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The 5 Fingers/Barefoot Shoe Trend

Yesterday morning—as on most mornings—the peacefulness of my run was punctuated by a pack of runners in the local park with their big dogs. Since they’re always so loud, I take notice. (In fact, they take up most of the running lane so everyone has to go around them!) But yesterday morning I also noticed that one of the guys in the group was wearing Vibram’s 5 Fingers Barefoot Shoes (…I was intrigued so I had to try them on for myself (see pic). First, they’re a bit difficult to get on as you need to make sure the right toes get into the right “slots” — like a pair of gloves. But they really do feel like you’re walking/running barefoot, which isn’t necessarily a good thing in my mind.


The idea behind them, according to Vibram, is that they stimulate the feet and lower legs, making you stronger and healthier and improving your balance and agility.

I’ve got to be honest: they did nothing to flatter my feet (or my large, muscular calves)—but I thought they’d be perfect for my son when he’s kayaking (not exactly the use they’re promoting). And I’m so used to wearing shoes with great arch support that they didn’t feel comfortable. So my advice: unless you have cash to burn (who does these days?), stick to your regular sneakers. At least that’s what I’ll be doing!

And as for the guy in the park, he can run in whatever he wants as long as he tones down the talk!


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