Welcome to my Vibram Five Fingers review. Shoes that fit like gloves, as you can see, is right on the money. The technology behind them wasn’t from a need for barefoot running shoes though. The company originally designed footwear for mountains. So there is great heritage.
With Vibram Five Fingers you really can let your feet fly.
Before we get stuck in, let’s make a couple of things clear. These shoes will give you an exceptional experience and they are specifically designed for ‘barefoot running’. They will not, however, protect you from injuries sustained due to you not doing the proper preparation. There is also the possibility that even with all the proper training and precautionary measures, you may well still injure yourself.
Remember, generations of runners before you have been using the more traditional styles of footwear and not just for running. It’s a bit like hoping you can breathe under water just because we evolved from fish. Your feet are incredible pieces of anatomy they will not be used to what you are asking them to do. You have to build up slowly, give them time to adapt…
What Else is Out There ?
This is going to seem like a cop out but there really isn’t anything else out there that compares on a like to like basis. Does make writing a review easier in some respects. There are other shoes out there that are designed for bare foot running, they are lightweight and most have flat soles, I have seen a few with a split toe design that takes your big toe, like a foot mitten.
Nothing out there quite like the Vibram Five Finger though. If you Google ‘barefoot running shoes’ you’ll be able to see what the competition has to offer. There is only one Vibram Five Fingers shoe and it is the only type I have used.
Finding The Right One For You.
Actually, to say there is only one, isn’t strictly true, there is a wide selection of Vibrams to choose from. Styles and sizes to suit all genders. I chose mine purely for the very minimal feel. I’m not sure if the exact one is still available as like most things the designs change over time and I bought mine about eight years ago. It’s also important to remember to check the sizes. There is a size chart available at the Vibram website. For the US conversion chart click here. and while you’re there have a look round at what’s available. Other charts are available on the net, just search for ‘Vibram size conversion’ and you’ll find loads. Use the images tab and you’re even better informed. There are a few links on the some of the pictures that will take you to Amazon to give you an idea of prices and what’s available.
No way around it, the first time you put a pair on, it is going to feel weird. It will take a while to get used to. Like any new pair of shoes, they will feel a touch tight. The other major difference is going to be where your toes go. We wear gloves without giving them a second thought….gloves for your feet ? Let’s face it, you’ve never had this sensation. Little covers for each and every one of your toes. It will take some getting used to but you will. I suggest before you throw caution to the wind and smash out a quick 5K, wear them round the house or go for a few walks. Don’t feel self-conscious, not everyone is going to be looking at your feet. You have to ‘break’ them in otherwise you will not want to wear them again after a decent run.
Are They Expensive ?
I thought they were but then again I’ve never paid more than £30 for a pair of trainers/sneakers. So it was a shock to see that prices ranged from about fifty pounds to over a hundred. You may look at these prices and think they’re alright. The price of a decent pair of trainers or sneakers can far exceed this. So, realistically the price isn’t that bad. If you are serious about barefoot running then it is a smart investment as they will protect your feet and allow you to feel the experience fully.
Worth bearing in Mind.
I said at the beginning and I don’t mind repeating myself. Make sure you build up slowly. Don’t expect to wake up one day, buy a pair of Vibrams and go hit the trail, come back all adrenalised and then do the same the next day, without picking up some sort of injury. Your feet have to learn how to run in a totally different way. I should have done more research and approached it differently. Had I done that, then maybe things would have turned out better for me. I think I would have struggled anyway, due to the Plantar Fasciitis. I never gave it chance to heal properly. Walk in your Vibrams before you run in them. Try them out on soft ground to start with and then tentatively add shorter bursts on harder surfaces, if that’s where you’re heading.
To Sum Up.
Barefoot running was an unexpected pleasure and a source of much relief for me. It came at a price and the only thing I might have changed was my preparation. The cost of the Vibrams was well worth it in my opinion. Even if you stick to running on soft ground, fields and the like, there is always the chance you will tread on something not intended to be underfoot, a stone or some broken glass. The specially formulated soles act as a barrier against most foreign objects, without you losing the ‘feel’. The shoes are designed to fit snugly, therefore allowing you the full experience of barefoot running. They are also washable.
If you are seriously thinking about barefoot running and prepared to work steadily to master it, then you will be hard pushed to find a better running partner than the Vibram five fingers.