Do Barefoot Running Shoes Work?

What the Heck are these Barefoot Running Shoes?

I'm a runner. In fact, I train for marathons year-round and I've seen and worn my share of running shoes.

But I'm just not sure about one of the latest "fads" in footwear. Barefoot running shoes are funny looking, but people who wear them swear they are exceptionally functional and better for their overall fitness level and health. The minimalist shoes are sweeping the running circuit and even creating converts who wear them during cycling, hiking, climbing and aerobic exercise classes.

Barefoot running shoes are extremely flat and most models include five "fingers" in which your toes fit like a glove. They are meant to provide protection for the soles of your feet, while strengthening the muscles in your foot, toes, ankles and calves. Barefoot shoes claim to change your running stride to become more natural, once you remove all the carefully constructed padding, air and high tech soles that athletic shoe manufacturers have worked to develop over the past 30 years.

Not to mention, they're extremely ugly. But do they work?

Barefoot running shoes are ugly, but do they work?
Barefoot running shoes are ugly, but do they work? | Source

About Barefoot Running Shoes

The term "barefoot shoes" is a bit of an oxymoron, admittedly. After all, if you are barefoot, your feet are bare. No shoes. No coverings whatsoever.

Yet, our urban environment doesn't allow the type of free running and walking enjoyed by our ancestors. The thin covering provided by barefoot shoes is for protection of the soles and tops of your feet. But they are designed to be minimalist so that your feet function as they would if you were, in fact, barefoot.

With only a few millimeters of a thin rubber sole separating your tender arches from the pavement, barefoot shoes are an amazingly light 6 ounces in weight. Simply put, barefoot shoes do nothing more than cover your feet. There is no arch support, no cushioning, no "air," nada.

But isn't this a total 180 from the highly engineered running shoes to which we've become accustomed over the past 20-30 years?

Do barefoot shoes really work, or are they just the latest "getting back to nature" fad invented by some hippy green guy?

The answers appear to be yes, yes and yes!

The original "barefoot shoes" are the Vibram FiveFingers, created by Industrial Designer, Robert Fliri and Marco Bramani, the grandson of Vitale Bramani, who invented the first rubber soles for mountaineering boots in 1935. The two men took the idea of barefoot shoes to Tony Post, who was a former collegiate runner. Post is now the president and CEO of Virbram USA.

Although barefoot shoes were originally designed for people enjoying sailing and climbing as an alternative to going completely barefoot, runners quickly picked up the invention as a revolutionary way to enjoy the sport and reduce injury and pain. They've become so hot over the past few years that Time Magazine named them as one of the best inventions in 2007.

The Inventor of the Barefoot Running Shoe

Barefoot running shoes
Barefoot running shoes | Source

How do Barefoot Running Shoes Work?

Wearing barefoot running shoes are said to return our gait to a natural state. Our leg and foot muscles can actually get stronger so they can support knees, and even reduce back and hip pain. Not only that, but barefoot running shoes can help improve agility, balance and posture.

According to the Vibram FiveFingers website:

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.

Unlike traditional running shoes, barefoot shoes allow your foot to hit the ground as if you had no shoes on - naturally. Instead of a heelstrike, you'll land on the ball of your foot. This simple motion will completely change the biomechanics of your run.

For some people the change in gait and biomechanics is too much. Experts often recommend that you wear the shoes for short periods of time to begin with before gradually working your way up. As you do so, you develop new muscles that have probably not been used before during your running. It might take weeks, or months, before you can comfortably run in the barefoot shoes.

Those that have made the transition usually swear by the shoes.

Barefoot is supposed to be superior to running shoes
Barefoot is supposed to be superior to running shoes | Source

The Mechanics of Running in Vibram FiveFinger Barefoot Shoes

Pros and Cons of Barefoot Running Shoes

Pros
Cons
Allows for proper biomechanics in walking and running
It can take time to adjust and the shoes are not usually recommended for long distance
Fits like a glove - almost like being barefoot
People that need orthotics, those that over-pronoate, with extremely flat feet, or webbed toes should not wear them
Comes in many colors and styles
Still pretty ugly!
Cost ranges from $80-125
Considered to be less durable than running shoes
Likely to find bargains on them on eBay or Craigslist
You may wonder why people are selling their barefoot shoes

Learn How to Run in Barefoot Shoes

The way I like to enjoy barefoot running!
The way I like to enjoy barefoot running! | Source

Do I Wear Barefoot Running Shoes?

