Fitness + Well-being

Vibram FiveFinger Sneakers

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"There are many health benefits of barefoot activities,” Vibram Media Relations and Communications Associate, PJ Antonik, told me. “FiveFingers allow your body to move as if barefoot but with the protection of a Vibram sole."

Hearing this reminded me of when my doctor told me to stop wearing heels because they’re bad for my feet. Sacrifice my fashion for the sake of my health? No chance!

A new pair of kicks.

To state the obvious, FiveFinger sneakers are no Nike kicks; you’re not going to find them on any “Hot Style” lists. And let’s be real, if you wear these puppies, you’re going to get looks. People will ask, “How do they feel?”

So we tried them, and here’s our report:

Never have I been so excited to try on such a strange pair of shoes. I couldn’t put them on fast enough … literally. Shoving my toes into separate toe holes (for sake of a better word) wasn’t easy. I had to bend over, locate each one of my ten toes, and place them into their own little compartment. It was a struggle, and I can imagine that someone with a bad back wouldn't enjoy the process. After time, I did find that it got easier and felt more natural.

And I was off.

After wearing my FiveFingers during a walk, a run, and a cardio kickbox class, I was torn. Walking in these shoes didn’t feel totally weird — I actually enjoyed it. Running, on the other hand, was definitely a challenge; my leg muscles were engaged more than ever. It felt similar to the struggle of running in the sand. Just as PJ warned, “You may find the calf muscle is activated more due to the removal of the heel.” A lot of people want more definition in their calf muscles, and after attempting to run one mile, it was obvious these shoes were calf-sculpting machines.

Would I do it again?

There are a lot of benefits to running "barefoot," but you can check out their website for that information. I think FiveFingers are oddly comfortable and provide an excellent workout, but you may have to sacrifice some fashion sense to wear them. Almost every trainer I’ve spoken with has and among their many other advantages, barefoot sneakers provide a fun(ny) opportunity to do that.

Will I trade in my “old-fashioned” sneakers permanently for a pair of FiveFingers? No, but I will definitely wear them again. I don’t know what’s next in the world of sneakers, but I can assure you that no matter how strange they are, we’ll try them.