Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Five Things (or more) about Vibram Five Fingers

"Those are some interesting shoes."
"Those look funny." 

"Are those clown shoes?"

"How do they feel?"

Just some of the comments you will get from strangers on a regular basis if you own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.  They look like this:

YUP!  Those are my feet!

Now Let's Talk About Them "Shoes".  It all dates back to the pre-historic times when cave men were chasing animals for food...okay okay...that is how I think they came up with the idea.  But truthfully, they were running on their bare feet.  Trying to stabilize themselves with both their heels & toes.  They call this "natural running" or "barefoot running".  

One of the benefits of performing your daily physical activities with Five Fingers is the ability for each individual toe muscle to be utilized.  When wearing a shoe, all the piggies are compacted tightly together.  This does not allow for them to ever get exercised or stimulated.  Because the VFF design allows for this, a person can expect significant changes in strength within the toes, calves, legs and even your core stability muscles.  Another great benefit is your feet are able to move in a more natural way as compared to wearing a sneaker.

A couple of things about the VFF:

  • It isn't for everyone.  I personally LOVE mine but listen to your body and do what's best for you
  • They tend to smell after a while.  VFF are machine washable (gentle cycle-warm water cycle).  Pop them in the wash and TA-DA they are brand new again.
  • People will constantly stop you and ask about the shoes (somewhat of a nuisance, especially when working out)
  • Light as a feather.  VFF are super lightweight.  No more heavy shoes weighing down your gym bag.
  • Killer Calves!!!  They will hurt at first but trust me when I say your calves will look fabulous after many sessions of wear.  
  • No-no for people who need ankle support.  I definitely would say stick to a regular running shoe if that is the case.
  • Take a break. There are some activities that may require the stability a sneaker holds.  Just play around with what works best.
  • There is controversy in everything.  Some Podiatrist's say barefoot running can lead to injuries while Pro-users claim it has helped them with proper form and helps reduce injuries (from their own personal experience).
  • Don't do a marathon on your first wear. Switching to this type of training takes time for your body to adapt and adjust.  Make it a gradual process...kind of like a marathon.  

Bottom Line: As a personal trainer,  it is my professional opinion that every muscle group (no matter how big or small) needs to be stimulated for overall body development.  It is your own personal decision to make the switch or not.

Now I leave you with a poem by yours truly about the Vibram Five Fingers.  

This little piggy went to the market.  
This little piggy stayed home and slept.  
This little piggy had lean beef.  
This little piggy had a whole wheat bun.  
And this little piggy went running WEE WEE WEE all the way home....in Vibrams.

 Official Vibram Website: http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/
Purchased locally or online at: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Footwear/Barefoot.jsp


  1. I don't think they are for everyone either...and I do think you need to ease in to them.
    I know a few people who ended up with stress fractures from these shoes...but I know people who swear by them!

    1. Oh wow! I never heard of any extreme cases from friends but YIKES! Again, like you and I both said...NOT FOR EVERYONE :S