First night back in Nuuk and a day with perfect weather.Only like -2C, a pure spring blue sky (you know, the kind only found when travelling North) and plenty of soft snow. Add the crisp and super dry air and no wind to speak of and you have a pretty much perfect spring day 🙂
In fact, it seemed like the perfect day to put the pair of VFF Spyridons I have just received through an Initial test run on a variety of mixed conditions:
Todays route was a very simple a 1K downhill approach, 5,5K of Nordic skiing trails, rock, soft snow and pure ice mix, topped off with a 1K uphill progressive run home. meaning lots of technical terrain to test the sole and how it handles a variety of surface, steep up and downhill snow/ice sections etc.
The run itself was amazing, I mean the conditions kind of speak for themselves and I just love running in snow, so not a lot to explain away there. Pace was a little on the slow side, but my legs and thighs in particular were still a bit sore from the more than 100 deep (as in but to heels deep) squats, plus my regular 1 legged squats. Overall I was able to maintain a somewhat decent form though. Admitted some of the downhill sections were probably not super pretty, but I think I did OK. a quick stop at my favourite viewpoint on the way home for the usual picture and a very good 1K uphill progression run to top it off with.
Cadence was a bit on the low side for me, only a 185 SPM average, but I am sure that my tired legs are part of the explanation as the run otherwise seemed OK, both from a running style and health point of view.
What I really feel I need right now is getting some outside help tuning my running style. There are something that is not perfect, But self coach is not really optimal, even though running fully barefoot is a great way to spot mistakes. Hopefully I will succeed getting a time with one soon.
The Vibram Five finger Spyridon:
Now as far as fit and feel goes, they are based on a soft KSO like upper of some coconut material. It is not quite the perfect soft fit of the seeya and not the annoying and super padded heelcup found on the bikila LS, but overall it seems to strike a good balance between stability, durability and minimalism. The sole is threaded with heavy duty MTB tyre like lugs and some kind of mesh thing underneath to distribute impact from rocks, pebble or hard ice. So first impressions are good. The colourway is a bit bland though. I am one of those loving the colourway of the dayglow seeya. I mean, running is supposed to be fun and five fingers look funny already, so give us some bold colours to spice it up a little 🙂
Now how did the feel then?
Well on pavement and the ice/pebble covered parts of it, it felt like a lot more shoe than say a KSO or seeya, It still retained a surprisingly large amount of ground feel, but it seems diffused or softened up. on smooth surface you will even be able to feel the lugs, but not badly so. but this shoe was not meant as a pavement surfer anyway. grip was overall very good, but even the KSO did well on surfaces like this, so hardly a surprise.
As soon as I hit the snow, ice and rocks the shoe really started showing its true nature, perfect grip on nearly all surfaces and angles, the excellent, but oddly diffused ground feel (probably due to this mesh thingy) really is efficient especially for sharp rocky sections or sections where ice had formed sharp ripples. Only place where I had a bit of an issue was on a steep icy downhill section where I really needed to focus on keping center of gravity perfectly aligned, but then again I would probably have needed a pair of microspikes to handle that section.
The last uphill kilometre was a progression run and the added protection meant that I could focus a little more on running style and speed towards the end than normally.
My only gripe right now is kind of self induced. I normally never tight my VFFs too much, but I had the right shoe a little too lose and developed a hotspot where the strap-lug near the arch of my food sits, but nothing serious.
So overall I think the Spyridon is an excellent winter trail shoes, I usually combine my VFF’s with a light INOV8 debris gaiter to keep my ankle joints warm and add a little extra snow protection, if anything my worry is that this shoes will prove a little on the warm side for a summer run. But a very nice shoe overall and definitely a shoe I am looking forward to put through some hard trails as the snow clears. I might even attempt a winter peak run if I can find a partner in crime for it 🙂
Ohh and if anyone wonder why i run with a blueseventy triathlon race chip band all the time, then it is because I use it for my cadence sensor, kind of the only way to wear it when running truly barefoot and it keeps the sensor a little less exposed to snow when required too.