As for me, I'm sticking with my running shoes for now. I'm not ready to go barefoot running. In fact, the barefoot shoes are not recommended for long distances like the marathon (for which I am currently training).

The owner of one of the local running stores in my hometown states that, generally speaking, people use barefoot shoes to complement rather than replace their traditional running shoes.

So, maybe one day, I'll try a pair of barefoot shoes for my strength class or even spin. Perhaps I'll wear them on a hike in the mountains nearby.

Would You Wear Barefoot Shoes for Athletic Training?

  • I'm a believer - I already have a pair and love them
  • They sound promising - who cares what my feet look like if I'm getting stronger?
  • Still undecided - it sounds like the latest fad to me
  • No way - I'd rather go barefoot for real
See results without voting

© 2011 Stephanie Hicks

More by this Author


Comments 101 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

The shoes are strange looking, steph, but only time will tell if they are better for us than traditional running shoes.

And yes, I am curious, why are so many available on ebay?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hm.

My wife, the runner, hates wearing shoes. Maybe she'd like these.

Thanks Steph!


Rhonda Waits profile image

Rhonda Waits 5 years ago from The Emerald Coast

You have a great article here. I would like them. If I am home I never wear shoes. I only don't wear shoes at home. Every other place I am in shoes are flip flops mostly. I live in Florida, we live in flip flops here. I have seen these shoes around. I think there awesome. Voted up.

Sweet wishes Rhonda


gksquire9 profile image

gksquire9 5 years ago from America

Hi, Steph. So, good Hub. Coincidentally, I just purchased a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers yesterday. This comes after outwardly making fun of them, and those who wear them, for the last year. Why the "flip-flop?" I'm 33, and have been doing a lot more running, soccer, and basketball playing. The ole shock absorbers (knees) and lower back don't feel as good as they used to. I know several guys who are bigger than me and have had issues with their knees and backs and swear by them. I figured it was time to give them a try. However, and I caution here, with any new technology, one should "tread lightly" when breaking new ground. I did a mile on the tread mill yesterday and will only do 1-2 miles a few days a week with them until I am comfortable. It does feel different, as expected, but until my feet are more acclimated I will only be doing my longer runs with trainers.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

I dunno. I don't run. Years and years ago, when I was younger and still able to run, a chiropractor I had at the time told me running and jogging are the single worst things you can do to your spine, as the compression and pounding transmits up your spinal column to the tune of a couple of hundred pounds per square inch!

Even though I'm not a physicist--I did learn a physics principle while in a bowling league. That is this: an object in motion gains 6 times its weight. So, your 10-pound bowling ball hits the pins with an effective force of a 60 pound object!

Ergo, multiply your weight by 6 to find out how much force is transmitted up your spine. (It might be minimized some if running on a flexible surface with 'give' like dry beach sand or grass.)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I have a problem with shoes especially my right foot.. I don't know if these would work or not, but I might take a look. However they do look ugly to me.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi everyone - thanks for the comments. Somewhat ironically, I was out for a 14-mile training run for my next marathon (wearing regular running shoes!) I decided to write about these when I saw a woman actually running barefoot during the Portland Marathon last fall. All 26.2 miles with nothing on her feet! Wow. That, plus I see people here wearing them all the time....


Mr Tindle profile image

Mr Tindle 5 years ago

Stephhicks68,

I don't know, I havn't gone barefoot since I was a kid. I don't know if I would really like it anymore. I did recently hear a second hand story about someone seeing a guy running in the middle of winter..... and strangly enough, he was completely barefoot! Now that I read this, I think maybe its some kind of fad, or something, ... Who knew! Doubt I would ever try it..... but who knows..


Becky Tom 5 years ago

I've been having trouble with my knees (one more than the other) for a couple of years, Steph, and I just bought a pair of Nike Frees to experiment with a more barefoot-like running shoe. If my knees start to improve, I'd consider switching to the Vibram shoes. I'll let you know!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

I have problems with my back due to two ops and I am wondering if these would be any good. Mind you I don't really like the look of them.

