Terra Plana shoes for tennis?

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by Zeb, May 21, 2010.

  1. Zeb

    Zeb New User

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    Has anyone ever contemplated trying out a pair of EVO Terra Plana shoes for playing tennis? Is it possible that the lateral support afforded by specific tennis shoes outweighs the design benefit of this kind of EVO shoe?

    Here's a blurb of the inventor:


    "Vivo Barefoot were originally created by Tim Brennan, a professional tennis player and coach with the double luck of having an Alexander Technique teacher, Richard Brennan, for a father, and a massage therapist, Gloria Bianco, for a mother. When Brennan junior became injured, his parents advised him to learn to play in bare feet.

    To protect his feet from outdoor tennis courts Brennan shaved slivers from the bottom of his trainers until the soles were ultra-thin. His injury cleared up and he used his experience to design a new pair of shoes. None of the major shoe manufacturers would take his design, so he turned to his friend, Galahad Clark, who had set up his own ethical shoe company, Terra Plana".
     
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  2. skyzoo

    skyzoo Banned

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    Ugly and overpriced?
     
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  3. 10ACE

    10ACE Professional

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    sort of like Nike's barefoot design- however I do not see an EVO mens shoe that would be suitable for tennis- they all look like ankle breakers
     
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  4. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Hi Zeb, for over a year now I've been playing tennis in Vivo Barefoot Aqua shoes. They are the only minimal footwear shoe out there that you can play tennis at a competitive level. I really love them, and wear them both on and off the court. You do however have to make a huge adjustment to how you move on the court, but it's well worth it in my opinion. You're forced to move 95% on your toes, landing with a forefoot landing. That's the only way you can move, without it hurting. When you do land on your heel, you learn to land on it more softly. Some people might think it's insane to play tennis in these, but I feel the big advantage is better balance and ground feel.

    As far as the comment on them being ankle breakers, it's actually the complete opposite, they're ankle savers. The reason being you're less prone to roll an ankle because you're really close to the ground and have a wider base, so you have more stability. Even regular tennis shoes elevate you higher to the ground by at least an inch, with the heel being higher to the front of the shoe, which pitches you forward. Also, most shoes (including tennis shoes) have a tight toe box, which takes away from your toes natural ability to spread and create a wider base of support. The Vivo Barefoot Aqua shoe has an unusually wide toe box, which is great! The only negative aspect to the shoe is it's toe spring. Toe spring is when the sole of the shoe springs up at the front of the shoe, forcing your toes up. This takes away from the stability of your shoes. Toe spring is mostly negated in the Aqua because when you press down on the shoe the sole is flexible enough to give so all your foot is completely on the ground. This almost impossible in a regular shoe, because most soles are stiff, so you are either on your heel, midfoot, or forefoot at one time, but never at the same time. Why is all this present in most shoes? Because of fashion and sales. 99% of all shoes are made based on fashion (which drives sales) and then comfort. It has nothing to do with function. Our feet are completely fine when we are born, and they are not broken. However, through modern shoes we slowly destroy our feet and our bodies. Most people really don't care, just as long as they look good in the process.

    Anyways, I digress.... I have not tried the Evo, but it would probably work well on the tennis court, in comparison to most shoes. The biggest problem I have with it is the smaller toe box it has in comparison to the Aqua. For that reason alone, I would recommend the Aqua over the Evo, because why would you want to make the base where you stand smaller? The other negatives someone can have about the Aqua is the price ($150), they look different, and if you play lots of tennis, the sole will wear out pretty quickly because it is so thin. Playing about 1-2 a week, I go through them in about 3-4 months. Overall in my opinion a small price to pay for increased performance and decreased chance for injury. Someone might ask do I have proof for all my claims? No, but I do know they work for me, and structurally they make sense. I know that all this a completely different approach for most people, so feel free to ask questions. I can go on forever on this topic….
     
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  5. featherlight

    featherlight Professional

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    any pics of how they look like
     
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  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I'd advise against it just because the shoes are very expensive and would probably get chewed up quickly. It is good that Lazarakis actually has experience playing in these. I'm into the whole barefoot thing for foot health, but I don't try it on the tennis court.

