It’s been 16 months since I first shared shared my experience in Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) and since I just passed the 1,000km mark 2 weeks ago in these strange looking minimalist shoes (I refuse to call them “barefoot shoes”. You are either barefoot or in various kinds of footwear.), I’d like to share again on my journey thus far.
The two ailments I had in regular shoes prior to switching to VFFs were plantar fasciitis and knee aches/pains. Knee aches have been non-existent so far. As for plantar fasciitis, the only times when I will feel slight pain is when I haven’t been running for a period and I MIGHT feel a little pull under the left foot during the 1st to 2nd run. So I can safely say that I am rid of these two problems for good every since switching to VFFs
Besides the period of time last year when I went got top of the foot pain (suspected tendinitis), probably from switching to VFFs much too soon without a transition plan, I was completely free of any injuries. Apart from a good, progressive training plan, the most important thing for any runner is to be injury free. An injury can set you back for weeks, months & even years of progress in fitness and being free from that ensures that you can constantly improve even if you are just inching forward.
I wish I had found some way to measure my feet before switching to Vibram Five Fingers; especially the bridge of my feet because I can almost swear that the arches of my feet have risen slightly over time and they feel more muscular as well. I remember being identified by a “shoe specialist” that I am leaning towards being flat footed and I have not encountered any problems from “the lack of arch support”.
I have 3 pairs of Vibram Five Fingers now. One pair of Classics that I use to walk in on an almost daily basis and 2 pairs of Bikila that I rotate for runs. Note that I don’t rotate them because of cushioning; I rotate em so that they have time to be dry from sweat and wet weather.
How long do these thin shoes last? I run mostly on cement and tarmac and manage to clock 600km in my VFFs KSO. I could have continued to run in them but I don’t want holes in my socks when a section of my socks started showing through the bottom of my KSO. I read of others like this dude who clocked over 1,200km in a pair and still going strong!
I really don’t see myself running in anything else but minimalist shoes and will recommend it to anyone. But along my journey, I have also came to a bigger understanding that the saying of “If it ain’t broke, do not fix it!” applies to shoes as well. If you never had a problem running in shoes or even landing on your heels, I’d say that you are a lucky man/woman.
Else, if you are willing to forgo the concept of cushioning and structured shoes or have been getting injured, I will highly recommend you to give minimalist shoes a try and run like how we humans are engineered to. Remember to transition slowly!
Here’s a screen-shot of a recent barefooting article by My Paper where I gave a short blurb on running with minimalist shoes.
Link to article (Page A16)
Feel free to contact me to discuss about VFFs or running! I always love to make another friend who enjoys this misunderstood sport. I can be reached via my contact form, on Twitter and through Facebook.