5 Reasons You Should Not Wear Vibram FiveFingers Shoes
Minimalist shoes seems to be all the crazy as of lately. But instead of going hand and glove with the fad I would like to play a little devil’s advocate here and look at whether we should be wearing minimalistic shoes such as Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes.
But first let’s give a little background on how this minimalistic shoe crazy got started. It all seems to have started with the publication of the book Born to Run. Although there were shoes well before this that had a minimalistic theme, it’s crazy in the running world did not seem to start until after this book was published in 2009. Born to Run is about ultra marathon running and an Indian tribe in Mexico called the Tarahumara. After researching this tribe and other ultra marathoners, the author discovers that that they way we run and the shoes we use can be changed to better our performance. One such finding is that more minimalistic shoes or even bare foot can prevent injury and improve athletic performance. Here is where I differ from the option of the author.
I believe there are some people who are perfect for minimalistic shoes but on the converse are those who, like me, are going to get injury if we attempt to go down that approach. So here in are my 5 reasons you should not wear minimalistic shoes.
- Your Foot Shape - Everyone has a different foot shape. Some people have a high arch and other don’t. I for one don’t have much if any arch. I’m a flat footer. The Vibram’s shoe has a very high arch which obviously would not do well for someone like me. Checkout the arch of your foot and see if it matches up to the minimalist shoe you want to wear.
- Your Gait - Again we all have a different gait. Your gait is the way you move your body through the motions of running or walking. Some people tend to swing legs and feet out, other do it to the inside. These things can and will effect how your foot hits the ground and what part of the foot sees the most blunt force of your body coming in contact with the road or trail. Most people need extra support to make sure their foot and leg hit in an evenly on the ground. This is something which many specialty running shoes help to correct. Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes don’t have any way of helping someone correct this. Although some will argue that it’s because they have worn shoe their whole life that have caused the problem. Either way we have this issue and it’s not going to go away by wearing minimalistic shoes.
- Shoe History - Your shoe history and what shoes you have worn in the past can make you a bad candidate for minimalistic shoes and the Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes. Think about it if your feet and gait have been use to running in the same or similar pair of shoes for years and you then try to change that up there are bound to be some problems. If anything you would want to start wearing these types of shoes on a gradient until you have time to adjust to the difference.
- Lack of Padding - Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes and many minimalistic shoes lack necessary padding to properly support the foot strike on surfaces such as pavement. Additionally things like broken glass and other sharp objects can easily break through the Vibram shoes and injury your foot. Make sure to keep a custom first aid for your feet on hand, just in case. It has also been noted by some that the lack of ankle support can lead to twisting and ankle injuries. Another issue regarding padding is the heel drop of the shoe. For many of us we have gotten use to running and walking in shoes that have a very high heel. You can check this out by comparing a standard running shoe with a minimalistic shoe. Notice the angle of the heel and which one has a high heel. That heel drop angle can place a greater amount or lesser amount of strain on your leg and calf muscles. You should make sure the heel drop angle is suitable for you.
- Poor Fitting - Many Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes wears have voice concerns that the shoes, although meant to be more of a glove than a shoe, it doesn’t seem to fit like a glove. Some areas of the shoe are tight and others seem loose.
Honestly when it comes down to it, the Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes might very well be the shoe for you but I believe it’s not necessarily the shoe for most people. To tell if these shoes or other minimalistic shoes are right for you, stop by your local running store and have them watch you run and then determine what type of shoe would be best for your feet and gait as well as the distances you normally run or race at. Make sure to bring your personalized sports towel and other gear just in case they have your run a mile or more.