Sample Image   

Our guest reviewer, Rede Frisby, has been trialling the new five fingers shoes and here are his thoughts. Thanks Rede!

Not quite sure what to expect, I tentatively ordered my first pair of the KSO (Keep Stuff Out) Vibram Five Finger (VFF) ‘shoe'. Im not quite sure whether it was the concept of going back to something more simple (as nature had intended); or wanting to reduce the occasional anterior compartment syndrome when running; or the increasing scientific evidence of reverting back to barefoot mechanics; or just the mental picture of Arnold and Co. squatting sans shoes....probably a combination of all of the above.

Typically I have always tended to wear very flat soled or neutral shoes for ease of gait and proprioception (that is feeling what your foot is doing). The basic principle of the VFF is that it is designed to improve our gait; returning to the barefoot striking pattern we had before conventional shoes were invented. As opposed to a heel strike (typically exaggerated by the cushioning in most modern shoes) which immediately exerts a breaking force with every step and is therefore not particularly conducive to good forward motion....think a multitude of foot and lower limb injuries and the answer just maybe on our feet.....

I thought I would take the cautious approach in warning my clients ahead of time that their trainer would soon have ‘Hobbit - feet' whilst training them. The warning proved sensible as the big day arrived when the VFF finally came and I was greeted with lots of intelligent questions rather than ‘dumb' ones from my clients.....the general public need a little more working on....particularly when they ask if I "should be wearing the non-shoes?"... and I usually reply..."should you be wearing high heels?"....

After a good month of wearing the VFF in gradually, my feet are feeling great! People had warned me to slowly increase wearing time to allow muscles, tendons, ligaments and the such to acclimatise  but I have seem to have had no major problems with my feet getting used to them. Initially it took a long time just to uncurl my toes to fit the individual toe pockets, as the VFF must be very snug on your feet to maximise the benefits of ‘not wearing shoes' - damn near thought I would have to get up 10minutes earlier every morning BUT slowly my feet have ‘spread' and the process of slipping them on is much easier....I now look forward to the day when I can open jam jars with my toes are honestly feeling that much more supple!

I haven't run in the VFF yet as I don't think my feet are quite ready for those loads but from a weight training perspective they too are brillant. With walking lunges I had to reduce my usual dumbbells by approx 1/3 as I could really feel the muscles in my foot and lower leg working that much harder. But Im not one to let ego get in the way of common-sense, so I figure if nature has designed it; we are better off to work harder - the pay off surely has to be greater gains and improvements! Squatting is also sensational (Arnie was onto something here).....for once the load going down through my body feels in absolute perfect balance, no longer am I fighting with  a slight pelvic tilt on the heavier loads pulling me forwards because something with my shoes isnt quite right.

One downside - and it may just be a spin-off of where I live.....and that would be that VFF are not made for a cold (aka frosty) clime. Your feet will feel like blocks of ice. On the contrary though, Im sure they will keep your feet pretty cool whilst active. You can get toe socks for them but once again Im trying to take the purist approach here!

One thing is certain, once you start wearing the VFF - you don't want to stop. I must admit, I was one of the first people to laugh at Crocs for their design but if footwear is functional, to suit a purpose, then Im now starting to think that perhaps looks aren't everything.....


Rede Frisby
5 Aug 10

Rede is a personal trainer at Infinity Training in Invercargill
and winner of the u70kg physique class at the
ANB Australasian Champs, May 2010

Go on facebook!

Follow us on facebook
and keep up to date
with latest news
and activities

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials