Barefoot/mbt/vibram options

 I've been reading a lot about the merits of barefoot running and running technique recently because I tend to get shin pain when I run and I have horrible technique.

I was wondering if anyone had any views about the relative merits of barefoot running vs running in vibram 5 finger shoes vs running in MBT shoes? Due to lack of cash I've been trying some light running barefoot at my local park. Unfortunately this attracts stares from people walking their dogs, and when I get off nice grass onto tracks it can be agonisingly painful. Most barefoot running sites say just tough it out and the feet become more resilient. Any tips?

Vibram 5 finger: Idea is to protect sole while providing only minimal shoe. Its still a shoe though

MBT: idea is to simulate rough terrain and force you to constantly find a balance point. I'm aware they look like a disabled person's shoes.


I have a pair of vibrams....

I've done hiking, biking, a bit of running (mostly sprinting), river rafting, lifting, grappling, and circus training in them without any real problems.

They've worked great, I highly recommend them.

If you get a pair, I have 2 pieces of advice:

1) be careful about sizing them; if you have any good outdoor shops near you, you might be able to try some on ( i bought mine off the net, and I would have appreciated a chance to try them on first. I still love them, though).

2) buy the sprint model. I have the classic, which is the model in your picture, and if I could change one thing I would buy the sprint model. It has one extra strap that runs across the top of the foot and I feel it'd be helpful to have.

i'm not posting about the subject in this post

just want to say that the threadstarter has a awesome screenname

"These men-they are after you for business or pleasure?"

How do you get the funk out of the toes?

If your technique sucks, better shoes will only help slightly. Get some quality in-person coaching from someone that knows excellent running mechanics... preferably someone that has experience with barefoot running.

By helping clients improve their running mechanics, I've seen people dramatically improve running distance, speed, and endurance while eliminating discomfort. There's no substitute for good technique.

That said, I recommend the Vibram 5 Fingers option. One client had a pair and LOVED them. I was impressed with how well they are made, and the mechanics are more friendly than the MBT option.

Jason Erickson

I agree with JasonE on both points...

First, get some videos/books/something on running technique. Find a local running clinic you can go to, to get some coaching. It will make a BIG difference. When I started learning Pose method and reading up on Chi running, it helped decrease a lot of pain I had been experiencing and also improved my running times.

Second, we have a number of students and trainers at my gym that use the Vibrams and swear by them. They are very minimal, but protect your feet. And definitely get the ones with the strap across the top.

Vivobarefoot (Terra Plana) do great 'soleless' shoes.

Scott Sonnon's rmax grappling shoes are great though its more like a leather sock, and hence will wear out much faster if walking or running on rough surfaces.

 Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to keep trying barefoot for now because it is cheaper and I like the feel of it. Those Terra Plana shoes look interesting though and I might invest in a pair to wear during the day at work.

Are the Vibram 5 finger shoes only good for warm weather/indoor running?

 Says on the site they are good for any type of running and weather. I guess you use the ones with the strap like people said for more strenuous running 

I like my MBTs o.k. for flat terrain, but have biffed every time trying to go over rocks and hills(could be my balance sucks, could be that they are like wearing a rocking chair on your foot). Plus they are $$$, I haven't really noticed difference in my running.

The Vibrams are good for all terrain and indoor/outdoor. I know someone who used them to run a 10K obstacle course this past weekend - mud, trails, obstacles, etc. - and swore they worked great. The people who use them at my gym use them indoors to lift and then run outside on the sidewalks with them. They're very durable.

So they would be good to use in -20 to -30 degree weather?

I'm in the army (Canadian) and a lot of the time during the winter they take us for runs outside in the cold.

^^^^^I don't think they would....

They're warmer than wearing sandals, but not by a great deal.

Yeah, your toes would probably get cold.

molsonman - So they would be good to use in -20 to -30 degree weather?

I'm in the army (Canadian) and a lot of the time during the winter they take us for runs outside in the cold.

In that weather, wear boots. And socks.

Vibram makes a new version that is the rubber lower with a neoprene upper.

Not warm but warmer than the canvas tops.

I have the one with the rubber lower and neoprene upper, its called the "Flow".

At -20 or -30 I still think they would be pretty cold though.

i guess i shouldn't knock until i try, but the MBT looks like a horrible idea