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LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've continued to use the FiveFingers FLOW Shoes here in Central
Florida; mostly in the Hal Scott Nature Preserve, which is near my
home. The average temperature this time of year in the area I'm
testing in is 85 degrees Fahrenheit [29.44 C], and the elevation is
about 12 feet [3.6 Meters] above sea level. The terrain is mostly
flat, with sand, gravel, scrub brush, local trees and the occasional
creek or river to cross. I do day hikes 2 to 3 times a week out there
and have worn the Flow Shoes during many of those hikes. The weather
has cooled down considerably and has been 10 to 15 degrees lower than
the average lately.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The FLOW shoes continue to peform well for all indoor workouts, which
include running on the treadmill, using free weights and even a
stairstepper. I have worn the FLOW shoes on day hikes in areas that
have water issues -- areas that won't dry out and that have small
running creeks to cross. The FLOW shoes work great under these
circumstances and I like that I don't have to worry about where I'm
going to step.
They have wonderful traction; especially in wet areas. Walking in sand
is about the same as when I walk in sand barefoot, except that I don't
end up with any sand between my toes; the depth of the sand determines
the amount of work it takes to move about. Dirt and grass feel great
and are very easy to walk on .
I still am not able to wear the shoes on any extremely hard surfaces
for an extended period of time. My feet begin to cramp and the
smallest toes on both my feet get sore spots along the top of them. I
also am not comfortable wearing them while walking on gravel or
smaller rocks; I can feel the rocks and gravel and it is almost
painful. I still haven't been able to discern whether this is due to
my feet being ultra-sensitive or if it's because wearing the shoe is
just so similar to going barefoot.
Overall, I still really like the FLOW shoes for indoor workouts, water
activities and short day hikes on softer surfaces or wet areas. My
feet feel stronger in my opinion and I notice that my toes spread out
more naturally now when I am actually barefoot.
People I see out on the trail are very curious about the FiveFinger
FLOWs and have asked where they can purchase them -- or at least try
them on. I do encourage a try-on prior to purchasing, just to make
sure the toes will fit properly and that the sizing is correct.
Putting on and removing the FLOW shoes is still a time-consuming
process, but it's something I've become accustomed to over the testing
I will continue to use the FLOW shoes as my primary workout shoe,
unless I'm out running on the road or trail. I'll also use the shoes
for any water activities or hiking in wet areas. These shoes are fun
to wear and look at and they continue to be great conversation pieces.
This concludes my Long Term Report on the Vibram FiveFingers FLOW
Shoes. Many thanks to Vibram USA, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.Org for
the opportunity to test this product.
"Not all who wander are lost"