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A Flat-footed Runner Tries Vibram FiveFingers

The first thing I noticed about running in the Vibrams (this is while I was still in the store) was that I seemed to be coming down more on the balls of my feet, instead of on my heels. I’d read that this was likely to happen, but was surprised to see the change take effect so quickly.

But what’s truly extraordinary about the change is that it really has nothing to do with the shoes. The Vibrams have none of the padding we’ve come to expect in running sneakers; and while the inner edge of the shoe (where most people have their arch) is slightly concave, the rest of the sole is basically flat. The FiveFingers weren’t encouraging my feet to do anything other than to follow their fancy.

That said, I’m not sure that everybody would notice such an abrupt change. Prior to wearing the Vibrams, I’d been walking around barefoot for a solid six weeks. (I work from home, and don’t have to wear shoes during the day if I don’t feel like it. During the summers, I tend to go around shoeless. Also sometimes shirtless, and occasionally pantless. But we don’t need to talk about that … yet).

My First Run in the Vibrams

For my first run with the new shoes, I decided to run just one mile over pavement. I am extremely flat-footed and am an overpronator, so I wanted to ease my way into this drastically different shoe.

About 60 seconds after setting out, I noticed that I was absolutely pounding the ground with my heels – hard. Just really beating the tar out of the pavement. I probably hadn’t noticed this in the store because the floor was soft and padded, and because I hadn’t run for more than 30 seconds at a time. Regardless, it was pretty uncomfortable going for the first leg of the run.

But after just a couple of minutes, as I grew a little more accustomed to the shoe and the terrain, I gradually started to put more weight on the balls of my feet. By the end of the run, my heels felt fine – and I haven’t had a problem with them since.

Remarkable how the body adapts so quickly, isn’t it?

Subsequent Runs

Since that first run, I’ve gone on four others:

  • A two-mile run in the Vibrams
  • A second two-mile run in the Vibrams
  • A 5.2 mile run in my regular sneakers (New Balance 1221s)
  • A 2.7-mile run in the Vibrams

I’ve noticed so many fascinating things about my feet, my legs, and the way that I walk during these four runs that it’s hard to know where to start. I guess we can start with the thing that was the most unexpected: my hamstrings became incredibly tight.

Now, let me preface this discussion with the following: I’ve got some pretty nice legs. They’re strong, shapely, and lean, with just the right amount of muscle to look pleasing when flexed. If it were possible to do so, I would take these beautiful legs of mine out behind the middle school and get them pregnant. That’s how much I like them.

So it came as quite a big shock when, during my second run in the FiveFingers, I noticed more than a little pain in the back of my legs. Hold on a second: did I mention that I’m also extremely flexible for a guy? You won’t see me doing any splits, but I know my way around a yoga mat, and back in high school, I always scored in the 98th or 99th percentile for the sit-and-reach (which basically means that I’m really, really good at touching my toes). Again, I’m not a gymnast or a ballerina (ballerino?), but compared to most other guys my age, I’m frickin’ Gumby.

For two days after my second run, my hammys burned with pain with every step I took. Walking was bad enough, and running was out of the question. But I did my calf and hamstring stretches (they provided almost immediate relief) and after three days, felt like I could continue running in the Vibrams. After my fourth run in the Vibrams, the pain has lessened to mere discomfort, and is really only present in one of my legs (the left).

Bee’s Knees

After three runs in the Vibrams, I went for a longer jog (5.2 miles) in my regular shoes. Before I had taken ten steps, my knee pain was back.

Some quick background: one of the reasons I’m trying the Vibrams is because I’m tired of being injured, and no shoe I’ve ever worn has prevented me from getting sidelined. The injuries change, but they never actually go away. It’s always something, whether it’s pulling my Achilles’ tendon (my first running-related injury, in 1994) or developing patella tendonitis in both knees (my penultimate). Traditional footgear wasn’t working. Why not try something different?

While the knee pain had largely subsided before I started using the Vibrams (with many thanks owed to my physical therapist friend Julia), it was striking was how quickly the pain returned once I switched back to my New Balances.

