Vibram Five Fingers: 2.5 months review

If you aren’t the least bit interested in barefoot running, this post is not for you.However, if you are like I was and feel very neutral and skeptical about barefoot running and Vibram Five Fingers—this post is for you.

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My friends Christian and Marc run in Vibrams. They both trained for and ran the marathon successfully in Vibrams. Most of our runs together included a conversation or two about how awesome “barefoot” running was—they talked, I listened and rolled my eyes.

Then I read Born To Run and started to feel like some of the stuff Christopher McDougall—okay, and Marc and Christian—was saying made sense. So I put a pair of Vibrams on my Christmas list and (lucky me) Santa delivered.

I’ve been running in Vibram Five Fingers for 2.5 months now and I’m ready to talk about my thoughts—the good, the bad, and everything in between.

The Good:

  • I can tell my posture has changed for the better. I walk straighter and my running form is probably 1,000,000x better.
  • After making the transition, barefoot running feels so natural to me.
  • A well cared for pair of Vibrams will last you much longer than a typical pair of running shoes, since you aren’t worried about losing the cushioning—Marc’s been running in the same pair for well over a year.
  • As a very-injury prone runner, I haven’t had any issues since making the switch. I also haven’t been running high mileage, so take that as you will.

The Bad:

  • Making the transition to “barefoot” running doesn’t happen overnight if you want to stay injury-free. If you’re currently running high mileage and are committed to continuing to do so, now is probably not the time to switch to Vibrams.
  • Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the “fingers.” I’ve never loved wearing toe-socks and the Five Fingers are basically glorified toe socks.
  • If you insist on wearing socks with them (and I do—I tried a sockless run and ended up blistered), expect to shell out about $12 a pair. Ouch.
  • Running in the rain sucks. The Five Fingers soak entirely through very easily, but they also seem to dry quickly… so there’s that, too.

Everything Else:

Now that I’ve made the transition from conventional running shoes to “barefoot,” I don’t see myself going back. The first few weeks were rough—your foot muscles need time to build up strength so you don’t get injured—and awkward as I tried to figure out whether I was doing everything right. But gradually I adapted and landing on my mid-foot began to feel natural.

I’m incredibly glad I decided to make the switch, but I don’t plan on buying another pair of Five Fingers… after this pair is done (whenever that may be) I’d like to try out some Merrell barefoot shoes. Same concept, just without the toe slots, which means I can wear whatever socks I please.

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