Why We Chose The Vibram Five Fingers V-Alpha Shoes: Barefoot benefits, sensory feedback, lightweight.
Right, OK, we know. They do look a little odd, and they can generate a reaction along the lines of ‘what the hell are you wearing’, but just hear us out on these, because we think they’re really good.
These are shoes designed for people who want a more natural run. They have a zero drop, tiny stack height of just 5mm, low cushioning and of course that glove-like design, all of which combine to give your feet a sensory perception and dexterity akin to running barefoot with the added bonus of skin protection and grip.
“Vibram, in case you haven’t heard of them, are probably the arguably the best regarded shoe sole maker in the world”
Vibram, in case you haven’t heard of them, are arguably the best regarded shoe sole makers in the world, with their ultra grippy compounds used by some of the biggest brands and across all different sports. As of 2007 they moved away from being just an ‘ingredient’ brand and started selling a new ‘out there’ take on a shoe called ‘Five Fingers which quickly emerged as one of the go-to choices for barefoot enthusiasts. This, the V-Alpha, is one of the latest evolutions of that original design.
Vibram Five Finger shoes are commonly praised by people for improving their running style. It encourages a midfoot strike rather than a heel-to-toe strike which you tend to get from normal running shoes, and the benefit of this can be less strain on the hips and lower back.
An interesting report from the University of Northumbria states that habitual barefoot runners use “mid-foot landings, shorter stride lengths, faster stride rates, and less time in contact with the ground”. It also states that these runners “hit the ground with lower impact force and loading rates than runners who land on the rear foot in trainers”.