Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 May

Dear Mark: Are My Vibram FiveFingers Dangerous?

Vibram FivefingersToday, I’m answering one hot-topic question for this week’s Dear Mark. It concerns an issue that’s inspired several dozen emails from readers: the Vibram FiveFingers lawsuit and settlement. If you want to skip ahead to the take home point, it’s that I’m not getting rid of my Vibram FiveFingers anytime soon. Heck, I’m wearing a pair as I type this. I may even be typing with my FiveFinger-clad toes. (It could happen…) If you want my more extensive take on it, read on.


I would love to hear your comments on the FiveFingers lawsuit. I suspect many of your readers and listeners would be interested too. Possible blog post or podcast topic?

It seems to me that the “science” used to drive the lawsuit was a bit questionable. Is this real, or just a shakedown for money?


Sorry, George. Reading the Deadspin link makes it pretty clear. Any benefits you thought you had experienced since donning the FiveFingers are just that: a thought, a flight of fancy conjured up from your brain in an attempt to justify the hundreds of dollars spent on a faulty product. Your knee does hurt. That’s not your shoelace you keep stepping on. It’s your Achilles tendon dangling uselessly like a five year-old rubber band.

In fact, I’d wager that this Vibram lawsuit will whisk away the veil of collective placebo currently conning millions of Vibram-wearing readers across the globe. The knee pain that’s actually always been simmering beneath your consciousness held at bay by delusion will pick back up any minute now. Your false foot musculature will begin atrophying presently. The sheer raw joy of feeling the cracks and stones and leaves of grass beneath your minimally-clad feet will turn to ash and blunt numbness. They were all a dream. You were tricked and bamboozled. Thanks for playing. The honeymoon is over. The bone marrow edema is coming. Fluid pools accumulate and drown you. Time to die.

Jokes aside, what’s this Vibram lawsuit saying, anyway?

Ignore the astute thinkers in comment sections. Vibram isn’t being sued for making shoes that hurt your feet. Vibram is being sued for making unsupported claims that using FiveFingers could reduce foot injuries and improve the strength of foot musculature. That’s it. Nothing else.

To win the case (or get the company to settle), the plaintiff doesn’t even have to prove that these claims are false and that the opposite is true (the shoes cause damage). They just have to prove that the claims are not supported by the available evidence. And for the most part, that’s true. They aren’t.

Anecdotes on message boards (however true) aren’t admissible in court. Appeals to the evolution of human biomechanics (however valid) will fall on deaf ears. Clinical research is required to prove a benefit, and what little research exists is ambivalent, showing mixed results.

This isn’t a conviction of minimalist footwear, as I’ve mentioned previously. Clinical trials on minimalist running are notoriously difficult to do properly. The transition period from regular shoes to minimalist shoes alone requires far more than the dozen or so weeks most studies lend it. This makes the few trials we have to go on fatally flawed, but not useless. They show what not to do. They suggest that the importance of the transition should not be understated or taken lightly.

It may seem like a “no true Scotsman” defense. But it’s true. Running in minimalist shoes takes a lot of preparation, training, and skill – especially if you’ve worn Nike-branded casts on your feet for years – and I don’t think the studies we’ve seen up until now demonstrate sufficient preparation. It’s like when you broke your arm as a kid and sat in a cast for ten weeks. Remember when they finally took it off with that weirdly discriminating saw blade and your arm smelled funny and looked really small and skinny? Remember how you tried to sign your name in class and it felt like you had to learn how to write all over again? Remember how useless Han Solo was when Leia snuck into Jabba’s palace to dissolve the carbonite he’d been stuck inside for months?

That’s what trying to use your feet after a lifetime of keeping them encased in leather and raised rubber is like. You have to learn all over again. Your feet are to shoes as Han Solo is to carbonite.

And “experienced” runners – often the subjects of these minimalist running studies – switching over have it even harder, believe it or not. They’ve been running one way in one type of shoe for many hundreds of miles. Their feet have molded themselves to run in the shoes. Their unused muscles have atrophied. Their neuromuscular circuitry is wired for protective shoes. You can’t undo that in a few weeks. You can’t just switch over and continue to log the same amount of miles. Heck, you may not even be able to log a fifth of the miles you were doing. You probably shouldn’t do anything but walk to start.

