Vibram Five Fingers Update

August 10, 2010

In the 4 months since I invested in my Vibram Five Fingers toe shoes they certainly have caused a stir. The reactions as I walk down the street are predictable and polarized. Either, people look at my shoes and then quickly look away (I think they’re trying not to stare) or, they stop me dead in my tracks and ask where they can get a pair. After some TV news coverage last week, interest is ramping up (I wouldn’t call it a frenzy but it’s definitely on the increase). Now I’m being stopped by people who feel they are “in the know” and want to discuss the merits of toe shoes. In this light I’ve decided that it’s time for me to break my silence hence today’s update.

After giving my feet the benefit of these shoes for a few months I’m now in a position to offer some personal observations—the pros and cons as it were. In my experience there are more positives than negatives. I’ve found that my toes have more freedom than I’ve ever experienced. When I started wearing my Vibrams I had to guide my toes into their respective compartments but now they are so well trained that they find their places without my help. My toes are more articulated than before—in Feldenkrais language this means that they have more dexterity and each toe can move independently from the others. I can certainly spread my toes more easily which brings me to the second benefit, better balance. Now, if I want to stand on one foot, I feel equally balanced whether I choose the right foot or the left; before, balancing on my right foot was more challenging than the left particularly if I was doing a yoga balance pose. The way I walk has also started to reorganize itself. My husband has told me for years that I sound like a herd of elephants when I walk as I put so much force into my heels. Now I’m starting to press down more from the outside of my foot and roll towards the big toe. If I’m walking on uneven or rocky terrain this is a benefit because I don’t connect with small pebbles and stones so violently that I bruise the bottom of my foot. So far there’s only one negative that I’ve discovered; they’re not insulated. My Five Fingers are definitely summer shoes as I find when the temperature goes down my feet get cold and clammy. There are other styles however, so there may be shoes that have more insulation for colder weather.

All in all, it’s a match made in heaven. My Five Fingers and I have already been on some wonderful adventures together and I’m sure there will be many more.


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