My Review Of My Vibram 5 Finger Footwear
I traded in my tennis shoes for 5 Finger Vibrams a year ago after I started following a Primal lifesyle.
Getting My Feet Wet and Making The Switch
I can`t believe it`s already been a year since I made the switch to an almost grain free, gluten free diet. I still have white rice on occasion if I want something more than sashimi at the sushi bar, but that`s about it. When I embarked into the lifestyle I spent alot of time on the Primal Blueprint forum and that`s where I heard about Vibram FiveFingers. I read tons and tons of posts about how the people that owned this footwear loved it. I read the reasoning behind the concept of getting as close to barefoot as we can to stregthen our feet and calf muscles. After much reading and thought, I found some on sale and ordered them.
The Mistake I Made
If you`re looking into getting a pair of these I suggest you head to a physical store and try on a pair before you order them off the internet. The reason I chose online shopping over real world shopping was because I found them at 33% off, and they`re pricey so the sale price was easier to swallow. I`m not real good in the patience department when I find something I want, so I went against a friend`s advice and ordered them without trying them on first. While they do fit, they`re a little bigger than they have to be I think. There`s extra , about an inch, of material in the back around my heel after I`m strapped in. If you just can`t stand to wait and want to order some online, follow this sizing procedure. Take a ruler and put in on the floor laying vertically with the number 1 against the wall. Put your foot alongside the ruler and measure to the end of your longest toe. Then repeat with the other foot. Whichever foot has the longest measurement, that is the one to use. Also make sure you`re measuring to your longest toe, which isn`t always your big toe. Take your number and look at the sizing chart on the Vibram website to find the right fit. Note that there are different styles and the sizes may not be the same from style to style.
There are a few different styles of Vibram five fingers and some are better for certain activities such as water/crossing rivers and what not vs hiking vs running. Mine are the KSO`s which I`ve heard are the most popular because they`re supposed to be the most versatile. I love them but I`d like a pair with a little more grip on the bottom. These grip well, but Mike and I hike alot and sometimes it`s muddy and rocky and they tend to slip a bit at those times. Also, loose gravel seems to pose a bit of slippage as well. Here are a few others choices:
- Jaya LR-These are supposed to be the lighest because of their sleek sole and there are rubber, pad-like things placed on the bottom for grip and durability.
This style concentrates on the runner.They`re thicker under the ball of the foot for more pading and protection and distributes the impact more evenly on the forefront of the foot and helps with proper running form. I`ve heard it said that this style feels and fits more like a glove for your foot than any other.
|KSO Shoe - Men's by Vibram|
219897 Features: Release your feet from the constriction of shoes and stimulate your feet muscles and joints Abrasion-resistant polyamide uppers hug your soles and deflect ...Only $109.95
|injinji Performance Micro Toesocks|
Anatomical Interface System (AIS) is engineered to separate your toes with a CoolMax moisture wicking lining and a resistant nylon outer shell built with Lycra fibers, to ...Only $11.95
|Vibram Fivefingers Mens Speed|
Following in the footsteps of the original Vibram FiveFingers Speed, the new Speed offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate a wider foot or higher instep. It shares ...Only $99.95
|Barefoot Running Step by Step: Barefoot Ken Bob, the Guru of Shoeless Running, Shares His ...|
Barefoot running has garnered lots of attention due to the mega-bestseller Born to Run while products like the Vibram® FiveFinger Shoes have tripled in sales and top athletic ...
This style also boasts of it versatility and is built with a little more ruggedness as far as the materials go so they can handle the different types of terrain. If you look at the KSO`s at the top of this page, the bottoms are more smooth than these. When I get another pair, more with hiking in the mountains in mind, I`ll probably choose these.
All Vibram`s withstand water, that`s one of the things I love about them; the ability to walk through streams when I`m out "playing". To wash them, just throw them in the washing machine but NOT the dryer.
There are many other styles, I just wanted to highlight a few to give you an idea of what they look like and what they`re specialized for.
What`s The Point?
Why choose minimalist footwear?
I chose minimalist footwear because I am trying to symplify my life in areas of fitness, health, and nutrition. I am trying to get stronger, and give my body what it needs to achieve that goal. Our feet are so under-rated. Alot of us don`t think of them until we have a problem that forces us to think of them. Our feet are made up of 52 bones, 66 joints, 40 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, ligaments, and tendons. These muscles and sensory receptors get weak from lack of use, just like any other muscle in our body. Going barefoot, or as close to barefoot as we can, gives them a chance to strengthen up again. The receptors in our feet are like communicators to our brain about the terrain we`re going into and what to expect. Stimulating the receptors improves balance and increases circulation thus making our feet more healthy. Blood carries important nutrients throughout our body and if you have more blood flow, you have more nutrients being delivered.
Some joggers may worry about the impact when the foot hits the ground if it doesn`t have those many layers of rubber protection shielding it as it lands. From my understanding, Vibram FiveFingers, and other minimalist footwear encourages us to not strike so hard; to come down a little easier because we are actually aware of how hard we are pounding the pavement. Your running form also changes and instead of a heel strike, your foot is more horizontal and you land more on the middle of your foot or the ball of your foot. Heavy heel striking isn`t troublesome for some, but for others it can produce pain and an increased risk of injury.I know it sounds funny to say we need to learn how to run, but alot of us run completely wrong. I am one of those. I come down hard on my heel and I`m noisy when I run which shows me how hard my foot is hitting the ground. With the FiveFingers, I`m aware and I come down lighter, causing less shock to my poor feet.
What about arch support? People with high arches will probably have an easier time transitioning into minimalist footwear. Flat footed people are encouraged to take their time adjusting and not jump in too quickly with both feet, excuse the pun. Fallen arches are, alot of times caused by conventional footwear and your arch has atrophied. It takes time for the muscles to build back up so go easy and slowly. The whole point in minimalist footwear is to re-create what we evolved from and to stregthen our feet and make our gait natural and normal.
I absolutely LOVE my Vibram FiveFinger shoes. I don`t like wearing shoes in the first place and these just feel natural to me. It did take some getting used to, like wearing toe socks, but once I got used to that feeling it was heaven. Like I said in the beginning, I messed up a little on sizing, mine don`t fit as "glove-like" as they should which might pose a problem on some 12 mile hikes through water this Spring, so I`ll bring my conventional shoes in case. In the case of slippery or muddy areas, I guess that`ll give me the excuse to buy some exclusively for hiking! Then I can trade off depending on the weather. Yay me! I`m a 'jump in with both feet' kinda girl, so my calves got a little more sore than they would in a conventional shoe for my first plyometrics exercise routine. That also may have been from landing wrong? When I hike and go over rocks it feels like a foot massage, and I like the ability to be able to curl and grip with my toes. I like being able to walk through water and not worry about it. I like how light they are. I don`t like the price which averages probably around the eighty to ninety dollar mark, but there are sales out there if you look. Go out and try a pair on and see what you think. Give it some time and slowly transition into them. I bet you`ll love them!