5 Miles in the Vibram 5 Fingers

One mile in bare feet on asphalt set my toes on fire.  I tried to run in the grassy parking areas between the sidewalk and the road but driveways forced a few steps on cement and when crossing roads I stepped into the black gravely street.  I kept going because my leg finally felt good enough to make a mile.

John Burroughs High School Track, Burbank, CA
John Burroughs High School Track Burbank, CA

Today I dawned a pair of Vibram Five Finger foot covers that I got at Frontrunners Brentwood.  After doing some further research everyone that has dropped their shoes and started to run barefoot takes it slow.  The body needs time to use the muscles and get used to running/walking without the “support” of a shoe.  Basically, if one jumps into a pair of these and goes for a 10 mile run, they are asking for trouble.  The guy who fit me said he made the mistake and spent the next two days with his shins and Achilles tendon on fire!

But I went to the track undeterred.  Barefoot Ted and this little statement from the Vibram site making their rounds in my head:

The benefits of running barefoot have long been supported by scientific research, coaches, and athletes who’ve offered ample evidence that training without shoes allows you to run faster and further with fewer injuries.

Motion studies demonstrate that when running barefoot, one naturally lands on the forefoot, directly below your center of gravity. This results in optimum balance, increased stability, less impact, and greater propulsion. According to Dr. Ivo Waerlop of the Vibram Biomechanics Advisory Board, “Running in FiveFingers improves agility, strength, and equilibrium, plus it delivers sensory feedback that allows runners to make immediate corrections in their form. This greatly improves running efficiency.”

No footwear comes closer to recreating the experience and natural sensation of running barefoot than Vibram® FiveFingers. It delivers all the health and performance benefits of barefoot running—with less the risk of injury. Our patented Vibram® sole acts like a second skin to protect you from elements and obstacles, so you can reap the rewards of barefoot running.

The track was empty when I arrived – it was 6am Saturday morning after all.  I went to the grassy infield and began to run around on the edge – closest to the track.  The sensation of running in gloved toes is very different but, as advertised, I could feel the earth under my feet.  Every little bump and imperfection had me feeling like I was trail running instead of at the track.

I liked it and even better so did my left shin.  Still tender but lots better!  About 2.5 miles or 10 laps around the rainbirds came on and began spouting water on the grass.  Six birds at a time rose out of the ground with streams shooting 20 yards from their apex and rotating in opposite directions. They covered about 1/5th of the field and the spray was beautifully backlit by the rising sun.  As they popped up I kept going to the dry side of the field but ultimately ran through them, avoiding the direct stream of water from each bird.  So now, I was trail running on an obstacle coarse.  As I came upon the puddles formed in the grassy mud I did not think about wet socks or drying out the soles of my new shoes, no!  As you would in bare feet I just ran right on through.  It was a great feeling!

As I ticked off the remaining miles the original rainbirds sunk back into their grassy lairs signaling the next batch to rise and do their jobs.  As the course continued to change I noticed their were a half dozen other runners/walkers on the track.  I was the only one running in the sprinklers but I felt that I wasn’t getting bored going round and round.  A few watched as I ran in the mud… “what are those on your feet?”


tom lowe photo, llc

tacoma, wa 98406



Follow Us

Follow our activity on the web and get to know us.