    My main complaint is that so many modern tennis shoes have built up heels, which I think is actually counter to high performance. I don't need the shoe to try to keep my on my toes. However, I heel plant pretty hard, mostly in stopping, and so I wouldn't want to wear a shoe with almost no sole.

    I'd advise going to an old-school tennis shoe, say something like a Laver or Stan Smith Adidas, or Dunlop Volley, that has a flatter sole but still more of a durable outsole than a very expensive minimalist shoe made for running.
     
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  7. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Featherlight, here's pics of the Aqua I recommend:

    http://www.terraplana.com/aqua-p-1583.html?colour=66

    There are a few versions, a suede or a leather upper, and also a black or a light-colored sole. The black sole leaves scuff marks, so only the light colored sole works for hard courts. The leather upper is better than the suede due to it being more water resistant.

    The Aqua by the way was not made for running, but was the first model designed by a tennis player. It's the newer Evo that was designed for running specifically.
     
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  8. featherlight

    featherlight Professional

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    thanks but the shoes look like they are not very stable on the court
     
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  9. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Even though the shoes are wide and flexible, they are stable on the court. There is no slippage of your foot inside the shoe. Lacing up the shoes secures your foot inside the shoe, yet you have a wider base to make quick cuts back and forth. It's kind of like a race car, that has wide, low profile tires. Now that I think of it, the other slight negative of the shoe on the court is that the rubber of the sole could be a little bit more softer for more grip, however that would make the sole less durable. The other positive of the shoe is that you make your feet stronger over time because they are allowed to move and to be exercised more freely.
     
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  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Other things equal, a sole that keeps the foot closer to the court is going to be more stable than a shoe with a lot of cushioning between the outsole and the foot.

    The only stability issue would be if the shoe couldn't be tied down to the foot so that it slipped around the foot in a hard lateral push.

    These shoes just seem very uneconomical. They are essentially shoes without a midsole, so once you burn through the outsole, they're done. At $150 a shot, that doesn't seem at all practical.
     
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  11. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    I do agree that they are expensive at $150 and wish they were cheaper, but with no other shoe design close to it, they're worth it for me.

    I'm going to apply some Shoe Goo to my old worn out pairs to see if I can try to extend the life of the soles.
     
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  12. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I actually have a pair of these. The shoes fit very snug and glove like to the foot even though they are cut wide. So yes, they are very stable. However, my feeling is that they are minimalist shoes and not athletic shoes as some people are trying to pass them off as. The sole is very thin, just a few millimeters with a dimple like tread. As WildVolley pointed out, and I agree, they would be destroyed in no time on a hard court.

    As many of you might know, if you have read my other posts, I play tennis in Barricades which are about as bulked up and tough as any tennis shoes on the market. And this is coming from someone who otherwise never wears shoes. I bought the Vivo Aqua basically for when I need to wear something that looks like a real shoe. As for tennis, I would be more than happy to wear a low tech old school shoe but whenever I have tried doing this I burned through them way to fast. A few years ago I put a hole in a pair of Nastase Millenniums in just a few hours....just imagine what would happen to the Aquas.
     
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  13. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Yes, the Aqua was not meant to be a tennis specific shoe, but it does work. The sole is not your typical rubber, but of a Kevlar-like material, and lasts much longer than one would think it would.
     
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  14. 120mphBodyServe

    120mphBodyServe Banned

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    They're just made for casual use..
    I wouldn't trust them for any sport.
     
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  15. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I don't like to jump to conclusions or make accusations, but I'm starting to think Lazarakis works for Terra Plana. Less than a month on these boards, five posts all about Vivo Aqua shoes....big red flag to me.

    Yes, nice shoes. I very much like mine....but for walking and casual wear.
     
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  16. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Nope, don't work for Terra Plana. Just a big fan of tennis and minimal footwear, and letting people know they have options.
     
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  17. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    Okay, please except my apologies than. What do you think of the Vibram Five Finger shoes? Ever try them?
     
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  18. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    No worries Capt. Willie. I appreciate you being open to this topic, because I know my opinion is unusual and out there.