“Land on the balls of your feet,” they say. Just take off your shoes and let instinct take over. A forefoot landing is important, but it’s not everything. It’s not enough. A lot of beginning minimalist runners misinterpret the “forefoot landing” advice. You’ll see them around town, bouncing up and down on their toes, prancing along. This is very wrong. It’s not enough to merely land on the midfoot/forefoot. You have to gliiiide. Your head should remain fairly stable with minimal vertical movement.

Which tissues are most impacted by bouncing up and down on your toes? Your calves and feet. Look, try it. Take your shoes off and bounce in place from left foot to right. Get some air. Land on your toes. Do it for a minute. How do you feel? It’s no wonder that foot and calf issues are probably the most common injuries in new Vibram users.

So I’m not surprised that Vibram wearers showed increased levels of bone marrow edema, a marker of inflammation and harbinger of fracture, in the recent study (PDF) that often accompanied the lawsuit reports.

Reports of the study make it sound like the authors set out to reveal the danger posed by VFFs. Reports make it sound like they were successful in this non-existent quest. Really, study authors were just exploring the phenomenon of new minimalist runners hurting themselves during the transition. They conclude not that “runners interested in transitioning to minimalist running shoes should stick to their old shoes” but that “runners interested in transitioning to minimalist running shoes… should transition very slowly and gradually in order to avoid potential stress injury in the foot.” 

I totally agree with them. Don’t you?

Running for extended periods of time at a fast pace is inherently dangerous. I’m sorry. It is. It can make you incredibly fit and fast, but running as a voluntary, daily, constant behavior is problematic. I’ve always said that traditional shoes mask the damage running does to our bodies. Going barefoot or minimalist reveals it. VFFs reveal your weaknesses, your technique deficiencies. They make you realize how dangerous running can be if you do it wrong.

That they lay bare the ramifications of chronic cardio is one of the main benefits (although some may not see it that way) of minimalist/barefoot shoes. They enhance the feedback we get from the environment. If we’re hurting ourselves, we feel it. If we’re placing too much stress on on our feet, calves, or Achilles tendons, we know it.

Running incorrectly in minimalist shoes is harder on your body than running incorrectly in padded shoes. Heel striking in minimalist shoes is harder on your body than heel striking in padded shoes. There’s far less room for error. That’s why they’re such powerful tools, but it’s also why short-term studies in longterm running shoe-wearers show mixed results.

Whenever I write about barefooting or minimalist footwear, I end up repeating myself. But the same criticisms keep appearing in the media, and I always get emails about them from worried readers, so I’m going to keep at it:

  • Your transition into minimalist footwear should take longer than you think. The group of experienced runners in the study took ten weeks to do it, slowly adding in mileage in the Vibrams a mile at a time the first two weeks, then as much as they felt comfortable running, and a bunch of them developed evidence of early bone damage. Ten weeks wasn’t enough.
  • Don’t run the first week. Not even a little bit. You’re not ready. Even if you feel ready, you’re probably not. Bones and connective tissue take a lot longer to adapt to stress than muscles. The runners in the study felt fine running and it turns out they weren’t.
  • Running shouldn’t be jarring or bouncy. Glide forward, don’t bob up and down. Don’t run for distance until you grasp this.
  • Consider just being barefoot or minimalist. Walk, hike, squat, jump, climb, play, stand. You don’t have to run to get the benefits.
  • Be smart about it. If you get weird pain, stop doing it. If you feel a funny twinge in your Achille’s tendon, stop. If your calves are killing you from finally doing something with them, maybe just walk the next couple days until the DOMS subsides.

Yeah, you may have read similar stuff from me before, but that person who just stumbled on this page searching for “Vibram lawsuit” probably hasn’t. And he or she may actually try those weird looking shoes the right way, with due diligence, rather than blunder into a foot injury from overzealousness or listen to the naysayers and avoid a way of locomotion that can potentially revitalize their body.

Thanks for reading, all. Take care.

