Thursday, February 10, 2011

Five Finger - but no discount.

Ever since I went white water rafting back in the summer, I've noticed a lot of people are wearing funny shoes with individualized toe compartments. Turns out they are called Five Fingers and they are made by Vibram. In typical fashion - hostile takeover - these shoes have populated my gym exponentially fast. At first I saw one person wearing them, then 2 or 3, then 10 or 12, now just about everyone is wearing them. So it got me wondering, what's so nice about these shoes that everyone is wearing them? So I asked, and the trainer said "Oh we'll they're very comfortable and great for you feet."

I decided it was unwise to then comment on how it makes his feet look big and that it almost resembles the worst possible case of gang-green I've ever seen (think Mr. Deeds). So needless to say, I spun my wheels - debated going to try on a pair - and finally told myself I'd go try them out.

I ended up at Eastern Mountain Sports, not too far from my house one weekend, not too long ago. Made my way to the shoe area in the back of the store. A kind gentleman came out and asked me "What size are you" and I said 10.5 and he said "Oh, these shoes don't go by standard shoe sizes, but 10.5 that's probably a 43 or 44." I should have gotten up and left the store at this point in time, but the gentleman was already in the back room looking for some shoes. He came back with 4 sets of five-fingers. Two closed shoe, two open shoe, but for sizes 43 and 44 of each. He asked which paid I'd be more interested in and what I'd be using them for. I said "For wearing on my feet." But instantly knew he meant what situations I'd likely find myself wearing THESE shoes over say sneakers - which I typically wear everywhere, so I said "At the gym"

He handed me a pair of closed-shoe size 43. I struggled for a bit, and he handed me the 44. I struggled for a bit longer. A couple minutes go by, and I still haven't gotten my foot into the shoe. He then suggests, "Maybe you should have you try the open shoe pair first." GOOD IDEA. So now I can actually get my foot into the shoe, but my pinky toe decides it wants to be somewhere it shouldn't be. After multiple attempts and about 10 minutes I finally get 1 shoe on with all toes in their appropriate slot. The clerk at this point says "Ya, I really wish they trained us in some way to properly put these on."

I was exhausted from pulling, tucking, nudging, levering, and jamming my foot into this abomination. He then asks - "do you want to try the other foot?" I said let me just walk around with this 1 on and see what I think before I waste another 10 minutes of your time. I walked around and was delightfully under impressed. I took off the shoe, much faster than I was able to put it on and let the gentleman know that I would not be interested in the shoes. He seemed okay with that, which was nice, and I left the store.

I later looked up some prices online. The cheapest pairs come in around $75 and go up to about $150. And considering I could get some great multi-purpose sneakers for that price, I don't see why I would get a situational shoe for that price. Some people swear by them, I just think they got douped into forking over $100 for a crappy pair of shoes that take 20 minutes to put on and burn 100 calories in the process. I don't think these shoes are my thing.

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