Q and A: Vibram Five Fingers

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Q: After taking yours (along with Eric’s) recommendation to read Born to Run, I was wondering what your take is on the Vibram Five Fingers shoe? Thanks, and as always, love the blog!

A: Truthfully, I have no experience what-so-ever with the Vibram Five Fingers, but it’s obvious to me that there’s a lot of merit to their use. And, given the fact that I see more and more people coming into CP wearing them while they train, it’s readily apparent they’re growing in popularity.

More to the point, when you think about it, our feet are the one part of our body that’s in constant contact with the ground. Yet we take every opportunity to cover them up with the shoes we wear. As a result, we oftentimes lose the ability to “use” those small, intrinsic muscles at the bottom of our feet- which not only help with proprioception and balance, but also serve a crucial role in keeping many of the joints up the kinetic chain healthy as well.

That being said, I have the luxury of working at a gym where I’m one of the co-owners, and I’m able to walk around all day shirtless barefoot (albeit in socks) if I want. And I do. Similarly, I train bareboot and/or wear my Nike Frees or Chuck Taylors; both of which are a flatter shoe.

Needless to say, personally, I don’t see the need to go out and buy a pair when I don’t necessarily have to. Likewise, lets be honest here. If I were to show up to work one day sporting a pair of Vibrams, with a straight face no less, I’d never hear the end of it from the guys.

Having said all that, I think if you’re interested in getting a pair, then do it. As I mentioned above, I really feel there’s a lot of efficacy towards wearing them. All told, they’re certainly a step above the cement blocks that most people put on their feet. And, at the end of the day, who really cares what other people think anyways? If someone busts your chops for wearing them, just remind them that the 80’s didn’t do them any favors.

Summing up, all I’ll on say on the matter is that if you’re going to purchase a pair, and you plan on running in them, it would be wise to ease your way into it. If you’re used to running with shoes on, and then go straight to the Vibram’s, you may be asking for a world of discomfort.

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest getting a pair of Nike Frees, and run in those for a while. From there, you can then gradually increase your mileage in the Vibrams. Along those same lines, I’d also try to make a conscious effort to walk around barefoot as much as you can- around the house, washing the car, letting hot chicks hang out with you, whatever.

Moreover, in a previous post, I included a link to THIS article which I felt made some great points with regards to people being a bit too overzealous with the whole running barefoot thing. Check it out and let me know what you think below!

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