Tuesday 23 September 2014

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR First Impressions

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR
I was so excited to receive a pair of the new off-road, mud-loving and trail ready Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR to test. As some of you may know, my running journey began nearly five years ago with a pair of FiveFingers, and it has completely changed my life ever since. Back then, it was the dark confinements of a spit-and-sawdust weightlifting gym that housed my workouts every week. Even then, I knew I preferred the great outdoors but I just hadn't found the exact activity in which to explore and enjoy it yet. 

With constant agony and grief I attempted weekly runs to supplement my training and work on my cardiovascular fitness, only to be consistently plagued by back and leg problems. A friend that I lived with at University, studying Sport Rehabilitation, mentioned a recent lecture on 'Natural Running' which caught my attention, and so got the ball rolling in a journey that would lead me to re-learn to run naturally, change the type of footwear I used for running and everyday life and propel me to make huge life-changes which would lead me away from indoor exercise and out into nature; the world of long-distance running. And it was a pair of FiveFingers that originally went with me, and I am pleased to say will always find a prime place in my many pairs of training and racing running shoes I have today. It was changing the way I moved and ran that made the difference, and I chose Vibram FiveFingers as my choice of footwear as they allowed my body to move in a more natural way, forced me out of bad habits and let me know pretty quickly when I was doing something wrong.

Things have moved on a lot since the original pairs of KSO's and Classics, that allowed me to transform the way I ran and thought about natural human movement, were released. Today, Vibram FiveFingers have a whole host of different sport and lifestyle specific models to suit your given activity. For me, trail running is where my heart is, out in the middle of creation and away from the modern lifestyle of computers, social media and the internet in general. I was so excited at the release of the original trail running specific Spyridon and Spyridon LS and really impressed by their performance and comfort. Today, I am equally glad to be bringing you the good news about the new Spyridon MR (full review to follow soon). 

Ready for a run on the local trails
First Impressions:
Great fit, comfortable and grippy, these FiveFingers are definitely worth shouting about. Not everyone loves these crazy looking toe-shoes, but I certainly do. I always enjoy the freedom of movement experienced when running in a pair of FiveFingers, and when on the trails and fells, the Spyridon LS has long been my training shoe of choice. So, when the release of the new Spyridon MR was announced I was initially somewhat concerned. Why? Well, my first thoughts were, "Why fix something that isn't broken?". 

Upon receiving a pair to test I was glad to see that the sole unit has remained the same, with the fantastic mountain-bike tyre tread pattern that allows far better grip than previous FiveFinger models had. So what has changed? Not a huge amount actually, which in the case of the Spyridon is a very good thing. But there are important changes to consider; the MR is a slightly tweeked version of the original LS. The upper material is softer on the foot, the fit is more accommodating for a wider variety of foot shapes and the look has been dramatically changed. In essence, the MR is a re-branded and improved LS. The LS stood for 'Laces' and the MR stands for 'Mud Runner', clearly aimed at the Obstacle Racing community as well as the Trail Runner. I have never been that involved with obstacle races, preferring instead to travel to hilly and mountainous countryside for a trail or fell running experience in natural surroundings, but this shoe is more than capable for either!

I will be bringing you a full review soon, but for now I will leave you with the comforting knowledge that for those of you who already love the original Spyridon LS, you will not be disappointed with the improvements in the Spyridon MR. And for those who have yet to experience the freedom of running the trails in a pair of extremely light, durable and grippy FiveFingers, the Spyridon MR could prove to be a real eye-opener for you.....

For those of you who want to get yourself into a pair of the new Spyridon MR, they are available from Primal Lifestyle, the official distributor of Vibram FiveFingers to the UK!

Happy running

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