While the jury may still be out on the benefits and risks of barefoot running shoes, it will never meet to hear the case against Vibram USA.
The company, which makes FiveFingers running shoes, has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging Vibram made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding the health benefits of its products. Though they settled the case, according to court documents, “Vibram expressly denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions, and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability.”
Barefoot running is no longer considered strange science. Just last week I passed a barefoot runner and instantly pointed out to my husband how exciting it is to see a running purist. It was as if I’d seen a lemur in the wild.
Barefoot running is an intriguing practice and more people are growing curious about it. But most often they want to know if it’s safe for everyone.
There are many proposed benefits of barefoot running, the most prominent being it allows you to feel more connected to the ground, helps you stay more in tune with your body and prevent injuries, and strengthens your feet.
Though no one “invented” barefoot running, there was a surge of interest in the practice in the late 90s and early 2000s as running experts began seeking out running in its purest form.
Around the same time shoe maker Vibram started producing their minimalist running shoes, which have since attracted a small army of loyal barefoot running believers that swear by the brand. New Balance has also partnered with Vibram to produce a minimalist style running shoe without the “glove-like” slots for a runner’s toes. (more…)
If you’ve ever experienced foot, back or knee pain, then you know how debilitating it can be and how comforting a good pair of shoes can feel.
Still relishing in my “invincible youth,” I often neglect the need to take better care of my feet which translates to inadequate footwear – think $2 Old Navy flip flops. However, the older I get the more I realize that what I put on my feet directly affects my arches, joints, posture, and ultimately my ability to remain active over the course of my life. So when we recently received an offer to test out some Vionic Sandals from Orthaheel, I jumped at the chance.
Ironically enough, the week before my sandals arrived I started getting a sharp pain in my left heel that was sidelining me from my morning jogs. When the Vionic sandals arrived, it was like a big, comforting hug for my well-worn feet.
As we shared in a story earlier this year, Orthaheel is a collaberative project of Dr. Andrew Weil and Australian podiatrist Phillip Vasyli. Together, the pair saw a need for a fashionable shoe line that provided support for those experiencing foot, back or knee pain. The shoes are not only designed to correct alignment and posture problems, but also help prevent future pain and injuries from occurring. (more…)
Adidas recently introduced a new minimal shoe called the Adipure Trainer. At first glance it may appear that they are jumping on the minimalist performance shoe bandwagon (yes, such a thing exists) but after taking a closer look, the Adipure Trainer is marketing their shoe for a whole other, and possibly wiser purpose.
The Adipure Trainer is just that, a trainer. It is the first barefoot training shoe designed specifically for the gym. Adidas does not call this a performance shoe, they are promoting it as a way to build strength and harness the body’s natural bio-mechanics. These are the elements that the other minimalist shoes promote as well. However, our feet need time to build up strength before we take them out of a stable shoe and take off for a run. This is why many people are getting hurt in minimal shoes, they are performing in them without proper preparation and their unadapted feet and body are suffering.
The Adipure is designed to take those gradual steps in training the body. The Adipure Trainer activates and strengthens muscles, builds balance and promotes dexterity. The shoes have independent toe separations and a quarter-inch profile. They are designed so that the foot can be close to the ground for optimal speed, balance, and agility during a conditioning workout. The shoe is supposed to mimic the foot and create a natural feeling that will still protect the skin and provide traction.
I was out running one morning about two years ago. It was a rare morning where I didn’t have music pumping in my ears. As I was approaching a turn, I began to hear an odd rhythm. It almost sounded like duck feet smacking the ground. As I got closer, I saw another runner coming towards me. The sound was coming from her shoes. She was wearing what looked like gloves on her feet as she trekked along. This was the first time I’d ever seen anyone run in the Vibram Fivefinger shoes. Flash forward two years and these shoes and the minimalist movement have grown tremendously popular. However, as with most popular things, it’s not all necessarily a good thing. There’s quite a bit of controversy over these shoes and the proper role they play in the sport of running.
There’s lots of debate over the safety of minimalist running and barefoot running. There are also a lot of grey areas in the subject. While some shoes are minimal in the support they offer, they are not equivalent to a barefoot or even a Vibram. However, all members of the pro party tend to support the general theory that the stronger the foot, the better the runner will run.
Vibrams (pronounced “VEE-Brims”) claim that they allow the runner to land on their forefoot which results in optimum balance, improved stability, lighter impact, and increased propulsion. The Vibrams also claim to help correct form problems along with strengthening and stimulating muscles in the feet and lower legs.
So with such positive claims what’s the objection to this product? First Gear running shoe store owner, Gary Gregory, sees the Vibrams as a form of barefoot running and explained why he will not carry the product.
“Barefoot running is too radical of an idea from the norm, it’s too big of a departure and too big of a change for people who have been running in shoes for years.”