I went to the store to pick up a pair of the Vibram fivefinger shoes today. Putting them on your feet certainly provides an interesting feeling. The first thing I noticed is that it takes a very coordinated effort to get your toes in the right “toe-holes”. The second thing I noticed is that width of the shoe at the toes was a bit larger than the toes on my foot… and they don’t come in a narrow or wide size, what you see is what you get- SO, the end result is that my toes feel abnormally spread out.
There are several different styles of the fivefingers, some with more strap support around the heel, I found that the Bikila model felt the best for me. The color choice was easy: the pair I ended up buying was $40 off because it was… well, lets just say it wasn’t the most popular color choice. So what’s next? Take them home and start wearing them!
I must say that at this point I am very intrigued and excited to wear these shoes, On my way home I had visions of effortlessly gliding across forest trails, through the trees, over streams just like a deer in the spring time. I got home and put them on and decided to wear them for the next hour. I went out into the back yard and swept up the piles of mulberries that have landed on the ground from our lovely mulberry tree and the feet felt good. It was nice to wear a shoe that is so light, really almost like not having shoes on.
The next thing I did was to take my year and a half old daughter on a walk in her wagon up to the end of our street, which is about 2 blocks. We walked slowly up the hill and I was trying to pay attention to how my feet were feeling. Knowing that there isn’t a tremendous amount of arch support in these shoes, my goal was to walk as if I didn’t have any shoes on at all, not landing on my heel but more towards the “ball” of the foot. As we walked up the street I felt some of the joints in my midfoot moving slightly as I walked. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was certainly noticeable. By the time we got home (after a 10 minute break at the end of the street to pet the neighborhood cat) I had had the shoes on for about an hour and my feet were definitely feeling fatigued. The arch of my right foot was feeling a little sore as well. Overall, the shoes held up well and seemed fairly comfortable.
just a couple of mulberry stains...
funny looking feet
Over the past year, I have had a lot of people ask me what I think about “barefoot running” and from what I can gather, most people are actually talking about the idea of minimalist footwear, and more specifically, the Vibram fivefinger running shoes.
My initial reaction to this idea is: yes, this makes sense… humans have been successfully traversing the Earth for millions of years without wearing shoes, and aside from that, we are learning that the bones and joints in our feet work better and feel better when they are moving, so maybe mimicking being barefoot would be a good idea. But the next thing I thought about was “yeah, but a lot has changed about the world we live in”… So much of our time is spent on the very firm surfaces of the floors in our houses and work buildings and the paved sidewalks and roads… in fact, it takes a concerted effort so spend some barefoot time on a forgiving surface. Another reason why this may not be the best idea is that most of us have been wearing some type of supportive footwear our entire lives. This means that a lot of the muscles in our lower leg and feet aren’t really up to performing for the demands of maintaining the proper structure of the foot, especially while running.
So what’s the best way to see what all the fuss is about? I am going to buy a pair! And, I am going to update this blog on a regular basis so that there is a good record of the trials, triumphs and tribulations that go along with wearing the Vibram’s fivefingers. My goal is to wear these shoes as long as they feel good and increase the amount of activity that I do in them as long as my body is responding in a positive way.
Wish me luck!
There’s something that most of adults have forgotten from our early childhood years that could drastically improve our quality of life. It’s free, easy and actually feels really good. It’s a wonderful thing called “taking a nap”.
The National Institute of Mental Health (a division of the NIH) has documented findings in an interesting review article. The article confirms what toddlers have been demonstrating for many, many years. The benefits of taking a nap range from decreasing stress levels, increasing your ability to learn new tasks, increasing alertness, productivity and creativity just to name a few. Here is a link to the article… see for yourself:
The stigma that people who nap are just lazy is really not the case at all, in fact, your performance only gets better following a nap, so: work smarter- not harder right? There have been many famously productive people who are proponents of a good power nap.
Here are some tips for creating the perfect nap:
- Taking a late morning or early afternoon nap is less likely to leave you “groggy”.
- Find a dark place or a cover for your eyes, this stimulates the release of a hormone called melatonin, which has been shown to induce sleep.
- Find a quiet place or use something to create “white noise” such as a fan or even a “white noise” app on your mobile phone.
- Use a blanket or turn up the heat because your body temp. drops when you sleep.
- The optimal nap time is about 20 min. Chances are, if you allow yourself to wake up on your own, you will find that your body naturally wakes up after about this amount of time… but if you can’t take the chance that you won’t wake up on time, put yourself in a comfortable position and when you feel you are fully relaxed, set an alarm for 25 or 30 minutes.
Sleep Tight! ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz……………….
Erik S. Vose D.C.