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Review: The Vibrams, an early look

October 29th, 2009 1 comment

Vibrams“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.”

VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS

So two weekends ago, me and my buddy went to CitySports on a mission. That mission… to better commune with nature through funky shoes. Ok, not so much with the communing, but yes with the shoes.

Although fitting them was a bit bizarre (I was 3 sizes larger than I should have been, whereas he dropped a size vs. normal shoes), I instantly took to the Vibrams. I wore them out of the store, into St. Patrick’s for a quick stop (and an inappropriate altar boy crack… and humble apology therefor) and all the way home. I got a few stares, but I can hardly blame anyone. I look a bit like a freaking hobbit in them.

Vibram Five FingersThe basic concept of the shoes is simple. Unless you’re a biblical literalist (or a moron) you know that the human foot has evolved over millions of years, with at least 4.4 million years of biped evolution. As such, it’s a pretty good bet that natural selection has provided us with a pretty solid footing on which to walk, jog and run. Humans threw all that out of the window by introducing the sole three and a half or four thousand years ago. Suddenly, our toes no longer held a grip. Our feet were turned into a connector to the slat that touched the ground for us.

With no disrespect to Phil Knight intended, nowhere is this alteration in physiology felt more than with the athletic shoe. No $250 Jordans will give you the same control that you have barefoot. That’s the theory behind Vibrams. Well, that and the new chic trend of barefoot marathoning (see, e.g., Born to Run). Read more…