Vibram shoes are commonly referred to as the “five finger toe shoes” because of the way they look, but are they actually good for your feet?
Vibram shoes were created by a man named Vitale Bramani. In 1936, he was on an expedition trip with a group of people in the Italian Alps. Tragedy struck while on the trip and six of his companions were killed in an accident. He believed the accident was caused by inadequate footwear for the terrain and conditions they were in. He then created the Vibram shoes, which he received funding for the shoes from Leopoldo Pirelli. In 1954, the first expedition while wearing Vibram shoes was completed.
What Makes Them Popular?
These shoes come in a variety of different types of soles. The soles are created for different terrains, conditions, and professions. There are Vibram’s for walking on city streets, walking on the park sidewalks, wet surfaces, mountain peaks, and slippery ice. They even have Vibram’s for -40°C and ones that are resistant to heat/flame for firefighters.
Vibram is often recognized as shoes with thin soles and moveable toes. Vibram FiveFingers shoes were meant to mimic the feeling of being barefoot. They can be used in activities such as running, yoga, trail trekking, and yacht racing.
One of my favorite recreational activities and forms of cardio is hiking. I love to wear my Vibram shoes on these hikes. What I do is high intensity interval training. I will run/jog for 20-30 seconds and then reduce my speed to a walk in which I will then walk for 1-2 minutes. Before beginning the next interval, I will do this all the way to the top of the hike. After my first few hikes in these Vibram shoes, I experienced a lot of muscles soreness in my feet. I was using muscles that I have never worked before. My feet are much stronger now and this has translated well over in the gym on leg day. My base is much more stable.
I do not recommend running in 5 finger toe shoes on asphalt/concrete pavement. However, walking on this type of ground is absolutely fine. Running could be damaging to your feet and cause small stress fractures in your bones. Use these shoes to strengthen your feet; not harm them.