Vibram® Fivefingers V-RUN: An Innovative Running Philosophy!

Από 11 Σεπ 2017

We have seen Vibram® in great detail through the presentations and trials we have done in some of the mountain running shoes of top companies in the venue, which rely on the exceptional in features and quality of its exterior soles. The know-how of the company, coupled with the high level of specialization in rubber alloys for every case of soil and temperatures, has evolved the issue of "outsole" to an extent that we could not have imagined a few years ago when the mountain run was in its infancy and the shoe models that are specifically aimed at it began to make their appearance. At the same time, Vibram® has also made a highly innovative approach to running in general, presenting a range of perfectly minimalist footwear, called Fivefingers.


Essentially, with the Fivefingers, Vibram approached the foot-shoe system in a completely different way, suggesting our foot as the "technology" that will run us and the shoe just as support for the foot and the movement! We are talking about a completely different approach that is just a step away from the barefoot run and of course it is not for everyone and it takes some time to adapt. However, it is worth a try to run barefoot on any ground, and you will be surprised at how different the styles you have in relation to what we are used to with shoes, let alone the rapidly growing trend of the double and triple insole thickness models . This is precisely why adaptation time is required.


Very fast,  Fivefingers have made many fans, developed technologically to a great extent, specialized for running on roads, paths or just for everyday use and walking and of course caused many conflicting discussions, like everything else. I remember how impressed I was when  I saw athletes running with them on Spartathlon, on the Authentic Marathon of Athens, but also  on very difficult mountain and ultra-trail races in Greece and abroad, with a more recent example of the Marathon 44Km in Zagori Race!



So, we have been supplied one of the most popular Fivefingers models, V-RUN, and we followed exactly  the Vibram protocol, starting from the recovery walk immediately after the finish at Zagori Marathon and now we reached  the level of running some kilometers with them on a weekly base in a variety of terrain.


The choice from Advendure of the particular model from the Fivefingers range of Vibram® was not accidental and was done for the following reasons:


1. Ideal for the transition from normal running shoes to minimalist approaches such as Fivefingers or Barefoot Running,


2. It is obvious that by targeting an article that will make known the different approach of Fivefingers to non-experienced athletes and physical / kinetic adaptation to a minimalist jog, it is right to start with a model like V-RUN that helps the athlete adapt , by running on smoother terrain and not directly on trails, of which there are, of course, the corresponding sophisticated Vibram® Fivefingers.


3. V-RUN is one of the most popular Vibram® models and therefore we want the article to cover the broadest range of athletes who are thinking of using or running with Vibram® Fivefingers.


Vibram® proposes a specific V-RUN jogging protocol that we followed in our test and is as follows:


Weeks 1-2: We  try to get used to them on our foot, simply walking or wearing in our daily work (at home, on walks, work, etc ...).


Weeks 3-4: We  start running the V-RUN, but only 10% of our daily mileage  and not every day but every other day. For example, if we run 10 Km, we're wearing  them for 1Km.


Weeks 5-12: Every week we increase by 10% the kilometers we cover with V-RUN. Again, we do not wear  them everyday but every other day.


Weeks 13 and after: We are gradually starting to increase the time we use V-RUN during our running program, but also the intensity of our runs. We try different soils and pay attention to listening to our bodies. We must not forget that this is something unprecedented for our musculoskeletal system and our tendons! For the vast majority of athletes who will use them as a complementary training tool, after 13 weeks they have reached the goal of adaptation. For those who want to change their run completely and turn 100% to Vibram® Fivefingers, they will need a longer adjustment time that may well be over 12 months.


After this necessary introduction, let's take a look at the V-RUN technologies and the conclusions we have drawn as new in this way of running and following the Vibram® protocol that we presented earlier.


