Vibram FiveFingers – New Feet For My Feet!
I laughed when I first saw these freaky things!
I was looking for new trainers to inspire me back into some form of fitness training, and after the ‘posture-shaping’ trainers stumbled onto the Vibram FiveFingers website.
But as curiosity got the better of me, and as I read on, they started to make more and more sense.
Think about it: Everybody loves the barefoot experience. A few years back I even went barefoot in the snow, just to see what it was like. Many times as a kid I’d take to the streets barefoot, only to be hobbled by a stray stone.
I mean, barefoot is natural, and we’ve evolved to have amazing feet which can deal with all kinds of terrain, boost our balance…. and then some idiot goes and designs shoes with a big flat sole that totally boxes our toes in and ruins all that evolution. Even the Ninja recognised this and have a split so that your toes are split into two sections.
Go and wear mittens on your hands and see how your day goes without the use of your fingers.
Then factor in all the highly developed muscles and tendons which are made redundant by ‘normal’ shoes, and ask yourself what REALLY makes sense?
A few years back, Mister Smalls (a fellow MySpace blogger) bought a pair for himself, and that was really the final straw for me – I neeeeeded some!
Today I (finally) opened the box to find what looks like the unfortunate remains of a gorilla.
‘Slipping’ them on doesn’t really happen – it’s more a case of making sure all your toes go in their separate spaces (a toe-spreader would help here!) but then a very effective and simple tug on the velcro fastener adjusts the fit around the heel and over the bridge of your foot.
I’d heard that the FiveFingers seem very big, so getting them fitted properly is by far the best plan, although there are fitting videos available online to watch before you buy. Unfortunately, of the few rare places with these on their shelves, nobody had anywhere near my size (UK 9/EU 43’s are like gold dust!) so I just had to buy and hope they fitted when they arrive.
They still seem a bit long in the toes, but then unless your toes are the exact length the shoes are moulded for there will always be a few too loose or tight. And with full toe movement and socks, these seem just about right for me. Oh, and having sat here wearing them indoors for a few hours, those socks may be a good investment – after my toes being snuggled next to each other in a big clump all my life, now they’re separated they are COLD!
Unsurprisingly, considering your feet have evolved to shape and re-form for maximum adhesion, they seem to have awesome levels of grip over trainers simply from the extra movement keeping a bigger contact patch with the ground.
The soles are sturdy but do seem thin. Small chunks of gravel should be no problem – a big sharp rock at the peak of the Malvern Hills could hurt. I’ll just have to test them, and even if it does hurt I’m sure it’s possible to get used to it once your feet harden up. I never wear slippers and am barefoot or just in socks whenever possible, so I’m hoping I fare better than most people with this…
Because of the grip and extra movement, they seem excellent for martial arts! It really is a lot like wearing nothing, and that especially comes over when performing kicks.
I’m looking forward to seeing what driving is like in these – I will update this after that experience, and also my next time at the gym…