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Watch out God! Next, You will be sued for not allowing us to be birthed with shoes on!

    Here’s the plan…everyone that loves Vibram and has purchased the 5’s in the past, please become part of the lawsuit and get reimbursed for 2 pair. Turn right around and buy 2 new ones and help Vibram recap their money from this frivolous, all too common in this great country, lawsuit.
    I wish they would have contacted me to represent them as their expert on biomechanics. The only problem with that is the lawsuit would have been thrown out and they would have missed out on such great PR.

    I’m out!


    Brian Bradley wrote on May 19th, 2014
  2. Been running on Vibrams for like 3 years. Started out on a treadmill in the gym after getting them for Xmas, did a mile “on the balls of my feet” and couldn’t walk right for three weeks afterward. Figured out quick that I needed to google the technique. Flattened out the strike, shortened up the stride, gradually added miles. Hip, knee, back pain went away. I still try to fine tune my stride as I’m running, it requires a bit more presence of mind – remembering to keep the form right, head up, push with the calf muscles but late in the stride, strike lightly, coast through, lean a bit forward, engage the inner thigh muscles, double check, and keep cruising. Nothing short of pure running, but that’s just my opinion.

    Kyle wrote on May 19th, 2014
  3. I am not a runner and never have been but I love my Vibram Fivefingers because they cured my plantar fasciitis. After spending a couple of thousand dollars on podiatrists, specialists, and two different sets of orthotics, I was still in excruciating pain that wasn’t getting any better. One week after walking around in a new pair of five fingers and my heel pain notably diminished, and was pretty much cured after 6 months. Definitely won’t be returning my pair.

    Birgitta wrote on May 19th, 2014
  4. My days of regular long distance running are over (and good riddance) since converting to the PB exercise methods, and I healthier than ever.
    When I did transition to barefoot shoes, my calves and Achilles did hurt, but guess what ? I did what Mark clearly outlines in the PB, and listened to my body and BACKED OFF, and allowed it to catch up. Tendons and ligaments can take a very long time to adapt.
    If you’re a die hard, time watching distance runner, then I can see how that would be hard to do, but given I don’t “do” distance running, it doesn’t phase me. My domain is fast and short sprints, lots of low level activity like walking, gardening, housework, and of course high intensity, full body calisthenics 3-4 times a week (the type that build muscle, sorry guys, but the typical cross fit “version” of calisthenics promotes lots of reps with bad form, not only will you burn out, not build strength, ruin your joints, and get minimal long term fitness goals, you’ll have high cortisone levels to boot).
    Kids over in Africa run 20 kilometres to school every day, barefoot, but they have been doing it since birth, and I’m pretty sure that if they do get an injury they don’t pull over and swallow a load of anti-inflammatory drugs so they can “press on” and “win at all costs”. If you’re a competition long distance runner, then by all means, do what you do, but be prepared to pay the price.
    I’ve known quite a few long distance comp runners who can’t convert to the bare foot shoes because they don’t want to go through the inevitable down time (and lower speeds) to allow the body to adapt.

    Storm wrote on May 20th, 2014
  5. ive been on barefoot shoes for almost 3 years – when i try running in a pair of “normal” shoes now, i just cant do it – i feel like i’m running in ski boots – lol – “just cant do it”

    storm wrote on May 20th, 2014
  6. My Vibram Experiment – 10 months in:

    Being a Personal Trainer, new to Primal Living and keen to optimise every natural aspect of my personal & professional life, last July I decided to find out about the possible benefits of Vibrams – first hand – for myself.

    I’d read quite a lot about this strange phenomenon, and the general theory is that the less you wear on your feet, the more you start to tap into the full potential of two and a half million years of human evolutionary refinement of the highly sophisticated bio-mechanical system we call our feet.

    Instead, however, most people happily rely on the clumpy cushioning product of a few years of messing around with leather, rubber and plastic that we call “conventional shoes”.

    Now consider this: if you’d been relying on crutches all your life and then one day suddenly decided to throw them away and start jumping up and down, I suspect the immediate results may not be too favourable…!