On my first run in Vibrams after the 5.2 in the NBs, I still had some knee pain – probably residual pain from whatever I did to my knee the day before. But the near total lack of knee pain is an encouraging sign that the FiveFingers are really helping me to run in a way that’s better for my body.

On Beagle’s Wings

Another thing I noticed about running in the Vibrams is that I just generally feel lighter on my feet. More surefooted, more agile, and swift.

Could this be because I’m coming down more on the balls of my feet, and that this is a better way for me to run? Could it be because the shoes are physically lighter than my running shoes? Is it all in my head? Is it just the novelty of running in a way that I’ve never run before? Or could it be the fact that I’m used to running five, six and seven miles, but I’m running only one, two and three in the FiveFingers?

Some clues came during that first run in the old New Balances following my first three Vibram runs. Although I felt like my running was clunkier than it has been in the FiveFingers, the feeling of being quicker on my feet persisted. Dismissing for the moment the theory that I’m suffering from some kind of placebo effect, the persistence of this feeling tells me two things:

  1. The mechanics of my running style are changing.
  2. The change is strong enough that the shoes don’t matter (much).

I’ve Got Blisters on Me (Five) Fingers!

It’s not all handjobs and buttercups. There’s some bad news, too. But it’s not that bad.

Blisters

I didn’t know this was possible, but I have incipient blisters on every toe on my left foot except for the big one, and at least three on my right foot (including Mr Big). But then, the fact that I didn’t know this was possible probably tells you a lot about how coddled and pampered my feet are. I expect the blisters to go away once my feet decide to sack up and grow a pair.

They Just Kinda Hurt

After a run in the Vibrams, my feet are just generally sore. For a couple of hours at least, padding around the house without socks or shoes is a touch uncomfortable, and I kinda just want to get off my feet. By the next day, though, they’re fine. I also expect this to go away as my feet toughen up.

Your Review

I was reading through your review, and myself as well, am a very flat-footed individual. I have to say that my switch from adidas bounce shoes to five fingers was a positive one. Being in the military, your whole life tends to consist around running of some sort. I noticed that in my normal shoes I would, of course, run fast and all, but always have some sort of pain or injury. A lot of this would be on my 15 mile runs, I would notice a pain at aroud mile 3-4 in my knees. Once about mile 7-8 would hit it would either go numb or I would just stop thinking about it. The next day was always horrible. Lets not forget that terrible feeling (at least for me) you would get on the shins. I could never shake that one, and if I ignored it I would be out of running condition longer than wanted.

After my first run, I thought I could run like it was my normal show. Woops. I felt the same exact feeling you are describing. After a few runs everyting started to lessen. I also noticed that I was running a bit slower than normal, But I think this will change as time goes on. There is no doubt that I am more confident in my step now after the switch. I have yet to do a 15 mile run in them though. I find myself just increasing my runs every time (daily).

Overall, I think your review of the Five Fingers is great. With the slight troubles I was having in mine, I am glad to see someone else was also feeling the effects (another flat-footer). As far as the blisters go, I never had any. Probably because my feet are already ripped up from wearing boots all the time.

All in all, great review, great thoughts.

Thanks Joel!

Hey Joel,

Thanks for the comments! I’m happy to report that in the nearly 10 months since I posted that review, my calves have gotten stronger; my feet, more limber; and my running, better than ever. In fact, I haven’t been this fast a runner since high school. The shoes themselves aren’t making me faster, but they’re allowing me to run more miles more consistently, which has lead to faster running.

Check out http://somerunner.com when you get a chance. That’s my running blog. So far it’s just got the one post, but I hope to update it soon (once I find the time).

Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Keep us posted on your progress!

update?

Any updates on your experience with the Vibram Five Fingers? Also, which model do you use? I’m also very flat-footed and I overpronate significantly. I love distance running, but keep getting tendinitis in anywhere from my Achilles tendon to my ankles. I’m starting to wonder if bare-footed running would be a good solution for me. Thanks!

Nice 30 Rock reference. And

Nice 30 Rock reference. And nice review.

