After a full weekend’s worth of wear and tear, here’s a few images of them on my feet – along with a short list of my pros and cons.
- It’s surprisingly comfortable. Sometimes my toes still feel weird being separated, but it’s pretty neat to actually feel the ground without fear of having a rock in your foot. Btw, if you like the separated toe thing, check these socks out from Injini.
- If everything the Internet world says is true (like we all know it is!), I’ll have crazy leg/toe muscles, damnit! And, not to mention, it promotes a more natural walking motion. To learn more, read this article about barefoot running.
- I developed a blister on the back of my foot near my Achilles from the back strap. It’s pretty sore, but after reading other reviews, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
- Since I’m fairly self-deprecating and a non-fashionista (you should see my car), the design doesn’t faze me one bit – but I could see how embarrassment could set in.
- The price. $73 bucks isn’t a drop in the bucket in this economy. Damn, do you know how many beers I’m giving up for this?