    Yet this is exactly what many people have effectively been doing. A quarter of your bones are in your feet as well as about 20 different muscles. Decades of confinement in restrictive and protective “foot boxes” inevitably lead to a “switching off” of the reactive capabilities of the senses in the leg department and a general muscle wastage (especially in the arches of the feet and the lower calves). What does all this mean? Well, those super-high-tech bouncy conventional trainers allow you to bound along with any old technique, blissfully unaware of the potentially damaging shockwaves transmitted through the legs and back with no apparent need to react to the ever changing terrain due to the spongy buffer layer between you and the ground.

    So then Vibrams came along with their “foot gloves”, and all of a sudden people have the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of “barefoot running” in a practical way that protects the feet without forcing them into a life of restrictive and non-interactive confinement.

    But for most of us, this restrictive confinement, muscle wastage and development of bad walking/running technique has been in place for many years. As a result, virtually anyone who first puts on a pair of these crazy-looking foot gloves is so way off the performance level required to successfully leap around in them for prolonged periods of time, that it’s just like suddenly throwing away those crutches!

    And the further away you are from attaining any physical performance level, the more you have to break down the demands imposed into a series of small, progressive, achievable goals.

    Now I do quite a lot of running. And when you do something a lot, it generally tends to become fairly easy. Well, ten months ago I put on my first pair of Vibrams. Just half a mile later I hobbled back home with sore calves and aching ankles, unable to carry on! But I recognised that this wasn’t a fault of the product. This was purely down to weak links in my own chain of physiological components.

    Anyway, not one to be beaten, I spent the next few months reading up and practicing technique refinements, and gradually phasing in this minimalist foot-wear. Then, about 6 months into the experiment a curious thing happened – I started noticing that the aches and stiffness were now occurring more when I wore conventional trainers. It was time to commit to full-time “barefoot”!

    I can only liken the effects that accompany the final stages of this transition to the switching on of a whole new sense! It really was as profound as that. I no longer had to consciously think about treading lightly – it all just started happening naturally. The bio-mechanical feedback was incredible – every single toe was doing it’s job – sensing, stabilising, allowing ankles, legs, hips and back to react optimally. And the overall effect is one of such a liberating sense of power and awareness that no air-cushioned, honey-comb, high-tech polymer-soled superstructure has ever come anywhere close!

    These days the only time I wear conventional shoes is when my poor long-suffering wife and teenage son refuse to be seen out in public with me in “those ridiculous embarrassing things!” And I can honestly say since full conversion to my Vibrams I never felt a stronger sense of integrated agility (I’d say that looking a bit odd was a fair price to pay for that!)

    I know it sounds a bit weird, but every day I get a little tingle of excitement when I reach for my Vibrams(!) So it saddens me to think that many people miss out on this experience due to a dismissive attitude (or injury) as a result of a lack of appreciation of the importance of a gradual phasing in process.

    I suppose it’s like many things in life – sometimes a good dollop of effort and commitment is not enough. The only way we can get the full experience is with a side order of patience and understanding too.

    Simon Farrar wrote on May 20th, 2014
  7. I like being a long runner. The given tips and advices are so useful. I am already applying these on my training. I always love this site for this reason.

    Ricky wrote on May 20th, 2014
  8. I love my Vibrams! When I’m not ‘skin to ground’, I’m wearing Vibrams. I never even thought about taking the settlement money until someone here suggested taking it, then buying another pair of Vibrams. Perfect! They get their money back and I get (another:)pair of shoes. Added bonus, the idiots who think they deserve money, won’t get as much and neither will the AHA. Win/win!!

    Barefoot girl wrote on May 20th, 2014
  9. I’m always surprised by how timely MDA articles are with things in my life.

    I go barefoot at home, so I wearing barefoot shoes didn’t require much getting used to. I wear ZEMgear at the gym, and ordinary shoes outside the gym. I realized that after working out the gym during lunch, I’d get pain in my feet, running up to my big toe. The pain would last until I got home, when I took off my shoes and went barefoot again.

    It’s pretty nonsensical to think that the feet we were born with, the result of millions of year of evolution, are somehow inadequate for movement.

