YAVFFT: irishScott's new KSO Treks (Update 4 Posted: Cold)

Status
Not open for further replies.

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
I didn't exhaustively scan every thread on the subject, but from what I skimmed we've yet to have a thread on the KSO Treks. So like most others I'll just wear the things and update with any insights as I go.

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/products_kso_trek_m.cfm

My background: Some of you will probably be disappointed to hear that I am not a runner, and while I may dabble in jogging with these I have no intention of whaling on them via marathon training or whatever. I am however an avid hiker, and I intend to take these things on at least 1 day hike to see how they hold up. The Treks will also serve as my daily shoes until it gets cold, so in a couple of months I'll get to see how they hold up to chillier temperatures. I'm a full-time college student and classes/obligations have me walking up/down a variety of mild terrain for 2.x+ miles 5 days a week, so I'll get plenty of walking experience if nothing else. These are my first and for the foreseeable future, only pair of VFFs, so unfortunately I won't be able to make any non-technical comparisons.

I'm 22, 5'11" 165 lbs, VFFs are size 40, brown.

Fit/Feel: Measuring via Vibram's method spelled out on their website (standing against the wall with ruler underfoot, compensating for the gap on the ruler), put me between a 39 and 40. As it turns out the store I went to didn't carry below a 40, and that's what I went with without trying any other sizes. Mainly because there was nothing wrong with it. The fit is snug as it should be, but not constricting. Most of my toes fill up their respective slots nicely with the exception of my right ring toe, but that's to be expected as that toe is asymmetrically short anyway. Even so it causes no discomfort. There is next to no gap or bunching up of material at the heel. The Kangaroo leather upper is awesome. I wear mine without socks quite comfortably.

Why I chose the Treks: Aside from the aforementioned planned hikes, like everyone else I've been caught in the rain at times. While the trek's aren't technically waterproof they are water-resistant, presumably more so than the partial-mesh upper of the standard KSOs. The additional traction of the Trek's sole was also attractive, as I'd read reports of mild traction loss when running on gravel/smooth-ish stone with standard KSOs. I also like the look of leather more than the synthetic material on the KSOs, but that was a secondary concern.



So on to the updates:

Update 1: September 8, 2010
Bought the Treks today at about 4pm. Wore them for the rest of the day doing random errands. Net walking was less than 1 mile, but some of the differences are already apparent.

Going up stairs carrying medium-weight boxes was palpably harder on the muscles than it was in my old New Balances. Makes sense. Less padding = less absorbed force = more force transmitted to the body. I consider this a good thing.

Going over non-smooth terrain did allow me to feel the details of what I was going to to a point. I could feel the blades of grass as I ran my feet through them and the occasional sharp pebble did make it's presence known, but nicely dulled. Traction was superb throughout.

Driving required me to move my chair forward, as I was used to pressing the pedals with a now non-existent toe. Going up and down stairs (toes arching over the ledge), walking over drainage grates (toes partially sinking into the crevices) and other such activities required similar modification.

The most notable difference was that my toes were much more involved, even mildly sore for a little while. In nature toes are used for stabilization, and without a solid shoe-toe to stabilize me my under-used toes are back to their intended job I guess. If I get nothing else out of these, my toes will be much stronger.

I also noticed a slight change (correction?) in my posture. My weight was naturally shifting more towards the left. I'm right-leg dominant, and given that I carry at least 2.5 lbs of stuff in my pockets (it's all secured and flat, so no I don't have softballs for hips) at any given time it's possible my right leg got stronger than my left to a point, with the padding in the old sneakers compensating for the comparative lack of strength. In any case it actually felt better walking/standing with this slightly new posture, and nothing appeared to be amiss in the mirror, so I'll go with it and see what happens.


Update 2: September 14, 2010

After a few days of solid walking my right foot still hurts after a mile or so. Left foot as well to a lesser degree. Much less than previous days though, so they're getting stronger. I also carry about 15 lbs of weight in my backpack (laptop, textbooks, etc), so that's definitely adding to it.

The shoes are starting to stretch, as expected now that I'm breaking them in. Slight problem on the right foot where my heel actually comes slightly out of contact with the sole (but stays well within the shoe). Little tightening of the strap seems to have fixed it, as well as purposefully pushing my foot back into the heel, but I'm concerned that the leather upper might stretch a little more with the extra tightening and make it even looser, requiring more tightening and resulting in a nice little viscous cycle. Left foot is fine however, and it's slightly larger than my right, so I'm hoping the stretching issue will just turn out to be my breaking them in. In any case, said tightening/positioning has completely and reliably fixed the problem for now. No blisters.

