As I said in another post, I had done some checking and Vibram Spyridons were the next Vibram five finger shoe I wanted to try. It turns out the only store that had them in stock in at least 100 kilometers was at the Halifax Shopping Center Sport Chek.
I ended up trying on more than the Spyridons while we were there. The famous Bikila LS-named after the first barefoot marathon winner in 1962-fit too snug for my taste and I found the fabric at the heel went up too far. I guess wearing the Sprints, with their mary jane style upper, was going to take a little adjustment period.
Then I tried on the Jayas and although they fit pretty close to the feel of the Sprints, my heel immediately slipped out the back.
Onto the Komodos. I actually thought about asking for a wider version, my foot felt like someone was squeezing the heck out of my foot no matter how much I adjusted the very cool laces. I couldn't imagine surviving 20 miles in those puppies.
Lastly I tried the Seeya LS. They felt great everywhere except on the top of my foot. The whole laces thing turned me off-that's part of the reason I like wearing Vibrams, you don't have to mess with laces! Aside from that I found the tongue dug into my leg and I couldn't adjust the laces well enough to give my wider foot enough room. They were certainly a pair that looked like it could handle hot days and running through water really well though.
But I kept going back to the reason I was there, the Spyridons. They cover the whole foot, like a glove, with an adjustable velcro strap that pulls the strap around the foot. The upper is made of a water resistant but stretchy fabric but the best part of the shoe, and my reason for buying it was the sole. The traction on the bottom is better than any other Vibram shoe with its multidirectional traction, it also provides a bit of a lift off the ground, when compared to the Sprints.
My first run in the Spyridons was a street/trail combo. It takes about 2.5 kms to get to the start of the Shearwater trail from my house so I grabbed my dog and we headed out. The trail was really busy, which, given the gorgeous weather, made sense. Spencer got to smell tons of other dogs and the kilometers passed quickly. The Spyridons handled the shoulder of the street and the bigger rocks of the trail entranceway without a problem. In the Sprints I would already be actively searching out patches of grass to walk on! The added rubber in the 3.5mm sole really made a difference from the Sprints which have less rubber. The Spyridons handled the small crushed gravel really well. I think I got one or two tiny specks of gravel in my shoes during the whole 12 mile run.
When we got to the end of the Shearwater flyer trail we crossed the road and jumped onto the Salt Marsh trail. I found an old river bed, and since it looked alot like the terrain of one of Jodi and Karine's crazy ass trail races I decided to try it out. I am so glad I did. We jumped from boulder to boulder, slid on some muddy grass as the scenery changed every few meters. It was great. The Spyridons handled everything I could throw at them beautifully. After about a half kilometer we came upon this random grassy hillside with a single tree sitting to the right of the trail. It was straight out of a painting. Then we passed the hillside and went into the woods on the other side. The terrain got more hilly and I could start to see that we were running along the side of a growing hillside, overlooking the ocean below. We met a few other people with hiking poles and dogs, greeting everyone as we passed. It's funny that I can live around here for 8+ years and never know this trail existed until now! I need to get out more!
Eventually I checked my watch and realized we needed to turn back and head home. I also didn't want to push Spencer's limits. I already knew this was his longest run yet. So we turned around and doubled back.
When we got home I realized I had a few hot spots. One on each foot where the top strap connects to the side of the shoe, and two decent sized heel blisters. I think I'll try to wear my injiji toe socks on the next run-or until the blisters heel. I had a few blisters like this with the Sprints, eventually the material stretches a bit and it's not an issue.
My feet weren't tired at all from my 12 miler. Usually in the Sprints my forefoot would be a bit sensitive after a run like this, but nothing of the sort happened with the Spyridons.
I'll give the Spyridons a 4 out of 5 stars. I'm taking a point for the blisters, but otherwise they are an exceptional minimalist trail shoe and a decent road shoe. I'm sure if I wore them only on the roads they would last even longer than my Sprints, given the extra rubber, but to find the true impressive qualities of the Sypridons you need to get off the roads and onto the trails!