New shoe treads amongst controversy
Designed for the minimalist trail-runner, the re-styled Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR, short for Mud Runner, offers a 3D Cocoon technology molded into the sole for lightweight protection. The Spyridon MR replaces the previous LS model with a few differences. Speed laces replace velcro straps and the upper is no longer made from coconut active carbon but instead polyester for a rugged and secure fit, while a 360 degree lug pattern offers additional grip in all directions.
Transitioning to bear foot
Making the shift from conventional to barefoot style running shoes should be taken slowly. Whilst the technique of running on the ball of the foot is fairly straight forward for most, affecting this biomechanical function can take a while for the feet to get used to. It is not uncommon to experience some level of tendonitis – a prolonged pain in the top of the foot some days after running. This is due to the muscles and tendons becoming inflamed under the stress of having to adapt to the shock and tension managed by cushioned soles in traditional running shoes. The lack of cushioning also affects impact shock which will travel all the way up the body rather than being absorbed by the shoe. Barefoot style practitioners must thereby learn to use their legs to a greater extent to provide natural shock absorbtion, for instance by landing a jump with a slight bend to the knee or even a squat for bigger drops. It is recommend gradually transition by switching back and forth between barefoot style and traditional running footwear allowing for the feet an opportunity to recover as they adapt to the barefoot style.
Claims removed due to lack of scientific evidence
Hugh Jackman, Scarlet Johansson, Kristen Stewart, Kate Hudson, and James Cracknell are all fans, but Vibram may be forced to pay compensation to customers after it was revealed that the health claims of their distinctive five finger footwear lacked enough credible scientific basis. The company also been forced by the US Federal Government to remove the claims from its website that are effective in strengthening muscles or reducing injury as part of the £2.2 million settlement. This is not to say that FiveFingers don’t have their benefits, but rather an ill conceived marketing ploy. After all not many shoes can claim to offer health benefits, as it’s more a case of what you do with them.
We had the opportunity to put the FiveFingers Spyridon MR’s to the test at the 8 miles Pandemonium assault course race in Bath, UK (read more) as well as the 11 miles of Tough Mudder South West and they performed phenomenally well. Grip when climbing up, down or over obstacles was where they really stood out. Where conventional running shoes simple aren’t designed for such activities (lacking grip and inappropriately shaped), the Spyridon’s rubber sole toes make it much easier to get a firm and steady foot hold. This also helps when running through terrain such as muddy slopes and also very uneven surfaces. Here, foot placement with clunky running shoes can be a concern, but with the Spyridons each foot can be placed with great precision. Sticks and stones can be felt underfoot but the thick sole prevents it from ever being painful. However the shoes weren’t ideal for running on hard surfaces such as tarmac where the lack of padding meant the constant shock can lead to aches and pains over long distances. It is worth mentioning that any shoe, regardless of design, when caked in mud will compromise on grip, increasing the opportunity for slippage. We also found that if the top of the shoe was ever draged across a surface (i.e crawling) the velcro clasp for the laces would come undone and the toggle would also slip allowing for the shoes to loosen. For completely traditional long distance running on hard surfaces one would be advised to wear a dedicated traditional running shoe, but for off road and assault course in particular the FiveFingers Spyridon MR truly excels.
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR shoes can be purchased Millet Sports.