Thanks for sharing this hub, well written and plenty of info.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Mr. Tindle - I have been seeing more and more people either going with the barefoot shoes or completely barefoot in local running races. Personally, I like the comfort that my running shoes offer, but am I setting myself up for issues down the road (so to speak)? We will see. I may eventually become a convert.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hey Becky - I have really been considering the minimalist running shoes like some of the new styles offered by Nike. I'd love to hear about your experience with them! If they help your knees, that would be great! Talk to you soon, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Eiddwen,

With back problems, a more natural gait could be really helpful. I noticed someone wearing black barefoot shoes the other day with long black yoga pants. They weren't as unattractive as some of the other styles. Just my opinion! Steph


Jamie Brock profile image

Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

wow.. I hadn't even heard of these.. I love going barefoot but I'm not sure how these would feel between my toes...worth a try I guess. Great informative hub, thank you!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Jamie - I'm with you there. I was thinking it would be cool to wear the barefoot shoes climbing rocks or something. Free, but better with some coverage on the soles. Cheers, Steph


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

"Bare footin..." Let us know as you progress...


perfectperception profile image

perfectperception 5 years ago from USA

They are very funny looking. Not everything is for everybody but the best way to find out if they will work for you is to try them. After all, we went from plain old tennis shoes to naming a shoe for each sport and they all go through transitions for better this and more of that.


mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago

Nice sales pitch, but if you're not gonna try them, neither am I. Plus, how much do these little creepy things cost? expensive? How would I look in em? would I scare the neighbor's dogs? If I find them in a store near me, will I be laughing? crying? I think I'll be afraid to be seen in them. but maybe not! Maybe someone will pay me to wear a pair! They look like they'd be hell on pavement, also.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

thanks dallas!

Perfectperception - excellent point. Seems like every piece of medical advice gets re-evaulated and then we're told we should be doing something different!

Hi mega1 - not a sales pitch at all. Just decided to research the shoes since I am a runner and I've seen so many people wearing them. I guess if you are into barefoot running, I'd rather have something on my feet than nothing at all... but who knows. I've got info about how much they cost: retail $80-120. Cheaper on eBay for you to try them out and see if they scare the neighbor's dogs. ;-)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Both of my sons and husband are runners. One son loves them and doesn't wear anything else the other one wears them on dirt tracks but not cement.

I don't run but walk and prefer moccasins. Not much difference.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Pamela - interesting to hear their different approaches. Did it take long for them to adjust to the barefoot shoes? Curious. And great point about the moccasins!


tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 5 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

I grew up running on my toes, but changed to heel running in high school. It wasn't a positive switch, and by college had damaged my knees pretty badly. Switching back to toe running was a big help. I would love to try these shes.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Sounds like barefoot running shoes would be perfect for you tmbridgeland! Best to you, Steph


Judy HBerg profile image

Judy HBerg 5 years ago

Great hub! As a runner I too have seen others wearing these and have decided that it must be working for them. I am having a hard time getting past the looks of these shoes as they remind me of those "toe socks" that were popular a few years back-with one addition- a strap from a Mary Jane type shoe. Really?! :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL Judy! I am right there with you, 100%. :)


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Hi steph, I'm one who can't get past the look of these shoes too. I have a sister-in-law who wears them and loves them but she too agrees they are ugly. Still, if you enjoy running and keeping fit, who cares what you wear??


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Well, I really hope it's not a fad and that these become more popular. I saw a video about this sometime last year (about the benefits of running barefoot). I think it would solve a lot of health problems. Getting schools to accept these as good shoes for running track and whatnot, now that's another story. Great topic! Thumbs up, Steph.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, fascinating! I love the toes, but I am not sure I could wear them, I have funny shaped feet! lol they are a bit like a ballet dancers, all ball, and tiny toes! but they do look comfortable, not sure about running in them though, cheers nell


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

MPG Narratives - excellent points! If they work, then use them, regardless of looks. Glad to hear your sister-in-law loves them!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Frieda - I do hope that people continue to use the shoes if they are working for them. Especially if barefoot shoes help with back, knee or other joint problems. Thanks for the comment - best, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Great point Nell! Gosh, I didn't think of the "one size fits all" toes approach. You might have trouble with the barefoot shoes! I'm sure they are very comfortable though. I can imagine wearing them on a rocky beach. Cheers!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

I probably wouldn't wear them with an evening dress (though in my case I just might to get a laugh)....but interesting! I will have to check out a pair the next time I'm out at REI - I assume they must carry them or someone here in the Central Oregon mecca must!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL Audrey! You never know here in Central OR - formal wear is certainly not what you'd see in LA or NYC!

