Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 14 August 2021
Why should you try Vibram FiveFinger shoes? What are their health benefits, and how do they make your feet stronger? Danny explains why these funky five-toed shoes are so popular.
You've probably looked at five-finger shoes (also called five-toed shoes) at some point and wondered what on earth they're for. Well, Vibram FiveFingers believe that wearing their shoes for walking, running, fitness training, watersports, or just for everyday wear can make your feet stronger and healthier - naturally! Put simply, Vibram FiveFingers provide a healthy alternative to traditional footwear.
After all, the two most important tools for running are your feet. They contain 52 bones, 66 joints, 40 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons, and ligaments. The debate goes that thicker, more built-up shoes run the risk of desensitising your feet and underusing your natural ability to move.
By contrast, wearing these funky five-finger shoes provide:
FOOT & ANKLE STRENGTH
Vibram shoes force you to rely on your own biomechanics rather than thick foam, carbon fibre plates or rigid anti-pronation trusstics. They can help you strengthen your feet, ankles, knees and hips, which can decrease or even eliminate common joint pains associated with running and other high-impact activities.
It shouldn't be hard to spread or control your toes, which is often necessary for grip and stability on uneven surfaces. That's why Vibram soles have five separate toes—just like your feet! Have you noticed that in recent years, all major shoe companies are touting wider toe boxes for "natural toe splay"? That's because toe splay, which has traditionally been overlooked by built-up shoe brands, is essential to the effectiveness of your gait's propulsion (toe-off).
BAREFOOT SENSORY EXPERIENCE
Your feet are awesome at collecting information. They have thousands of neurological receptors that send data to your brain, so it can tell your body where it is in space and how to best navigate the terrain underfoot.
Actively stimulating these receptors improves balance, increases circulation, and enhances overall foot health. The thin, flexible, and deconstructed sole of your Vibram FiveFingers allows the foot to curl, flex and feel what's underneath you. Every step taken in Vibram FiveFingers is a lesson in texture, temperature, and biomechanics. At the same time, your feet are protected from sharp stones, glass, and other painful pointy things.
Meanwhile, the padding on the traditional shoes lowers the ability of our feet to sense what’s beneath it when it hits the ground, which can lead to injury. For example, if you walk over a stone in traditional shoes, you are much more likely to twist your ankle as your foot topples to one side. On the other hand, if you are barefoot (or in barefoot shoes like Vibram!), your sole will flex, your toes will grip, and you'll walk on without a problem.
While we love our Vibrams here at Wildfire, we also believe in balance. There's still room in your shoe collection for shoes and boots: after all, sometimes you need that extra protection and ankle support. But if you're looking for versatile minimalist shoes that mimic a barefoot feeling and promote foot strength while protecting you from the ground, then Vibrams may be for you! Pop instore or online to try them out for yourself.
Vibram FiveFinger shoes are especially recommended for people who have already transitioned to minimalist or barefoot shoes. If you are new to the barefoot journey, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on safely transitioning to barefoot and five-finger shoes!