Recent studies have reviewed the pros and cons of running in the FiveFinger shoes and concluded that runners have better rates of success in form improvements with the FiveFingers than running barefoot. This suggests that runners new to forefoot running may benefit biomechanically more with the FiveFingers.
Why ALL Runners Should Run in the FiveFinger Shoes
Squardrone et al. (2009) found that the Vibram Five Fingers improved perception of ankle range of motion during both standing and running compared to running barefoot. Other reports found that the Vibram Five Fingers facilitated better ankle plantarflexion compared to barefoot running , suggesting that runners in the Five Fingers are just as able to avoid heel striking as barefoot runners.
These findings however, were met with skepticism, even outright disbelief, by habitual barefoot runners, simply because proprioceptive input, which can only be optimized when barefoot, is more extensive and more productive for refining biomechanics –proprioception also enhances perception of impact. Yet, the current study suggests that it is okay if proprioception is minimally blocked with a barefoot style minimalist shoe like the Vibram Five Fingers.
The Take Home Message
Remember, more cushioning you wear under your foot increases your risk of heel striking during running. Therefore, you need to run in a running shoe that encourages better biomechanics and such shoes are those that closely approximate running barefoot.
More From Run Forefoot:
Stay Minimal – If you are a midfoot striker, find out the shoes you need to wear.
The Achilles’ Job – Find out how the Achilles tendon creates a safer landing environment for forefoot runners.
Stride Safely – Understand how a longer stride may lose your ability to be an efficient runner.
Run Barefoot a Little More – Learn how running barefoot weeds out bad form habits for when you run in shoes.
. Squadrone R, Gallozzi C. Biomechanical and physiological comparison of barefoot and two shod conditions in experienced barefoot runners. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009; 49 (1): 6-13.
. Squadrone R, Gallozzi C. Effect of a ﬁve-toed minimal protection shoe on static and dynamic ankle position sense. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011; 51 (3): 401-408.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.