By Guy Lawrence
“The human foot is a work of art and a masterpiece of engineering.”
—Leonardo Da Vinci
“Sorry, can you say that again? I was staring at your shoes!”
“All you need is a set of hairy black gloves and you’ll be set mate”
“How can I ever take anything you say seriously again! I hope you don’t walk round in public with those things on”
These are just some of the comments I’ve been receiving lately, so I thought I’d review these five fingers. When you buy a set of Vibram shoes, I don’t know why they don’t state on the box ‘helps develop thick skin too!’ What a marketing ploy that would be.
But one’s thing for sure if you are reading this post you are either:
a. raving fan
b. shaking your head thinking why on earth would you want to do that?!
…..and after the short space of time I have been wearing the Vibram five finger shoes, I’m most defiantly a raving fan……..
So why the Vibram five finger shoes?
Firstly lets look at the five finger shoes from a marketing perspective. I think this alone is genius and has influenced many a business. Every shoe manufacturer and company out there are all trying to outdo each other with slick marketing with the latest and greatest technology (shoes that help weight loss ring any bells?).
Then the Vibram five finger shoes showed up, quietly at first, then slowly but surely more and more people began to convert and it has now reached cult status. Why? Because you absolutely love them or hate them. There’s no fence sitting with the five fingers, no one to compete with, no trying to outdo your competitor with more wizz bang technology. Somebody has questioned what we do as modern man and asked… hey, why don’t we simulate what we have done for thousands of years before the shoe turned up and create a barefoot running shoe.
If you go to the offical Vibram five fingers shoes website, you will read:
‘Our revolutionary design makes feet healthier by allowing them to move more naturally and freely.
The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.’
I have a read so many marketing and social media books that I feel if anyone is looking to go into business for themselves or create a product from the grassroots up, Vibram shoes are the epitome of this.
When we developed 180 Nutrition, we felt there was a gaping hole there for a product like ours. The best nutrition for us all is when we go back to basics more like our ancestors, it’s not rocket science. Yet there are so many supplement companies trying to outdo each other it’s ridiculous.
Vibram have kept their product simple and very niche with transparency and honesty with an army of raving fans cheering them on!
Do the five finger shoes work?
Good question. I remember seeing a mate of mine who was heavily into crossfit a few years ago wearing them. He was a big fan. That planted a seed but I never really took it any further. But recently I have been getting continual back pain from an old recurring rugby union injury, which has prompted me to look at many things and after chatting to a physiotherapist, I decided to give them a go.
After replacing my regular running shoes with the five finger shoes, I have already noticed that I stand more upright and it’s improving my posture. (note: I’m not running in them yet, just walking and doing day to day stuff).
They truly fit like a glove and are warm and cosy….. There hasn’t been a day gone by yet where I haven’t worn them, I’m enjoying them that much! But as for the long term I will have to wait and see. If you are thinking about getting a set of the Vibrams to embrace barefoot running, here’s a few things to consider when buying the five finger shoes:
- Go easy with them at first
The chances are that the ligaments and musculature of your feet are underdeveloped. Walk around in them for a while to get used to them. Run short distances initially, as little as 1-2km and get used to running on your forefoot, ’cause believe me, you calfs will feel it at first! If you’ve been wearing runners a long time, it would also be easy to bruise your heal as forefoot running can take a little getting used to. Barefoot running in the sand is great training for this too I’ve found.
-Get your sizing right
I’d imagine these to be pretty uncomfortable if you ordered them straight online without getting the fit just right. Go try the fiver finger shoes on first, or you can measure your biggest foot to fit. Video here.
-Be prepared to wash them
Even though you can get five fingered socks for them, I wear them barefoot as the fit is perfect. But I’m sure this is going to come with consequences over time though on the stink factor, even though it’s so far so good. I’m not sure if anyone is suffering this problem with them?
They are machine washable which is great, so it is easy to bung them in the load with the rest of your workout gear.
Barefoot running: Are we born to run?
I thought I’d leave you with this video by Christopher McDougall as he explores the mysteries behind the human desire to run. Well worth a look if you got a spare 16 minutes.
For all you long term barefoot runners out there, would love to here your thoughts and comments.