My experience

Thanks for the great reviews. I have to say that my brother that’s in the military recommended me to the VFF. I was also in the service and came to dislike running because of shins splints and knee pain. Did i mentioned I also have flat feet; and being in the military I was always in group A. Pretty much the fastest group but after running a long time I really felt the pain especially in my shins. Now with the VFF I have noticed the difference and started running 1, then 2, then 1, then 3, then 1, and then 5 miles. In the fith mile I have received pain, how can i describe this, in the left bottom foot towards the center in the left. It hurts everytime I walk and it has been going for two day. Hopefully it goes away and as I have learned, I need to take it slower with the VFF. Any tips or ideas?

Re: Your experience

Hey Tony,

I found that the key to breaking in the Vibrams is to take it slowly – jumping from three to five might have been a bit much.

I’d recommend dialing it back to a distance where your feet don’t hurt at all; increasing a mile or so; and staying at that distance until your feet stop hurting again. Repeat that process until you’re at the distance you want.

I would also recommend switching back to your normal shoes for longer runs. I followed Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training schedule for novices to break in the Vibrams, and for the first few weeks, I switched back to my normal shoes for the Saturday long runs. By the end of the program, I was able to run 13 miles in the Vibrams.

But whatever you do, the key is to listen to your body. If something hurts more than you think it should, back off. Everybody is going to have a different experience breaking these shoes in – make sure you tailor your break-in to what your feet and legs are telling you, and don’t be afraid to switch back to your normal shoes.

As for the injury you mention, I’ve never experienced pain quite like that. You could look up plantar fasciitis and see if that sounds like what you’ve got. Other than that, though, I’ve got no idea.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Maybe I did too much too fast

I have a similar sounding injury after overdoing it my first few weeks in the vibrams. After a week or so of easing into it with 1-1.5 miles every other day I got impatient and started doing my usual 7 miles twice a week. Big mistake. I experienced the expected calf soreness and the weird cracking ankles in the morning, but the real problem has been a dull sore pain in the bottom of my left foot that has lingered for probably 6 weeks now. My best guess is a small ligament tear from overstress, which might take a while to heal. Its almost gone, but I am going to keep off the running for a few more weeks and see how it feels. Bummer, I had really been enjoying running in the VFF. You definitely need to take it very easy when you start out in VFFs and do longer runs in your old shoes for a while.

Sorry to hear that. But yes,

Sorry to hear that. But yes, as I’ve told many people over the months and years, you really cannot take it too slowly. I heartily recommend using your old shoes for long runs until you’ve gradually built up to distance in the Vibrams.

Hope you recover from your injury.

As ugly as 5 fingers are,

As ugly as 5 fingers are, this is the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to jog/run/fly on my treadmill.

I got the “you must be very comfortable in our relationship to be wearing those” comment, whatever dude.

I’m not going to pretend I’m in great shape but I do exercise consistently, yoga, pilates, kundalindi, fast walking. I’m up to running 2 mins / fast walk 5 mins on the treadmill and my lower legs are feeling it big time. This pace is so slow but I’m hoping to avoid injury, especially avoid aggravating an old front hip injury.

Any other tricks/suggestions to help me pick up the pace? I’ll never do 10 km but hoping to do 2-4 one day.

ps: that’s 2 min running / 5

ps: that’s 2 min running / 5 min walking for 30 mins total.

I was reading throug

I was reading through your review, and myself as well, am a very flat-footed individual. I have to say that my switch from adidas bounce shoes to five fingers was a positive one. Being in the military, your whole life tends to consist around running of some sort. I noticed that in my normal shoes I would, of course, run fast and all, but always have some sort of pain or injury. A lot of this would be on my 15 mile runs, I would notice a pain at aroud mile 3-4 in my knees. Once about mile 7-8 would hit it would either go numb or I would just stop thinking about it. The next day was always horrible. Lets not forget that terrible feeling (at least for me) you would get on the shins. I could never shake that one, and if I ignored it I would be out of running condition longer than wanted.
After my first run, I thought I could run like it was my normal show. Woops. I felt the same exact feeling you are describing. After a few runs everyting started to lessen. I also noticed that I was running a bit slower than normal, But I think this will change as time goes on. There is no doubt that I am more confident in my step now after the switch. I have yet to do a 15 mile run in them though. I find myself just increasing my runs every time (daily).
Overall, I think your review of the Five Fingers is great. With the slight troubles I was having in mine, I am glad to see someone else was also feeling the effects (another flat-footer). As far as the blisters go, I never had any. Probably because my feet are already ripped up from wearing boots all the time.
All in all, great review, great thoughts.
_________
alon sobates from www.vacancetunisie.fr

