Vibram FiveFingers were first marketed in 2006 under the concept of a minimalist approach to running. These shoes, according to the company, will make your feet and ankles stronger and healthier if you wear them when you engage in sports like running, water sports, fitness training, or casually. The manufacturer contends that if you wear them correctly, Vibram FiveFingers has a variety of benefits and advantages over other styles of footwear.
Keep in mind that it may take up to a year or more to transition successfully to Vibram FiveFingers. For some the transition time is much shorter (a matter of weeks or months), but you should remain patient throughout. Rushing the process will cause you pain and perhaps injury, so the wait will be well worth it.
One of the advantages of Vibram FiveFingers is that you can find a pair that fit your feet exactly. Because these shoes are sized according to European size charts, the range between separate sizes is much smaller, allowing you to find a closer fit. And the company provides a chart on its website that allows you to convert your foot length easily into the size that you need.
Once you get into the regular routine of wearing Vibram FiveFingers, you can both stimulate and strengthen the muscles in your lower legs and feet. Strengthening these muscles improves your overall foot health and thus reduces your risk of injury when you participate in activities from walking and hiking to running and swimming.
Because Vibram FiveFingers allow you to move your toes, feet, and ankles freely without being forced to conform to the shape and space allotments of traditional running shoes, wearing them will improve the natural range of motion that you are capable of in your toes, feet, and ankles. Your joints will move more naturally.
Your feet are home to thousands of neurological receptors that send valuable information to your brain. When you wear Vibram FiveFingers, your feet make more natural and full contact with the ground, more neurological receptors will be stimulated, which will help improve your balance and agility.
Vibram FiveFingers lower your heel, bringing it in closer contact with the ground. Because of this, your bodyweight is more evenly distributed across your footbed, which promotes better posture overall and will help to align your spine.
Because your feet are not confined to the space and shape of traditional footwear, you and your feet can move more naturally, which, after you become more accustomed to the feeling of wearing Vibram FiveFingers, feels incredible.
Because of how drastically different Vibram FiveFingers are from traditional footwear, there will be a pretty healthy learning curve. Before you begin any such program, there are a few things that you must consider and plan.
First, you should consider your surface. You can choose to run on hard surfaces, such as asphalt or cement, or soft surfaces, such as grass or sand. Each surface type has its advantages and disadvantages. Hard surfaces provide what some experts say is an ideal surface for learning the proper barefoot running form, but soft surfaces can strengthen your ankle and foot muscles, but that can be dangerous if such muscles are not yet developed. Regardless of what kind of surface you choose to run on, select a controlled and familiar environment. Don't get too far from your starting point in case you need to turn back.
Traditional footwear weakens your foot and ankle muscles, and when you begin wearing Vibram FiveFingers, you'll likely notice that such muscles require strengthening. When you begin wearing these shoes, you should engage in regular foot strengthening exercises three to five times per week for about two weeks. You should complete three sets of about 20 repetitions of a variety of exercises, such as a heel raise, a toe trip, dorsal/plantar flexions, toe spreads/taps, exaggerated eversions/inversions, grabbing a towel in the floor with your toes and pass it to your other foot, or just wearing your FiveFingers for one- or two-hour intervals. These exercises will gradually build up the muscles in your feet and ankles so that you don't experience too much pain or tiredness in them once you begin wearing FiveFingers regularly.