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You can have my FiveFingers when you pry them off my cold, dead feet, but I wouldn't do extensive running in them, especially on pavement. The argument that barefoot running is "natural" loses some credibility when you're using them on vast expanses of concrete.

Running on grass presents its own challenges, both those of a gophery provenance and the unique challenge of willing yourself onward despite the distraction of a dandelion stuck between your toes, something that becomes a fact of life when you develop this habit.

I also tried climbing in them, something that seems to strike just about everyone's intuition as a reasonable application for them, but I hated the FiveFingers for this purpose. I am certain someone would argue that I just didn't try hard enough or build up my toe strength or something, but I prefer the hard sole for precise edging and intend to stick with normal climbing shoes.

You really do walk differently barefoot outside than you would roaming around the house in sock feet. You'll end up walking more on the balls of your feet and using your toes more. Particularly early on, hyperextension injuries to your toes are a distinct possibility. The difference in gait does engage different muscles, as evidenced by what's sore the day after your first few outings. For me that soreness extended well into my lower torso.

They aren't magic, they require a period of adjustment and I would anticipate particular injuries unique to these shoes for those who use them extensively for running. I would not presume to offer any faux-biomechanical justification for them (something for which I would be deeply unqualified), but despite the caveats, I like them quite a lot.

I mostly agree, especially the concrete part. Although, my feet would have to be indeed cold and dead for them to get caught using FiveFingers :)

I have been running in Nike Frees. I'm not convinced of the "barefoot" propaganda. It didn't feel like it at all. Unless by "barefoot" they mean that they're just very comfortable shoes (and indeed they are, I'll probably buy the Free everyday use shoes soon). The sole is extremely flexible and for that, they're great.

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Ooooh. Haven't commented in a while, but I love my FiveFingers. Also... I never knew there was a fad for them. Really? At least here in Europe I haven't noticed any of it. I get strange looks and they're still not easy to find outside of the boating department of outdoor shops.

I picked them up more or less accidentally, having spent much of my childhood barefoot and being fairly used to it -- and I ended up wearing them for 2/3 of the last year. I have no idea if it's beneficial, and the only evidence for any effect I have is anecdotal (my anecdote: my back pain disappeared and I can walk and stand for much longer when I'm barefoot). Whatever it is they might be expected to do, if you like walking barefoot, they prevent injuries and are like a second skin after a bit. If you don't like walking barefoot before buying them, there's no point at all -- you won't like it any better with them. They're not shoes. They're simply injury prevention for barefooters.

And for my part, if I could wear them all the time, I would.

Even the idea of running makes my knees ache. I did, however, resumed bicycling on a regular if modest basis about 6 months ago (½-hour or more a day). Except for being a pain in the ass, it is good exercise, doesn't bore me to tears like stationary equipment, and has certainly helped me to recover my stamina.

The thing that amazed me when I resumed biking (after commuting to work every day for about 9 years) was the amount people are willing to pay for a bicycle. The more I'm getting back into it, the more I'm tempted to spend a little more for a better bike - but paying more than $1000 as some weekend warriors seem willing to do strikes my cheapskate heart as crazy.

From an engineering perspective, the concept appears to make sense.

Jump straight up in bare feet and land on the ball of your foot, then try the same thing landing on your heel. There is a pronounced jarring sensation when you perform the latter. The heel doesn't seem to have evolved to be a shock absorber, but running shoes allow us to use it that way.

I haven't vetted this video to the n-th degree, but the analysis may be moving beyond psuedo-science.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jrnj-7YKZE&feature=player_embedded

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I have had shin splints sideline me two summers in a row as I tried to add running to my workout regimen(Mizuno WaveRunners year 1 and Brooks' Addiction year 2) . This season, I picked up a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers and have enjoyed 4 months of pain free running. I go out 3 times a week and run 3 to 4 miles each time and try to stick to grass, but I did 4 miles last night on concrete to no ill-effect. You need to start slow though with the V5F, low mileage, and pay attention to any feedback your feet, achilles or calf muscles give you and be willing to stop and walk the rest of your run if they start barking at you. Took about 4-6 weeks to acclimate to the new shoes. Call it a fad, but it's difficult to use evidence based approaches in this one as it seems scant in both camps.

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