Paradigm Shifting Trojan Horses - Vibram Five Fingers
So, it has been nearly 4 years since I got my first pair of Vibram Fivefingers...several months before they were launched to the public in March 2006. I have been testing the next generation prototypes ever since then...and it has been amazing to watch as they have grown in popularity, and greatly satisfying and validating to be playing a role in their popularization.
I remember how excited I was to get my first pair...they were the first shoes that I felt came close to a true barefoot feel and would also allow me to run more comfortably on tough mountain trails. Furthermore, they were the first minimal shoe that I tested that didn't fall apart after 20 miles of hard trail running.
My progress with the FiveFingers came fast and furious, but keep in mind, I had already been running for nearly 2 years barefoot, and had already completed several road marathons barefoot.
Some of the firsts I was privileged to do wearing Vibram Fivefingers include the first marathon, first Boston marathon and Boston qualifying marathon, first ultra marathon and first 100 mile trail race in VFFs.
I really felt that I was playing a small part in facilitating a stretching of our collective imaginative boundaries of what is possible and looked forward to seeing others stretch their own boundaries, carrying our fundamental human capacity, to run, further along while at the same time more closely mimicking the way our ancestors moved...on foot.
(photo left Los Angeles Marathon 2006)
I still think that barefoot is best, but barefoot is free..., and I always knew that the only way barefooting was going to become a true, mainstream hit was that there was going to have to be a product...something people could buy. And the VFF is that product..., or from my perspective, Trojan Horse.
The Vibram Fivefinger is a foot glove. No support, no real cushioning. Yet, it is a thing I can buy. A solution that can be purchased. Consumer cultures feel comfortable with it. But what is its real message? It seems the real message of the VFF is that your foot is just fine AS IT IS! That regaining strength and range of motion in your foot is a worthy goal. That you are not broken by default.
Furthermore, I wanted to see the concept of barefoot running enter into the dialogue of contemporary popular culture. The publishing of McDougall's book "Born to Run", from my point of view, was a pivotal, paradigm shifting moment in the re-awakening of the American consciousness about barefooting and our capacities as humans...before the addition of the padded shoe.
So run free if you wish, or buy a pair of VFFs or other minimal shoe, but always remember, you already have the best pair of shoes you will ever own...and they are the only ones that are self-nourishing, self-healing and get stronger and smarter with use...the only ones you can grow...by eating.
(photo left by Luis Escobar, 2006 Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon)
Order Vibram FiveFingers from here and smile :-)