Outer Part

The outer part of  V-RUN is made of perforated and very flexible polyester lycra and polyester microfiber. On the side there are strips of a bit stiffer plastic to support the foot. The cloth is very soft and stretched to a great extent. The microfiber's breathability, and the holes running almost the entire surface make it ideal for hot running or trekking conditions, as the tread breathes very much, but sweat evaporates quickly. It is a fact that it is ideal for summer trips, and in such circumstances our test was done. Vibram® says it does not cool the foot even in winter conditions. We will come back when we try it in similar weather conditions, but it may be that the fingers and tread generally move a lot when running with the V-RUN and the increased blood flow may warm up the tread but it remains to be seen in practice .


The tremendous flexibility that V-RUN have,  makes  it easy to wear on our feet, a process that also needs  a specific  way, until we get used to quickly putting our fingers in their pockets. But pulling back the very flexible fabric, after 3-4 tests the wearing becomes easy. The very soft cloth helps to prevent skin irritation and of course the combination of lightweight materials, in total, only weighs 136 gr at size 42!


Attention should be given to the choice of the correct number. I suggest that it be perfectly fit to the foot so that the shoe pad does not play "inside", the fingers are fit in their cases and the heel does not come out or The thin tongue "breathes" extraordinarily, like the entire outer part of the V-RUN!rub when wearing it without socks. The elasticity of the shoe also helps a lot in this area. V-RUNs and Fivefingers in general are of course designed for the middle type of legs, which means that in cases where we leave the average (such as the small finger on my left leg that is shorter) maybe they do not fit perfectly, but by choosing an applicable size, we minimize such issues.


The hard laces tie with an automatic clip that hangs on a Velcro that is attached to the last cord to the fingers and ensures that they will not loosen in our running. Personally,  I secure them more relaxed in walking or for daily use and more tight when I run fast. The tongue is very thin, from the same material as the soft outer part,  with holes, covered by a net so that no dust and sand come in from there, while being secured in place with a double loop running through the 2nd and 3rd strings. The feeling it gives is excellent while it goes up to the right length so as not to disturb the tendons in front of the ankle. Sometimes running in the sand, next to the sea  with wet foot for a few moments, I found that water is quickly removed, although sand is poured inside by the holes of the outer surface.


Automatic cord system with clip that secures with Velcro at the last cord!

Intermediate & Inner Sole

The midsole (yellow) is 4.5 mm thick (EVA) and is made of Vibram® VI-LITE® rubber alloy. This alloy is the lightest but according to the company it gives  the optimal balance between low weight and wear resistance. Recommended for daily use, walking and running on asphalt or soil. The fact that  V-RUN is made as an intermediate stage in a minimalist run is also seen in the shock absorption of the midsole, since other models of the company do not have that thickness and therefore leave the shock absorption even more to the technique and mechanisms of our feet.


The fact is, of course, that while the anti-shock protection due to the thickness of the midsole is far from ordinary running shoes, you feel protection, and the inner sole (bottom) that is 2mm thick is firmly attached to the insole, but also the fact that as time progresses and we get used to the different running style (foot-press and front, smaller and more frequent stride) with V-RUN, so we help vibration absorption with physical mechanisms of our feet, which is not dealing with the usual  running shoes, particularly pressing heavily on the heel!


Observe how the midsole (yellow color) embraces the tread, especially in the heel area!


The insole has antimicrobial properties, a notable feature since it comes in direct contact with the foot and not with a sock. Finally, we emphasize that the midsole - especially as we go to the heel - surrounds the tread and provides additional side impact protection and push stability.



The outsole  of V-RUN is really a very special and innovative case. While ordinary shoes run virtually all the tread, the  outsole of V-RUN is molded on the insole, at key points of the tread and even with different rubber alloys.


In the area of the metatarsal and up to the middle of the tread in strips running across it, the alloy used is Vibram®MONT®, which is suitable for trekking, its characteristics are not altered even at very low temperatures, while having excellent adhesion and durability. At the same time, the outer sole rubber adds an additional 2.5mm anti-vibration protection to the V-RUN.