    Ben wrote on May 20th, 2014
    • I LOVE Zemshoes!! Especially the short ankle ninja-toed ones. A lot of my friends wear them too. I can’t wear the 5 fingers as my toes are too short. I can’t even get the pinky into its proper place.

      That being said, it never really occurred to me that my calf/heel issues might have been from the minimalist shoes. I was doing cross-fit wearing them and I’m so not built for squats (large butt, short calves). But perhaps it was the running in the shoes that caused my problems. The tendons in my heels were inflamed because my calves became too tight.

      Laura wrote on May 21st, 2014
  10. Wonder if this was the same lady that sued McDonalds because she didn’t know the coffee was “HOT”!!!

    Tab wrote on May 20th, 2014
  11. It seems that the problem is distance running in minimalist shoes. Maybe this is because we’re not supposed to run consistently day by day, and if we want to, we need the cushioning. Like most things, people want it both ways. They want to be “healthy” and “natural” by wearing evolution-friendly footwear but also sticking to completely arbitrary running routines.

    Get your Vibrams, walk/hike in them, sprint once in a while. Use bulky sneakers for running long distance if you’re into that sort of thing.

    Andrey wrote on May 20th, 2014
    • finally, someone stating that which needed to be said – running “routines” – too much mileage and completely at odds with our evolutionary heritage. I loved “Born to run” as much as the next person but we did not “go running” everyday/every other day for x amount of miles and when we did run, it was generally in shorter bursts while “persistence” hunting (which was a combination of short/medium bursts, combined with tracking and a lot of walking). On the other hand, we walked A LOT, but some days a few short walks, some days many miles carrying heavy loads. For many this is a long transition (i am one of those), even for walking, but is worth it in the end.

      andrew hutchinson wrote on June 12th, 2015
  12. Shoe company sued for runners desire to completely zone out while subjecting their tissues to forces up to 3 times their bodyweight so they can “lose weight”.

    They should appeal because the health claims of running are inherently flawed.

    Zenmooncow wrote on May 20th, 2014
  13. Don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but I found nearly all Vibrams on sale at my regular retailer…I used this as an occasion to buy me a new pair :)

    Helen wrote on May 20th, 2014
  14. I started wearing my Vibrams for weightlifting and never looked back … the paralyzing foot pain I was experiencing before is completely gone … I still run in the regular running shoes though, except they no longer hurt my feet due to Vibrams while weightlifting, which I’m guessing was the issue :-)

    Paul wrote on May 20th, 2014
  15. Reebok was sued in 2011 over their EasyTone shoes they claimed improved muscle tone by creating instability and making you wobble alot. The law suit, just as in this VFF case, was not about safety but false advertising, and the plantiffs won (or Reebok settled, I don’t remember which). My wife had a pair she’d purchased from the Reebok websit, and she got $50 cause she was included in the class action law suit.

    It’s frivolous, but at the same time companies need to be very smart about what they claim in advertising; some law firms out their make a nice living off of frivolous law suits like these.

    Monk wrote on May 20th, 2014
  16. Yet another law suit….blah! I was aksed the other day if I was going to try to get my money back for my Vibrams. It was suggested that I could get my money back and not even have to return the product…isn’t this just the type of thinking that gets these law suits started in the first place? Hmmm….what can I get for free??? “NO!” I said, “I love my Vibrams!”. Then the question became why wouldn’t I try to get my money back if I could keep the shoes. Is that not steeling? If I like the product and I’m happy with it, should I not then be expected to pay for it? If I tried to get my money back, that would be like eating my entire meal at a restaurant and then asking for a refund because I didn’t “like” the food….Come on people!

    Franki wrote on May 20th, 2014
  17. Switching to Vibrams didn’t injure you – your lack of proper transitioning and preparation injured you. It’s ridiculous to blame it on someone else when it is well known and documented when the product is sold that there is a very long transition period.

    Melanie wrote on May 20th, 2014
  18. As someone who wears Vibrams when hiking, walking and during some workouts I got a lot of “ha ha” comments from friends when the lawsuit popped up. Vibrams are one of those things people love to hate.

