Foot Mechanics & Barefoot Shoe Health
Answers to frequently asked questions about running or exercising in Vibram FiveFingers®
Supplied by the Vibram Medical Advisory Board
I wear orthotics. Can I still wear Vibram FiveFingers®?
Vibram FiveFingers are designed to promote better foot mechanics—naturally. As such, they're meant to be worn directly against the sole of your foot, allowing your foot to move as if barefoot. An orthotic is an assistive device to support your foot's function and help you compensate for any biological aberrations. Attempting to utilize an orthotic with Vibram FiveFingers would defeat their purpose. If you have an extremely flat foot, you will need to work into wearing your Vibram FiveFingers gradually, as your muscles will need time to adapt and strengthen.
Can I use my orthotics in my Vibram FiveFingers®?
Our footwear is designed to be worn directly against the sole of your foot. Putting something between the two would defeat their purpose.
Can I wear FiveFingers if I have webbed toes or syndactyly?
Unfortunately the design of Vibram FiveFingers does not accommodate webbed toes or Syndactyly. We are unable to make custom Vibram FiveFingers to fit specific foot needs.
My feet hurt after wearing Vibram FiveFingers®. Is this normal?
An adjustment period is normal at first as your feet and lower legs increase strength and mobility. This should decrease after a week or two of use. Remember to transition slowly to build the strength in your lower legs and feet and to minimize discomfort.
I was told I was an over-pronator. I was also told by some experts to buy certain types of shoes for motion control. Can Vibram FiveFingers® help me or should I steer away from them?
For some over-pronators (people whose feet tend to flatten during full weight-bearing exercise), Vibram FiveFingers® footwear will be too much of an abrupt change in biomechanics. We always recommend what we call a micro progression into Vibram FiveFingers. The too-much-too-soon phenomenon can be a problem for anyone's foot. In the case of severe over-pronators, Vibram FiveFingers might not be a wise choice for weight-bearing activities. Over-pronators will definitely benefit from some focused rehabilitation and foot-specific exercises before wearing any minimalist footwear.
Switching to FiveFingers
How long will it take to transition to Vibram FiveFingers®?
For some, it is a matter of weeks, for others months, and for a few it could be a year or more. Much is dependent on your foot type, the activities you're using Vibram FiveFingers for, and the amount of pronation you experience. The progression will ultimately be worth the wait, and your foot and body will be stronger and better off for it. The answer lies in your inherent foot and body biomechcanics and the condition of your muscles. Just remember, improving the skill of those muscles then practicing and using those muscles in Vibram FiveFingers will increase both endurance and strength. This will have profound beneficial effects on your body and wellbeing. Listen to your body.