The FiveFingers of… Vibram!

"Barefoot" running in Vibram FiveFingers.  Thoughts and observations of running in foot gloves.


A few weeks ago I found an online ad for a pair of Vibram FiveFingers.  They were $60.  I had read about these shoes, and about how great they were supposed to be.  For $60, I figured I would give it a shot.

The first thing I needed to do was measure my feet.  Then, based on the measurements you find your size.  I was extremely nervous about this.  I felt the measurement was so precise, since the shoe was basically a foot glove, that I was going to mess it up.  But, the measurements were in 1/4 inch increments, so I figured I had a pretty solid chance of getting it right.

Then, they came.  I took them out of the box and they looked so small.  I am so used to seeing a regular running shoe, that looking at these looked all wrong.  Again, I figured it had to be right, so I tried to put them on.  They were tight.  I was certain I had them wrong.  It was time to do a little internet research.

I read on many sites that the FiveFingers are very tight when you first get them and that they will stretch with use.  If they feel tight when you first get them, chances are they are right.  I also read that the big toe discomfort I was feeling would also go away.  One thing I didn’t find was little toe discomfort.  I think I have odd shaped little toes so they weren’t exactly fitting right.  However, after fiddling around with them for a while, I got my little toes in their spot.

After wearing them around the house for a few days they started to feel better.  The toe pain went away and the shoes seemed to stretch and fit better on my feet.  I took a big step and wore them out of the house just to run some errands.  I still was a little hesitant about running on them.

Then, finally, I took the leap of faith.  This morning I ran in them.  I’m a little unsure about some of my observations since I haven’t run in a while, but I could definitely feel a difference.


The first thing I noticed (which I had read about) is that you will adjust your gate and running style when you start.  Most people are heel strikers.  You really can’t do that in the Vibram FiveFingers.  After about the first 1/4 mile I noticed my running style change.  I was landing more on the middle to the ball of my foot rather than on my heel.

Next I noticed that my knees and my ankles were hurting a little.  Again, this might be due to the fact that I hadn’t run in a while, but it felt different.  I was sure it had to do with the change in style.  Sure enough, after about the first mile I started feeling better.

With the change in running style, I also noticed I was running more upright.  I have a bad habit of hunching over when I run and it KILLS my lower back.  I normally have to make a conscious effort to stand up straight.  With the Vibrams, I felt I didn’t need to focus on it; my body just did it naturally.

An interesting observation is that you feel EVERYTHING.  Every crack in the road, every pebble, every twig… every puddle!  It’s a strange feeling, but not in a bad way.  Just in a I’m-not-used-to-this kind of way.

I only ran 2 miles, but I definitely felt good.  I was actually running about a minute faster than I had been when I was running regularly.  Again, this may be that I was fresh and was a little faster, but there is a chance it could be the shoes.  I’m going to say it was the shoes.

The last thing is that I noticed, which I didn’t notice until a few hours later, is that my legs feel like I was running on the beach.  My calves are starting to feel sore in places I don’t normally feel pain.  It definitely reminds me of when I ran on the beach in Maui.


I like them.  I’m looking forward to running in them again.  Hopefully, this will be the spark I need to get back into running regularly since I have taken over 2 moths off since I ran the Half Marathon.


Ignore the Hobbit feet...