French Bloke Runs

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Test: Free Your Feet (FYF)

On my path towards barefoot running, I think I have found the most minimalistic footwear one can imagine. It started as a Kickstarter campaign last year and I felt immediately attracted to those. I had read Born to Run not long before and I had ran completely barefoot a couple of times and loved it. I could only be seduced by the promise of the closest feeling to actual barefoot running ever (even better than Vibram’ FiveFingers) with the added safety and peace of mind of running with shoes.

Free your feet (FYF)

Free your feet (FYF) by the Swiss Barefoot Company

The FYF are some kind of super socks made of an extraordinarily strong fibre called Dyneema®. The Swiss Barefoot Company claims it is 15 times stronger than steel and I’m inclined to believe them. These super-socks are cut resistant (so no fear of glass shards), super resistant to stretching and they have some kind of grippy material under the sole. Unfortunately they are not really abrasion resistant (more on that later) and they are not puncture resistant (a stingy nail or a sea-urchin could still hurt you). Like the Vibram FiveFingers, they have 5 fingers allowing your feet and toes to fit snugly in them.

So even though they are not specifically for running, I backed the project. Despite the fact that the maker recommends the full size FYF, I couldn’t bring myself to buy those and become a live Swiss Flag so I bought the low-cut FYF. A good thing is that they promise other designs in the future, but I guess they have to fulfil their Kickstarter orders first, as well as the pre-orders they have received since, which could take a while considering they’re already 2 months behind their schedule (I was supposed to receive my pair in February but I only received it in April).

The day I received my FYF, I was so excited that I tried them on immediately. I ignored the recommendation against using them on the road and went off running. My first impression was that the feeling is great, very close to actual barefoot running, much better than any pair of shoes I had ever tried before, including all my minimalistic Merrell Road Gloves.

Freeing my feet with FYF

Freeing my feet with FYF

Of course I started running short distances to get used to them, as barefoot running uses slightly different muscles than running with shoes, even when running with the proper technique, but very quickly I could run up to 6 kilometres at an easy pace without any issue.

OK, I may be overly enthusiastic with these and there are some negative aspects to the FYF:

  • They are socks, so it’s not great running in them when the ground is wet (I actually hate the feeling of wearing wet socks)
  • They are not resistant to abrasion and the Swiss Barefoot Company is right: you should not use them on the road. My pair started having tiny holes after only 30 km. This is a lot compared to normal socks (which would probably be ruined after 500m) but some people have been using them for hundreds of kilometres on natural surfaces

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with them, even though I can’t use them on the roads (which accounts for most of my running), but once they have new designs, I’ll definitely buy a pair for trails or simply to run in parks.

21 Comments

  1. Hey French Bloke, I loved your review on the FYFs! Could you please advise if you think they would be a good option to walk around Europe for a month? I wouldn’t be doing any running. Just walking around Europe’s biggest cities and perhaps one or two very light treks in the Scottish Highlands.

    • French Bloke Runs

      2 February 2017 at 16:18

      Hi! Thanks for your comment. I would definitely recommend the FYF for walking and they will be awesome on soft surfaces, but if you’re going to walk on concrete, tarmac roads or any other abrasive surface, you should opt for something abrasive resistant like the Vibram FiveFingers. Enjoy your trek!

  2. Hi! I saw that you mentioned they weren’t ideal when wet. I’m a cliff jumper and these seem like a much more comfortable and low impact option than vibrams or regular tennis shoes for reaching jumping spots and actually jumping also. Curious if they slide around when wet and if you think they would stay on in the water?

    • French Bloke Runs

      3 February 2017 at 10:05

      Hi Donald, I don’t think they slide around when they’re wet: they’re really snug. It’s just that I don’t like the feeling of wearing soggy socks.

  3. What about stabbing your tow?

    • French Bloke Runs

      3 February 2017 at 10:07

      I’d say the risk is slightly higher than with the FiveFingers but if you’re careful and look out for big shards of glass you should be ok. The only danger I can see is if you step on a hidden nail in the sand or on a sea urchin, but that’s very unlikely.

  4. Hi! I heard in the official page and the promotional video that FYF where “15 times stronger than Steel!” and that sounds really impresive. I want this socks to protect my feet while climbing or running or hicking in many rocky paths. Do they protect you from cuts? Have you triend the ressistance of the material against sharp objects?
    Thanks for the review im this close to buying them but im insecure, 80 bucks is big cash in argentina sadly.

    • French Bloke Runs

      9 February 2017 at 16:36

      Yes, they’re cut proof. I accidentally ran on some glass shards and wasn’t cut. But they’re not abrasion proof, so be careful on abrasive surfaces like concrete or Tarmac!

      • Morning… i’mas a diver, you think I can walkie under reefs without injuries?

        • French Bloke Runs

          9 April 2017 at 15:43

          They will definitely protect your from cuts (corals for example) but not from puncture (sea urchins for example).

  5. peter scholl

    13 March 2017 at 02:35

    I would like buy some were I can I get them

  6. Thank you for the helpful review! Is the sizing pretty common? I was going to go for a medium since i usually run my feet in a size 7 shoe. Your thoughts?

  7. I want to buy them because it looks so comfortabele and much beter thans normale shows but I was wondering how long they would last. Also can you play football (soccer) with these things?

    • French Bloke Runs

      27 March 2017 at 08:50

      They’re comfortable and durable if you don’t use them on abrasive surfaces like tarmac. Yes you can practice any sport with them, I just don’t recommend playing football with them if the other players wear football boots.

  8. Do your feet get super sweaty? Can your feet breathe with these on?

    • French Bloke Runs

      30 March 2017 at 11:01

      No my feet didn’t feel sweaty but they’re uncomfortable when wet. Yes, they’re very breathable.

  9. WillIam Davis

    8 April 2017 at 12:56

    I wear a size 14US
    Do they have my size

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