Hey Tony,I found t

Hey Tony,
I found that the key to breaking in the Vibrams is to take it slowly – jumping from three to five might have been a bit much.
I’d recommend dialing it back to a distance where your feet don’t hurt at all; increasing a mile or so; and staying at that distance until your feet stop hurting again. Repeat that process until you’re at the distance you want.
I would also recommend switching back to your normal shoes for longer runs. I followed Hal Higdon’s half-marathon training schedule for novices to break in the Vibrams, and for the first few weeks, I switched back to my normal shoes for the Saturday long runs. By the end of the program, I was able to run 13 miles in the Vibrams.
But whatever you do, the key is to listen to your body. If something hurts more than you think it should, back off. Everybody is going to have a different experience breaking these shoes in – make sure you tailor your break-in to what your feet and legs are telling you, and don’t be afraid to switch back to your normal shoes.
As for the injury you mention, I’ve never experienced pain quite like that. You could look up plantar fasciitis and see if that sounds like what you’ve got. Other than that, though, I’ve got no idea.
Thanks for sharing your experience!

Name: paigebertrand
Comapny: capsule cafe

Type of shoes

Which style did you buy? I am working on going barefoot but need something to protect my feet from the glass, dog mess and general detritus around!
Thanks
 Yasmine

Thanks for you write-up. I

Thanks for you write-up. I have extremely flat feed and an overpronator. I think the initial problem is that you are all heel strikers. I switched from heel striking to forefoot running before I completed my first Ironman and had the same muscle pain. Also, I think you were initially wearing the wrong shoes. I am training for another Ironman and will try these shoes in my training.

Nice review, I also have flat

Nice review, I also have flat feet and was a little hesitant to try VFF- but I’m feeling like they might be worth a go (going to REI after work to snag a pair). I have had issues with runners knee, seems to dull but never really goes away and rears its ugly face after my longer runs. Injuries are so discouraging, but I started hearing alot about VFF and have been seeing them on some of my runs and why not? Thanks for some tips and insight! I’ll stop back by in a few months and let you know how it goes =)

Awesome! Yes, definitely give

Awesome! Yes, definitely give us an update and let us know how it goes. Good luck!

Really nice and informative

Really nice and informative review. While I’m not flat-footed, I do somewhat over-pronate. After some research, I think I might take the minimalist plunge - I’m no longer accepting the bad news podiatrists have pushed at me concerning running barefoot.

When I visited my podiatrist for another foot issue, he informed me that I over-pronate slightly. He recommended I try a shoe with high-stabilization (he was “on the fence” with custom orthotics for me). I’ve tried numerous stabilization shoes and I’ve yet to find any that actually feel good. Low Super Feet inserts (I didn’t want to dish out $600 dollars for orthotics that were “not entirely necessary”) felt awful. Everyone told me I just needed to get used to them. Though after six months I should think I would have been fairly adjusted. Instead, I’ve found that I actually ran less due to the discomfort of having a wedge under my foot, and I had more injuries and knee pain than ever! I couldn’t ignore the fact that I felt better in my old neutral running shoes. And sure enough, after trying a few new pairs out, I found a pair of neutral mizuno shoes that felt much better.

Overall though, this whole scenario came somewhat as a shock to me, as I had gone to the podiatrist for a completely non-running related inquiry. The podiatrist told me I probably have mild discomfort walking barefoot. This couldn’t be further from the truth. For my whole life, I’ve always walked barefoot at home/in the garden and I feel great. I love running barefoot on the beach and have even hiked on dirt/gravel paths barefoot. I’m going to give these Vibrams a try.

