The Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon MR (the MR is short for mud run) is not your typical running shoe. It doesn’t look or act like a typical running shoe, and it turns out that’s not such a bad thing. With aggressive all-terrain tread and a glove like fit, this “shoe” is more like a mud glove for your feet. The unique combination of traction, responsiveness, feather weight, and unparalleled water drainage, this shoe is perfect for speeding through your next mud or trail run. And best of all, it will make you feel like a kid again doing it.
|A Quick Overview|
|Extremely lightweight, even when wet.|
Great traction in mud, dirt, grass, or sand.
0mm heel-toe drop, promoting proper running form and helping prevent injuries
Freeing your toes to do what they were created to do, they give you agility for days.
Speedlace system for a quick, comfortable fit.
Lets you feel like you’re running barefoot; most fun I’ve had running since I was a kid!
|With no rock plate or midsole, rocks and debris can give your soles a beating.|
If you’re not used to zero drop running, they can take a while to safely train into.
For foot protection, Vibram utilizes what they call their 3D cocoon material, which is embedded into the outsole. It is designed to disperse the force of impact across the foot; so if you’re hitting the edge of a rock, you don’t feel the sharpness of it. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you won’t feel it, and it can lead to your foot taking a beating.
Vibram shoes are designed to keep you in touch with the running surface in a way that most of us are completely unused to. The average trail shoe is designed specifically to make it so you don’t feel the rocks and tree roots you’re running on. Vibram wants you to stay in touch with all of these things, but take out the risk of injury associated with barefoot running.
I won’t beat around the bush; it takes some getting used to. The first time I used them on a hard packed trail with stones, my feet were swollen and painful for the rest of the day. But if you give yourself enough time in them, your feet toughen up enough to negate this drawback.
The Spyridon MR’s don’t need ½” lugs to get traction where they need it. Instead, they use Vibram’s patented MegaGrip technology for the outsole of these shoes. This consists of pyramid shaped lugs pointing both forward and backward to give you grip in all directions. You can also see in the pictures how these wrap around the inner and outer aspects of the sole. This is an invaluable tool during a mud run/ obstacle course race, or if using them for outdoor crosstraining.
I used these shoes for my Savage race, and the only time I didn’t feel that I had 100% traction was when I was supposed to belly slide up a pipe that was sheer plastic. Running through the mud in these felt like I had just put the chains on my tires during winter. I was running full speed up and down hills, and doing sharp corners in slick mud without ever losing my footing. And this was on a race where I stopped to help 2 guys that had sprained their ankles in my vicinity.
Can I give an 11 out of 10? If you trip while wearing these shoes, it’s because you are not properly operating your feet and ankles on the terrain you’re running. There is 0% possibility that it is the shoe’s fault. It couldn’t be the shoe’s fault, because this shoe just enhances what you were born with. It has no midsole, so it can’t be that you didn’t have a good connection with the terrain. It is a zero drop shoe, meaning that there is no drop from the heel to the toe putting your body in proper alignment. But most importantly, it gives you back one of the best stability features you’ve ever had but have been running for years without; your toes! I can’t tell you how many times I took these thing through slick mud or loose dirt at speeds that I would never do in a typical running shoe. Once I finally got comfortable with it, I noticed that each time I did these things my toes splayed out and curled down into the earth. Truly, I can’t say enough about these shoes in the stability department.
Uphill, downhill, and through high speed turns on wet technical terrain, and I never lost my footing.
I had a really hard time rating this category. I didn’t like how much these shoes let my feet get beat up on hard packed trails with rocks. However, I love the glove-like feel of these shoes. The speed lace system provides a snug, comfortable fit, and as someone with hammer toe on both feet, having a shoe that naturally spreads my toes for me was like a gift from heaven. A word to the wise though, don’t assume that you can run in them without socks. Many people can, but buy yourself a few pairs of toe socks to go with them, because they can wear into your feet just like any other shoe without that layer of protection.
At 7.4 ounces, you’re not going to find a lighter pair of shoes. It doesn’t feel like you have a shoe weighing you down at all, and during long races, that’s something I really appreciated. Even after going through water, they weigh next to nothing because all of the water drains out immediately. Halfway through the Savage race I ran in them, almost all the other competitors were slowing down while I was picking up speed, and a lot of that comes down to how light these shoes are. Fantastic in this category.
The Spyridon MR is available on the Vibram website at http://us.vibram.com/shop/fivefingers/ and costs $120. However, it can also be found on Amazon for as low as $70 in some sizes. Overall, this is a pretty average cost for a high quality running shoe.
The Vibram Spyridon MR’s are a fantastic running shoe for what they were made for, which is mud runs. Additionally, what makes them great for mud runs makes them great for many other outdoor activities. Aggressive tread, light weight, and foot shaped design give you the agility to excel in activities ranging from crosstraining to trail running. A zero drop platform means you will be running in good form, and near instant water drainage means you won’t be slowed by water retention after sloshing through some ponds. Possibly most importantly though, they are the most fun pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.
(Image courtesy of www.baselayer.co.uk)