Following the recent settlement by Vibram over their FiveFinger shoes and the supposed health benefits, I’ve posted my take on the issue over at www.HumanBodyUserManual.com! This viewpoint is highly inspired by things I learned directly from Ken Bob Saxton and his book, Barefoot Running: Step by Step, and incorporated along with other knowledge about biomechanics and neuroscience.
– Stephanie Welch
“As a practitioner of barefoot living, I advocate for the many benefits of reducing our reliance on shoes. However, getting people to understand that feet are important sensory organs is easy compared to trying to convince the majority to actually go barefoot. (I admit, it took me a year to make that leap myself, from the time I decided it was necessary.)
For many people, the “sensible” compromise to bulky and constricting footwear has been minimalist shoes, such as the well-known Vibram FiveFingers. However, in the face of Vibram’s recent class action settlement, not to mention studies showing increased injuries and higher impact forces in minimalist shoes, this solution is beginning to look rather dubious.
The trouble is, there is no partial solution. It’s a catch-22. The protective benefit of wearing minimalist shoes (as opposed to going barefoot) is precisely the quality which most undermines our long-term health and safety. Here’s why minimalist shoes can be more hazardous than either going barefoot or in traditional shoes, why transitioning through gradual exposure to them doesn’t work in the way most people suggest, and why it’s necessary to learn to move healthfully, regardless of what shoe you are or are not wearing.”