Finally had some time to really test out my new VFFs! Here are my experiences so far:
I went hiking twice yesterday at different parks, in the morning and late in the afternoon. I have to say that it’s definitely a different experience hiking with the VFFs than with hiking boots. It’s a lot more fun with the VFFs and the hike actually felt easier with these than with hiking boots. It was very light and it felt like I really had more control, especially when going uphill.
Both trails I did were very rocky (about 2-3 miles long) and while there were a few spots that I stepped on that did hurt my feet a bit, for the most part the VFFs did their job protecting my feet. You can definitely feel these small rocks while walking which actually made the hike more enjoyable. I actually wasn’t planning on doing two hikes yesterday but I had so much fun from the morning hike that I decided to do another one in the afternoon (and to burn some of those fat from all the meat I ate during lunch at a rodizio :)). My feet were a little sore after that second hike (this trail was also steeper from the first one) but it wasn’t bad at all and still able to walk at a normal pace.
So I spent my entire day today at Hurricane Harbor wearing my VFFs, seems like the perfect day to go to a water park (4th of July weekend, 95 degrees out). I was there from 10:30AM to 5:00PM. The park of course was very crowded and I couldn’t find a single beach chair that’s available so I ended up doing a lot of walking. A lot of people were actually wearing water shoes and from far away they actually looked like VFFs! Then when I got closer I noticed they’re missing toes :).
At first, the VFFs were very comfortable, protecting my feet from the very hot pavement (I actually felt the heat from the surface just a little bit). I spent about half an hour walking, checking out the area, and then finally decided to get myself wet and jumped in to the lazy river and walked with my VFFs. The VFFs worked quite well on water and also gave a nice grip thanks to the rubber soles. After than, I went to a couple of the rides and it’s nice not having to take off your footwear when you ride them (normally I’d wear flip flops and usually have to take them off so they don’t come off). I then went to the wave pool where I spent most of my time as the rides have pretty long lines and don’t feel like waiting. I also did a lot of walking back and forth to the locker (these lockers are pretty hi-tech now, by the way, they give you a wristband with an RFID attached in the back and you scan it on the scanner in the middle of the lockers and it opens/assigns the next available locker, very convenient and cool!, smartecarte made them if you’re curious) to get my sunscreen and money to buy food/drinks.
Now the bad part. Around 3:30PM I started feeling some pain on the side of the bone near the big toe on both my feet. I thought there was a small rock that got in but when I took off my VFFs I found they were small blisters! They weren’t that bad so I decided to keep wearing them and of course they got worse but still not that bad, I could still walk :). I’m not sure if my feet just haven’t adjusted yet, or if it’s just the shape of my feet (I have wide flat feet), or the VFF KSOs are just not designed to be worn wet for a long time. I actually brought flip flops with me as backup but left them in my car because I got too confident that I won’t have problems :(.
Overall, it was still a very good experience so far, I just have to remember to bring backup footwear with me on those occasions where I’m planning to be walking for long periods until I’m fully adjusted to walking barefoot. I’m definitely planning on using these shoes again for other outdoor/water activities. If my blisters fully heal by the time I wake up tomorrow I’m actually planning on doing another hike in the morning :).