My first pair of Vibram Five Fingers ™ (VFF’S) was a pair of Classics, in grey and orange. I loved them. The first thing I did, of course, was research how to wear them in – not! What I did do was put them on and go out all day walking miles. To begin with they were amazingly comfortable. I even quite liked the odd glances my feet were getting. But by the afternoon I was regretting my decision. I crawled home, with my calves like rocks and the soles of my feet on fire. It was at that point I looked to see how I should start wearing them.


            So what should I have done? Essentially: ease into wearing them gently. Wear the shoes for short periods of time, round the house, building up to local trips. The same principal as it is with running; add it slowly. Start with short distances, gradually going further. Listen to your body; don’t overdo it. Also stretch! Especially stretch your calves, quads and hamstring muscles. (There will be more information on stretching coming soon). So that is what I started to do. It took some time but I built up my resistance gradually. As I got into the barefoot idea I sought more information. One name that popped up regularly is a book by Christopher McDougall Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. It is an interesting pop science book, with a positive outlook on barefoot running.  


            Eventually after 6 months I was able to wear my VFF’s happily all day, with no ill effects. One of the best things about the shoes is you forget you are wearing them. So when people started looking at my feet in confusion I would wonder why. I even had 10 people round me in a shop asking questions. Including where to get them. My advice has always been go where you can try them on. The fit is vital. They don’t fit like normal shoes, so you must go where they can give good advice. For example in Brighton and Hove, I would always recommend Inter Sport, Nick Rivett on Church Road. They are great in there.


            So remember if you want to try these amazing shoes, get them fitted properly, start slowly and stretch.


Written by Margaret Sinclair