8 Days in Five Fingers: A Minimalist Footwear Journal
At Eastern Mountain Sports, we believe that minimalist footwear can be used to improve your performance in just about any sport. If you’re into climbing, minimalist can build strength, enhance posture and improve your balance. If you’re into paddling, minimalist footwear gives you better traction and sensitivity when you’re putting in or portaging. Simply put, minimalist footwear makes you more aware of the surfaces that you’re running, walking or working out on, more in-tune with your body’s mechanics and more connected to your activity in every way. Minimalist footwear is a great addition to any outdoor athlete’s training regimen and that’s exactly what I found out for myself.
Day 1: Beginning My Journey with Vibram FiveFingers
My husband (footwear guy and foot fanatic) came over and says do you want to try Vibram FiveFingers? I tried on the first pair and my foot just slid right into them. Marc commented “did you just put that on without even having to adjust your foot? You’re so weird!” So I proceeded to try a few different styles (with and without straps) and ended up with the Sprint, a Mary Jane in plain black. I wore these around the office for the afternoon, telling everyone I saw, about my new footwear. My feet felt like they were getting a foot massage and I was ENERGIZED! It came time to leave, SO excited to hear the rain on my skylight. I stepped outside and could feel the subtle temperature change under my feet, as well as every crack in the walkway, and each pebble and grain of sand in the parking lot. Nothing hurt my feet, it just felt like walking barefoot in the rain. My feet were happy.
I decided to try running a short distance on the treadmill in the EMS gym and announced “OK, I’m going into the gym…if you hear a loud thud, just scoop me up and return me to my desk. Karen Doris was doing yoga the entire time I was running. She told me how it felt the first time she ran in FiveFingers and told me to take it slow. First I walked a 1/4 mile, then ran a slow 1/4+ mile, followed by a 1/ 2 mile walk. Felt great! I realized while I was running that my usual running form was on my forefoot, so the transition didn’t seem too bad. At first it felt like I was running on my tip toes. The whole time I was very aware of running mechanics. I didn’t want to stop but remembered the advice of family and colleagues, so I got off the treadmill and did 1 mile on the elliptical. So far, so good. I can still walk without soreness. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Day 3: Outside, for Real!
Noon. Taking my twin FiveFingers out for a walk…might have to run or sprint at any moment due to bugs.
Wonder when I’ll have to wash these for the first time? 30 minute fast walk was great. Made sure I took detours through sand, mulch and grass so I could feel each surface. Upon my return, I checked my feet for hotspots or any discomfort as I removed my FiveFingers.
Day 4: An Oldie, but Goodie
Decided to try the FiveFingers on my trusty Nordic Track. These things grip perfectly on the ski treads. I did 45 minutes then went for a walk with my daughter outside. Brianna kept looking at my feet saying how cool they looked and that she wanted a pair. Later that day, I viewed the kids’ size chart online and found out that she would fit into the smallest size available. How cute, pink and purple!
Day 5: Treadmill and Yoga
11:30 AM. I actually reviewed the fitting tips in the cover of my FiveFingers box and put them on to run 3/4 mile on the treadmill. Felt good so I stopped and did some astanga yoga…amazing! Although I’d prefer to do yoga barefoot, wearing FiveFingers in the gym was perfectly fine. FiveFingers helped me with my standing balance poses, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasna 1-3 and Ardha Badda Padmasana. Much easier to balance because my feet were gripping the surface.
I plan to try yoga outside wearing them, too.
Day 6: Treadmill Mileage
11:30 AM. No sensitivity on my feet from yesterday, so I ran 2 miles on the treadmill today, stretching first and cooling down with a short walk. Working on mileage and form inside, so my maiden voyage running outside will be pleasant. Feel great and my feet are still happy.
Day 7: Fit Camp Exercise Routine
12:45 PM Power Lunch. Learning to use all the equipment at FITCamp (including but not limited to: TRX, Kettlebells, Medicine Balls, Bosu Ball, Resistance Bands, Plyometrics, Tires). I figured my FiveFingers would be a great choice for the varied workout on the hard floor and some stretching exercises on mats. Ran laps in between exercises and felt confident with my footwear choice.
Day 8: Running Outside 101
Midday jaunt on the damp, paved bike path and took a right onto the trail. I felt a bit sloppy at first since this was my first time on the trail….think this will need some getting used to but I fully understand how over time this can really build strength in my feet and lower legs as well as improve flexibility. My feet are STILL happy!
Here’s a quick video recap of my 8-day FiveFingers indoctrination. I’m looking forward to many more happy miles in these fun, funky shoes and I hope I’ve inspired you to check them out for yourself.