Vibram shoes are amazingly versatile. My husband owns the Vibram FiveFingers Trek Sport. I feel like the individual toe glove concept is…off putting (is that the word I’m looking for?). Getting each toe into these foot gloves takes too long for my taste, so I opted for the New Balance Minimus with Vibram sole, which have a more traditional look. We brought these shoes with us on a trip to Kauai and they were awesome!
The value of Vibram shoes is that they combine an old-school water sock with a tennis shoe creating an all-terrain foot vehicle. In Kauai, I went from kayaking were my shoes got wet, to hiking a rainforest where other hiker’s water socks were sucked off in the mud. Navigating a wet, overgrown, uphill trail during a tropical rain was a breeze. My husband and I never slipped due to the incredible traction of the tred and the flexible soles that allowed our feet to mold to the roots and rocks we were climbing.
Our Vibrams also allowed us to explore sharp, lava rock tidepools and walk off a rocky beach to snorkel without having to worry about cutting our feet underwater. These shoes are perfect for swimming in; it is almost like being barefoot. Everyone around me seemed to be cautiously wading, slipping or taking their shoes on and off for terrain changes. The ease with which we gracefully participated in these activities almost made me feel like I was half crocodile, half wonder woman.
Vibrams are marketed as a shoe that employs all the foot muscles that are immobilized by the constrictive sole of regular running shoes. There are different Vibrams for running or outdoor sport treking. These shoes should not be worn for jogging or sports (cardio classes, basketball, etc) because there is no impact absorption. Hitting a hard surface with no cushion is going to put undue stress on the ankle and knee joints and is a common cause of shin splints. This outweighs the benefits of the foot getting exercise. Running in Vibrams on a beach or a rubber running track, which is softer than asphalt or concrete, would be appropriate. Vibrams would not be my recommendation for a running shoe unless the person is a sophisticated runner. (They are more of a sprinting shoe.) If you don’t wear shoes inside your house, you probably spend enough time barefoot. Checkout Foot Exercises under Categories in the right hand column for more info on how to exercise your feet.
I highly recommend Vibram shoes to any outdoor adventurer who will encounter terrain changes. If you have a vacation planned with a lot of outdoor activities, Vibrams have the added bonus of being super lightweight to pack and two pairs took up the same amount of room in the suitcase as one pair of tennis shoes. They are available for just under a hundred bucks at any sports store. I got mine in the BP section at Nordstrom.
You made our trip one I will never forget.