Yesterday I was in a rush to get back and picked things up to a slight jog for about 30 yards or so, accidentally rocked through some thick broken glass in the dark. Inspected upon return, no visible splinters or pieces stuck in the sole. On this note, the tread on these seems great at shedding dry/dried debris with minimal exposure to a hard dry surface. No picking crap out of the crevices. I like.

As expected, insulation isn't exactly top notch. Noticeable difference in foot temperature when standing still in shade and sunlight, change is palpable and immediate, albeit not uncomfortable. My toes have gotten a little chilly when it dips into the 60s at night, but not uncomfortable. Hell after a day of hard walking it's actually kinda refreshing.

Also, despite being the most subdues of the VFFs (IMO), they do get noticed. All of my friends noticed quickly enough, and I got asked questions from a random runner in the men's room and guy sitting next to me in my chem lecture. All friendly. One of my friends said they looked better than crocs, but still stupid as hell. Haven't gotten that impression from anyone else yet.

So a few things to look into, but no major issues so far.


Update 3: September 16, 2010

So today we got rain in the form of thunder storms and light-heavy downpours. I ventured outside during one of the latter for about 10 minutes, no socks. I just walked along sidewalks, through some grass, slogged through some deeper puddles that submerged the toes. Given that it's just a thin layer of leather and synthetic material, I was surprised at how well it held up. A good deal of moisture did leak in, but there was no pooling and as long as you keep moving the moisture acts as an additional insulator ala a wetsuit. It was when I stepped into an air conditioned building that my feet started to freeze. As for traction, on smoother surfaces (ie sidewalks) I'd watch my step but on softer terrain the sole grips the ground soundly as expected. Drying also appears to be a small issue at worst, as the renowned breath-ability of kangaroo leather kicks in along with Vibram's sound design.

On a side note, there's something to be said when I can look through the opening of my shoes and see the insides of every toe. Kudos to Vibram for making a toe-shoe where the toes actually stay open after the foot's gone. Otherwise we'd have trapped moisture and all the crap that brings with it. :p

I'm also pleased to report that the potential stretching issue appears to simply be the "breaking in" process and hasn't gotten any worse.


Update 4: November 8, 2010

So it's starting to get a little chilly here (Newark, DE) during the day, and down into the high 30s (F) at night. During the day, when the temperature is around 50, I have had little issue walking around in the Treks without socks. At night however... yeah the extra 2mm of rubber doesn't do much for insulation. Cold ground is cold, and I neglected this fact during a late night at the library. I got caught walking half a mile on cold pavement with no socks back to my dorm, toes were half-numb by the time I got back. Switching to boots until I can get some quality toe-socks. Bottom line, wouldn't recommend wearing these without socks below 50 degrees F.


Update 5: November 14, 2010

Happy 23rd birthday to me. :) Anyway, took the Treks out for a short ~1.7 mile run around the west loop of the Whitely Farms trail in White Clay Creek state park.
Orange line (trail details on 2nd page of pdf): http://www.destateparks.com/downloads/maps/white-clay-creek/preserve-possum-hill.pdf

The Treks performed flawlessly. Even over dry leaves traction was beyond dependable. Guess it shouldn't come a surprise given they were designed with trail running in mind, but it was awesome. The greater ease and fluidity of movement they provide make dodging roots and rocks a hell of a lot easier than normal sneakers, compensating for the lack of ankle support. Not the most comfortable run, and if you do hit a root or sharp rock you'll feel it, but it's nicely blunted and the odds of injury are low if you have even decent coordination. For my part I preferred feeling the trail under my feet. Gives me something to focus on and makes the run more interesting. Temperature was a comfortable 60 degrees F, dry and sunny.

As for my time... well I'm not overweight haven't done any serious cardio in a while so let's just leave it at that. Today was more about clearing out the mucous cobwebs than anything else. :p

I suppose I should justify my earlier remark that I'm not a runner, well that trail run just converted me. To trail running anyway. I always had issues with standard jogging around town as it just gets boring. Terrain's too smooth, good chunk of people I'd have to dodge where I am. I'm also one of those people who prefers some privacy when they exercise. I'm not above going to a gym, but if I'm exercising in broad public I always feel like I'm on display. Not that I have anything to be ashamed of, just that appearance become an annoying mild distraction. On the trail the most I encountered were a few mountain bikers and some hikers, all of whom were very friendly. Perfectly cool with that.

