Is the barefoot running craze making a comeback? I’ve been pondering this question for over a year when I saw a coworker padding around the office in her pair of Vibram Five Finger Running shoes. I’ll admit I could not help staring at this intriguing footwear. Then I began seeing people wearing them in the gym and every now and then a runner on the trails with a pair. I ask myself, are we destined to return to our pre-historic days of footwear, or I mean lack thereof? The five-finger craze is supposed to “fix” our running form and get us back to proper biomechanics but I wonder how it doesn’t hurt to run with them over rocky surfaces.
In the last year I had a shoe salesman watch me run in the store so that I could be fitted for the best pair of shoes that suited my arch type and gait. So as someone who needs that extra cushioning in the heel, I wonder if the Five Finger shoe, which does not have the support my feet are used to having, would suit me. I took a look at Vibram’s web site and found the answer: “If you are a traditional heavy heel-strike runner or walker, you might have a biomechanical change to make, but this change is likely a good one. Humans are not meant to heel strike heavily, particularly when running…Running barefoot with a strong heel strike will send you to the sofa to let your bone contusion or fracture heal. One of the goals of Vibram FiveFingers footwear is to encourage forefoot striking, meaning your forefoot will contact the ground first then engage muscles in your feet and lower legs as your heel touches down. This style of running may be safer and lead to fewer injuries…” (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/faq/barefoot_running_faq.htm).
So until I decide to take the plunge and try these “lizard-like” shoes as one hilarious reviewer referred to them as (http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-400–12828-0,00.html), I’d like to know if you have tried them or are likely to consider making the switch as well. Give me some insight in this uncharted territory I may consider entering.