Up there in the top 10 of most popular questions asked when talking about Vibram FiveFingers is can you run in them? Well yes you can but there are a few things you will need to consider.
Seasoned runners understand the importance of getting the best equipment for their favourite form of exercise. There are many different brands and types of shoes that you can choose from. The best type of shoes to choose will depend on the type of runner you are.
However there is an alternative and that's running with no shoes at all!
If you're not familiar with barefoot running it may seem a little crazy. Why would people choose to run with no shoes on when there are thousands of different comfortable running shoes to choose from?
One of the most attractive things about barefoot running is that it allows people to run exactly how nature intended. Conventional running shoes come equipped with many adaptations which can cause us to run differently to how we would move if we were barefoot.
While many recreational runners land heel first, barefoot runners land on the ball first, or forefoot. In fact landing on your heel with nothing on your feet would prove instantly painful. Just take our word for it ... please don't try!
By landing ball first our feet and lower legs behave like powerful springs pushing us up against gravity and away from the floor. Try jumping up and down on the spot and you'll see what we mean. You will instinctively land on your forefoot rather than your heels which will allow your calves to load up with energy so they can literally bounce you off the ground.
Running in bare feet also allows us to use the 200,000 nerves in our feet to provide information to our brains about how we are moving. Our feet are super sensitive for a reason and without all that feedback we can make mistakes. Think back to how painful heel striking would be without shoes on.
Your foot is also much more flexible with nothing on. If you land on a root or stone in bare feet your foot can flex and mould itself around the object. Many modern running shoes tend to limit the amount your foot can move. So if you land on something hard this can put added pressure on your ankles instead.
There are many other reasons why people may choose shoes off rather than shoes on but what about wearing a barefoot shoe?
Why barefoot shoes?
While the term may seem a little odd it really isn't. Barefoot shoes like the Vibram FiveFingers are much more minimal in construction compared to other shoes. They are designed to protect your feet from the elements and offer a little grip. That's pretty much all they do. There's no support, no adaptations, no thick cushioning. They are a shoe designed to be as close to barefoot as possible.
This is why people choose barefoot shoes over nothing at all. They want all the freedom barefoot running gives with a little protection.
There are quite a few runners that swear by a barefoot running shoe, enough that may make you consider making the switch from your traditional running shoes to minimalist ones. But there are a few things to consider before you do.
Are your feet strong enough?
Many new barefoot runners make the mistake of thinking they can just kick off their shoes and cover the same distances they are used to. However, conventional running shoes can often protect our feet a little too much.
All that cushioning, support and protection can make the structures in our feet become weak. Imagine breaking your arm and having it in a cast for several weeks. During that time the cast is supporting your arm while the bone heals. This means your muscles grow weak and often people with broken bones require physiotherapy to regain that strength.
So in some ways, barefoot running is a little like starting over. Because there will be adaptations in the way you move and some strengthening of essential bones, muscles and connective tissue, it may take time to build up to a distance you are used to.
Vibram is a leading brand in minimalist shoes. These revolutionary shoes have given runners the benefit of barefoot running while offering some of the protection of regular shoes, giving people the best of both worlds.
The Vibram sole and toe pocket design allow you to really ‘Feel Your Run’. They are comfortable shoes that give you the protection and grip that you need to be the best runner you can be.
Here at Barefoot Junkie we will continue to bring you all the latest models, news and innovations that Vibram FiveFingers have to offer barefoot minimalist runners.