Vibram FiveFinger Review


Pete McCall, Exercise Physiologist: Hi. If you’ve noticed a recent trend of people wearing what looks like gloves on their feet and are wondering whether or not these shoes are appropriate for exercise, or whether or not these shoes might be right for your exercise program, we’ve recently conducted a study on the Vibram FiveFinger shoes and compared running in Vibram FiveFingers to running in normal shoes. Runners in traditional shoes had more of a heel-first foot strike, whereas runners in the FiveFingers had a little bit more of a full-foot strike, meaning they impacted the ground a little bit differently. So, if you’re considering wearing FiveFinger shoes, keep in mind that you’re going to feel ground reaction force differently. Ground reaction force is how your foot hits the ground, and how the ground impacts your foot and that force comes back up through the body. Your foot has about 28 joints in it, so if you wear a shoe that’s too stable and provides too much support, it can actually change the ground reaction forces so your body feels it differently. The Vibram FiveFingers allows a lot more mobility from the foot, so it can really change how your knees, hips, and even back feel while you run. If you’re considering using the FiveFingers for your running, you want to start our on a program at about 25 percent of your normal volume. Meaning if you’re running about 20 miles a week right now, you only want to run about four or five miles wearing the FiveFingers to give yourself time to adapt. And we recommend that before you run, you wear the FiveFingers for walking first, because it really is going to change the way that your feet interact with the ground. Now, for regular exercise for strength training, weight lifting, even core training and traditional health club or gym setting, Vibrams are excellent. They don’t provide any more or less protection than normal shoes, and they really allow your foot to be flat on the ground so you get much more strength and power from your hips, your core, even through your shoulders. Exercises like squats, hang cleans, dead lifts, straight-legged dead lifts, or Romanian dead lifts, can all be performed wearing the FiveFingers comfortably, and might even have a greater impact in developing more strength in the hips and core muscles. Now, if you have any type of congenital issues, such as high arches, or you have plantar fasciitis, or you’re wearing orthotics for your feet, you’ll want to check with your doctor to find out whether or not FiveFingers might be the right shoe for you. For any other questions on the Vibram FiveFingers, or to see our study, check our website at AceFitness.org. Thank you and have a great day.

4 Comments

  • Okay, I've watched this video a few times and I don't see that the person running is using his forefoot first. He seems to still be striking from the heel or back of his foot first. As a dancer I am used to taking class,which involves all kinds of footwork including jumping running barefoot but it is a whole different technique than when I wear running shoes. I actually think that both are good for you as you get a variety of uses for your foot under various circumstances.

  • Shoes are bad period… its not an everything in moderation type thing. The only reason we should need those things is winter snow and cold

  • What a fantastic video! I always enjoy ACE videos. I like how you suggest someone start by walking with them, or using them for resistance training as opposed to running.

  • so they good for exercises, not much for running

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