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Breaking in new Five Fingers Smartwool Classics and Sprints

by Tyler Hurst » on May 10, 2011 1

Thanks to clearance sales from both CitySports and TravelCountry, I am the proud owner of two new pair of FiveFingers. My new Smartwool Classics have been quite comfortable, save for some big toe pinching that I’m chalking up to slight swelling in my still-healing left toe and normal breaking in for my right.

Size up

Do make sure you go up a size, as compared to Classics or Sprints, when choosing Smartwool Classics. My previous pair was a 44, which is the same size as my original Classics and they were far too small. I wondered at first if my new 45s would be too small as well, but I think that will go away as I wear them more.

Quick drying

So far the Smartwool Classics seem quicker to dry than my previous pairs, which surprised me as I figured wool would take longer to do so. Something about the smart part, I guess. These are definitely my new full-time shoes.

Larger shoes for socks

My original plan when I purchased new Sprints was to get them a size larger than I normally wear so I could comfortably wear Injinji socks for long-distance running. I’d heard that someone from Daily Mile had bought Bikilas two sizes larger than normal to accommodate socks, but that dude was either lying, mistaken or crazy. I had size 45 Sprints for a few hours before I accepted that no shrinking could make up for the floppy heel that comes with too-big shoes.

No need to size up

A quick look at my old Sprints showed that I tighten them pretty well, so a little more careful washing and drying, to prevent shrinkage, will definitely help in keeping my new Sprints large enough to accommodate socks on days I run long distance.

No blisters!

In my excitement to run in the new Sprints, I did forget about the break-in period. While my nearly three mile run wasn’t too taxing, I was left with hot spots on the balls of both my feet, which is either poor form on my end (likely after my six week layoff) and new stitching that hasn’t worn down yet (also likely).

Oddly, I haven’t worn socks in either of my new pairs, as I’m waiting for the correct color from Injinji. Hey, toe shoes people can be fashion conscious too, ya know. And you’ll NEVER catch me in socks with Birkenstocks.

1 Comment

  1. Melanie

    May 10th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    My Smartwool Classics are very warm and comfortable, and quicker to dry than the KSOs, too. I think all that malarkey about “wicking” fabrics and “quick-dry” synthetics is just marketing – I always feel cleaner and dryer when wearing natural materials than synthetics.

    That said, I think the Classic design is not a very good one compared to all Vibram’s later ones. The elastic loop sticks out and looks silly, catches on things, and makes the shoe feel too small. I cut it off and don’t miss it. Also, the big, hard rubber heel tab rubs on my achilles tendon in a bad way. I took my kitchen shears and lopped it off, then covered the stump with moleskin, and now it doesn’t rub at all.

    As a result of removing these two things, the shoes now sometimes slip off my heel when I run. The solution has been to wear other models for running, and wear the smartwools around the house, to errands, or even to work. They are also extremely easy to slip on and off, unlike my KSOs, and give an almost sandal-like feeling of freedom.

    The dark gray material looks very classy under dark slacks, and I have worn them to meetings, the gym for weight training and yoga, and even to the grocery store without people even noticing I’m not wearing regular shoes. I think they could be a good beginner’s five finger model for that reason, since lots of people seem too shy to try toe shoes because they don’t want to look silly.


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