Yes, I'm almost positive that REI carries them. Good luck :)


dustin 5 years ago

Now you can be a confident expert on Barefoot Shoes. OK, maybe not an expert. But you should have something to bring to the table next time you join a discussion on Barefoot Shoes.


erthfrend profile image

erthfrend 5 years ago from Florida

I recently heard about these so I was excited to see you write a hub about them so I could learn more about them. Great hub, very informative! They look really comfortable but I think that if you are running on a hard surface, you'd probably do damage to your joints and the balls and heels of your feet! I bet they would feel good though if you were running on a softer surface like dirt. Interesting concept for sure! What will they come up with next?!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi erthfrend, I guess some people can endure the pavement pounding better with the natural movement of the foot and muscles, which over time causes less pain. Fascinating, huh? Cheers, Steph


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

Seems like a great idea to me, I prefer less shoe and more natural anyway - like no ties, no pants, er, you know what I mean. I can't wait to buy another set of Tivas (not as durable as people claim by the way) because I hate constricting my feet.

Personally, I can do without the barefoot shoe, but I have heard about people who go barefoot everywhere, and they have built up such callouses that it doesn't bother them.

They think it's healthy and actually say that it is better to step on a rusty nail barefoot because you react faster and with a shoe, you put your full weight down thereby forcing the nail in deeper.

I would try them, but the individual toe coverings are a little much.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Alexander - I agree with your observations! I love Tevas and to me they seem like a good "compromise" shoe (perhaps not for running though). I do think its the individual toe coverings that make the barefoot shoes so unattractive....


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

I liked jogging and I choose the best shoes for my feet. Thanks for share about this. I always give attention related with health and sport. And I find this form your hub. Excellent and very well written. I love your presentation. All the video are amazing. Good work, Steph. I give my vote to you. Take care!

Prasetio


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you so much Prasetio! Keep on jogging and staying in shape. Best, Steph


Marathon Junky profile image

Marathon Junky 5 years ago from Washougal, WA

I run SHORT distances (7 miles or less) only in these shoes. They are not good for distance running. However, they do help build muscle in your feet and legs. In essence, they are the perfect type of shoes for speed work.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks for sharing your experience, Marathon! I think I would take a similar approach - using the barefoot shoes only for workouts less than 1 hour. I appreciate the comment! Best, Steph


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK

Looks awesome, I'm not sure about running out and about a city though, one broken bottle....


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Lymond,

On a long run this weekend, I noticed one pair of barefoot shoes that were VERY worn! The owner said he loved them. But, I share your concern about broken glass and other hazards on the road. Best, Steph


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 5 years ago from Texas

Very interesting article Steph! While reading the hub, I kept thinking about the additional places of friction that could occur with each toe being covered (more blisters). I was glad to see listed as one of the pros as well as cons, being the fact "that it fits like a glove."

Definitely agree with you, don't think this one is for me. Of course, we will know that it is a winner if all the athletes starts wearing them.:) Thx for sharing an informative story. Rating up!:)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Money Glitch, right - when all the top elite athletes start endorsing them, then maybe! Then again, they do get big endorsements.... so who knows. ;-) Thanks for the comment!


amybradley77 profile image

amybradley77 5 years ago

Wow, what a good page and interesting new technology in footwear. I don't think I will be using them at all. I have a feeling that toes covered completely is just less likely to be broken. That's just my thinking though who know's. Voted up and useful. A.B.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

You have covered this so well and it makes so much sense because we do tend to come down on our heels and do so much damage to our skeletal system.

