Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vibram FiveFingers EL-X. Finally Vibram is reverting back to what made them successful in the first place!





For the first time is few years Vibram has made a shoe that I want to put on my feet!
Once upon a time I use to fly in my Vibram Fivefingers.
They took me to the top of mountains
and they took me down trails.
 I wore them to work
 and I wore them for fun.

I wore them when I won my firtst trail Ultramarathon 
video
I also wore my Vibram sprints when I won my only Marathon in my personal best 2:37
2010 Palos Verdes Marathon
I even made it into the pages of Runners World when I became "Sole Brothers" with Eddie George and Matthew Mcconaughey
But as much as I loved my vibrams  the company was growing at an exponential rate.  Demand was sky high and their quality control became putrid at best. The Newer models coming out kept adding padding/technology (whatever that means) as they went from being somthing great because of their simplicity to becoming another crappy running shoe.
My Vibram Sprints were never designed for running but they seemed to work just fine.  

My days racing in Fivefingers were numbered when a pair of sandals arrived in the mail courtesy on none other than the man that put Fivefingers on the map "Barefoot Ted"
Once I ran my first race in Luna Sandals at the Hills are alive 10k I was hooked.

The funny thing is Luna Sandals and just about every minimalist piece of footwear worth wearing are made with Vibram souls
Last year While in Boston for the Marathon I stopped by the Vibram USA headquarters with the CEO of Luna Sandals to check out some tread
It was cool to see all the new models of fivefingers coming  out 
but 

To be honest I was more excited about their Frisbee Golf discs than their shoes.
And I did score a new putter while I there

One pair of shoes in particular did catch my eye?

Vibram FiveFinger See YA
It was the first pair of shoes I had seen them come out with that was more minimalist their originals?
I received a pair in the mail and I probably should have written a review of them but never did.  Anyway they were leaps and bounds more comfortable and lighter on my feet than the Sprints I wore when I set my marathon PR.  If I were to run another road race in Vibrams the SeeYa would definitely be the model of Fivefingers I would choose.

However I'm not really looking for a shoe to run in.  I prefer to run Barefoot and if I must race in somthing it's gonna be a Luna Sandal
 (weather permitting)

Vibram seemed to be heading in the right direction  but they SeeYa's  had  a toy like feel to them which made me question the durability.  So far they have held up well but I don't really use them all that much.

This has become a pretty long Review without actually reviewing anything
:)
Don't were almost there
This year while in Boston a couple days before the race I accidently stumbled past the Vibram retail store. I knew they had one  but I had no clue where it was until it was right in front of me. It turns out my  friend PJ was working and he was excited to show  off a new model that he thought I would like? 
Vibram Fivefingers El-X
He said they weren't really designed for running , more of a cross trainer. and that I could pick up one of the demo pairs after the marathon expo was over.
I never made it  back to the expo  but when I got back home PJ sent me a pair to try out.

I had always wanted to like the Vibram Classics but because of the shape (the narrowness) of my foot none of the sizes fit me and I never owned pair.  I though this may be the case with the El-X but I was wrong.
The fit was great and they were very easy to slide on and off my feet unlike some other models.  
I was very pleased that they went away from the plasticky feel of the SeeYa and back to a more tactile rubber on the entire footbed.   As I mentioned before I'm not really looking for a running shoe but this may be the best workout gym shoe I have ever used!

If you need a vibram for racing I would recommend the SeeYa because it hugs foot tighter but for training or running on a treadmill this shoe is great.  I tend to sweat a lot and if I'm a treadmill for over an hour the mat can become very slick, too slick for my sandals but not for the El-X.Likewise if I take a yoga class barefoot I'm usually slipping all over the place but not in the El-X.

If you like VIbrams or have always wanted to try a pair I would highly recommend the El-X.  They currently cost between $50-75 at amazon.com.






2 comments:

  1. Great rundown of the VFF, and your backstory was cool too! I just purchased the EL-X this week and have been drooling over the Mono Sandal over at Luna Sandals. The best of both worlds! Looking forward to more posts.

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