5 & 1/18 Secrets to Blistered Feet & Fouled Shoes Why I hate Vibram Five Fingers

  1. Double Bubble Blisters

    Vibrams will make your feet look as if they were dipped in hot lava. Monstrous, ugly

    A woman wears Vibram
    Image via Wikipedia

    oozing blisters burst like bubbles in cannibal stew.The shoes are  elegant black gardens for world class germs. Only infection can blossom in such foul ground.

  2. Hot Brewed Stench

    Vibrams can brew a wicked and unforgivable stench. It’s a funky and deeply disturbing odor. I like to imagine there is an organic exterminator who uses the Vibram fumes to kill weeds and maybe even as a replacement for “bug bomb” in a toxic tent.

  3. Sole Shock

    Vibrams do offer some minor arch support and the sole is relatively thick for a barefoot shoe. As a result, some runners still heel strike when they wear them. In fact, Oberman got a stress fracture from running with a heavy stride in Vibrams.

  4. Stupid as Blue Mountains

    The toe glove/squid mitten is dumb. The forced separation of the toes does nothing for your foot. It’s just a marketing gimmick–kind like those stupid Coors Cold Activated Bottles; even if the mountain’s are blue, you’re better off eating yellow snow.

  5. Shoe Struggles

    It took me 5 minutes to get the damned  things on my foot. Sandals take less than a minute and that includes a custom, gladiator style lace.

    5 & 1/18. Vibrams have too many pronunciations (eg vEEbrUM, vEEbrAM, v-EYE-brum, v-EYEbrAM. I’m sure there are others). Sandals have one.

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DIY Running Sandals / Authentic Barefoot Shoes

DIY Sandal
Do It Yourself Tarahumara / Ruramari

Have you ever wanted to make your own running shoes? Steven makes it easy with his step by step Tarahumara Running Sandal Kits. He shows you everything you need to know to build a custom running sandal.

If you’re not into DIY, Invisible Shoes will also cut and construct a custom shoe for you. You just trace your foot and mail them the template.

If you’re going to run in a barefoot shoe, but don’t want to spend too much money for a running sandal, I highly recommend Invisible Shoes.

BTW, you can use Steven’s  excellent instructional videos to make your own Tarahumara running sandals out of other materials. I built some out of cardboard, oven mitts, and an old doormat. I use the oven-mit sandals for treadmill running. (The cardboard sandals were a joke.)


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3 More Secrets to Joyful Barefoot Running

  1. Run on Soft, Level Terrain

    Running straight bare on concrete hammers your feet hard. If you start out this way, you’ll most likely suffer from top of foot pain, achilles aches, and plantar faccitis. Running barefoot on concrete is ADVANCED–but definitely something to strive for because you look so damn cool running barefoot on the black asphalt. It’s entertaining just to watch the puzzled expressions of onlookers. You also learn right way about the difference between children and adults. Usually children will ask you why you’re running barefoot. They want to understand you–to fit you into their world. Most other adults think they know where you belong in their tiny world. They say thing like, “Put on some shoes.” “You forgot your shoes.” or “You’ll ruin your feet.” There are a variety of comebacks for these remarks. I will cover them in my next podcast. But beginners should not have to worry too much about such comments because running barefoot on pavement is not for beginners.

    A nice run around the soft grass of a local park or baseball diamond can instantly reveal joys of barefoot running without stressing your feet too much. When running on grass, AVOID the PERIMETER, WHERE the GRASS MEETS THE ROAD. These places are treacherous for bare-footers. They are minefields of shattered glass, rusty screws, and dirty condoms. Seriously, you don’t want step any of that with naked feet. USUALLY, the interior grass is safer, but you should always be diligent when running barefoot on any surface.

    As the skin of sole thickens, you’ll be able to stomp over most road hazards with little risk. I’ve accidentally stepped on glass. To my surprise, my bare foot broke the glass and I was unharmed. I don’t recommend it, but the skin on the sole your foot is pretty damn tough.

    Running barefoot on concrete in rain also increases the chances of cuts. The rain drains the super protection of your sole by turning the hard skin into mush. The one serious cut I got was from running barefoot was in the rain. I stepped on a shard of clear glass. It was impossible to spot in the fat Oregon rain, which pops the instant it hits the ground–quite lovely in its own way. I was able to dig the shard of glass from my foot on the curb, but it did draw blood.

  2. Forefoot/MidFoot Strike, Soft Stride

    I have a collection of videos about the every so mystical barefoot stride. Watch them. Here are two keys to a good barefoot stride: First Key: forefoot/midfoot strike: You should NOT lead with your heal when running barefoot. Instead your forefoot should land first, followed by a soft tap of the heel. The Second Key: Soft Stride. You are ACTIVELY TRYING to DECREASE THE FORCE WITH WHICH YOUR FOOT HITS THE GROUND. Wearing a necklace will help you track your stride. I have written that in many posts because it’s so damn important. Speed will come later–and it will come. When you’re starting out, it’s better to go slow and soft.

