It was truly a paradise. There we sat at the beachside bar in beautiful Waikiki, fruity drinks in hand as we watched the sun slowly melt into the sea. You could hear the waves gently crashing on shore nearby as ukulele music wafted along with the warm tropical breeze. It couldn’t get any better than this. Then I looked down at my outstretched feet, and smiled as I wiggled my FiveFingered toes. How awesome is this?
When I started to pack for my week long adventure in Hawaii, I threw my Vibram Komodo Sport LS’ in more as a workout shoe than anything else. A few early morning runs along the beach would be great, I thought. However, my Vibrams, soon became my best friends in Hawaii due to their versatility and comfort.
Flip-flops are the quintessential summer/beach shoe. You see them everywhere you go in Hawaii. The guide book on my hotel coffee table even had a short history of the flip-flop, or “slippah” as they are traditionally known (see article, Rubbah Soul for a great history of the Hawaiian slippah). Unfortunately, like many others, my slippah’s gave me deep and painful sores between my toes after the first day of walking about, which was a very nerve-racking potential disaster. I mean, unhappy feet will totally kill the vibe of a vacation! So, from there on out, I mainly wore my FiveFingers everywhere we went, including water sports/activities, which was a wonderful revelation for me!
The Water Shoe:
Looking back, using your FiveFingers as water shoes seems pretty intuitive, but for some reason the idea had always kinda been stuck on the periphery of my mind, and had never fully occurred to me. My first major water excursion was for our surfing lessons with a group of volunteer fire fighters. They drove us to a beach about 45 min away which was beautifully uncrowded and handed out rash guards and water shoes to everyone, but stopped short when they saw my Vibrams. It was pretty cool because all of the instructors kept asking me how they felt, what the benefits were, and how much I liked them. I felt like an ambassador for FiveFingers and I must say they performed wonderfully. The snug fit and toe mobility helped give me better balance and control on the board without my foot moving in the shoe. This was nice because it allowed me to focus on not face planting into the water as the waves hit. The soles also gave me a secure grip on the board while also providing protection from rough coral and rocks on the sea floor. Swimming was also very natural, and not clunky and awkward as I have experienced in other shoes. I almost forgot I was wearing them. It was a blast!
Throughout the trip, I never had any problems with the shoes drying, or blisters due to moisture. However, the one inevitable drawback I did find wearing Vibrams around Oahu was sand. As anyone who has been to the beach knows, sand gets everywhere! Given this fact, however, I did find that sand had a tendency to collect in the toe areas of the shoes, even with the foot wash stations along the beach. This sand coupled with the tighter fit of the Vibrams did cause some rubbing, however, it was a minor issue at most. So, in the future, I am definitely going to pack my Vibrams for every trip I take, and start thinking of them less as just workout shoes, and more as everyday adventure shoes.