Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First 20 Minutes in My FiveFinger Shoes

For those of you who know me personally, you know who I'm referring to when I mention Benny- my butt kickin' trainer (at the gym) & also my sweet husband (only outside of the gym). Ha! Benny has been wearing his Vibram FiveFinger Shoes for a few months now. I refused, at first. Finally, after the initial ugliness died down a bit, I warmed up to them & got my own pair. I was completely annoyed that the new pink ones were sold out in my size, & thus had to settle for gray/green. After all, I wasn't sure if I'd like them, so it was important to me that they at least be cute :) Now that I've tested them out & grown fond of them, the green will do. For now.

FiveFinger Shoes come in a few different styles. Check out the Vibram link at the bottom of this post for more info on the different styles. They have a style for everything- yoga, running, hiking, swimming, etc. The shoes pictured in this post are the womens Bikila, size 36. Size 36 is actually too big for my U.S. size 5.5/6 feet. However, size 36 is as small as they come in this particular style. Other styles are sold in smaller sizes- 34 & 35. The Vibram site says that if you curl your toes & they easily pop of of their "finger" slots, then they're too big. Mine are definitely too big, but they still work for me.

So a few weeks ago I took my new shoes for a 20 minute "test drive". I went for a 20 minute jog. And I guess I should preface this by saying that I'm a new runner/jogger & I'm pretty awful at it, actually. I jog slow & I usually don't jog for more than 2 miles or so. So, my husband told me that in the Vibrams you're supposed to run more on the ball of your foot (as opposed to rolling from your heal to the ball of your foot) & that I should also focus on the outside edge of my foot so that I don't pronate & "roll in" towards the inside of my feet. In addition, he told me to start slow to get used to them. Well, I'm always slow, so that wasn't a problem. And I only ran for 20 min, but apparently that WAS too long for a "test drive"... The next day my calves & shins were ROCKED. After a few blocks when I finally got used to the strange new shoes, I started to really like them b/c I could feel my feet & leg muscles really working. However, I was in major pain for pretty much the rest of the week. It's strange though, b/c I didn't have shin splints like I'm sometimes prone to, but my shin muscles were very sore. My calves hurt the worst. So, the key is easing your way into them. I should have jogged for 2-5 min, then walked, then jogged for 3-5 min again & maybe just let that be enough for the 1st day.

Now as far as working out in my Vibram FiveFinger shoes, I've had no problems from the very 1st day I took a class in them or weight trained in them. It's mainly just running/jogging that requires some getting used to. I've found that my balance is much better in the Vibrams. In Total Body class at Wareing's Gym we sometimes warm up with single legs swings or single leg deadlifts. My balance is significantly better when I'm wearing my Vibram shoes. In addition, I feel more "connected" to the ground. In Total Body we sometimes do jumps- fwd & back and side to side. They usually wear me out pretty quickly in regular shoes, but I have more control & really don't get worn out as quickly in my Vibrams. It's pretty cool! Overall, I'm not sure that the Vibrams are going to change the way I workout significantly, but I do really like the following 3 things: improved balance, the way they build strength in my feet & lower leg muscles, & the "connected" feeling to the ground when I'm jogging. Worth $70-$100? I'd have to say that they sure were for Benny & I!

Click HERE to be directed to a list of "5 Reasons to Wear or Train in Vibram FiveFingers".

Click HERE to be directed to the Vibram website for more info.


  1. OH! I was going to post about these. I just saw an article about them and wondered if they were the answer to my never-ending question...Do you wear running shoes on the beach or go barefoot?

    I'm not a strong runner either, but I like to run on the beach when I can. I just never do it b/c I don't like going barefoot and I don't like all the sand in my regular shoes after I do.

    Do you think they'd be good for beach running??!?

  2. Kim,

    The jury is still out on these shoes for me (for running)... I love that after a short run my legs feel slightly sore, like I did a light leg workout or something. But the soreness in my shins does creep me out a bit. It's not shin splints at all though; but I guess it worries me like it's a mild shin splint or something?? Now if I go for a "long" (25+ min) run in them, my shins get WORKED! So, I guess I really like them for a short run, but not for a longer run. Also, I can't sprint in them AT ALL for some reason...
    I did run on the beach in them for the 1st time last month & I REALLY liked them on the sand. I ran in the packed sand, close to the water. I just went for a quick 15 min run & it was so nice w/ my Vibrams & the cool morning breeze off the water... ahh... :)
    But I do REALLY like them for workouts in the gym. I definitely feel more balanced & "connected" to the floor.