Vibram Five Fingers
I recently made a very smart decision (probably my best in a long while) and finally bought a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes. It took me many weeks of he-hawing over various brands and styles of barefoot running shoes until I ended up with my Five Fingers, but I am oh so happy I picked them.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vibram_FiveFingers.jpg
Let me give you a little background. I have had various foot/ankle and knee problems ever since I was a child (probably about 11 or 12 years old). My podiatrist determined that I had weak arches which caused plantar fasciitis (inflammation and pain of the arches) and foot pronation (basically my ankles turn in when I walk or run). I was prescribed some very expensive orthotics that I would have to wear, and replace often, for the rest of my life. I wore those orthotics consistently, every day for 8 years. Until last year when I went out of the country, lost my shoes, and never replaced them. I spent the majority of my trip in flip-flops, barefoot or in very flat sneakers. Initially my feet hurt like hell, but over the months I noticed they hurt less and less, until they felt better than they had in years. I returned to the U.S. again and began running in my orthotics, and guess what? My feet felt WORSE. This is when I turned to the idea of minimalist running shoes, and I haven't looked back since.
Now, onto the Vibrams!
I ended up picking up the Vibram KSO's for a few definitive reasons.
- I'm a big traveler, so I wanted a pair of nice light shoes that traveled easily, and dried quickly
- I absolutely love running barefoot. These shoes are pretty much that, except I can also run when it's colder or in the city.
- I wanted my shoes to be multi-purpose. These I can use for running, hiking, yoga, even walking through water or swimming.
So far I have used my Vibrams for everything except swimming, and I can't wait to try that! These shoes are fantastic to run in, if you've only ever run in regular shoes your mind will be blown by how light and fantastic your feet feel. *Also a quick note, if you haven't run barefoot or in minimalist shoes before, then make sure to let your feet adjust slooooowly. Start off just walking, then run short distances. If your feet start to hurt, slow down, it's not worth an injury.
These shoes seem extraordinarily sturdy for their light weight. The only thing I would be worried about would be the top strap weakening or tearing, and that would be easy enough to replace. I've had these shoes for a few months and wear them consistently for at least an hour a day; except for looking a bit dirtier you would never know how much they've been used.
- Can improve foot problems over time
- Easy to clean and quick-drying
- The many-toed look may be strange to some people. I"ve gotten questions, but only genuine curiosity.
- Requires a long adjustment period if you're not used to barefoot running.
In my mind the Pro's definitely outweight the Con's of these shoes. They are the best shoes I have ever owned, and are probably the only ones I will own for a long while.