FiveFingers … even the name is intriguing
I thought it was time for a product review and what better product to start with than the Vibram FiveFingers. I was really skeptical in the beginning, so I feel this makes me an ideal person to do a proper and fully unbiased review. FiveFingers are the shoes that ” started the barefoot revolution “. So lets see just how I feel about them.
What are Vibram FiveFingers?
Vibram FiveFingers® (VFF) was developed by Robert Fliri and Marco Brimani (grandson of Vibram's founder Vitale Brimani). They are considered to be a healthy alternative for the feet, of an active life and not a replacement for all of your shoes. When I first saw them, I thought of a modern day hippie. FiveFingers are the shoes that have individual slots for each toe, keeping them separated and creating a more natural feel.
To FiveFingers or not to FiveFingers
In August of this last year (2011), while I was in Southern Sudan working, my wife and I were discussing buying both of us a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes. She had been talking about them and I thought they might be interesting but was not completely sold on the comfort level or how I was going to feel about having my toes separated and wrapped. But then again, I thought it might be kind of cool to walk around with the feel of being barefoot. After all, when we were kids we always ran around and played outside with no shoes on and it was great. Plus, I was working in Africa at the time and was reminded that shoes were not unnecessarily needed to survive. Many of the Africans are still going barefoot and it does not seem to bother them. Believe me the environment over there is much harsher than it is here in the United States.
So, as usual, I thought about it and thought about it and could not stop thinking about it, which is normally a good sign I am going to do it. So my enthusiasm loud and I continued to research and read a lot of really good articles on the subject of FiveFingers, barefoot running and just being barefoot in general. I also learned there were a lot of different styles to choose from some of which are very odd looking and do not look very appealing and some that were very cool looking. So we decided that both of us would get a pair, yes 1 pair each and if we liked them we would get more later.
ONE Pair Each
Well there was a slight problem … you guessed it, I was in Africa and working in a location that provided ZERO mail service whatever. So yeah, I was going to have to wait for a little while longer (I was scheduled to come home shortly) because FiveFingers are measured by your foot and have to be pretty much perfect for a proper fit and feel.Well as you probably guess , my wife decided she could not wait for me to get home before she went to buy hers. I can not say I blame her. It was still over a month away. When all was said and done, she had bought 2 different styles (yes I said 2 and not 1) that look totally different. The Jaya were a slip on style with just enough sole to let you know there was something on your foot and the Speed, which has laces like a traditional shoe.
She immediately fell in love with both. Even with how much she appeared to really love her new shoes, I was still skeptical. It was not just the toe thing or a matter of comfort but also sizing a shoe that had to be a merit fit. There is no wiggle room when it comes to the FiveFingers and I mean no wiggle room (at least not for me).
FiveFinger Me! My turn
Shortly after getting home in September, I decided it was time for me to get my Vibram FiveFingers. I went from store to store searching but could not find any that fit me. They were too small or just a little too big. Luckily, Vibram has a sizing chart on their website with instructions on how to properly measure your foot. I followed their instructions and found that my foot had an exact size on the women chart but was in between sizes in the men category. This kind of explained why I was not happy with the feel for the few I had tried on the stores. In learning this I decided to just take a chance and order straight from the Vibram's website. Well you might have guessed it. I actually ordered from the WOMEN's, I'm secure, plus the womens FiveFingers selection seem to have more colors to choose from and after all, I had an exact size match, so why would I go with an off size?
After a few days of searching, yes a few days (off and on of course), I also decided on the Jaya. They had the look I liked and they were black. It took me a little while to get used to them, for the same reasons I was skeptical. When you first start wearing them it is VERY different. They feel like nothing I have ever worn before. It is weird walking flat on the ground with no thick soles but feet so good to do so. Now, these FiveFingers, the Jaya are not made for high impact and they are not made for a lot of activity. This is obvious because they are slip on with no fastening and they do tend to slip a little if you doing strenuous exercise in them. But, with that being said, I do still enjoy working out in them on a daily basis. I use them for weight lifting and even worn them through out my Insanity program. They were great. Wearing a pair that Velcro's or ties would most likely be better but I have no complaints about my Jaya's.
So my thoughts
At first, I had a little discomfort wearing my FiveFingers several hours at a time (such as on long trips) but now I forget I have them on and even tend to hang out in the house with them. I have already decided that I will be getting a second pair this year; it is just a matter of deciding which style and what color. I will also have to take into account what I plan to wear them for.
So after wearing them now for 6 months, it is my opinion that you can not go wrong with a good pair of Vibram FiveFingers. I am a firm believer in them. I will continue to talk about them as time goes on, I am sure, because I am not only thoroughly impressed by them but they have become a part of my life.