Thus, in the area of heel and fingers, the rubber alloy used by the company is Vibram®XS-RUN (blue color), which ensures maximum hardness over a wide range of temperatures but also the "softness" required for contact of the tread with the ground, and very good adhesion. At the same time, embracing fingers from the front provides protection from blows.


The outsole (XS-RUN - blue & MONT®, - black) is molded on the midsole (VI-LITE® - yellow)!


It's unbelievable how V-RUN  hook into the ground, even on wet asphalt, large stones or paved. Really excellent traction. Their field is the asphalt but also the earth paths, where even small stones or gravel will not bother. I would not recommend them for technical paths, since you will definitely feel the pointed stones or branch nose on the tread. Besides that, the company has in its "armory" other models that are specialized for more technical trails, such as V-TRAIL.


By using V-RUN as a complementary tool in our daily workouts, we strengthen muscle and tendon groups that normal shoes do not activate. This is very important, especially for athletes in the mountain running. One of the first points  you "feel" when you start running with V-RUN is the gastrocnemius and the tendons around the ankle, which are also actively triggered by running on technical paths. We also definitely improve our attitude during running and on-road economy, while also the treads are  stiffening and strengthening. With V-RUN you "feel" the ground and adjust the pace and the force of the stroke. After a while, this feature also helps run on regular shoes, especially with low drop and profiles.


I also noticed how useful they are in the gym, in particular exercises, such as deep seats or squats, but also in regular gymnastics. With regular shoes, you often feel your leg sliding outwards, but  with V-RUN gripping the ground, the exercise becomes more normal without the risk of sneaking and injury.


The Vibram® XS-RUN outer sole rubber (blue color) hugs up the fingers in order to protect against impact!


Another sector that V-RUN are an important help,  is rehabilitation after race, as I found firsthand, after ZagoriMarathon and SyrosCityTrail. They are very restful, gentle and they become one with the leg and this certainly helps after struggles or hard workouts that normal shoes are suffering.


In conclusion, I would suggest V-RUN  as an excellent complementary tool that, if we use it correctly, can improve parameters that are important for Mountain Running. HVibram® incorporates leading-edge technologies and is a completely different concept in running. It's definitely not for everyone and they require patience and a specific protocol to put them in our routine or our daily routine, but if we do that right, we will make profits that we might not have imagined. Finally, it is the best choice as an intermediate stage for those who want to go all the way in a minimalist way of running or impassionate running (Barefoot).



Outer part: Polyester Lycra & Polyester Microfiber

Insole: Rubber alloy VI-LITE® - EVA - 4.5 mm

Inner Sole - Floor: Antimicrobial - 2mm Outer: Vibram®XS-RUN & Vibram®MONT® - 2.5 mm

Cord system: Automatic with clip

Weight: 136gr (42)

Price: 139 euros


Vibram® Fivefingers V-RUNs can be purchased at Vibram's Athens Academy and in specialized stores. We thank GruppoPagouna and Vibram® for the supply of a V-RUN pair for the needs of our presentation and review.


Dimitris Troupis

Δημήτρης Τρουπής

Γεννήθηκε στο Ξυλόκαστρο Κορινθίας το 1969 και ζει στην Πάτρα τα τελευταία 30 χρόνια. Συμμετείχε στην συντακτική ομάδα του Adventure Zone από το 2009, ενώ μαζί με τον Τάκη Τσογκαράκη ίδρυσαν και "τρέχουν" το Advendure.  Παθιάζεται με τους αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος, υπεραντοχής και  περιπέτειας. Έχει πολλές συμμετοχές και διακρίσεις σε αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος όλων των αποστάσεων, με έμφαση στους αγώνες ultra trail.  Θεωρεί ότι το τρέξιμο στην φύση μας βοηθά να ενισχύσουμε την περιβαλλοντική ευαισθητοποίηση μας.


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