As I visited San Francisco last month I took the opportunity to buy a pair of Vibram Fivefingers. The Vibram Fivefingers are sport shoes that adapt to the shape of your feet like a glove would do to your hands. The sensation of running with them is very similar to running barefoot.
The feeling after putting the Vibram Fivefingers on for the first time is pretty weird. The easiest way to put them on is to put first the big toe and after that fit the rest of the toes as you can. In this two pictures Pablo tries a gray pair on; eventually we both bought the Vibram Fivefinger KSO model in black.
One of the things that doctors usually recommend is that running or walking barefoot on the beach is excellent. When you walk barefoot you do it naturally, the human body is designed to walk barefoot. The problem with running using shoes is that as they have a soft sole we tend to make contact with the ground first with the heel. This is specially not good when running because the impact in every stride is pretty strong, all our body weight is absorbed first by the heel and then by the knees, hips, back… If you like jogging you know that one of the problems that arises after some time jogging regularly is knee pain. And sometimes it even causes pains in the lower part of the back.
When running barefoot or with some shoes like the Vibram Fivefingers the running motion changes, instead of making contact with the ground first with the heel we make it with the middle part of the foot. That is the natural way to run for humans. If you have more interest in how running barefoot benefits your health I recommend you the book Born to Run.
In this graph you can see more clearly what I’m trying to explain:
I’ve been using them lately and the experience has been fantastic. When I just put them on I immediately want to start running or start jumping! It’s like being barefoot but outside of your house, on the street, everywhere. At the beginning I went jogging 10km a couple of times, I got more tired than usual and it seems like I used muscles that normally I don’t use when running because I had muscle pain the next day in rare places. I also got a small blister in the the tip of one toe, I guess you have to get used to them.
iPad, Smoothie and Vibram Fivefingers. The whole set to be a trendy Californian geek.
Even Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has his Vibram Fivefingers and shows them off in public. (Photo by Steve Jurvetson)
High five! Pablo and I testing our Vibram Fivefingers at Stanford campus.