Hitting the Trails with Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS

Vibram FiveFingers SpyridonI’ve been meaning to review my new trail specific Vibram FiveFingers for some time now. Unfortunately my opportunities for trying out the Spyridon and putting them to the test have been seriously curtailed by the opprobrium with which they are viewed by the family. If I venture within 5 yards of the “frog shoes” I am met with screams of disgust and ultimatums are laid down which make it clear that if I dare put those on my feet, I will be going out alone.

I thought I was a little hard done to, in my mind the Spyridon has a fantastically exciting design, admittedly I would have preferred the orange version but the green camouflage styling has its merits.

Capturing the Vibram FiveFingers ZeitgeistI put it to the great zeitgeist monitor, Facebook, and was alarmed by the horror expressed in the comments. The world apparently shuns my new shoes.

As the summer holiday approached, I seized my opportunity and snuck them in the suitcase, I might not have been allowed to wear them in public but I thought if the public was entirely foreign and never to be seen again, I may just get away with it. Add to the fact that the only other shoes packed were the barefoot earthing sandles and a pair of hideous blue swim slippers, I was on to a winner.

I had intended to run while I was away but it was hot, hot beyond compare.
If I wasn’t moaning about the heat, I either had an ice cool Mythos in my hand or I was bathing up to my waist in the refreshing Aegean. There just didn’t seem to be a good time to jog off into the sunset.

We did walk though and I took the opportunity to try the Spyridon LS shoes in a mountain scramble to an isolated chapel. It was a good test for a trail shoe, it involved navigating the stony bottom of a desiccated river bed, tearing through savage, dehydrated monster thistles and scrabbling up scree and a sharp rock face. Not a typical terrain choice for a pair of barefoot shoes but they fared well.

As the only trail focussed shoe in the Vibram FiveFingers range there has been plenty of time to design and construct an outstanding model. To my mind Vibram have managed to deliver an excellent shoe with the Spyridon. The sole is thicker and grippier than my Vibram FiveFingers Speed and very importantly the sole moves up and over the tip of the toes, thereby providing toe stubbing protection which was really appreciated on my Greek scramble.

I’ve just noticed that at 3.5mm thick, the sole is only 0.5mm thicker than the sole on the Speed but they look far more aggressive. Despite the apparent thickness, I didn’t lose ground feel through the soles, I was very much aware of the terrain underfoot and although it didn’t exactly hurt I was quite careful about foot placement especially on the riverbed section. When we moved into the steeper climbs I felt much more comfortable and appreciated the freedom to grip the ground with my toes.

If you’re tempted to buy a pair I would recommend getting these and other Vibram FiveFingers properly sized up. Mine are a tiny bit too big which means that my little toe regularly pops out, especially on uphill climbs, which is a bit annoying, they were very snug on the way back down though and a snug pair feel so much more comfortable.

Overall I would happily recommend these to trail runners or walkers. You might find it easier if you were single or at least partnered up with someone with equally dubious taste in foot attire though.

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