I have worn Korean negative heel shoes that I bought in Seoul and they help me come down on the ball of my feet which not only has built muscles on the sides of my legs (yay!) - but allows me to walk on ice (like Korean people) something Americans cannot do without falling.

I even like the way these look! So clever - we were meant to go barefoot when you think about it.

Rated way up! Yay!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi BKCreative - you know, I have a pair of those negative heel sandals, as well. I do feel like they work my feet muscles and now that you tell me how much they've helped you, I'm going to dig them out again! Thanks so much for the great comment. Best to you, Steph


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Very well written Steph, thank you for the review, I am going to give them a try as I love to run--I do agree that using barefoot shoes on a long distance run would be an oxy-marathon. =:)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Winsome! I'm not sure I'm sold on barefoot shoes, but a few of my good running friends have tried them and loved them. But.... they don't do every run in them. Long runs? Barefoot? No thank you!


Terri Paajanen profile image

Terri Paajanen 5 years ago from someplace in Canada

Great hub with great info. A friend of mine has a pair of these and he loves them. Not sure about trying them for myself just yet :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Terri, I have had a similar experience. Most people that I know that have the barefoot shoes absolutely love them. Not sure if they're for me, but something to keep in mind. Best, Steph


Debra Owen 5 years ago

Hi Steph. I trained for and ran the NYC Marathon in Nike Frees. A little more cushioning than the Five Fingers. I felt great and had a great run!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Debra - that is so cool! I ran a 1/2 marathon today and saw a few people wearing the Nike Frees. I think I want to look into them. Congrats on your accomplishment! Best, Steph


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Nice info and thanks for sharing.


Spirit Whisperer profile image

Spirit Whisperer 5 years ago from Isle of Man

I like running but like you I prefer to have some cushioning as I pound out that mileage on hard concrete. A very well written and highly informative hub. Thank you.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Spirit Whisperer - minimalist and barefoot shoes are really the rage these days. We were debating the merits again today at one of my workout classes. Happy running - Best, Steph


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

I just covered a half-marathon sponsored by the newspaper I freelance for and a friend, who is a runner, wore these for the race. She said she loved them. I'm not a runner but plan to try a couple 5ks this year.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

That is so cool Danette! I don't know about the barefoot shoes for my own running (personally) but my marathon coach is a big supporter of the minimalist running shoes. I've got to do some more research and maybe write another hub! :)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

I am not a runner, but if I were I would want to wear the more traditional padded running shoes. However, since I walk up to six miles a day I do prefer a light weight canvas shoe over a clunky walking shoe. I just want a bit more padding than the barefoot shoe has to offer.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi SweetiePie, I agree, and I understand that the barefoot shoe is not recommended for longer distances. Since I'm a marathon runner, I have thought about going with a minimalist shoe instead. Sounds like your lightweight walking shoes do the trick. Happy exercising - Steph


MarittaC profile image

MarittaC 5 years ago from Utah, USA

Thanks for the great hub steph! I've been writing about CrossFit, any my instructor wears these, so I've been curious for about a month now. Everyone I know who wears them loves them. Maybe I'll cave and try a pair.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Maritta - at my strength/core class, a few people are wearing them too. In fact, I saw one runner at the Boston Marathon last week sporting a pair. I'm still thinking that minimalist running shoes would be a better bet for me. Let me know if the barefoot shoes work for you! Steph


I am DB Cooper profile image

I am DB Cooper 5 years ago from Whereabouts unknown at this time

I love my Vibram KSO's, but did take some time to get used to them. I think there are some muscles in my feet that had been asleep for 20 years before I started wearing Vibrams for running. Now my arches seem higher and I'm pretty sure that's making my foot shorter, as I can fit into shoes a size smaller than I used to.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

That is fascinating about your arches changing after wearing the barefoot shoes/Vibrams. I'm suffering some foot pain after the marathon last week and wondering whether some strengthening is in order. I may be checking out these shoes! Thanks for the comment, Steph


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Have been wondering about these barefoot shoes...thanks!

If you have no objection I would like to link this hub to my shoe story hub.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you RTalloni - please feel free to link away! I'll go check out your shoe story hub, as well - Best, Steph


RIRed profile image

RIRed 5 years ago from Pawtucket City.

