I don’t know what rock I’ve been under for the past few years! I came across these weird dorky looking shoes a few weeks back that grabbed my attention. You may have heard of them as they’ve been around for a while, their called Vibram 5 fingers. Vibrams are made by an Italian company that also produce the in-soles for most of the top hiking boots you see in the shops.
Normal modern footwear does not suit are biomechanics. Having our heels placed firmly on the floor is necessary to maintain our balance and posture. Having them raised off the floor messes up our bodies natural centre line from the head through our spine down to our feet. This can lead to pain in the knees and back when you walk. Tim Ferris has written an awesome in-depth post on his site that you can read here.
If you look at tribal people who have never worn shoes before, you can see a huge difference in the structure of their feet. We can also see this difference in babies feet.
The image above is what a natural foot looks like that has never worn shoes. You can see that a line can be drawn that runs
through the heel, ball, and big toe of the natural bare foot. The little toe spreads naturally and fans out to provide a wide, stable base for walking or standing. The babies foot also shows this same structure.
However, as we get older and start to wear modern shoes the structure of our feet start to change (for the worse) to adapt to the awkward position our shoes put us in.
Above is an image of a modern foot that has been wearing shoes. You can see that a line cannot be drawn from heel, through the ball of the foot and then to the tip of the big toe. This positioning jeopardises our balance and posture. The toes are forced to grow inwards because of the restriction of the shoes. Another bad thing about modern shoes is that they have thick soles.
Our soles of our feet have thousands of nerve endings that give signals to the brain when they come in contact with the floor. We have lost touch with these signals as time has gone on by wearing shoes. There’s another awesome blog where you can read more about this from an expert fitness enthusiast/doctor called SocDoc .
Vibram 5 finger review!
Vibram’s have been said to improve posture, eliminate chronic lower back pain, decrease joint inflammation, decrease
injuries related to running and increase strength and stability in every muscle of your legs and feet!
There are different styles of Vibrams, I got the Vibram KSO’s. I paid £65/$94 for them online. A bit pricey for my liking but, they were definitely worth it.
Vibrams have extremely thin flexible soles (they felt like I was walking barefoot) and they have sections to put your toes into. This keeps the toes spread and back in their natural position.
When I started wearing these my first feelings were that they felt very strange but in a good way. It feels completely different when you walk with your soles and heels in contact with the floor.
My posture of my back felt more upright and I felt like I had more balance. To test them properly, I took them for a hike around a park where I live (Leicester, UK) and went through different terrains like gravel, grass, rocks, concrete whilst climbing hills and they felt much better than wearing the usual walking footwear.
My calf muscles worked a lot more when wearing Vibrams (they felt like I worked them out with weights when I got home!).
Apart from all the funny looks from people (and feeling a bit like a gorilla at first), Vibrams definitely get my approval. I’ve only worn them for a week and a half and I hate wearing normal shoes now. They just feel very uncomfortable and unnatural. The only minor issue was at first they were pretty tricky to get on. But as I wore them more, putting them on became a lot quicker and easier.
(I Just thought I’d add a random picture of me monkeying about in a tree as you do!)
I would definitely recommend them. In fact, my wife has now got the ladies version and she loves them. I would advise people to ease into wearing them at first. Maybe a few hours a day to get your feet used to them. As the change in footwear can make your feet sore from having to work properly at first.
If you’re looking for some new footwear, give them a try. I’m sure you will love them! Don’t forget to join the Newsletter below for awesome fitness and fighting tips!