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Using the Vibram FiveFingers as Running Shoes

The Vibram Five Fingers footwear are a style of footwear which was launched back in 2004 and were created to fit the foot like a glove having a pocket for every toe, like the gloves. The shoes were initially fairly low key but they grew to become popular with the boating and yachting communities since the characteristics with the materials and its design meant they were suitable to that particular situation. Throughout 2009 when a without shoes running novelty was growing, these footwear happen to be broadly embraced by those touting and trying barefoot running due to the rather minimal character of the footwears design. It had been considered that the characteristics of the Vibram Five Fingers was so minimal so running in them seemed to be the next best thing to running without athletic shoes since there was almost nothing in the structure that interfered with the natural movements of the feet, hence the shoes were considered to mimic barefoot running. The footwear became really popular.

The Vibram organization adopted the barefoot running movement and greatly marketed their shoes and barefoot running being a feasible alternative option to running in the more traditional shock absorbing running footwear. The company began making a number of advertising promises for their footwear for example a reconnection of your foot with the ground and enabling your feet to sense every alteration of surface. Furthermore they stated that the footwear offered a reduced stride length and a lighter step. Most unfortunately, they echoed the assertions that runners who have been touting barefoot running making the assertions that if you began running in their footwear you would get less overuse injuries. This was during a period that sports doctors were dealing with a substantial upsurge in injuries in runners because of barefoot running. There was no proof at that time (and there still is not any now) that without running shoes running or running Vibram FiveFingers contributed to decreased injuries. This brought about a class action lawsuit against Vibram for those fake claims that they chose to settle out-of-court rather than go to trial. Into later 2013 the without footwear running craze begun to drop off and the sales of the Vibram Five Fingers fell off considerably since that point.

The Vibram FiveFingers remain available, mostly made use of by a smaller hard core group who are resistant to the laughs on how un-fashionable these footwear are and appear. There are an occasional runner still running in them. If anyone really does really wants to run in them, then it is the type of issue that time and effort is required to slowly get used to using them. The muscles will have to be strengthened and as the footwear make you run with a slightly unique technique, then time will likely be required to adapt and transition to these kinds of shoes.

With that in mind, runners have all but totally dropped interest in these. You infrequently notice a runner using a pair of Vibrams at any running event or running race. The Vibram company is apparently organising a important relaunch with the Vibram Five Fingers in the second part of 2021.

How to select the correct running shoe?

The relationship between the use of the right running shoe and getting a running injury is a controversial topic. There are strongly help opinions for both sides of this debate and there is not a lot of scientific research to help resolve the debate. The belief is that a runner needs the correct running shoe for their biomechanics in order to prevent an overuse injury from occurring, so if the wrong shoe is used there is an increased risk for injury. However, the actual evidence that supports that commonly held content is just not there leading to the opinions and debates about this issue.  The running shoe market is worth several billion dollars and up to half or more runners gets an injury each year, so a lot is at stake in this debate.

On an episode of the podiatry livestream, PodChatLive the hosts talked with the runner and podiatrist Michael Nitschke about this issue and what role, generally does the running shoe play in running injury. They also specifically discussed a new shoe from Nike which they claim will lower the injury rate. There is some Nike funded research that supports this claim, but that research has not yet been published leading to lots of conjecture and further fuelling the debate on this issue. The episode was valuable as it considered all the issues without taking one side or another. The two hosts and Michael Nitschke are all runners themselves and have to make decisions not only for what shoes are they going to run in but also make recommendations to their patients that they see with clinical problems. This has to be done in the context of the uncertainty with all the evidence that underpins the prescription and use of running shoes. Above all, they believe that comfort is probably the most important factor to consider when making decisions about running shoes.