I don't understand vibram five fingers shoes

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by CharlieGreen, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. CharlieGreen

    CharlieGreen
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20
    I use to run with trainers, now I have decided to run bare feet and it feels liberating and when I run on the tar I feel like my feet are getting reflexology for free.

    Vibram five finger shoes are very expensive in South Africa and I don't see the point of them. Minimal running to me is like you can't decide if you want to run with shoes or if you want to run bare feet.
    If I wanted to run with trainers again I can get a cheap pair of trainers for a lot cheaper than vibram five fingers.

    Is the reason people run with vibram five fingers is that they have a lot broken bottles in the road where they live? Are they worried about getting their feet dirty or do they think bare feet running make their feet hard and horrible?(Bare feet running doesn't do this if you look after your feet) Why run with vibram five fingers shoes, why not just run bare feet?

    I personally don't see the difference between running with trainers and running with a pair of vibram five finger shoes, your feet are still closed up/trapped in shoes. I have to wear shoes all day for work, so when I run once a week bare feet, it feels so liberating.
     
    trevize1138 and David Levinson like this.
  2. Gordon

    Gordon
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    183
    VFFs were fashionable in the US years ago. You almost never see them now. Most people wore them for the look. They're cheap here, so that's not a barrier. People who actually run in them, long-term, are dealing with terrain too uncomfortable for their feet and need a bit of protection. Personally, I hate the fit and wear sandals when I get on rougher trails with so many sharp rocks that I have to slow down if I'm barefoot. If it's cold, say below 5C, and on gravel, my feet get more sensitive and sandals allow me to comfortably go well below zero. Split-toe socks and sandals get me down to -30C, although I usually don't run in that, preferring to wait for it to warm up a bit. VFFs don't work as well for cold, but going below freezing in them is quite reasonable, depending on your circulation and how much they squeeze your feet. As to glass, no. I've run many many miles in areas with lots of broken glass and never wore shoes. Every year or two I might dig a bit out of my foot, always one of those tiny slivers. Concrete and pavement are the very easiest surfaces to run on. Old, crumbling asphalt is a challenge at first, as is chip seal, but decent tar or cement is a joy barefoot.
     
  3. trevize1138

    trevize1138
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Minnesota

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    391
    Agreed: I've never liked them. The design is just too obnoxious like they're screaming "lookit me! I'm minimalist!"

    Huarache sandals are really where it's at, especially if you're already used to unshod but want something for rougher conditions. You get all the toe freedom of unshod while taking a smooth surface with you to run on when it's all sharp rocks. They also really shine on trails when you've got stream crossings. They'll be really slick and slide around for about 30 seconds after but then they start to dry out and a minute later it's like the stream never existed. Any shoe in that situation is soggy and creating blisters for miles after.
     
    Random, CharlieGreen and Gordon like this.
  4. Gordon

    Gordon
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    183
    And the other really nice thing about huaraches is that they're dead easy to make out of cheap local materials.
     
    Random and trevize1138 like this.
  5. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    1. Test Chapter
    2. Nomad
    3. Hidden...
    4. Hidden...

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    19,703
    Likes Received:
    5,907
    I'd rather see people wearing minshoes than maxshoes. I find that plenty of minimalist runners end up ditching their minshoes for barefoot in the end anyway.
     
    Collapse Signature Expand Signature
    Random and CharlieGreen like this.
  6. CharlieGreen

    CharlieGreen
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20

    Thanks for your reply! I didn't think of that, it gets a lot colder in the US than in South Africa. The coldest get here in Cape Town is about 1 degrees celsius in the early of the morning around 1am, on the road running at 5am or at night at 7pm it wouldn't get colder than 10 degrees celsius in Cape Town. We consider 10/15 degrees celsius here cold. In summer it get 35 degrees celsius sometimes 40 degrees celsius in Cape Town.

    June here is the middle of winter here and I have been running at 6.30pm/7pm at night outside here on tar road and frost bite is the last thing I am worried about, it is not cold here in the middle of winter even to run on the road bare feet. We get trail runners here as well in the mountains we got here, maybe they using vibram 5 here running over sharp stones. Most of the trail runners here where normally trainers.

    I haven't come across broken glass on the tar road where I run but I notice when I am running bare feet I am much more aware what is on the ground, so I am not going to step on a broken piece of glass, I am going to avoid it. Here if you run barefeet onto an island with grass or verge you going to get thorns. Thorns in the bush or on public areas with grass is a problem, so it is actually much safer where I live to run bare feet on tar road because you can see exactly what is on the tar road.
     
  7. CharlieGreen

    CharlieGreen
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20

    I have never heard of huarache sandals before, but they look similar to the leather sandals they make here in Lesotho. They don't seem comfortable to run in. I will stick to bare feet.
     
  8. CharlieGreen

    CharlieGreen
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20

    In South Africa you don't wear shoes, you either are too poor to buy shoes or you are bare footer i.e someone that likes to walk around shopping malls bare feet.