    I knew right away what the issue was when I read the first article. It was a marketing issue and nothing else.

    Joshua Hansen wrote on May 20th, 2014
  19. Well that’s good to know. I’ve been barefoot walking(with some running though I try and keep in on grass rather than pavement.) I’ve been doing so for three weeks and haven’t even built up resistance to the gravel littering the local roads. Glad to know I’m not just being slow in adapting here.

    Worth noting though is that I went barefoot my entire lives, only wearing shoes for school or when going out. I hated shoes and socks as a child, and I have massive feet to prove it. I think it was on here where a picture of children in a tribe in South America were shown, I have those feet. Of course I had a knee injury that kept me off my feet for about a year so that made it harder to adapt. It was when I started walking again after that I realized how much of a cast my regular shoes really were.

    Kevin Sommers wrote on May 20th, 2014
  20. Used Fila “Skeletoes” on beach runs for a while but they blew out pretty quick, plus I needed “toe socks” with them…now using Maui (brand) “water shoes” which do not have individual toes but feel more barefoot than the Filas: puls, they don’t require socks. I’m on a budget so all the above (except the toe socks) were “on sale” at Big 5… BTW down from 217 around Thanksgiving to 189 now eating Paleo, mostly home cooked, organic when I can afford it. Blood numbers improved so dramatically my Doc was frustrated, I think, that she couldn’t justify statins or blood pressure meds!! Mark Sisson ROCKS.

    Corey B. (Long Beach, CA) wrote on May 21st, 2014
  21. Reminds me of movie – “The Dallas Buyers Club”. Classic libertarian film. It’s a shakedown.

    Amir wrote on May 21st, 2014
  22. Sharks need to be fed too, and this just feeds the lawyers. After being told by a doc 4 years ago that my plantar’s fachiitis is not curable and I should just live with 2400mg of ibuprofen a day until the fascia nerves die, I bought my first fives for my 45th birthday. Listening to my body and learning how to run properly over the next few months let circulation and musculature rebuild in my feet. Vertical jump height went up, sprint speed dramatically increased, and box jumps got smoother. Plantars went away after 6 months never to return, and according to my girlfriend, I have some sexy calves. If your knees or hips hurt when you run, you are running incorrectly (as in bad form or too hard for your current skill or muscle level). Listen to your body first and realize age is not a barrier to performance and health! Just look at Mark’s abs for proof lol.

    Barnamos wrote on May 21st, 2014
  23. Vibrams actually cured my searing foot pain. I wish I could wear them through the winter months but Michigan requires something more substantial long about Jan-Feb. I never really understood why people run long distances. I’ll walk as far as you care to go but I’m not running unless something large and toothy is after me, and I’m out of ammo.

    Jake wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  24. Love the Han Solo in carbonite reference. Looking forward to strengthening and callousing up my bare feet for summer!

    Kelly wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  25. Fact is Vibram Fivefingers ARE dangerous……….I left mine at the bottom of the stairs the other night, tripped over them and broke my finger so clearly they are dangerous!!

    Phil wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  26. Instead of selling Vibrams to the general public, maybe people should have to apply to by them, being allowed to purchase them only after passing an extensive test about their use.

    Andrew wrote on May 25th, 2014
    • Sorry. buy*

      Andrew wrote on May 25th, 2014
  27. I’ve been wearing my vibrams and fila 3-toed shoes for about 2 years now. I am not runner, I’ll sprint with the dogs occasionally. I do run when fishing the beach, but that’s only once a year! Anyway, I have severe osteoarthritis in both knees, hips and feet. These are the only shoes that relieve knee pain for me when walking long distances and working out. I love them. I would have never bought them if it wasn’t for Mark. All I can say is that it does take time to get used to them! Fortunately my feet have been barefoot more that shoe clad, so I was a little lucky :) This lawsuit sounds like BS, akin to suing McDonald’s because you got fat eating there every day.

