We suggest a few things when you are transitioning into minimalist shoes to maximize your experience through training.
Be Patient and Build Gradually.
It can take several months to a year to make the transition into Vibram FiveFingers. If you are experiencing soreness or discomfort allow your body to rest!
Do Not Exclusively use Vibram FiveFingers at First
Start with casual use and light training. Go barefoot whenever possible. Add Vibram FiveFingers to your rotation of current training shoes. See our Suggested Transition Plan (hyperlink) for more details.
Strengthen Your Feet
With easy exercises and methods, you can perform at home. This will strengthen the 40+ muscles in your feet as they’re adapting to being barefoot – or in Vibram FiveFingers - more frequently. Our two-week Strength Training Program can be a good start.
Transitioning Tips For Runners
Do Not Over-Stride.
This means landing with your foot too far out in front of your hips. Overstriding while forefoot or mid-foot striking requires you to point your toe more than necessary, which may cause stress on your feet. Try focusing on contacting the ground with your feet beneath your hips. This is similar to the way one’s feet land when jump roping or walking in place.
Not sure if you’re landing correctly? Try running totally barefoot on a hard, smooth surface that is free of debris. Sensory feedback will quickly tell you if you are landing too hard. Try to make as little noise as possible when you land.
Avoid Heel-Striking While Running or Jumping.
If you just can’t seem to get the feel for landing on your mid-foot, try the following: Walk backward, leaning slightly forward. Then try to do it faster, making sure there are no obstacles in your way.
- Run or jog uphill. It is less likely to heel strike first.
- Jump on two feet and notice how you land.
There can be many questions when looking to transition to Vibram FiveFingers. We have compiled some frequently asked questions about running and exercising in Vibram FiveFingers with answers supplied by the Vibram Medical Advisory Board.
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 biomechanics and the condition of your muscles. Just remember, improving the skill of those muscles then practicing and using those muscles in Vibram FiveFingers can help increase both endurance and strength. Listen to your body.
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 as your body begins to adapt. Remember to transition slowly to acclimate your lower legs and feet and to minimize discomfort.
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.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s transition into Vibram FiveFingers is different. Listen to your body.