Vibram FiveFingers Bikila Review
If you have an interest in fitness and inparticular running, you may have been looking for a pair of running shoes that fit like a glove. Added with the explosion of barefoot running in recent months, we think we have found a pair that does just that in the form of the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila running shoes.
Vibram describe these as ‘unlike any other shoe on the market‘ and ‘a breakthrough in running shoe design‘, and after living in them for the last few months we would have to agree. For many years now, running shoes have looked the same. A high, cushioned heel, laces and hard-wearing sole have become the norm. But if you read certain fitness journals and other sites you’ll find a lot of commentary on why running barefoot is better for your performance and running health. In 1960, Abebe Bikila (see where they got the name from?), arguably the greatest marathon runner of all time, set a new world record time for the marathon. Running barefoot.
Now in today’s world, running barefoot may not be the best idea with various objects and obstacles strewn across the ground. The Vibram Bikila shoes are designed to mimic running barefoot with a 4mm anatomical pod outsole which takes a little getting used to. Putting the shoes on feels strange as your toes are spread, and not contained as they have been in every shoe you have ever worn. So giving your toes the freedom to wriggle around feels unnatural to start with.
Slipping these on for my first run I didn’t know what to expect. I planned a steady 5km route that featured road, grass and woodland trails. With no big bouncy sole that you find on most trainers it makes you wonder if any sharp stones or other debris will be kept out of the sole of your foot. Despite being only 4mm thick the soles of the Vibram Bikila are incredibly resilient and provide brilliant protection for your feet. Having survived the first kilometre without the soles of my feet covered in blood I pushed on and completed my run feeling pretty good. You can immediately feel that you are running with a more natural style as you aren’t planting your heel down first like you would with you standard running shoes.
The shoes will make you strike the floor in a slightly different manner than you have been used to. After the first run my calves were quite stiff and sore due to the change in how your foot is landing with each stride. This soreness only occurred after the first few runs and the muscles soon adapt to the shoes and the different movement. It is advisable to take it easy during your first runs wearing the Vibrams – we wouldn’t want to be the cause of any injuries here at Average Joes!
The Vibram FiveFingers Bikila we reviewed came in a red / black colourway that were aesthetically pleasing, and still striking enough when mixed with five toes for some curious glances around the gym.
Vibram FiveFingers Bikila Review Verdict
I’ve used the shoes in the gym on the treadmill as well as several road runs and I can’t see me going back to my Nike Lunarglides for medium distance running any time soon. Once you have tried these running shoes you won’t look back. Having the feeling of running barefoot is a new experience and something that can help you to run with a more natural movement as well as help to strengthen your achilles, calves and knee ligaments. Get down to your local sports shop and give them a go on a treadmill (they should have one in store) and see why running barefoot could well be the way forward.
Model Reviewed: Vibram FiveFinger Bikila Running Shoes
Price: From £99