    Candida wrote on May 26th, 2014
  28. I discovered VFF’s in late 2007 while recovering from surgery to both feet for repetitive injury to my big toes from cross country ski and hiking boots. I’d worn supportive ‘good’ shoes all my life yet developed hammer toes. After surgery I’d buy a new pair of sensible shoes and a month later would find them uncomfortable- a rather expensive way to realize that it was shoes per se rather than which shoe. I bought a pair of KSO’s and have never looked back. I have pairs with traction for hiking to leather ones for dress. My daughter even told me I could wear them as mother of the bride. VFF’s have allowed me to return to all my previous activities and I have strong muscular feet and ankles after years of wearing them. Yes, they look funny, yes people still are seeing them for the first time and stare, but they have allowed me to remain active at 63 when my contemporaries are slowing down and turning into couch potatoes because their feet are hurting. VFF’s are for the long haul, for the wearer to become strong, which like for any part of the body, takes time.

    mary wrote on May 30th, 2014
  29. Yep, it’s important to ease into barefooting. Very important! I’ve dabbled out of shoes, going minimilast or barefoot here and there and sometimes essentially a month or more at a time since going primal. I’ve seen seemingly better joint health, more proprioceptive awareness and better response to it, better balance, calf and other muscle development. I also hurt myself a number of times. Often I didn’t notice right away because the pain was like delayed muscle soreness. Injuries just seemed to appear out of nowhere. Most of the injuries were minor inclduing a number of little cuts and shruggable aches but I get a weird, potentially agonizing twinge in the bottom of my left foot sometimes depending on how I move it – the worst is backpedalling barefoot and it even gets me sometimes during calf raises if I do them wrong. Usually during normal movement I won’t notice it and can still walk around barefoot and run ok, but not guarunteed well when going backwards or pivoting. I have to be careful. I’m hoping to resolve this. It also affects me sometimes during deadlifts since I tend to go up on my toes automatically at the top of of a barefoot deadlift and I think this may have been the original cause.

    Animanarchy wrote on June 3rd, 2014
  30. I love my Vibram’s…I love to run…my knees in “regular” shoes…no way. I’m no marathoner, but even good sprints were tough till I went minimal. Funny, one day a guy walking by looked down and said “gawd those things are the worst invention ever, how can you stand them?” as he slogged past me in his flip-flops. Bet he’s part of the lawsuit :)

    Richard Witt wrote on September 10th, 2014
  31. I have a few pairs of Vibrams and it took almost six months before I tried to run in them. I made sure I wore them regularly, but didn’t do any strenuous exercise in them at all for that time.

    Even when I did try running I started off with one mile then added more each week and now I can run in them absolutely fine, It’s worth the dedication if you can stick with it.

    Vibrams UK wrote on September 23rd, 2014
  32. I began running with VFFs five years ago at 21. I followed the two-month process then stated to prevent injury. I eased my way into running with them and now I’m on my third pair. They are the best running shoe I’ve ever had. Recently, I had purchased a trail running shoe from ASICS just to give it a go. The feeling was completely off. Too much cushion. Too little “feel”. Needless to say I returned them and am looking at the Vibram trail shoes.

    Guillermo V. wrote on February 11th, 2016
  33. Love the article. I used Saucony Hurricane (stability shoes) for number of years before going minimalistic with VFF (5 years ago) Transitioning took forever – experienced all sort of issues, kept reminding myself “listen to the body”, still would experience occasional discomforts and take month to two break from running. Never really had a doubt switching. Anyways what i am trying to say is that transitioning may not work for everyone where some people can’t afford take two month to properly recover from the injury. Love my fivefingers shoes – vibram revolutionized barefoot community, same way apple and smart phone users

    mike wrote on March 12th, 2016
  34. Been using Vibrams since they first came out because as a larger man with horrifically flat feet, I couldn’t even run in regular sneakers.

    When I started using vibrams, my feet were size 13

    Yes, it took some time to get used to. I screwed up the running stride A LOT before I finally got the hang of it.

    Now, after over a decade of thrice weekly runs with the vibrams, several tough mudders and various other outdoor races…

    My feet are now 11.5.

    Apparently, when you use the shoe correctly, it really does strengthen your foot, jack up your calves and and your thighs and make you stronger.

    I wish vibram could’ve called me as a witness.

    Joe wrote on March 16th, 2016

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