Ive been reading all your

Ive been reading all your guys reviews and I been thinking about buying some vibrams for jogging and Ive heard that if our second toe next to your big toe is longer than your big toe then they are unfit and uncomfotable for running. Is this true?

I have alien toes too...

I have alien toes (the second toe looks like ET’s fingers…), especially on the right side and I wear VFFs with no problem. Love them heaps, my shoe size has actually shrunk, and I don’t wear orthotics anymore. Just try the shoes out in a store if you can and make sure the size is right.

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your experience about the body adapting to the shoes more quickly than we expect. That in itself, the change of what parts of the lower body/feet are being used is already a benefit to prevent injury from repetitive stress.

As the other reader commented, it would be good to shift to your regular running shoes from time to time. It’s like what a few baltimore personal trainers keep reminding me, that I need to modify my workout routines from time to time.

Tired of damned stress fractures...

So, as a second/third season flat-footed runner, I’ve already experienced some injuries. Namely, stress fractures that keep ME out for at least 4-6 months at a time. (Not the alleged 6-8 weeks medical professionals insist on) I’ve bought my share of ‘stability’ shoes and inserts, stopping just shy of orthotics when a running buddy of mine (also flat-footed) developed an irreversible arthritic condition directly correlated with her orthotic use! (rolls eyes) So, in my search for a treatment that 1) won’t leave me with a stress fracture at the midway of every season and 2) won’t leave me unable to run any distance worth bragging about. Last year, I started running in the Newton Motus. That shoes has helped, as it promotes a fore to mid - foot strike. That success was only short lived, because the shin pain is back; It just took a little longer to start back up. I am currently searching for the best type of minimalist shoes and building my repertoire of foot exercises to strengthen my arch.

I am SO glad to read of other flat-footed people who are having success in the barefoot/minimal shoe running. My running buddy has already chucked her orthotics after some of the research we’ve done. Thank you!

It is worth noting that in my research, ‘relearning’ how to walk is also essential, especially if you (which most do) convert to a barefoot/
minimalist shoe wearing lifestyle.

Thank you again for the information and a great review!

Best improvement I made to my

Best improvement I made to my fivefingers was adding a set of injinji toe socks. Blisters, a thing of the past!

6 months on the vibram hustle

Great posts on this thread…I read this along with many other things before deciding to purchase the vibrams myself. I also had a lot of trouble with running when I got them, experiencing the dull pain in the arch of my feet some others have noted. I still get blisters in my shoes and I’m a little surprised since I’m pretty much fully accustomed to the new natural stride.

I’ve definitely noticed that my feet are smaller now due to my arch getting higher…which is crazy!! Also I do a lot of weight lifting in the vibrams…it’s so much better doing squats and deadlifts on an even surface and not the built up heel of regular shoes.

Definitely a fan…never going back

Im a fan too

Thanks for posting this. My 15 year old son started running cross country in Vibrams after developing ankle pain in his fairly minimalist but still well cushioned New Balances. He had only been running for about 4 weeks at that time and it might have been an adjustment issue, but the pain was worsening. I researched vibrams on the Internet (including reading this post, since my son has severely flat feet) and decided to take the plunge.

The cross country team already had another vibram runner but the coach was not impressed with them and was downright grumpy about us switching. By the end ofthe season, 5 kids on the team had switched over, they jokingly called it the “revolution”, lol!

Now, 6 months later, the kids are doing track and coach has totally changed his mind about vibrams. By the end of xc, he commented that he was “actually starting to like those shoes.” He has given my son the choice whether he wants to run the 3200 in vibrams or spikes, saying he likes the way my son “moves in the vibrams”.

We have a small cross country team and we are only just starting out. But out of our top runners, none of the vibram runners had any injuries whatsoever, which can not be said for those who ran in trainers! My sons form is “beautiful”, according to coach, and he now says that he has great potential to become an exceptional distance runner. At the beginning of the season he didn’t think my son had much talent at all.

He is not a novice either, he has trained distance runners for more than 30 years.

I do believe that running naturally in vibrams have helped my flat footed son. It has also improved his form so that he can switch back to his new balance spikes if he chooses to, without the ankle pain that plagued him before.

