The results is a great ergonmic advantage with improved balance, agility and grip. They may look funky but they are awesome.
Why Is it Different?
So you not only have a thin, responsive sole that lets you feel the ground beneath you, but you also have the use of your toes. That may not seem like much, but you'd be amazed at how much your pinkie toe can do if you let it.
There is a larger debate going on on wether shoes are ergonomic or healthy. There is a lot of evidence to support both sides. But I've seen what this argument can do to your pinkie toe. Don't take it out on the pinkie toe.
The problem with most shoes is that they push your outer toes in. So your pinkie toe is almost never used. It may be small but it can do a lot. The Vibram FiveFingers not only let you use you pinkie toe, but they kind of force you to.
By spreading out your toes, the Vibram FiveFingers give you greater control at your base. This translates to better balance, agility and body control. It can also lead to improved posture and less hip, back and shoulder pain if you suffer from those.
TO make things even better the Vibram FiveFingers are topped (or bottomed) with the legendary Vibram rubber sole perfected for rock climbing and other such activities. This means the shoes fit your foot like a second skin and have an incredible grip. It is almost like having gecko feet.
Does it Deliver?
- Homo Sapiens
Balance, agility and body control are all enhanced. Your hips and spine have better alignment and your heel strike (a major cause of back pain) is better.
The Vibram sole on the FiveFingers is incredibly responsive and provides an unbelievable sure footedness.
The Vibram FiveFingers are available with as an open top slip on, an open top with straps, a mesh top with straps and a neoprene (wetsuit material) with straps giving you an option for almost any activity. No snow skiing model yet.
Getting into them the first few times is a little difficult, but you quickly learn.
Keep in mind that the Vibram FiveFingers do not offer much protection on the top. The sole is tough and as puncture resistant as any sole. But there is not much on the top the protect your foot. But it is more than actually walking barefoot.
The only real problem with these shoes is answering all the questions people have about them. If you are still undecided about the Vibram FiveFingers read my Vibram FiveFingers journal chronicling my experience with them: