A few months ago at the gym I noticed a guy wearing what looked like gloves on his feet. They looked like something Aquaman would be wearing. They were about as thick as socks and had a “sleeve” for each of his toes. They were very weird. So of course, I went up and asked the dude what they were. He said they are made by Vibram and they are the best shoe he’s every worn.

Knowing my foot issues (pronating, flat feet), I thought that I’m not someone that could ever where these shoes. I’ve worn shoes that do not have good arch support and the result is knee and shin pain that could result in long term side effects. So I always get shoes that are made for my foot.

Ever since seeing this guy in these shoes, I’ve been noticing them a lot on running and triathlon websites. Both advertisements and people discussing their pros and cons. The sales pitch is that we can run without injuries barefoot (humans did it for thousands of years). It’s our natural mode of transportation and by wearing shoes we are weakening our bodies. It kind of makes sense, but I doubt that cavemen were keeping stats on how many legs injuries they had! I know that when my supportive running shoes start to break down, so do my legs! So how would my legs react to zero support?

A little investigation on the Vibram website reveals the following:

If you currently wear torsionally rigid shoes—including higher end stability or motion-control shoes like Asics Evolution or Kayano, Brooks Beast, Addiction or Adrenaline, Saucony MC Stabil or Omni, Nike Stasis, or New Balance 1122s—it would be wise to drop down into a less rigid shoe before increasing your time in FiveFingers. Of course, some time in a pair of FiveFingers may well be beneficial. color = orange>

and this:

For some pronators (people whose feet tend to flatten during full weight-bearing exercise) Vibram FiveFingers will be too much of an abrupt change in biomechanics. We always recommend what we call a micro progression into FiveFingers. The too-much-too-soon phenomenon can be a problem for anyone’s foot. In the case of heavy pronators, FiveFingers might not be a wise choice for weight-bearing activities. Pronators will definitely benefit from some focused rehabilitation and foot-specific exercises before wearing any minimalist footwear color = orange>

So they do admit that these “shoes” may not be a wise choice for weight-bearing activities if you are a pronator. Isn’t running considered “weight-bearing”? Either way, I’m not planning on investing the $75-$80 to try out a pair of these, but if you are one of those lucky people that can wear any shoe and never have knee, shin or hip issues, then maybe you should try “running barefoot”.

45 minutes of spinning at the gym this morning, followed by 45 minutes of weights (chest, triceps and abs). Probably close to 13 miles on the bike. Pushed it pretty hard. Makes me miss my morning rides on White Lighting. I’ll have to find time to get back out on her soon!

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