I get frustrated when I encounter the anti-vibram sentiment among competitive runners. I think that people are quick to dismiss new ideas and this is no exception. The verdict is still out on whether they can be faster than spikes in track, but I’m thinking that if they an improve running form and economy, they could possibly give endurance runners an edge that cancels out the few seconds benefit that might be found in wearing spikes.

Just to add...

Just to add to my previous comment…At last night’s track meet, which was on asphalt, coach actually encouraged the kids to wear their vibrams. He said that he has noticed that for some reason our runners do very well on asphalt wearing vibrams. On the only xc course we ran that was entirely asphalt, none of the vibram runners had any aches and pains the next day. The kids in trainers did.

Ok, these are young kids and they transitioned to the vibrams very quickly and didn’t have to unlearn many years of running shod, but it seems that their running mechanics in the vibrams helped them to run pain free on a very hard surface.

My son has just aced the final leg of a marathon relay, 6.2 miles in his vibrams on a road surface. He was absolutely comfortable and felt like he could have gone much further. :-)

VFF

Thanks for all the comments. As both a flat footed runner and vet I appreciate the advice. You’ve inspired me to go buy a pair.

about five finger shoes

hi,We find your sale the five toes shoes on the Internet .We are a shoes factory in china . Five toes shoes is our main products , We have many nice design and reasonable price ,we are could accept wholesale .If you interesting it ,We ‘d like to show you more picture for you reference .

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osgood schlatters disease?

do you think this would help with my osgood schlatters disease? i have heard that running on your balls of your feet can help with osgood schlatters. thanks

I just found out I was flat footed

A couple years ago I started doing home based workouts like P90X and Insanity, but during the workouts my arches will kill me! I couldn’t even stand up they hurt so bad. So I started working out without shoes and the pain went away.

Fast forward 2 years later and now I’ve got a searing red hot poker type pain on the left side of my foot. I am thinking its a nerve issues because of the burning pain, but I’ve been to 2 doctors and talked to a PT. No one has seen to come up with a solution, but I was told I have flat feet and plantar fasciitis could be the culprit but its not conclusive.

So now I’m at a cross roads about getting an expensive pair of running shoes with mega arch support or going the opposite direction and doing something more minimalistic like the vibrams.

What do you think?

Foot pain with VFF

I recently wore “normal” oxfords during three weeks of platform teaching I did for my corporation. I developed what seemed to be plantar fasciitis but was localized to the lateral (ouside) rear portion of my right foot rather than the bottom of the foot. I learned that doing significant calf stretches virtually eliminated the problem in less than a week. Be sure to stretch both gastrocnemius and soleus. it also helps to stretch the hamstring.
I am a 60 y.o. Male weighing 168lbs Who has been running in VFF for just over 7 months. I started using them after recovering from a viral heart condition called pericarditis. At first I couldn’t run more than 100 meters without slowing to a walk. Seemed like a good opportunity to start retraining myself to run barefoot style from being a heel-striker all my life. I currently average about 35 miles a week all on asphalt and concrete. Although I have had (5) knee operations, used to wear orthotics (>15 years), and a back operation I have not experienced pain for any of these problems thru changing my running style through daily wear and use of VFF. I’ve completed a half marathon race in Feb 2012 wearing VFF and continue running in them exclusively in preparation for a marathon. I’m up to long runs of 20 miles currently with no problems and typically run 4-9 miles of speed, tempo or intervals the other 4 days of the week taking two days off for recovery each week.
Yes, feet will feel tender for a while but next morning all is ok. No knee, hip or back pain. No calf pain but stretch them after my runs and plantar fasciitis has almost gone away.
I run in KSO, KSO Trek, and Bikila. I wear the Bormio styles to work each day (brown and black colors).
Certainly they won’t work for everyone but they seem to work for me. Results may vary.

Bunions

Do these help with bunions?

blisters

I never realised how painful flat feet could be, when I started jogging I had pain and blisters. Once I got correct fitting shoes for people with flat feet I am running on sunshine now!