  3. Use “Barefoot” Shoes

    Although Barefoot shoes are for experienced barefoot runners, they can help you. Barefoot shoes are great for trail runs. They give the feel of bare-footing with some protection and since the trail is usually soft, you don’t have as many impact driven issue as you do on concrete. But you still have to seek a soft stride and refrain from the deadly heel strike.

The Secret to Superhuman Feet Finally Revealed

Have you ever wished for steel feet?

Ballerinas have unlocked the secret to superhuman foot strength. Ballet is insanely hard on feet; dancers suffer the same types of repetitive foot and strain injuries that barefoot runners have to endure. Ballerinas also have to abide by strict schedules and rigorous training. Over the years they have developed a system of strengthening their feet to superhuman levels. Here are some of their secrets.

  1. Secret Ballet Foot Stretches

    Ballerina Foot Stretches.

  2. Esoteric Top of Foot and Toe Stretches

    Secret Stretch moves.

  3. The Occult Power of Ballerina Footwear

    Ballerina Flats are ideal for barefoot runners, they have all of the qualities of “barefoot shoes” without the nasty mark-up. They are also designed to mold to the your foot and are perfectly suited to running.

    The Samra Ballet Flat/Barefoot Running Shoe is particularly suited to barefoot running. Flats are slightly less breathable than some of the expensive barefoot shoes, but they work just as well and cost a heck of lot less.

  4. Sublime Energy of the Tutu

    There is a mysterious quality to fabric of the tutu. It is both opaque and transparent. If a man wears a tutu while he runs barefoot, it will make other drunken males want to chase him, thereby increasing his speed training. Plus, he’ll look absolutely fabulous whilst staying in shape.

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What Everybody Ought to Know about Barefoot Shoes

Did you know that Bare foot shoes are for ADVANCED BAREFOOT RUNNERS?

Nike, Tera Plana, and, heck, even Chris MacDougal won’t say that aloud. But it’s true. The fact is if you simply slap on some Vivo Barefoot Kalis and run as fast and as far as you normally do in traditional shoes, YOU WILL PROBABLY SEVERELY INJURE YOURSELF.

Just listen to what Barefoot Ted has to say to beginning barefoot runners:
“[Barefoot Running] is not good if you are thinking it is some sort of cure-all that only requires taking off your shoes and starting to run injury free without radical changes in the way you may have been thinking of running up to now. If your running strategy has been about very specific time or distance goals, and you have been willing to push through pain to injury, then I would caution you: your bare feet will not allow you to continue this way. ”

Besides the Ridiculous Name, What’s Wrong with “Barefoot Shoes”?

First Consider the Qualities of Barefoot Shoes:

  • ZERO arch support

    If you wear shoes, your arch is weak. Running improperly or properly without it will put stress on your arch. Too much stress means injury.

  • ZERO heel cushioning

    This means your foot hits flat, causing your Achilles tendon to stretch. Regular shoes baby your Achilles. If you put too much stress on your Achilles, it can SNAP leaving you in a world of misery: surgery, cast, and lots of physical therapy.

  • ZERO stability or motion control

    You will automatically pronate when you run without shoes–shoe padding has prevented you from pronating for as long as you have been running. Pronation is nature’s course, but when you start to pronate after years of “forced stability,” you’re knees and lower leg won’t be ready for it.


    Barefoot shoes allow your toes to splay. This helps with impact. But some of your bones may be stiff from lack of use, which can result in aches.

The problem isn’t barefoot shoes. It’s what they allow you to do: GO TOO FAR OR RUN TOO FAST. The protective sole on barefoot shoes allows you run further than you would in bare feet. Furthermore, the sole, no matter how thin does provide some cushioning. The minor cushioning prevents all the necessary feedback you need to correct your stride. It also tends make you want to run as fast as you did when you wore regular shoes.

I know the forums are lighting up with barefoot running injuries. In fact most of the hits to my blog are for barefoot running injuries. Why? Because when you take off your shoes, you magnify everything. The world comes alive, but so do your atrophied muscles, and stiff tendons and ligaments. If you just “run through the pain”, your feet run the pain through you. If you piss them off too much, they’ll put you on your back.

I love to run, hike, and be barefoot. Removing my shoes has opened me to a world of new experience. But even the majestic Redwood only adds one ring a year.

There is a time for shoes and a time to be bare. The Barefoot Running Gods Welcome all. They told me that WEARING TRADITIONAL SHOES IS NOT A SIN WHEN MAKING THE TRANSITION TO BAREFOOT RUNNING.


