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May 4, 2010 Posted by Josh in Gear Reviews

Vibram Five Fingers

All those who know us will understand the need for this review.  We live in our Five Fingers.  We are huge advocates for these unique shoes and we're definitely not alone.  There's good reason that these monkey shoes have such a huge cult following.

I first found these shoes from a tweet by Tim Ferriss.  The second I saw them, I didn't care what they were for, I just had to have them.  Funny looking?  Sure, but I didn't care - I thought they were sweet.  As I prepared myself to purchase my first pair, the analytical nature in me took over and I began to research to funky little toe shoes.  During my research I learned that these were not any ordinary shoe, they were super shoes - or more appropriately super "anti-shoes".

What's the big idea?

 

Well the idea is really quite simple.  We were born with feet for a reason.  Long before air-cushioned thick soled running shoes were invented, we ran, we jumped, we hunted, we climbed and much more.  Our feet are designed to support all facets of human activity.  For more info, check out the books Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen or ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running or Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free by Getting in Touch with the Earth.

So what do they do?

Well, one of the biggest things the shoes have done for runners is help them avoid a pesky little problem called "heel strike".  Heel strike is basically what it sounds like - when people run, they tend to let their heels thump the ground causing slower running and increased ankle, knee and back trauma.  Vibram Five Fingers force the runner (or hiker or walker) to adjust their center of gravity forward onto the balls of their feet causing the runner to experience a sensation of "forward falling" shifting the majority of the effort toward simply lifting and placing the feet to prevent the fall from actually happening.  By shifting the weight onto the ball of the foot, supportive ligaments, tendons and muscles can be strengthened which in turn can help increase agility and reduce risk of rolled ankles and such.

Why the toes?

They just look cool.   ....Ok, there's some point to the design there as well.   Conventional shoes have a tendency to squish the toes together, even causing them to overlap for many people.  By separating the toes, Vibram Five Fingers can help the toes "re-learn" to return to their natural position.  In turn, wider toe stance means increased agility and increased coolness factor :)

Do we like them?

We get this question all the time and if you can't tell by this review so far, we love them.   Aside from experiencing the benefits listed above, Vibram Five Fingers have turned us on to the world around us.  After purchasing these barefoot shoes, we have been inspired to use them in as many places as possible.  We immediately started getting involved in things like rappelling, canyoneering, hiking, climbing and other various outdoor activities.  Would we have taken interest in these things if we hadn't ever purchased the shoes?  Maybe.  Possibly.  Who knows, but they certainly provided a much needed kick-start into the lifestyle.  One of the major ways they helped: increased sensitivity and awareness for Meisha, who is visually impaired.

They can help the visually impaired???


Here's how:  Meisha has Achromatopsia, which means she is legally blind, cannot see color and is extremely light sensitive.  All of these things add up to difficulty with depth perception and the ability to see her way up and down hiking trails, rappelling cliffs etc.  In the past, Meisha had resisted hikes and activities with varying terrain.  Once she got her Five Fingers, she quickly realized that she had the ability to feel her way up and down these hiking trails and cliffs.  She no longer had to worry about stepping on the wrong rock that might roll her ankle.  She became much more confident and agile and has made constant improvement ever since.

How can you buy them?

First, you need to figure out your size.  Here's a little video from Vibram on how to do that: 

Then you need to pick your style.  I have the classics, which I use casually and around town and the KSO's which I use for more intense activities like canyoneering and hiking.  Meisha has the Sprints, which she used to use for just about everything and has recently switched to the KSO Trek Sports for their aggressive tread on the bottom.  She now prefers the Trek Sports for outdoor activity.
After you've figured that out, you can buy them from Amazon.  We're Amazon Associates, so we do get paid when you buy them through the link below.  Buying them here will certainly help fund our adventures and travels, helping us to bring you more cool content :)

If you have any questions on the Five Finger shoes, ask us in the comments.  We're more than happy to share information and experiences.

Thanks for taking the time to read.
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