Monday, 05 July 2010 07:21

Vibram FiveFingers: Yes, I love them. Yes, you should get them

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That is all I have to say.

Just kidding. Well, sort of.


I LOVE my Five Fingers, and I don't mean my hands (although they're pretty cool too). FiveFingers are a type of unique shoes by Vibram, which are becoming very
popular in L.A. I've had them for about a year, but they've been sitting in the trunk of my car most of that time. Someone gave them to me and I thought they were really funny looking and just for water sports, but I kept them in case I decided to walk on a reef or something. Suddenly, I started seeing people wearing them around and realized that they are amazing footwear for walking, running, and many types of exercise. And, they're becoming trendy. I couldn't remember what my FiveFingers looked like - I recalled them being yellow and thought they would clash with my attire, but when I pulled them out into the light I discovered that they are mostly black with a yellow logo, and they go with almost every outfit!

I've been wearing my FiveFingers for about a month now (not everyday, come on now) and I am constantly asked about them (they are a great conversation starter). My answer is always, "yes, I love them...yes, you should get them." Because they are awesome. The next question is often, "do you run in them?" and my answer is "not really, but I walk, bike, and stand in them and they are insanely comfortable." It's true - when I wear the FiveFingers I feel like my feet are getting a massage with every step. You'd think putting your toes into a glove-like shoe would feel weird, but it's actually a lot better than forcing them into a crowded, pointed shape or against a flat bottom like most shoes and sandals. Believe it or not, our toes are meant to move and it's time you "discover the barefooting alternative" (that's Vibram's tagline).


Since many people wear shoes most of the day, our toes don't get stimulation or movement. Sure, we could wiggle them around a little, but like the rest of our body they would benefit from much more. Typical shoes actually weaken our foot and leg muscles and hinder our balance and athletic performance. FiveFingers offer the experience of walking barefoot with the benefit of protection against hard surfaces and sharp objects on the ground - check out their 6 reasons they can help your body. A recent study at Harvard found that people in countries who rarely wear shoes can run faster and get less injuries, and this fascinating photo shows the difference in how we land on the ground barefoot vs. wearing shoes:


Aside from standing around and enjoying how great your feet feel, there are many things you can do in your FiveFingers. I love biking in them because it's easier to pedal. Many people rave about running and hiking in them, and Vibram advertises that they are great for yoga and water sports. There are several different varieties of the footwear, depending on the type of activity you plan to use them for. I have the classic, which are meant for light exercise and walking.

Vegans beware: not all of the Five Fingers are animal-free. Here are the details from the website:
The Classic, Sprint, KSO and Flow models’ upper is made with a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric. The Moc, Performa, and KSO Trek models’ upper is made with a soft, tear resistant kangaroo leather. Our patented Vibram® sole is made from our TC1 performance rubber compound.
So that's the only drawback for me - don't really want to support a company that uses kangaroo leather, though many companies have leather and vegan options (take TOMS for example). Although, polyamide fabric in general isn't really eco-friendly, as most forms are a non-renewable resource made from coal. I'll send an email to the company to learn more about the materials and manufacturing.

Overall, I love this footwear and I highly recommend them. You can buy them on Vibram's website, in sports stores, or even on Amazon - they range from $75 - 125. But make sure to get the real things - the knockoffs just aren't as good.
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