Toe Shoes Explained

by Regi_B

People wonder, "What are those toe shoes?" Well, those "toe shoes" are explained here.

Have You Heard of Barefoot Running?

There is a growing trend to run with "less shoe". Indeed, there are many diehard barefoot runners -- people running long distances with nothing on their feet -- and their numbers are growing.

In addition, there is another camp -- people who call themselves "minimalist runners". This is where I fall. Personally, I want to move into barefoot running, but I currently prefer running with minimal, durable shoes.

Vibram FiveFingers for Running

KSO Shoe - Men's by Vibram
Only $109.95

The Makers of "Toe Shoes"

The "toe shoe" trend arose when people interested in barefoot running -- but looking for some minimal amount of protection on their feet -- started trying out various types of footwear that gave them "just enough" in the way of a barrier from harsh surfaces. In addition to shoes which were the opposite of the typical, cushioned conventional running shoe, some people tried sandals, and even running in socks.

One of the options people tried was Italian sole maker Vibram's FiveFingers, originally brought to market as a water shoe. Vibram's durable soles make FiveFingers a shoe that stands up to running's demands. What resulted was the growing trend for running in "those toe shoes".

The Benefits of Running in Vibram FiveFingers Toe Shoes

To be sure, minimalist ("barefoot") running is a trend with benefits. In "normal" running shoes, runners heel-strike and are not given much in the way of terrain feel. That heel-strike style of running is connected with shin splints, leg pain, and back pain.

Within a month of switching to Vibram FiveFingers for running, my leg pains had reduced by 90%. I run longer distances with less negative effect on my body now, too!

How Long Do Vibram FiveFingers Last?

We have a locally based outdoor retail store here in Burlington, VT, called Outdoor Gear Exchange. They have on display a pair of Vibram FiveFingers in which a customer ran 1,000 miles.

For me, mine are starting to wear through the soles at much less than 1,000 miles, but you must consider that the given runner's stride will affect treadwear. Also, I am one of the larger people you will see running in minimalist shoes. (Read my post on minimalist running for obese people to find out more about that!)

When Shopping for Vibram FiveFingers, You Have Choices

If you are shopping for Vibram FiveFingers, it is important to consider what type of running you will be doing in them. Will you be road running in them? Trail running? How aggressive a runner are you? These questions matter when selecting running shoes.

What's more, Vibram makes FiveFingers models that are not for running at all.

Have a closer look in the following sections.

A Final Thought on Vibram FiveFingers "Toe Shoes"

Are these shoes the best minimalist shoe for trail running?

I do feel it important to point out that I like a closed-toe minimalist shoe for trail running. Why? Most of all, while running on trails in Vermont in my FiveFingers, I have gotten many twigs -- and even a small branch once -- caught between my toes. This is an annoyance, and can be mildly painful.

Aside from that, I enjoy running in my FiveFingers.

Updated: 02/01/2012, Regi_B
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