8 things to consider before running Vibram FiveFingers
If you like outdoors activities, you may be familiar with the five-finger shoes. It is a type of minimalist shoe manufactured by Vibram. Vibram FiveFingers were developed and launched in 2005. The shoes were originally targeted to yacht racers to maintain grip on slippery decks without compromising the barefoot experience. After the Vibram team found out the shoes could be used in other outdoors activities such as fitness, running, yoga, hiking, the company marketed the shoes as “a more natural alternative for outdoors activities”.
FiveFingers barefoot running may be trendy, but one of the weaknesses is that it doesn’t provide any protection to your foot. As they are different than other sporting shoes, there are some tips you need to know before running the shoes. Here are 8 things you need to know before wearing Vibram FiveFingers (VFF):
1. You will need to start with very low mileage
Your first time in your VFF should be less than a mile. Start with a walk and see how you feel about it. Running in VFF is completely different than running in regular shoes. Normal running shoes are built up, structured and cushioned while VFFs are not. VFF changes how your foot hits the ground and how your legs absorb the impact. So slowly build up your mileage in the VFF and give your foot enough time to get used to it.
2. You may get blisters.
Even if you are doing the same basic exercising motion, your foot may still hurt. It could be a result of no wearing socks, no insole, treadmill running, or all of the above. Make sure you know the difference between sore and pain – if you feel pain, take a rest before you get injured.
3. They will get stinky!
It means they need more cares and cleanings than regular running shoes. You can simply toss them in the washer on a gentle cycle and air-dry them.
4. You will hate other shoes.
Once you get used to it, you will love the feeling of “connectedness” to the ground. When you wear regular shoes like flats, hells and sneakers, you may feel almost claustrophobic in them. Other shoes are not able to give you such freedom and lightness that VFFs offers you.
5. But before you hate other shoes, how long will it take to transition to VFF?
It depends on your foot type, the activities you are using VFF for, and the amount of pronation you experience. For lots of people, it is just a matter of weeks but for a few it could be a year or more. The answer lies in your body biomechanics as well as the condition of your muscles. Learn to control different parts of your body and improve the skill of your muscles, you will have a easy transition period.
6. Your running injuries will disappear!
Running in VFFs help people improve their running forms. You will use different muscles to run, which result in better body adjustment. Research has proved that barefoot running, which is similar to running with VFF on, can decrease the risk of ankle sprain and plantar fasciitis.
7. People will stop you constantly to ask about them.
Although it has been 9 years since the shoes were launched in the market, they are still getting people’s attention. Be prepared to answer people’s questions if you wear such a trendy piece on the street. How do you feel on them? Do you weight train in them? What do you like most about them?
8. Your experience may be different than mine.
Everyone feels differently on a VFF. Lots of people have incredible experience with it while there are still some stories of pain and woe. Read more about other’s experience and learn from their tips. The most important thing is to listen to your body.