    When I run bare feet in my neighbourhood ( a middle class neighbourhood) I get some funny looks from other middle class people living in my neighbourhood who are walking their dogs, you don't get middle class people here running bare feet. If you go to the shanty towns here you will find children playing in the streets bare feet because their parents can't afford to buy them shoes but the fact someone would actually choose to run bare feet here is seen as strange.

    The minimum wage here is low it is R3500 a month a pair of vibram shoes here are around R1000, I bought my last pair of trainers uknown brand for R200. These trainers have lasted me long but I don't use them anymore because I am running bare feet now. Vibram shoes here would be a status symbol, a yuppie would buy it to show off that they have money.
     
    Barefoot TJ likes this.
  9. trevize1138

    trevize1138
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Minnesota

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    391
    Huarache is just the Spanish word for them as used by the Tarahumara tribe of northern Mexico. Sanals like that have been around for thousands of years all over the world, of course. As for when I use them I agree with the Tarahumara thinking which is they should be thick and firm (they make them out of truck tire treads) and used mostly for very rough, rocky terrain. A hundred or more years ago that same tribe made sandals out of deer skin but when trucks started frequenting their villages industrial gravel came with them so that's just adapting with the times. If the surface is smoother or more forgiving then I agree with you on just going barefoot. I've stopped seeing the benefit of thin minimalist shoes or sandals because if it's thin they're not very good on rough/rocky terrain and then they also don't provide the tactile feedback I now preffer on smoother terrain.
     
    Random and CharlieGreen like this.
  10. Gordon

    Gordon
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    183
    I run a lot of trails and I find that most trails too rough to run fast without shoes are not so rough as to require thick soles. Thin huaraches or Vapor Gloves give me enough protection to run fast but still provide some ground feel. I'd guess that bare feet and thin soles cover 99% of what I run. Note - I mostly run in areas with sandstone and decomposing granite. Flint, lava, and the like are in another class.
     
    Random and trevize1138 like this.
  11. CharlieGreen

    CharlieGreen
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    20
    I have heard of the Tarhumara tribe from Chistopher Mcdougall. from https://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_mcdougall_are_we_born_to_run?language=en

    I didn't know the sandals though came from them. Thanks for the information.

    The Zulu warriors here use to run fast bare feet.
     
    trevize1138 likes this.
  12. trevize1138

    trevize1138
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Minnesota

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    391
    There are trails not too far from my home that are really great to run unshod. I live in a small town in farm country and if I want an alternative to loops around town for a long run my main option is really harsh gravel that gets fresh rock spread on it quite regularly. Pretty rough and harsh!

    That said, a good friend of mine whom I run with can handle those roads unshod although he ends up slowing down occasionally when they get really rough. I can see how I might be able to handle rougher terrain unshod as I gain more years of experience. I have run unshod on that gravel before but can't do more than about 1.5 miles. But a couple years ago I couldn't do more than a couple hundred yards of it.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  13. BareFootHeath

    BareFootHeath
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Canada

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2019
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    123
    I’ve found FiveFingers beneficial to have as ‘backup ‘ on some of the hikes I do. I’ve been grateful to have them after several hours of varying terrain that involves a lot of rock...some of the slides I traverse are composed of pretty gnarly material. My feet still get a feeling of overstimulation after a few hours so I need to dumb it down at times. My goal is to go completely unshod for my outdoor adventures (depending on season/activity. I am wishful of trying out some Huaraches in the near future, I can see the benefits of having them.

    As far as appearances I personally think my FiveFingers are kinda fun- definitely not a conformist shoe.
     
    Random, trevize1138 and Gordon like this.
  14. Gordon

    Gordon
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    183
    Crushed rock gravel is evil. I really hate that stuff, it's so pointy compared to naturally weathered gravel.
     
    Random and trevize1138 like this.
  15. Gordon

    Gordon
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    183
    I find that at some point it stops being fun and that's when I put on shoes. I always take a back up pair on long trail runs.
     
    Random and BareFootHeath like this.
  16. Larry

    Larry
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters
    1. Australia

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Messages:
    511
    Likes Received:
    1,661
    I had a pair of VFFs and ran in them occasionally a while back. I found that they didn't protect me on hard rocky gravel, which is the only surface I need shoes for, so they didn't help much for me. I remember doing one fun run and landing flush on a thumb-sized pointy rock and regretting my life choices for the next 5 minutes. :inpain:

    Nowadays if I'm running on a tough surface I wear an old pair of Merrell Road Gloves that I've had for more than 5 years - they are light and flat, with just enough sole to spread out the spiky gravel to an acceptable level.
     

    Random, Gordon and CharlieGreen like this.
  17. flammee

    flammee
    Expand Collapse
    Barefooters

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    257
    I think fivefingers are best quality minimal shoes on market. With separated toes you get better locked in feeling than with conventional shoes, so they feel very agile. When I wear shoes, I mostly use fivefingers.. This summer I have been mostly barefoot running with sockwas as backup, since they are such an easy carry tucked into belt. I prefer fivefingers for running, but since I very rarely use those backup shoes, the "carryability" has become more important feature. And sockwas are faster to put on if such need sometimes happens to emerge. With wet feet fivefingers are sometimes bit more hassle.
     
    Random likes this.

Share This Page