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Vibram Five-Fingers Footwear Review

Ergonomic Review of Vibram FiveFingers "Barefoot" Shoes

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (18 Reviews)


Vibram FiveFingers

Vibram FiveFingers "Barefoot" Shoes

Chris Adams, copyright 2009, licensed to About.com
The Vibram FiveFingers shoes take on a tricky challenge. Body mechanics can get quite complicated. Especially when it all starts with your feet. The Vibram FiveFingers shoes are a minimalist or "barefoot" shoe that improves your body mechanics by letting your foot work the way it should and not the way it does in a shoe.

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?

The Vibram FiveFingers are a "barefoot" shoe. That is they try to mimic going barefoot while providing the protection of a shoe sole. They differ from other "barefoot" or minimalist shoes by giving you individual toe pockets.

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?

These shoes deliver everything they promise. It takes very little time to get use to wearing them. And once you start you might find it hard to stop. Your body mechanics will improve. And with that so may your health and confidence. Not bad for a pair of shoes.


The Vibram FiveFingers shoes can benefit anyone who has learned to walk upright on two feet. Others who can benefit from this ergonomic shoe are:

  • Runners/Walkers
  • Swimmers
  • Fishermen/women
  • Acrobats
  • Homo Sapiens


The Vibram FiveFingers shoes are ingenious, well built and a phenomenal personal ergonomic enhancement. They improve your body mechanics at the starting point, your feet. And everything benefits because of that.

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:

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
I'm In Love With These Shoes!, Member ginamina28

I'm so happy I found these, and in bright pink, no doubt! I'm a runner who's been getting injured after about 10 years of solid, non-injury running, and all of a sudden, knee and back issues came on. I was first told about them years ago from a rehab therapist, then my Physical Therapist, then my Chiropractor ... and when TJ Maxx had a pair on sale for $50, I thought, that's a great price to give them a try as I was a bit leery about trying them for $100! It's been about a month and my slight hammer toe is straighter! Also, I'm not having that bulging nail when I run (from blisters under the nail from rubbing on a shoe from the hammer toe). Also, I feel more energetic running in them because they are so light! I've am starting back slow (after a non-running injury kept me from running for a few weeks) so I did heed the advice of the brochure and wear them a little bit longer each day to get used to them (I could feel them help pull my toes apart!!). I also use them for yoga, and I seem to balance better. I will now buy a pair at full price, as I'd like a pair just for yoga. With a pair of leg warmers, on a cold day, they are wonderful to sit at my desk and work in!

5 out of 5 people found this helpful.

See all 18 reviews

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