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VFF's in the Army

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  • VFF's in the Army

    The problem is that the senior NCO's and Officers are an older bunch and usually frown on new technology. Even though half the guys in my BN wear the VFF's our leadership will not allow us to wear them during PT. We're working on submitting a paper to the leadership to hopefully change their mind.

    My issue is that I wear the VFF's on the way to work, after work, and on the weekends and I've noticed that when it comes time to run on Monday I'm getting really tight in my legs around the shin. It feels like the blood is rushing into the shin area and the muscle feels like it's going to pop.

    I did a foot march in boots and felt the same way. It takes a couple miles and then everything goes back to normal.

    So my question is, are any other military members having this same problem?

  • #2
    The shin issue is probably because you are lifting your toes without knowing it due to the shoe. The forefoot running lets you leave the foot "hanging" without needing to raise the toes up for the nonexistent heel strike. That would be my guess.

    I haven't had any issues with wearing mine other than the required ridicule. But then again, I'm not in a regular unit either.

    I would back up your paper with some of the available research on barefoot/minimalist running. Another option, if the command won't let you wear the VFF's is go with something like the Vivo BArefoot EVO. They can pass as regular athletic shoes.

    Good luck.

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    • #3
      I'm actually a snr NCO and wear the VFF despite the above mentioned ridicule. The units I have been with haven't banned them but I just wore them and never asked permission to do so. Find a NCO who seems to be fitness orientated and see if you can get him/her on your side and it'll make it easier to get support from the chain of command. I also second the other barefoot alternatives that don't look like barefoot alternatives. Since I am fit, I can get away with funny looking footwear since I am fit I must know what I am doing.

      Good luck.

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      • #4
        Nike makes an alternative to VFF that looks like a regular shoe ("Free" I think?) I wear mine when I PT at lunch, but I'm relegated to normality during regular PT.

        Haven't had the issue you're talking about yet, but I've only had my VFF for a month or so, so I haven't had time to get more than a 3 mile run in them.

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        • #5
          Occurs to me that we ought to have our own Military Servicemen/women group on here - what ya'll think?

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          • #6
            I'm all for it. Just as long as it is a multi-national military group as I am in Canadian Army.

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            • #7
              Eh, not sure about segragating us into a Military group. I think the board works pretty well as is but we can definitely share and try to promote the VFF's. I'm working with out PA on getting a solid proposal letter written to hopefully change some minds. If the Army can spend millions on the worst camo pattern ever -ACU's- then I'm sure we can be okay with wearing some funny looking shoes.

              I probably won't be able to get the Nike Free's or else my wife will probably commit me. She already thinks I'm crazy for wearing them and reading Mark's books and blog.

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              • #8
                Hi, Active Duty Army here.

                I was in a similar situation. I ran in nothing but my VFF's last year when I got my deployment orders. I was dreading not being able to run in my VFF's especially since I was PROFIS to another unit (and all the issues of not knowing leadership, etc). Thankfully, CONUS, I work in a hospital (MEDDAC) and we do individual PT so I never had to worry about even wearing the Army PT uniform. Pre-deployment, when I went to Ft. Bragg for my unit meetup, I had lots of compliments and "those are cool!" comments from people at the gyms there.

                I bought and brought with me some black KSO's and also bought Ininji socks (cut off the red tag on the top). "Technically" they are within regulation. They are "running shoes" with rubber covering the toe and my socks were unlabeled covering the ankle. Maybe you can get those and wear with the socks? You might not have issues with those?

                THANKFULLY my chain of command thought they were great and I didn't have issues. However, I got some comments when I'd run on base so I kept my running to late at night or very, very early in the morning. I worked nights so it wasn't a huge issue. If I went to the gym, or ran during daylight (or PT time hours) I had to stick with conventional shoes.

                I'd second the suggestion of getting some Nike Free's for mandatory PT. They're not terribly expensive and look much more like conventional footwear. Also, talk to your leadership. Your chain of command might be supportive, but who knows what others on post might say.

                I will say, that I spent more time running during daylight hours on less than ideal "roads" and concrete, not in my VFF's. I did the Army 10 miler last year running an 8min. mile pace in my VFF's (all concrete!). I was Medevac'd home from Iraq due to a broken femur. I'm convinced something changed with my gait, form or something due to the conditions there. My ortho is stumped, but now I'm back to VFF's all the time.

                Good luck.
                Last edited by comet; 07-19-2010, 05:12 AM. Reason: grammar

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                • #9
                  What Bat are you at???
                  Rangers Lead the Way, Hooah!

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                  • #10
                    I just wanted to throw a shout out to all you folks serving in the military. Thanks for everything you do!
                    iHerb.com 1st time buyer $5 discount code: GIS836

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                    • #11
                      vff's & free's are totallly different I own both. Im still afraid to run in my bff's. the frees are great though
                      "Don't dream it, be it"

                      -Dr. Frank-N-Furter

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                      • #12
                        I went rucking in my vff last night. i did 2 miles on flat ground .5 miles up ridge .5 down the ridge. pretty good for first ruck no pain today other then legs being tired. I am trying to get in shape to go to Special Forces selection.

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                        • #13
                          I haven't had too much trouble going back and forth between VFF and other shoes. When I have to wear running shoes, I've been using Addidas Adizero which are extremely lightweight and fairly flexible. As for boots, the adjustment is a little more apparent but not too bad.

                          Also, I've spoken to some folks in Regiment and they are allowed to wear their VFF to PT. Are you in Regiment or a different unit? I did have a problem with VFFs at my last OES course. The command complained about them and they got nixed. On my own time, I was "allowed" to change out of IPFU and into civilians and then put on VFFs to work out.

                          In my current unit, I got them approved through the Brigade CSM. His policy is that they could be used like the tan t-shirt while deployed. Good for PT, no go for the chow hall and walking around.

                          Also I saw someone else reference socks. Granted this is a minor point, but check AR 670-1 and socks are not required. They are an accessory commonly worn with the IPFU but not required. That one blew my BN CSM's mind and he emailed Army G1. Still not required.

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                          • #14
                            Just got an email forwarded to me from FORSCOM saying vibrams are now a no-go in PTs

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                            • #15
                              Just need to give it some time. CW regarding PT in the military is dying a slow death. As things like crossfit, kettlebells, and the TRX find their way into regular sessions, attitudes towards footwear are also changing.

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