Foot pain with VFF

Forgot to mention that I also have flat feet.
Only blister I have ever experienced with VFF was without socks in hot weather. Only once. Seems that my my feet sweat and leads to friction. Started wearing thin injinji socks in warm and hot weather and no more blisters. I don’t wear socks in cool and cold weather down to 20F.

Great

I will check out the vibram brand. Been going with new balance for my extremely flat feet.

Vibram - 3 years later

So, three years later, how are the Vibram FiveFingers shoes (or similar) working out for you? I’ve had bad flat-footedness since I was born and I’m thinking of trying this rather than getting new orthotics as they’ve only ever treated the symptom.

Good question

I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up to this post (for years), and will do so … uh, someday. In the meantime, I will say that I’ve been using the Vibrams as my primary running shoe for 3+ years now and still think it was one of the best running decisions I’ve ever made.

More later!

RE: Vibram Shoes Five fingers experience

I love these shoes! I’ve been using them for about two months and already bought my second pair so I can alternate when I’m washing one of them. People should really open their minds about taking their time if they use these shoes or the first time; otherwise injury awaits them. To start of, I’d say walk and light jog on the thread mill(1 min walk/ 1 min run). do that for like 8 mins then gradually increase by a minute every week. the idea is to get the muscles and tissues get used to running bare feet.

Getting ready for my first half-marathon

Hi! I am brand new to running but have worn Vibrams quite happily as casual shoes for about 4 years now. I just can’t imagine buying anything else to start my training–Sunday for the San Antonio, Texas Rock-and-Roll Half Marathon as part of the PETA Pack. I am glad to read about positive running experiences in them. I will be starting SLOW and plan to get a style made for running.

I’ve sworn many times over the years that I am going to switch to the VFF full-time, but have yet to make the commitment. I still get suckered by a gorgeous pair of heels every now and again, much to the chagrin of my left bunion….

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience! I’ll buy socks. Take care!

What kind of VFF did the host use?

The portfolio of VFF has expanded to 13 types of shoes. Any recommendations on what VFF to start running with? Thanks, in advance.

I'm kinda tall...

Hi, I’m 6’4” tall and I weigh 225 lbs. I keep on hearing all of my cross country friends tell me their vibrams were just amazing for their flat feet and have improved their running style greatly. But all of them are also A LOT shorter and not as built as me. I’d love to get a pair to improve my running style for soccer because right now my heels are pretty much taking all the brute force while I run. I’m just not exactly sure if a person my size should wear these. It’d be nice if atleast somebody could give me a recommendation! Thanks!

I’m a 5’ 8” - 160 lb male, so

I’m a 5’ 8” - 160 lb male, so my build’s quite a bit different from yours. I own WFF Sprints, KSO’s, and Bikilas, all Women’s sizes & styles, because the men’s sizes barely start at the equivalent of Men’s 8 (they’re measured by actual foot length, btw). So while I don’t know any success OR failure stories from larger runners, it sure would seem to me that Vibram’s targeting their men’s styles at sizes 9-12, at least.

Great Review

Thanks for the reviews, I too have been wondering for quite some time if Vibrams were really suited for flat-footed people. Personally I’ve never grown an arch so I wouldn’t know what it’s like with one, but I’ve always walked barefooted and preferred to sprint barefoot, however I always got blisters on the track after 1 or 2 sprints. After getting Vibrams, I can sprint more frequently at the same capacity with minimal injuries sustained. I also noticed that my vertical leap in basketball has been more regular, as with the vibram I could actually feel the ground, whereas with my trainers embedded with orthotics, my jumping patterns were always irregular when i could barely feel my toes; which resulted in reduced accuracy as I rely on my lower body to draw power for shots.
I do get criticized occasionally regarding the unappealing looks of the shoe, however if any of you are pondering whether to get a pair because of that factor i really recommend you to try the Vibrams as they really train your feet and give you a new running/training feel, like Vibram® says “Humans were never meant to wear shoes”. Cheers

Nice way to describe your transition :)

