Monday, January 04, 2010

Post-Holiday, VFF

Had a relaxing three-day weekend. It kicked off with the Wilsons coming into town from Portland and staying with us. A wicked game of 3-on-3 ultimate frisbee, 1st meal of the new year at Whole Foods, a chilly grill at Zilker, fancy dinner at La Traviata, Xboxing, films (God Grew Tired of Us-sad, PU-239-also depressing), and at home dinners ensued.They're a laid-back, hip couple who traveled around the country the first part of the year, camping out in various parks for a month straight. Their married life path is so different from ours, and that's what makes it all the more intriguing. Thanks for being great guests, guys! Here is their occasionally updated blog.

My long-distance friend Nora's new cupcake business (website). She is married to a Marine and is living on a giant base in San Diego. I'm proud of her for turning a hobby into a possible career! Isn't the frosting just immaculate?

Wordy article about the so-called Quarterlife Crisis. It's hard, but I can't imagine it's harder than any other generation's experience. B has dismissed any mention of graduate school from me, and with good reason. School is all I know really well..

And now, the main topic of the post. Look at these goofy foot-glove thingamabobs. Ask me three weeks ago what I thought about Vibram FiveFingers and I would have scoffed loudly. Barefoot running was a topic of discussion during a recent dinner with friends, and I think we all left pretty openminded about the activity and the not-water shoes. Two articles and two sightings later (yes, at Wheatsville and Whole Foods), here I am with a pair. I rushed into REI 5 minutes before closing time on Saturday and got the Classics, since it was the only model in my size (40). The toes were not too hard to wiggle in at first, although I had some more difficulty doing it later on. The other models feature straps and more fabric on top of the foot, which makes them even harder to put on. They felt OK after one night of walking around in them. I was concerned that they were too small, as all of my toes touched the ends of the shoe pockets, with no extra room to spare. These shoes do not fit people who have 2nd toes that are longer than their big toes, and mine are about the same length. However, upon returning to REI for a possible size-up, they told me that the fit was true and that a larger, looser size would defeat the purpose of the shoe. And what is the purpose? To have healthy feet by letting your feet, an amazing piece of natural engineering, do the walking/running/jumping/etc. Unlike other reviews, I did not feel like I was walking around barefoot, since the rubber on the bottom is pretty thick and not as flexible as your own foot would be. To be fair, I did not grow up running around barefoot (which is the healthiest), and still do not, so my feet are pretty tender and callus-free. So this shoe works for me.

I am not a runner and do not plan to run in these. Initially, I was sold on the concept but very unwilling to give up all other shoes. I am a shoe person and am convinced that good taste is confirmed or denied by the shoes one chooses to wear. Snobby, maybe, but that is just something I've always been acutely aware of. But I have to say, when I wore my Clarks to exchange the Vibrams, they felt like crap. They were so loose, and the Superfeet inserts only made me feel very wobbly, as the soles were thicker, and the foot side roll more extreme. My socks were sliding around in them and I noticed that I had to walk more carefully (mechanically maybe?) as to keep my shoes on. Like I said, the Vibrams felt alright, but in comparison to those shoes, they felt like a natural extension of myself. Today I wore my Vans Authentics to work, and although they are not terrible, I do notice them. I notice the right angle edges and flatness of the 1-inch thick sole, and how quickly I start to feel unstable when I tilt my foot to the side over the edge. So, there is something to your foot having rounded edges for stability.

Shoes are something we've learned to deal with, pitfalls and all. B has recently taken to saying that Americans are a masochistic poeple, since they/we have put up with PCs and Microsoft products for so long, because we/they are either too lazy to learn new ways or think there is no other way. And so it is with shoes. I've only had my Fivefingers for 2 days, so I'm not able to give a well-rounded review yet. Besides being quite inappropriate for colder weather (but you can order socks!), I have been really pleased with them so far. I'm not at the point to where I'll recommend them to all my family and friends, as I think it takes a certain amount of nonconformity and boldness to wear these shoes if you don't actually have foot problems, but when/if I reach that point, you'll know. Don't quote me on it, but I have a feeling that these may be the next big alternative trend in footwear, since they help you feel "at one with the earth," similar to the idea that riding fixed gear connects you with the road. Succinct Cool Tools review.

Also, I have to comment on a previous haughty remark I made about Shurons being ugly. I was proved wrong this weekend. I ended up getting a pair of gray-flecked Shuron frames from Gene Rogers Optical. They are quite similar to my current pair, except the lenses are smaller. B helped me pick them out in five minutes. It wasn't until after I talked to Gene that I found out I had only perused the men's section of the store. I had a pretty pain-free experience there. They are a husband-wife run business and after chatting with the wife, she relayed that even though they had been open since 1991 at that location, last year was their best year (due to Yelp and word of mouth). I later found out today that my insurance will not reimburse me for any of it, since he is out of network. That is a shame, since glasses are so darn expensive these days, but I think this is worth it.

*new* Laura Veirs - July Flame and Wide-eyed, Legless

Sources: iguessimfloating, hellovegetables


Rachel B said...

Aren't Nora's cupcakes beautiful??? Her initiative to try her own business is inspiring to me!

It's funny you should post about the "Quarterlife Crisis", because I've been thinking a lot lately about who our generation is and why. Very interesting, and makes me inspired to be content with where I am and what I have rather than mourning the thousands of things I can't have because of what I've chosen. It also inspires me to make decisions, stick with them and work hard. It seems that you don't get very far being sort-of committed to lots of different things. Of course, you always have to be open to opportunities that you couldn't possibly plan for.

I can't believe you bought those shoes!!! When do you wear them?

Fern said...

Yes! As someone who is deathly terrified of failure, it is inspiring to me when I see other people around me take big risks!

The QL article resonated with me, but I am generally pretty bad at analyzing the present. So I don't have much to say about it.

I have been wearing the VFFs after work, although I wish I could get away with wearing them AT work.

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