Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Life of a Bikila: Part Two

One year old Bikilas viewed from the top.
One year after my first race in Vibram Five Fingers, I ran in the same pair again today. They have over 1,000 miles on them and I've been running in them since April of 2011. These shoes have served me very well over the year. This will not be a technical review of the specifications of the shoe, there are thousands of those online, this is more of a description of how they have held up over time.

 Looking at the outside of the upper, I cannot really see much wear, they are not quite as white as they once were though.
On the inside there is some visible wear in the insole,  and a bit on the upper. The upper, however, is as soft on the skin as ever. I can feel a difference in the padding around the opening compared to my new Bikilas.

When I put on my new pair, I can definitely feel the cushioning. Although it is only 3mm of cushion, it is noticeable compared to the old ones in which the cushion has been heavily compressed by lots of footsteps.

The most visible wear, is of course, on the soles of the shoes. This picture shows where my initial footstrike is pretty clearly as the most worn spot is on the outside just behind the ball of the foot. The placement of the carbon rubber pod there is exactly on the right spot for my footstrike.

Paper thin rubber at the second toe.
The placement of wear on the toes surprised me a bit. I figured out, though with more recent measurements, that my foot got shorter as I ran more in minimal shoes. I also developed an arch, no more flat feet. So the wear is a little back from the end of the toe and a bit off center, that is actually where the pad of my toe lies in the shoe. I'd guess that if these were still a glovelike fit, the wear would be dead center on the rubber pod allowing more wear. (In the picture, the rubber at the  edge is nearly paper thin.)

View of the off-center wear on the toe. 

The sole could hold up to some more wear, however, after a year and a half, the footbed has taken some abuse. It is possible that some of the wear is due to me having a little extra room in the toes, but regardless the wear in the toe pockets is now leading to the occasional blister at the end of my toes. This has only occurred three times, twice on long runs, and today at the 5K race. Due to this, however, I feel it is time to retire this pair of shoes and move on to my new Bikila LS.

In short, this shoe has been durable, comfortable, and very well priced for the amount of time they lasted.