When I was picking them up from Nomadic Outfitters here in San Francisco, the woman who was serving me said that back to the manufacturer, they were sold out of size 44’s, and everything black (for males). She also described them as being “like drugs” and said that once people are hooked, they want more, more MORE. She said she had one guy come in and buy 10 pairs. Apparently he sold them on eBay at $140 a pair (a ~$60 premium).
When I first put them on, the shoes felt weird, but “cozy”. I didn’t have any immediate pain/discomfort, but I was only wearing them for shorter periods. There was a distinct feeling of walking around barefoot, yet still feeling protected. It took some getting used to when walking around downtown or somewhere where I was quite conscious of the idea of walking in that area barefoot.
After being warned that I should “take it easy” while I was getting used to my new shoes and the new style of walking they encouraged, I made the rookie mistake of wearing them to a couple of consecutive Krav Maga classes. I found they had lots of grip, almost too much (on rubber floor pads), and that it felt quite weird (almost unsafe) to have separate toes gripping/flexing independently. The day after I wore them, my calves and butt-muscles burned and felt super tight.
I’d heard that people went hiking in their Vibrams, but I wasn’t ready to go that hardcore just yet. I was going camping though, so I took them along to try them out. They performed pretty much as expected; They were not warm (not wearing socks), I could feel more sticks, stones etc, and my actual feet got wet very easily from dew on the grass. On the flip side, they provided great traction, even in mud/on stones and allowed me to feel more directly connected to the Earth. They also made it much easier to feel your contact with the ground and walk quietly/carefully (while still protecting your soles from sticks and things stabbing into them).
Out & About
The last test is what they’re life for “everyday wear”. I get lots of stares & looks from random people. They look at my feet, then up to me. Back to my feet, then back to me. Your shoes are now DIAMONDS. Sorry, I got sidetracked 🙂 I get people asking me “are they shoes” and wanting to know about them, so I end up being a traveling marketer. Great advertising for the brand I guess. People ask about if my feet hurt, if they protect my feet, etc etc. Oh, and I have also most definitely been approached/hit on by girls in a bar, based purely on the shoes 😉
I’d recommend giving them a shot, especially if you have the flexibility to wear them around quite a bit (e.g. if they’d be acceptable at your place of employment). The biggest downside I’ve noticed is that my feet smell absolutely horrible when I’m wearing them, and I haven’t found a way to remedy that just yet.