Vibram (5 finger) Shoes
Ok so you’ve all had your laugh! From the guys at UWC, the Ufitters, the people I bump into in lifts and everyone else in between, you’ve all had a go. And no sweat, you’re jealous, jealous that I have ’em and jealous you’d be too embarrassed to wear ’em!!
So here they are although these are the black version and I have the black/red.
Why am I wearing them? I have known about them for a long time, probably a year or so and I heard they encourage improved foot biomechanics. This improvement will lead to a decrease in injuries because the kinetic chain, of which I have blogged about previously, will be less interfered with and therefore we hope, function better. When I was in Bangkok at the Asia Fitness Congress recently, a lot of people were wearing them, particularly people with opinions I really respect so I resolved upon returning here that I would invest in a pair. And wear them. Despite you all! 🙂
So far I’m delighted. I definitely feel a change in my running gait, I strike mid-foot without even thinking about it. Now there is a long running debate whether we should be heel-striking, mid-foot striking or even fore-foot striking and as I have said recently, for every bit of supporting research on a given stance there will be opposite, just as compelling research. I happen to believe we should strike mid-foot because if you run barefoot on grass or sand, “feel” what happens with your foot-strike. Go on, give it a go. This weekend in Phuket, even!!!! I think you will find you strike mid-foot 🙂 But we didn’t evolve running on concrete…..I know, I know lol!
Listen, take a look at your running shoes, how high is the support in the heel? 2cm? 3cm?? Whether your foot strikes heel, mid or fore-foot, the heel never gets anywhere near the ground so what happens to the muscles and tendons in the Achilles area and above in the calf? They shorten!! They must do. We know for a fact that shortening of muscles will lead to compensatory actions elsewhere in the kinetic chain. At a guess ankle mobility may be compromised leading to shin splints, knee pain etc.
So my answer to all this is to give the Vibram’s a crack. So far it’s all good. I have some soreness for sure and I haven’t jumped straight into wearing them for my running. That will happen next week as I want my feet to have the time to adjust. I have worn them at my past 3-4 gym sessions and participating in UFIT BnB Monday night. Plus of course wearing them to all the UFIT sessions I have conducted recently to the delight of particularly Deutscher lol!
My comments to date –
1. The lack of cushioning has resulted in pad soreness on my soles (harden up Princess).
2. On wet paved surfaces be prepared for ice-skating lessons!!
3. You “feel” the surface you’re on very effectively (except for 1, above, of course..), it is very cool 🙂 This gives feedback, essential for improving movement patterns so that’s pretty good!
4, You have to practice at getting your toes into the gaps and at 6am, sometimes that’s not too easy…..
5, The “feel” again, in the gym is awesome, they are really top notch for the lifting I and we do here at UFIT which is mainly olympic-style lifts as you all know!!
I will come back with more comments from time to time, keep tuned in!!