I think that these five finger shoes are much too overpriced. With that being said, I have been starting to do the barefoot running, and I can run further, with less pain than when I was running with regular sneakers. Albeit, I'm not in the best of shape, but I was getting pains in the wrong places when I went out to run. Not a bit of it when I went barefoot, aside from very tender burning feet after. I've recently compromised a little, and bought a cheap pair of water shoes that were about $7.00, and that has helped my feet from blistering. Now the only obstacle is just building up my endurance, to make up for the lack of shape that I am in. Already though, running has been much more of a joy, then from what ever I was doing in the past.


rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

Nice Hub. I actually do like the looks of these shoes. Today I was wearing my flops at the beach and they were rubbing my feet like sandpaper when I got sand in them. I also dislike when seaweed touches my feet it is a very unpleasant feeling. Thank you.


MacBradaigh88 profile image

MacBradaigh88 5 years ago from Buffalo, New York

I bought a pair of the KSO version of these about three months ago. The majority of my work day I am stuck at a desk in front of a computer. I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, am an avid hiker/backpacker and I like climbing. I hurt my back deadlifting about a year ago and was layed up for about as long. Even once I started to feel better, I still had a nagging ache in my back after a hard practice or hike. After wearing these for the past three months now my back pain is gone, my legs feel stronger and in jiu jitsu I feel I have better balance. I just did a three day backpacking trip with them and had no problems depsite the distance and unlevel ground. I am a believer


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 5 years ago

Excellent hub. Very insightful, and informative.


suejanet profile image

suejanet 5 years ago

Very interesting information.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks everyone! Glad to hear that so many people love the barefoot shoes. I am seeing them more and more in exercise classes and at the beach. Quite versatile shoes! Best, Steph


dprice680 5 years ago

I believe that the vibrams are most definitely a functional "shoe" to wear. Although i dont use them I seen many people use them. Ive even seen people run barefoot! I suppose though this only works for some people because the only time i ran barefoot i got hurt!!


writerlee profile image

writerlee 5 years ago

The clunky running shoes that we all wear now really limit the strengthening of muscles and tendons in our feet. In that way, I think the vibrams are good in that they help work out those underused parts of our feet!

Thanks for the article, you put a lot of effort into it! Great job.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks writerlee - more and more people are turning to barefoot shoes/vibram shoes to help strengthen muscles and return to natural running form!


mattpont profile image

mattpont 5 years ago

I've thought about trying these out, but I think they need a lot of bedding in time.


maddot profile image

maddot 5 years ago from Northern NSW, Australia

What a brilliant Hub. I was a runner in my youth and always ran barefoot. I now run at my gym in shoes and have noticed that my style is very different. I have a natural tendency to run on the side of my foot. I tend to throw my foot out and I think, after reading your hub, this is my style from my youth running barefooted. I knew there was something wrong running in shoes. I am going to get some barefoot shoes..I think this is great! thanks!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Maddot - sounds like barefoot shoes are exactly the solution for you! Hope they work out great, Steph


poshcoffeeco profile image

poshcoffeeco 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

Steph, they don't look like they give much protection to the foot like normal running shoes would. Nice hub with loads of facts and props.Vote awesome ( Must have taken ages to put together).


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Posh - yes, I am a runner, so was curious about the barefoot shoes. My research led to this article. I just bought myself another pair of "regular" running shoes. I do too much trail running - and frankly, I'd be afraid of stepping on glass or a nail while running on concrete if I wore the five fingered shoes...


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Interesting hub. I have a seen a few of these and did not know what they were for! I wonder if they are recommended for just everyday use too? I wear my crocs everyday and they are kind of ugly but my feet LOVE them.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Dorsi, I see people wear these barefoot shoes at strength classaeven around town. I think they are used for more than running!


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stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

And even around town... Silly cell phone for commenting!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago

steph

After watching the slow motion YouTube video, it seems that barefoot shoes may lay increased street on your legs. It'd be tough to imagine wearing barefoot shoes on a daily run after being accustomed to heavily padded and well cushioned runners. Utility value does seem low for right now but I might end up ordering a pair for myself anyways!