I’m also a flat footer like you and used to overpronate quite a bit. Been running on my vibrams (bikilas) for quite some time now, and I’ve noticed that my arch became higher by about 7mm!!!!! Funny to say though, I did start of barefeet for a while (around 3 months) to build up my calluses but also to improve my form dramatically. I think now that you have calluses, you should try barefeet running for a kilometer or 2, and see how you feel. It feels even better than vibrams imo, but the amount of things that seem to try to cut your feet open where I live just makes it impossible!!
That’s the good part to my story. The bad bit is that my right arch is now higher than my left arch (due to previous injuries), which means that my right leg is ever so slightly longer than my left leg. Anyone else with this problem? The back of my left knee - the tendon down the middle, probably the insertion of the gastrocnemius/calf muscle, is sore after a long walk/run/hike or just weight bearing without breaks.
But anyways. I’m trying to convince my dad to tryout vibrams, but he says he’s too old. Anyway other ways of trying to convince him?
Best of luck

I’ve had my VFF KSO’s now for

I’ve had my VFF KSO’s now for about 3 months now. I spent a good amount of time (4 weeks) strictly walking in them. I followed a general guide that I would walk those weeks no more that 10-15% of my usual weekly running mileage. I just register for 5K race next week at The Driven and hope that I will not get any issues during running.

I was also struggling with

I was also struggling with pain in my patella. My doctor suggested me that Beating Patellar Tendonitis can be treated by physiotherapy. It helps to strengthen the muscles in and around the knee joint. This helps to provide stability in the leg and increases the amount of tension the knee can endure before buckling. Good physiotherapy decreases chances of a recurrence of most injuries I guess.

Loved the post - another flat footer :)

Hi! I just went through all the post and all the comments and gotta say I loved it.
Very convinced with trying out the vibrams now.

I recently learned about flat feet being a reason for pain on the insides of my knees. I’ve been running for almost a year now (2 half marathons in the last 2 months) with my neutral stride nike pegasus 29 - phsyio suggested i get some orthotics. Still not quite convinced I’m looking at trying a different pair of running shoes.

Would love to know which pair of vibrams is preferred since I’ve seen there are quite a few types now. I also suffer from blisters and have sweaty feet so injinji toe socks should be a good idea?

Would love to read some more from you guys - thanks!

Flat feet

I’m a flat-footed runner too! Love your blog, so happy I found it!
I’m currently researching the best running shoes for flat feet and hopefully the perfect pair will end the constant flow of blisters and pains.
Here’s my review if you want to check it out: http://www.fearlessroad.com/best-running-shoes-for-flat-feet/ it’s pretty extensive and detailed, with price comparisons and all.

I ordered the New Balance 1260v3 and I can’t wait to give them a try.

Keep running guys!

Plantar

Definitely sounds like plantar fasciitis to me!

What foot pain indicates?

Most of the runners, sportsmen, and athletes lose their bright career prospects due to unbearable pain in heel and foot arches, which is actually a disease, commonly known as Plantar Fasciitis. As we know, prevention is always better than cure, so it will be truly necessary for all sprinters, runners, and athletes to wear right type of shoes, so that it helps avoiding sports related injuries to a great extent. Soulline shares detailed information about Plantar Fasciitis through its blog, which is worth reading, and I highly recommend everyone to go through the articles, whenever possible.

Flat Feet with Sesamoiditis

I don’t know if you still monitor these comments or not, but…

Your style of writing is amazing/captivating/hilarious. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion.

I have flat feet. I grew up going barefoot for many hours in the day and don’t remember any foot/knee/back pain.
When I was 20, I spent a LOT of time walking with big, clunky boots. After walking 15 miles daily with these shoes (every day for 1.5 years), I developed a stress fracture in both of my big toes. I was immobilized for 5 months (had to have a friend drive me around everywhere, couldn’t walk much, etc). It sucked.

Without trying barefoot again (didn’t even think about that option), I bought some $500 Foot Levelers/Custom Orthotics that helped relieve the pain for the next 14 years.

However, today, I just started feeling severe pain again in my left sesamoid bone/tendon, left hip, and lower back. I do NOT want to be immobilized again.

In your opinion, would buying a pair of these shoes help my feet regain their strength and fix my issues?

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