That said.

Let your Feet be the Judge

If barefoot shoes alleviate some of straight bare ills, by all means wear them. The ultimate goal is running safely and as comfortably as possible.

3 Robot Myths about Barefooting

Most Robots wear shoes because all of the other Robots wear them. The only sports that turn them human again are swimming, skim boarding/surfing, beach volley ball, and the like. Unfortunately, most Robots suffer from conformity programming: “imitate other robots”.

Here are three run-time myths that loop through the Robot mind.

  1. Going Barefoot Makes your Feet Stink.

    On the contrary, it eliminates foot odor. Your feet smell because shoes provide a party town for bacteria–warm, dark moist area with plenty of dead skin cells to feast on.

  2. Going Barefoot Means your Poor.

    The stigma of poverty and barefootedness is alive in some countries. But in America, it’s pretty much dead. Most homeless people wear shoes. In fact, in America barefooted people tend be better educated, healthier, and therefore wealthier than the Robots who think they’re poor.

  3. Going Barefoot Weakens your Arch.

    LOL. Shoes weaken your arch by providing a support for it. Going barefoot will strengthen it and completely reshape your feet so they look sexy. So, sexy that creepy dudes will ask you to stomp on grapes, watermelons, or other helpless produce. Probably the only drawback to being a barefooted. But, your feet will plenty strong enough to kick their ass; so, it’s really a benefit.

Are You a Gladiator or a Ninja?

In the Ludus of barefoot running two rivals emerge, the gladiator with his stylish sandals and the ninja with her sleek Vibram Five Fingers (or the host of similar shoes such as ZEM). Is one better than the other? Should they drench in the sands in blood to appease the Barefoot Running Gods?

A few weeks ago, I would have said that the Gladiator should fight the Ninja, outright. But blood seldom settles disputes well. So, I decided to take a less violent approach and considered the differences between Sandal Runners versus Five Finger Runners.

You’re a Gladiator Sandal Runner if you:

  • Like to tie your “shoes” differently every once in a while. Sandals allow for a host of different tying methods.
  • Like to have your feet in the open air. Much less fabric means better exposure to air.
  • Like or don’t mind people looking at you with confused or surprised expressions. There’s no doubt that running in sandals will draw a little attention to you.

You’re a Ninja Five Finger Runner if you:

  • Like to have a firm wrap and minor support around your foot as you run. Some people like the snug fit of Vibram Five fingers. One nice thing about the full foot wrap of Five Fingers is the way it prevents pebbles from getting wedged between the sole of your foot and the sole of the shoe.
  • Like to stomp over rough gravel, rocks, and other abrasive, hard objects with little fear of injury. The extra thick sole of Five Fingers allows for maximum protection when traveling over rough terrain.
  • Like to look more like a “regular” runner than a crazy barefoot runner. Vibrams look a bit more like traditional running shoes and tend to draw less attention than sandals.

When it comes down to it, it’s just a choice. Some people, like my lovely wife, are ninjas; others like her crazy husband are gladiators. It’s a matter of personal preference. Personally, I think sandals are much better than five fingers, but I already explained that in a video and in another post.

3 Ways Sandals Beat Vibrams

  1. Sandals let your feet breathe. Vibrams suffocate.

    Vibrams trap your foot inside fabric. Even though the fabric is lightweight and designed to let the air flow through it, it still overheats your foot and keeps moisture on it. Huaraches free your feet from the fabric prison, allowing them to breathe clean open air.

  2. Fewer blisters with Sandals

    Because Sandals have fewer points of contact with your skin, there is less potential for blisters. Vibrams fully encase your foot, the frequent contact with fabric and repetitive motion of running leads blisters all over your foot. I got one on the side of my foot, which got infected.

  3. Sandals cost less, can be repaired, and last longer

    Vibrams stink, they cannot be fixed if they rip. Sandals can be repaired easily. The materials also cost less and are much more earth friendly.

Barefoot Ted’s Luna’s Rule. I love them. The most comfortable “Shoe” I’ve ever worn. Make sure you get the “Leather Footbed”. You’ll be glad you did, less slippage, and very nice feel on your skin.

Invisible Shoes Seem pretty good too. I haven’t got a pair yet. But I did make my own sandals using similar materials and they worked great. These are much more cost effective alternative to Ted’s Sandals, which are pretty spendy.

Barefoot Running Tip:

Tie your sandals “Gladiator Style” or the “Traditional Tarahumara Way”. The slip on method of tying the sandals is great for walking around and short runs, but for running longer distances or for short sprints, it’s best to tie them up gladiator style. It makes a huge difference. The extra effort is worth it.