Besides, scrambling down a hill as fast as you can go making about 20 rapid-fire precision foot placements on the way down feels pretty badass. Not to mention the trail's built-in bike jumps that I had to leap. And then the next hill kicks your ass, but then the challenge takes over as motivation. Besides, you get legitimate fresh air and are surrounded by nature and nice people. There you go.

Can't wait 'till it snows. Might use my birthday money to pick up some VFF Flows and try some snow running.
 
Last edited:

kamper

Diamond Member
Mar 18, 2003
5,513
0
0
Nice. I've been considering a pair of these for snow running in the winter just because they're the only vff that looks like they'll have enough traction (aside from the flow treks, which aren't available in NA).

I'll be interested to see how they do in the cold for you. Where are you located? Have you bought toe socks to go with them?
 

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
Nice. I've been considering a pair of these for snow running in the winter just because they're the only vff that looks like they'll have enough traction (aside from the flow treks, which aren't available in NA).

I'll be interested to see how they do in the cold for you. Where are you located? Have you bought toe socks to go with them?

Newark, DE. So it won't get ridiculously freezing but we got down well into the teens (F) last winter and got a few feet of snow. Haven't bought any socks yet, and unless serious blisters develop (doubtful, just going off the feel of the kangaroo leather) I'll wait 'till the temperature drops. Might bring a pair for said trial dayhike just in case. As it currently fits socks might actually make it too tight.
 
Last edited:

RagingBITCH

Lifer
Sep 27, 2003
17,619
2
76
I can't say I ever had that issue with my KSO Trek's last year, including runs in the snow, socks or no socks. I just got back around to running in them today (taking it nice and easy this time around, a slow 2 miler) and no issues with the cold.
 

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
I can't say I ever had that issue with my KSO Trek's last year, including runs in the snow, socks or no socks. I just got back around to running in them today (taking it nice and easy this time around, a slow 2 miler) and no issues with the cold.

Well I was walking. With about 30 lbs on my back, but still not as cardio-intensive as running. Might be fine if running. Was also on pavement, natural ground probably insulates more if you were off-road.
 

RagingBITCH

Lifer
Sep 27, 2003
17,619
2
76
Well I was walking. With about 30 lbs on my back, but still not as cardio-intensive as running. Might be fine if running. Was also on pavement, natural ground probably insulates more if you were off-road.

Ahh...walking. :) I run in my Vibrams and other shoes mostly on pavement...very little to no off-road running :)
 

roguerower

Diamond Member
Nov 18, 2004
4,564
0
76
Glad you like them. I have a pair of KSOs and a pair of Sprints. I just bought an erg and have been using the KSOs as my shoes for that. Pretty comfortable except for 10k+ pieces where my heel starts to really rub on the heel cup.

I love my VFFs, probably buy another pair for christmas.
 

Megatomic

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
20,128
6
81
I suppose I should justify my earlier remark that I'm not a runner, well that trail run just converted me. To trail running anyway. I always had issues with standard jogging around town as it just gets boring. Terrain's too smooth, good chunk of people I'd have to dodge where I am. I'm also one of those people who prefers some privacy when they exercise. I'm not above going to a gym, but if I'm exercising in broad public I always feel like I'm on display. Not that I have anything to be ashamed of, just that appearance become an annoying mild distraction. On the trail the most I encountered were a few mountain bikers and some hikers, all of whom were very friendly. Perfectly cool with that.

Besides, scrambling down a hill as fast as you can go making about 20 rapid-fire precision foot placements on the way down feels pretty badass. Not to mention the trail's built-in bike jumps that I had to leap. And then the next hill kicks your ass, but then the challenge takes over as motivation. Besides, you get legitimate fresh air and are surrounded by nature and nice people. There you go.

Can't wait 'till it snows. Might use my birthday money to pick up some VFF Flows and try some snow running.
Welcome to the family! Trail running and races are fvcking awesome, I can't get enough of it. Totally pisses my wife off. :) You WILL be slower on trails, but you WILL be a stronger runner as you'll use more muscles during the course of your run than you would have on a mundane road run. And if you are like everyone else I know that has converted you'll enjoy your time so much more.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.