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-   -   Is barefoot running via vibrams a scam? (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6130)

Manuel Jericho 03-31-2011 12:02 AM

Is barefoot running via vibrams a scam?
according to this article (# 4) http://www.cracked.com/article_19130...rk-at-all.html

there hasn't been alot of research on barefoot running to be the only and safest way to run especially for a flat footed person such as myself.

Any truth to this?

Patrick Donnelly 03-31-2011 01:10 PM

Vibrams - "practically barefoot" - $80
Barefoot - "actually barefoot" - $0

If for no other reason than that, it's a scam. I'll admit, they had me buying into it for about a year and a half, but now I just go barefoot essentially 24/7. It's better than Vibrams.

Derek Weaver 03-31-2011 03:25 PM

Cracked isn't the first site to reference the flat foot issue. Flat feet can be problematic when it comes to barefoot stuff.

Vibrams are nice as a thin layer of protection. I've definitely stepped on a couple of things that hurt like hell, but would have hurt much more had I actually been barefoot.

Biggest issue with barefoot or vibramz or whatever is too much, too soon, especially on hard surfaces like a track or asphalt.

Garrett Smith 04-01-2011 09:31 AM

I find the concept of wearing clothes, particularly when it is summertime in Arizona, to be a bigger scam than Vibrams.

Steven Low 04-01-2011 10:01 AM

Read this and this


Shoes with lots of padding and shoes that are supposed to be fitted to your feet (supinated, pronated, etc) are the actual scam

Manuel Jericho 04-03-2011 12:44 AM


Originally Posted by Steven Low (Post 88685)
Read this and this


Shoes with lots of padding and shoes that are supposed to be fitted to your feet (supinated, pronated, etc) are the actual scam

will read this and report back....

well, i've been seeing a physiotherapist who makes me custom made orthotics for my flat feet. Have had few problems from shin splits on both legs, bunion, knee pain ect. Since barefoot running is being advocated, does this discredit himself as a physiotherapist?

Daniel Dean 04-05-2011 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by Manuel Jericho (Post 88646)
for a flat footed person such as myself.

Are you flat-footed because of a physical injury or deformity like the guy in the DailyMail article, or are your feet simply weak and atrophied? There are tons of anecdotal stories out there of people dropping one or more shoe sizes after they got their feet strong again and the muscles pulled their arch back into shape.

I agree with Patrick that the only "scam" is the notion that you must have VFFs. I find any zero- or near zero-drop shoe with minimal cushion and a generous toe box to be fine (and more convenient to take on/off, and not attention-drawing).

Steven Low 04-06-2011 08:34 PM

There is some variation in the population with people having lower arches than others.

But nowhere is the prevalence of flat feet in populations with shoes compared to the prevalence in cultures that use minimalist or no shoes.

Most people that use padded shoes have very atrophied muscles like said above.

Barefoot is preferable to VFFs obviously... but VFFs or any type of decent bendable flats work fairly well.

Joshua Williams 04-07-2011 07:17 AM

Hey all, longtime lurker but this is the first time I thought I had something worth posting.

I started out in high school as a cross country runner using normal squishy shoes such as Nike Pegasus or Asics 2150, 2160, etc. and used those types of shoes for a long time. After I discovered crossfit a few years ago I started getting into the minimalist shoes and picked up some Onitsuka Tigers as my workout and running shoe (Do-wins for lifting days). The tigers were ok for running but it took a lot of getting used to the lack of padding so my gait had to change. As a side note I haven’t really done crossfit Per Se in a while. My training goes through cycles of Oly focus, running focus, rock climbing focus, and Mountain Bike focus...sometimes concurrently.

Then I read “Born to Run” and got psyched about barefoot running and went and picked up some VFF Sprints. For running only; didn’t really feel like they were suitable for anything else really. I built up some mileage in them then I started running in them all the time only on trails. Not really taking them on the road very often only one or two road races in the VFF. I really enjoyed how the VFF changed my gait but yeah I agree with a lot of people that they look kind of weird so I didn’t really wear them in public often, just trail running. The places I ran there were usually rock shards, short stubby roots, and other things that would really suck to run on while being barefoot for real. The VFF Sprints were really good at providing that “barefoot” feel while adding a layer of protection although there obviously wasn’t much tread so they were a little slippery turning corners on leaf cover trails. As a side note a friend let me try on his VFF Trek Sport and its sole was a lot thicker/stiffer and I didn’t like it as much. Anyway…I ended up “stubbing” my pinky toe while running in the VFF and it turned out to be a broken toe which took me out of lifting and running for a while.

After that incident healed I quit running in the VFF irrationally thinking I’d break another toe which would keep me away from the barbell again…however I really did like the way minimalist shoes felt for me. I also didn’t really like the way I had to run “carefully” in the VFF. “Real” shoes just let you run much more confidently in uneven twisty terrain. Now I run in New Balance Minimus trail shoes and they feel like wearing really hefty socks with awesome traction and a very flexible sole. It isn’t a “barefoot” feel but it is the next closest thing that I’ve ever felt after a VFF, but for a minimalist shoe it is better than any VFF or Tiger. Although the Minimus is expensive too I think it was worth it for _me_ for the conditions and they way that I run.

I may have gotten off track a little, but to directly address the topic I think that real barefoot running on grass like a golf course or soccer field is probably best. And if you build up your calluses then running on smooth asphalt is actually decent too because there usually aren’t random rocks or roots on a nice smooth road. Vibrams are good if you want to run _as if you’re barefoot_ but the conditions are poor i.e. many small rocks, hidden roots, stumps, etc. Good minimalist shoes are, IMO, the bees knees because you get good foot protection and they still let you run sort of like you’re barefoot. The extra $ for the protection provided by Vibrams or Minimalist shoes is worth it to me, even if overpriced, for my trail conditions. If you have optimal running conditions then go for barefoot, just ease into it if your feet aren’t used to it.


Grissim Connery 04-09-2011 03:41 PM

yeah those are some good points. basically, you should gauge it based on where you are going to run.

i'd have to agree that stubbing your toe is the real danger while wearing VFF. i've stubbed mine once or twice and felt like i asked for it by wearing them.

i typically only run on tracks and on sidewalks in my neighborhood. both of which i feel are fine with VFF, and both i think would be a little rough if fully barefoot. i've tried running on trakcs barefoot a few times, and you really need to build those callouses if you want to go that route. a sidewalk will have glass every once in a while...

as for running in the woods, i tried that once in VFF because i friend wanted me to come. i wish i had brought regular shoes to that outing...

also, i jump rope a lot in them. when i miss, i generally always catch a toe, and the VFF is great for that. you don't feel any pain in them, but you can give yourself a nice whip if you are barefoot and catch your toe. if you use one of those really fast wire ropes, i would make sure that your VFF covers the top of your foot, or else just wear a shoe.

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