    I also have the Vibram Five Fingers KSO and KSO Trek shoes, and have played tennis in them. The sole of the shoe is great for the court, and actually better than the Aqua, because it's more softer and thus has more grip on the court. The biggest problem however is the individuals toes pockets, which don't work going side to side repetitively over and over again. There's too much movement of your toes in the shoe, and when wearing toe socks, your toe socks get all wrapped up around your toes which is uncomfortable.Playing without toe socks does not solve the issue. Same kind of twisting in the toe area. I'm not sure if this problem would be solved if there were laces on the five fingers, which I know future models supposed to have. My guess is no, you can secure the shoe more, but not the individual toe pockets. The shoe in general is very good for overall running, and walking around, but does not work for a lot of side to side movement.
     
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  19. jasonbourne

    jasonbourne Professional

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    Lazarakis, do you wear tennis socks with the Aquas?
     
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  20. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I know this was asked of Lazarakis, but I don't wear socks with mine. They are way too snug fitting. But I don't play tennis in mine.
     
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  21. jasonbourne

    jasonbourne Professional

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    Capt. Willie, why don't you play tennis with them?
    They were uncomfortable?
    Your movement was negatively impacted?
     
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  22. Lazarakis

    Lazarakis New User

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    Yes jasonbourne, I do wear socks with the Aquas, and recommend them, mainly for sweat absorption, and to have a little more cushion. Every sock is different, I personally like the adidas brand athletic sock. That said, I think wearing socks or not is a personal preference, as Capt. Willie wears them without.

    As far as sizing in the Aquas, they run small so I definitely recommend getting one to two sizes larger than usual. I started with size 12 which was a little snug, then got a size 13, which gives me about a half a thumbs size space between my big toe and the end of the shoe in my bigger foot. It fits just right. Plus, if you wear the Aquas all the time like I do, with the extra space your feet and toes will spread a little, so you'll need a larger shoe.

    Another benefit of the shoe is that your feet (including your arches) will get stronger, because you're feet are allowed to move more freely and be exercised without constriction. The shoes also do not have arch support, which is actually a great thing. Just like an arch bridge, foundational support for the arches of our feet only need to be applied at each end of the arch, not underneath it. The only thing that arch supports in shoes do over time is make us more reliant upon them. They're a band-aid to the problem of weak feet, not the solution. Only strong feet (that are developed through exercise without constriction) will help alleviate many of the problems we have with our feet and bodies. But again, I digress....
     
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  23. daved

    daved Rookie

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    Vevo shoes for tennis

    I also bought a pair of Vevo Aquas for tennis. They are fabulous, with these caveats:

    1. IMO, the sole material does not have great traction relative to other shoes, even "low-tech" Converse and Jack Purcells
    2. They wear out too damn fast

    I agree that they are ankle-savers (it's much harder to roll your ankle when the sole of your foot is 3mm off the ground vs. 15-20mm), that they promote better footwork and that you learn to move in a way that is easier on your body and more efficient.

    I played in the Aquas and some light, flimsy Pumas ("Benny" is the model, I think) for six mos. Wore out all those shoes and went back to my K-Swiss Ascendor hi-tech shoes a month ago. With the light, flimsy shoes I had no foot soreness and minimal knee and ankle soreness. After a month on the heavier, more padded shoes, I've bruised a heel and my ankles and knees hurt more than they have in a long time.

    A number of credible studies have shown that highly cushioned shoes result in much greater actual joint impacts because the perceived impact is less. Look it up on the Googles. It's for real and my own experience bears the point out.
     
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  24. -Bobo-

    -Bobo- Semi-Pro

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    If you guys are interested in this sort of shoe and the concept behind why it helps your foot do what it was designed to do you might wanna take a look at Vibram 5 finger shoes. Biomechanically the foot is designed to have contact with the ground and the toes are designed to grip the ground when you walk run etc, modern shoes don't facilitate proper function of the foot and are indeed the cause of a lot of conditions as well as injuries.

    As mentioned tho your foot need to adjust to landing on the ball and toes not the heel or its painful.

    Don't know what they're made of but i've had them for months with no wear and the grip is scary i almost fell over the first time i played with them, was so strange to ahve so much grip never experienced that before. I'm 6.2' 215 pounds (lift weights not fat lol) so if i ain't burning through them quickly i imagine most ppl shouldnt.
     
