Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Running Wild Barefoot - a review after 2 months of wearing five finger shoes.

It has been a bit over 2 months since I bought my adidas adipure (five finger / toe) shoes. I decided to buy a new pair of shoes after the Half Marathon. Was online one day when I came across a picture of the five finger shoes. They looked unique and comfortable. Researched about them and their benefits on many blogs and websites. Since I did not find any negative reviews I decided to get a pair and try them out. 

The five finger shoes are the best shoes I have ever worn and trained in. There are many websites, blogs and videos online on how to go about allowing a slow transition from cushioned sneakers to barefoot five fingers. I guess it is important to pay attention to them especially if you are not use to training barefoot. In my case I have been training in martial arts barefoot on all sorts of surfaces from mud to gravel, from tiled to asphalt. Have even run on all sorts of surfaces so may be the muscles in my feet and toes were already conditioned and ready for the five finger shoes. For those who have not been training barefoot they should start slowly. I agree getting new shoes creates an excitement to wear them and go for a test run in them immediately. In the case of five fingers go slow. Start with may be walking barefoot at home, after a few days start wearing the five fingers at home and when you go out for small errands. After a few days you could try a jog of about 2 - 3 kms in them. Do not jog long distances in them in the beginning. Increase the jog distance by a few kms every 4 -5 days till you feel totally comfortable without any pains. The slow transition period is required as we have all been walking or running the wrong way , the way our body mechanics were not meant to be used. We have been harming our own bodies and joints walking / running the wrong way. Even I was a believer of always jogging heel to toe but after reading about the five fingers and now having experienced them for 2 months I have changed my views. Our body is meant to move from toe to heel and not heel to toe. If you do not accept what I say just walk around the house or at a park barefoot for 1 hour plus and you will notice that after the initial 15 - 20 minutes body instinct will kick in and you will start walking toe to heel. This is the way we are meant to walk. This is how our bodies are designed. When we jog heel to toe our heels strike the ground hard. The cushioning of the sneakers softens the impact but over a period of time it will start having its impact on the joints like the knees, ankles and surprisingly even the back. I was skeptical myself as to how a cushioned sneaker can harm the back or how the five fingers can improve posture and health of the spine. There is an evident change in my posture now, moreover after a lot of intense training sessions I would sometimes feel a stiffness or strain like feeling in the lower back but that seems to be history now. It feels like a miracle.

Initially they may feel odd to wear and move around in public as you are sure to get a lot of curious eyes staring at the five finger / toe shoes. But the comfort and feel that the shoes provide will make you never want to remove them. I did not require a slow transition period as my body is use to barefoot running / training. I just switched my old sneakers for the five fingers and continued with the same training routine. There was an evident improvement in my body movement, stride and even pace at which I was running in the five fingers. 

There is something that I have not read online and this is my personal opinion based on logic and not science. Once you start the transitioning process I feel one should reduce or stop wearing their well cushioned sneakers. The logic being the five fingers and the sneakers both have different stride patterns as in one propagates toe to heel and the other heel to toe. So when you continue wearing your sneakers while transitioning or even after you have completed the transition to five fingers, you will be causing a constant confusion for the feet and the nervous system with regards on how to walk /run. In view of this logical understanding I recommend reducing or better completely stop wearing sneakers

Today I recommend barefoot running and wearing the five finger shoes to all my students, personal training clients and everyone I know. It is an investment in your health. I seriously recommend that all should move to the five finger shoes. Do not do it because I say so. Look it up online, read about it then decide. The day you do buy and start wearing your five fingers you may never ever buy a normal sneaker ever.  

I ran my 1st timed 10 km run last Sunday in my five fingers and it felt great. Like am an animal on the prowl (LOL).  Five finger's bring out the animal in you. 

I have ordered my second pair of five fingers this time from the company that designed these shoes - Vibram. Have ordered the Vibram KSO's which is a multi purpose five finger shoe. A word of Caution - Vibram does not ship to India at the moment and there are many websites selling fake Vibram's online which look just like the original but are not of the same quality. Only buy from the shops or websites listed on the official Vibram website under the section "store locator".

also check the Vibram website -

Today's Workout -

Today I decided to only run and run wild with my five fingers. Did get up late in the morning but did go for a wonderful 2.5 hour jog in the cantonment area in the evening. It was just awesome ran on asphalt, mud trails and even a bit of stony incline. 

1 comment:

  1. a great read...thanks..have got vivobarefoot evo II for myself and adidas adipure 1.1 trainer for my mother...really brings out the animal inside you!