The PureKit Blog

Monday, 10 January 2011

Vibram Five Fingers and the Benefits of Barefoot

Vibram Five Fingers
Thanks to the wonder of evolution, man has developed some pretty neat tricks for maintaining grip and traction over slippery and uneven surfaces. 10 toes are the perfect solution, with each of the articulated appendages doing its bit to fine tune the balance, with finesse which is just not possible when wearing shoes. The plantar fascia and the fatty heel pad act as natural shock absorbers, with the arches ensuring than the shockwaves are dampened and shockwaves are managed.

However man, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that the feet are just not good enough and has chose to encase them in leather and add a comforting layer of EVA foam underfoot, and of course, a non-stick rubber bottom. Man has made the foot into something much beefier and grippy than anything Mother Nature has managed to muster. It’s not all great though, as shoes reduce ground feedback, promote a heavier heel strike, and whilst they cushion and are comfortable, it really is going against what is natural, and has worked well for millennia. And of course, you really can’t get your toes working to their full potential when you are shod.

Recent studies into barefoot walking have highlighted something which biologists and anthropologists have known all along, that the feet are actually pretty good at their job. However what came as a surprise was the extent of the benefits of being barefoot over exercising in shoes, and that the highly comfortable and protective footwear which we have grown to love can actually contribute to foot problems rather than preventing them. Being barefoot means a flatter landing, and with that, the body can cope much better with the shockwaves from running. When wearing shoes, a heavier heel strike is promoted, which places undue stresses on the feet, even with all that EVA, PU and rubber underfoot. The body naturally changes the walking gait when barefoot , with the heel and the ball working together with the shock absorbing apparatus in the foot to make even running comfortable.

Fortunately Italian performance rubber manufacturer Vibram has created footwear which works with the body rather than against it, just adding the only element which nature has not managed to come up with, namely high-traction rubber. With a thin Vibram rubber outsole, the grip of the feet is improved immeasurably, the feet are protected from hot surfaces, and spikes are prevented giving you greater confidence where you put your feet. The Vibram Five Fingers shoes have a separate compartment for each toe, which makes balance exceptional, and allows for even greater grip to cope with even slippery terrain. They allow the shock absorbing apparatus of the foot to work at maximum efficiency, and the feet land flatter easing the strain on the heel. The highly flexible design means that the feet get really put through the paces when exercising, helping to improve conditioning and stave off any troublesome foot complaints.

Vibram Five Fingers offer barefoot running with all the benefits of being shod, such as an extra degree of protection from difficult terrain, cold, heat, and all the unpleasant things to be found on the forest floor. Get a pair of these on your feet and you will be getting a great foot workout, feel closer to nature, and have a much more rewarding workout.

No comments:

Post a Comment