Princesswithapen


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi princess,

I do have a number of friends with barefoot shoes or other low-profile shoes. It takes a while to build up the muscles in your feet to avoid injury. If you get them, be sure to wear them for short periods of time to start, while you adjust to them. Best, Steph


Kim Cantrell profile image

Kim Cantrell 5 years ago from Deep In The Pages of a Book

I'm in a rural town in Tennessee and just saw a woman wearing a pair of these the other day. I must say, she attracted quite a bit of attention. So I came looking for more info.

Because they are...er, different looking, I don't know that I'm completely sold but the idea of less joint pain is definitely appealing.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Kim, that would be kind of funny to see a person wearing the barefoot shoes in a small town. I should add that there are now "barefoot shoes" with a toe box, instead of individual toes that look a bit more traditional. You might like those! Best, Steph


kjrzeek1 profile image

kjrzeek1 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

Wow, thanks for the info. I saw a guy wearing a pair of these at the mall with his tight shirt....Priceless....i am currently doing distance runs too so I am not ready to try them.


jenniferg78 profile image

jenniferg78 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Very good research but the fact of the matter remains- they are not pretty! I can't see them replacing any other footwear but, as a few people mentioned here, serious runners and sports fans may use them.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

LOL - that's my reaction too, jennifer! I would rather wear some of the other minimalist shoes that have a toe box, rather than individual toes. Cheers, Steph


stessily 4 years ago

Steph, Carefully researched and well presented.

Back in the Midwest, I used to cross paths with a woman who went barefoot year-round, even in the height of winter, and winters were brutal! She said that her feet were never cold because her circulation is so great from the daily exercise of walking everywhere. She even used to walk onto frozen expanses of area lakes!

I do love to walk, run, or cycle barefoot from time to time; the feeling of freedom is incomparable, especially in contrast to the weighty feeling which inheres in most running shoes.

Another great informational hub for exercise enthusiasts as well as for armchair exercisers who are thinking about revitalizing their mobility.


bipolar mind profile image

bipolar mind 4 years ago from uk

Thanks for creating such an informative hub! Extremely well exeuted and useful too. Voted up


rmcleve profile image

rmcleve 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

Honestly, there are many styles that do not look so silly. I have the women's pace glove by Merrell and absolutely love these shoes. They've changed everything about the way I move in the world.

Warning: They are extremely addicting! I want to buy more and more styles so I can save the pace gloves for running and nothing more.

Sure, it took some time to get my legs adjusted to the new style, but that was minimal. I already wear flats and shoes with little padding, so my legs were prepared for what was coming.

This is all coming from someone who has dropped 20 pounds, from 270 to 250, since January. I'm a heavy person and can do quite a bit of wear and tear on a short run. I can run every day with my barefoot shoes.

Oh, and we paid $60, brand new, on a military base.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Way to go rmcleve! All of that since January? You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your positive experience with barefoot shoes. Keep up the great work. Best, Steph


Jeffrey Sherknus profile image

Jeffrey Sherknus 4 years ago from Venice, Florida

Actually, I have flat feet and the shoes that feel comfortable to me are shoes that really don't have any sort of arch support. I have a pair of slip-on teva shoes that are very minimal and work really well. I am a fan of easy and comfortable. Slip-on shoes are very easy. The next pair of shoes I would like to tray are the New Balance Minimalist shoes.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Jeffery - I would like to try the New Balance Minimalist shoes, too. Have you read "Born to Run"? Great book about running, shoes, barefoot, etc. Cheers, Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Chloe - I am looking forward to barefoot running on the beach this summer! Best, Steph


kjrzeek1 profile image

kjrzeek1 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

Great hub. I know people who have bought these shoes and everyone has a different opinion. I think I am going to get a pari for my crossfit workouts, but I still need a great running sneaker. Voted up and useful.


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

I love anything that has to do with footwear (as evidenced in all of my hubs! You might check them out someday). I am curious about these barefoot shoes. I think they look good and comfortable even if you're in a rigorous running exercise, which I'd sometimes do.

I'd love to try those Vibram Fivefingers before the fad (if it really is) subsides. Hehehehe.

Up, useful, interesting and shared (and a following). :)

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