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Advantages from Vibram Fivefingers

In 2001, Robert Fliri, an industrial designer, told Marco Bramani, the grandson of Vitale Bramani (founder of Vibram), about his idea of ultra-thin toe shoes.

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Marco Bramani was very enthusiastic about this revolutionary idea and together they started working on the concept. In 2004 the first patent was filed and in 2005 the first toe shoe was launched commercially. From the original concept, grew a full range of barefoot shoes, better known as Vibram Fivefingers.

The concept of minimalist shoes was born, directly inspired by barefoot walking/hiking. This is one of the most important features and advantages of the Vibram Fivefingers: the sole with toes acts like a flexible glove, placing the foot on the ground in a more natural way and stimulating the muscles in the feet and lower legs.

Benefits of Vibram Fivefingers

Body posture

When you walk around barefoot, you will automatically place your feet differently than with shoes on. The design of a classic shoe (with a difference in height between toes and heel of easily 1.5cm) forces you to land on your heel. That's why there are 101 different types of cushioning built into the heel of an athletic shoe.
If you take those sneakers off and continue to walk barefoot, you will soon find that you will put your foot flatter on the ground and thus not land on the heel. This is also the way you should walk in Vibram Fivefingers. Because of the super-thin sole and lack of cushioning of Vibram Fivefingers, you have to switch to a new running style where you will land more on the midfoot or forefoot.

Foot Positioning

As mentioned earlier, when running on Vibram Fivefingers you will switch to a forefoot or midfoot landing. After the initial forefoot contact, the ankle will continue to flex until the heel touches the ground. This provides natural shock absorption so the impact on the body is lower compared to traditional athletic shoes. This puts less strain on the knee, but will require the calf muscles to work harder. This also explains why (in the beginning) you will suffer more from stiff calves. 

Better balance

Walking barefoot allows your toes to spread out better. In this way, your balance improves, but you will also regain control of your toes. The advantage of Vibram Fivefingers is that a thin layer of rubber protects your feet from sharp stones and debris, but your foot can otherwise behave as if you had no shoes on. Because of the better balance, in time your entire body posture will also change. In barefoot running, your body will be almost above the foot at ground contact, so your center of gravity is hardly or not exceeded. This is accompanied by a higher stride frequency and (especially for beginners) shorter stride length. A good stride frequency in barefoot running is 180 steps per minute! Interestingly, runners wearing barefoot shoes such as Vibram Fivefingers use about 4% less energy. After all, the cushioning in a traditional shoe causes a loss of energy.

Better sfeedback.

For years we have locked our feet in a closed shoe, with a thick sole. As a result, your feet can no longer "feel". Vibram Fivefingers improves sensorimotor feedback and turns every walk and activity into a real experience. So there are indeed a lot of benefits of Vibram Fivefingers.

Is forefoot landing better?

Analyze the images of competition athletes on the athletics track. A competition spike has minimal elevation in the heel and thus virtually no cushioning. In that respect they look more like barefoot shoes than classical running shoes. These athletes run 10 kilometers and jump over steeple bars without any problem. These spikes even have barely any reinforcement in the heel or midfoot, so the natural foot roll-off is enhanced. These athletes achieve high speeds through this type of running, and thus clearly benefit from it.

Benefits of Vibram Fivefingers: my own experience

As a former sprinter, I trained with spikes for years. And if everyone agrees on one thing, it's that spikes are actually not healthy for your feet. But yes, you need them, so you wear them. For more than 10 years in a row, I wore spikes and/or sneakers every day. Because of the shape of these shoes, over time my little toes started growing inward and all my toes were crooked.

Wearing minimalist shoes has meant that in two years, my toes are back completely flat. (And that's not just a benefit, because I've been able to throw away a lot of shoes). During that time, I also learned that I can't run in classic sneakers without my orthotics. If I don't wear them (once), my feet will definitely hurt the next day. Only with minimalist shoes like Vibram Fivefingers I can run without orthotics and without complaints.

Are Vibram Fivefingers good for everyone?

Running with minimalist or barefoot shoes (and certainly Vibram Fivefingers) is something you have to learn and build up. People who immediately switch hardcore to such shoes are actually asking for injuries. First of all, you have to learn a new running style (and no longer land on the heels), but on the other hand, your body also has to get used to this new body position. After all, for years you have been running around with shoes that have a raise under the heel. Barefoot running is a matter of patience and a slow build. And even then not everyone will benefit from barefoot running, because everyone's body is different.

Some complaints can be resolved by switching to barefoot running. So, as with any sport, it is important to consult with your doctor as well. Are Vibram Fivefingers new to you? Then be sure to read Vibram's guide on how to switch to Fivefingers.

Thomas De Vriendt - owner IEDEREEN LOOPT

 

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IEDEREEN LOOPT 9,5 / 10 - 908 Reviews @ WebwinkelKeur
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