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  25. Fuzzball7

    Fuzzball7 Semi-Pro

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    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    #26
  27. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    #27
  28. eliza

    eliza Guest

    For what is worth. I got injured and I used top-of-the-line tennis shoes. I am really wondering about this new concept, I kind of agree that less is more. I plan to try them, even if they do not look particularly fashionable......
    I will post my comments if you like.
     
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  29. eliza

    eliza Guest

    Aqua and Vibram 5, are those specifically designed for tennis?
     
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  30. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    I don't think Vibram Five Fingers Komodo are designed for tennis.

    I recently purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFingers Komodo "shoes". Specifically, to play tennis in. I bought them at an excellent running shoe store. I believe I was fitted properly. But after three outings, about six hours of hard court tennis, a small hole developed at the big toe, on the top side. I returned them not sure what caused this hole. The took back the original pair and gave me a second new pair. After two matches, about four hours, and it appears as though another hole is developing in the same location. I am now looking for another pair of "bare foot" shoes, possibly the Vivo's.
     
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  31. jkang909

    jkang909 Rookie

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    thats an ankle injury waiting to happen
     
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  32. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    Let me add a note about my Vibram FF Komodo experience. Even after wearing them just five times, I was really enjoying wearing them. I found that my feet were changing with each wearing. I found that my feet were getting stronger. Know that I am not an anatomy expert, but I noticed that changes were occuring, small muscles were being developed. No doubt connective tissue was also being strengthened. I became more aware of balance. One drawback was the pain near the balls of my foot when I stopped after sprinting a long distance (long is defined here relative to a singles tennis match).

    I still believe that a "barefoot" shoe can work on a hard court.
     
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  33. corners

    corners Legend

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    It should be just fine. Look at the shoes the golden oldies wore up until about 1980. Tennis shoes now are overbuilt but under-engineered. They built up the cushioning, which made it easy to roll over the sole of the shoe. So then they had to add little outriggers and such to prevent rolling over. Generally, they are too big, too heavy, too stiff and too hot. Most people don't realize that it's next to impossible to sprain your ankle barefoot.

    The "minimalist shoe" movement will get to tennis too, eventually. Those Vivos look nice. Low to the ground, simple. Not exactly a minimalist shoe, but I've got a pair of Ecco Biom Trainers, and they are the best tennis shoe I've ever tried. Wide toe box, more flexible than any tennis shoe but more supportive at the same time. But as cross training shoes they don't have the sole for hardcourts. They'd be done in a week.

    If you look at the recent research, you'll see that walking barefoot reduces stress on the knees; running barefoot results in less shock upon landing because the entire leg adjusts to become a more efficient spring. Shoes suck, basically. Older research shows that the arch muslces get stronger and the arch of the foot gets higher if you walk and run on rough, uneven terrain on a regular basis. In my opinion, if you can find a pair of minimalist shoes that will hold up on hardcourts, then give them a try. Your mileage will vary based on your biomechanics and mental preconceptions. But be prepared for calf soreness and tightness (the calves have more work to do with a lower heel).
     
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  34. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    i also have the komodos. i would not recommend playing in them purely for the fact that the lack the thick soles that comes with regular shoes. if you're a to dragger than that would explain the holes on the top toes.

    the komodo actually have the treads to help make stops unlike the other vffs but they still have a thin sole. that's one thing that minimalist footwear have in common, if you play on clay or grass it wouldn't be a big deal, but hard courts and graty and will tear up the soles in a few outings most likely.
     
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  35. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    No, traditional tennis shoes are an ankle injury waiting to happen. That is why the Vivo Barefoot shoes were developed, as you can read in my links.
     
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  36. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Please do. I currently play in the Vivo Barefoot Evo (black and red), and am quite happy.
    Not all of the shoes are equally "smart", but I think you should be able to find a design that is okay here:
    http://www.vivobarefoot.com/uk/ladies.html/?limit=all
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
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  37. eliza

    eliza Guest

    Just to give you my personal experience. After being diagnosed with PF on right foot, given night splint, ordered othotics all the time in all shoes, I followed for ten days. MINIMAL improvement, and then I was feeling the Achille, too. Now, I do not trust doctors, and I maybe wrong.
    But when I got rid of everything, started walking barefoot as long as possible, turned to Saucony with NO orthotics, my foot pain disappeared. I believe that in so doing I am forcing my foot to get stronger. Thus, the idea of a minimalist shoe resonates with me. Have you ever heard of an African Marathon runner having PF? No. They run WITHOUT shoes......
     
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  38. stules

    stules Rookie

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    Lots of food for thought here......
    I am starting to think that doing some barefoot training, or at least minimal shoe training would be a good addition to the regime.
    Most of the gains would come from learning to land the foot with a midfoot strike.
    with this in mind, apart from dunlop volley shoes,
    [​IMG]
    are there any other
    'zero drop' specifically tennis shoes available?
    here is a link to to current minimalist shoes. http://minimalistrunningshoes.org/shoe-guide.php
     
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  39. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Thats exactly my experience. By the way, I ran the Copenhagen Marathon 22/5 without shoes.
     
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  40. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Zero drop is not enough to qualify as a barefoot or minimalist shoe imo. The problem is that its the padding and shockdampening that keeps you from the stabillity of, and contact with the ground. It is also the padding and shockdampening that gets compressed and worn, so that you end up with shoes that are not even to the ground, and "dead", which hurt a lot of peoples feet (and knees, etc.). Also its easier to roll and twist your ankle when elevated from the ground. So, low to the ground, preferably no shockdampening imo, has to be added to the equation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
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  41. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    An update on my Vibram Five Fingers Komodo experience. I live near Houston. I play on hard courts, about six hours a week. So far, so good. My feet are getting stronger, slowly. I am still adjusting. I will keep you all posted. I have also started running. Again slowly.
     
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  42. eliza

    eliza Guest

    Philzteone, have you ever had problems with your feet, prior to using these new shoes?
     
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  43. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    #43
  44. Nextman916

    Nextman916 Professional

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    #44
  45. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    I have never had problems with my feet.

    I have had many minor ankle sprains in my days, though nothing significant within the last three years or so.

    In using the Vibrams your toes are "more exposed" and as such are "used" more than when wearing a traditional tennis shoe. Given this, my toes and the small muscles around them work more and are thus getting stronger.
     
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  46. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    Another update. My two hour sessions is currently too much for my achilles while wearing the Vibram FiveFinger Komodo's. So, I will adjust by running in my Komodo's, retrain myself to NOT heel strike, and hopefully the fore-foot strike will transfer to the tennis court. In the meantime I will start my matches playing in my Komodo's but after some time (to be determined), I will switch to my traditional tennis sneakers.
     
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  47. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    Slightly inaccurate, I was never a pro player but I like the sound of that. :)

    I found that shoes with supposed "great support" (K-Swiss si18 as worn by the woodies) caused me over a dozen twisted ankles. Same thing Lisicki discovered at the 2009 US open http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTX2frhoUc&feature=player_embedded#!

    Support that is there one moment and completely gone the next can be dangerous - that is the characteristic of all conventional sports shoes.
     
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  48. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    #48
  49. philztheone

    philztheone New User

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    Wow! The inventor! How cool is this?!

    Tim,

    Welcome to the thread! Honestly, this is an honor.

    I must ask you, after playing in the Vibram Komodo's, the one "motion" if you will that bugged me was the pain of stopping. Is this something that you just eventually adjust to?

    I've played tennis on concrete courts for about 12 hours in my Komodo's. When I played the moments I dreaded most were sprinting full speed and anticipating the pain associated with stopping when your forefeet slap the ground to stop. Do you feet eventually adjust? Thanks. And again welcome.

    Phil
     
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  50. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    I assume the pain is the slapping pains opposed to any joint pain. If so, you can try putting some insoles in. you might think that this negates the whole point of barefoot philosophy. And that's a good point...

    If you have ever tried playing tennis barefoot you'll know that stopping is really difficult. It hurts. That could well be a natural protection for over loading the body. Essentially, stopping involves jarring the joints which over won't hurt them in the short term but might be doing long term damage.

    So, I try and reach a good balance. Find some thin insoles or wear two Paris of socks.something minimal that still allows you some feeling of how hard you are striking the ground.

    I think there is also a way of playing that barefoot footwear. If someone pulls you out wide you have got to hit a winner. the shoes allow you to get to those shots with more time because you're acceleration will be quicker.
     
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