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6 Reasons to Love Free Feet (And Not Miss Shoes)

by Christine Skelly » on Aug 01, 2011 7

I don’t miss shoes.

When I step into a pair of freeing FiveFingers, I don’t miss shoes at all. I find that I miss feelings associated with shoes, often feelings that are social external feelings of approval instead of self generated feelings of approval.

So why do I still pine for others to compliment me on a new pair of kicks when they regularly kick my butt by the end of the day? Why do I wish for trendy styles when I am spending on style multiple times a year only to lose interest months later?

My FiveFingers have solved many of these problems that regular shoe wearers do not even notice. These ideas are cobwebs in the attic of their mind and are not bothersome, thus do not need to be swept.

1) I Don’t Miss the Pain.

I don’t miss the back pain, the knee aches, the rolled ankles, popping ankles, or shoulder pain due to my poor posture while holding a shoulder bag or backpack. If my posture is affected with even ½ inch of a heel, women have little hope for correct posture if they hope to follow any sort of mainstream fashion, especially in dressy settings. Well take away the heel, but if your sole is still ½ inch then your weight is not properly distributed by your foot and you still rest on your heels killing your posture. FiveFingers counter this in every possible way of course, and even if this was their only benefit, I would extol them to no end, but they do so much more.

2) I Don’t Miss the Cost

New, New, NEW! Our commercial world wants you to be constantly buying because there is always something new you may be missing out on, which translates to heartache, and wallet-ache. Buying new all of the time is worse than high priced, it is a vicious cycle, and getting a pair of shoes that covers almost every possible use cuts cost while retaining comfort and I could not be more pleased.

3) I Don’t Miss the Competition

”Oh my goodness, I just got these beautiful heels, they’re so much better than my old ones!” Are they really better? No. Are your brand new, 5 inch heels still going to be so cute when they hurt your back? I don’t miss the fashion competition. FiveFingers are completely outside of the realm of fashion and are so intriguing visually that they grab attention everywhere they go, and in my experience many women love how they look, especially older women for some reason.

4) I Don’t Miss the Cramped Conditions

While I always liked shoes tight against my feet, it never compared to how free FiveFingers felt, especially after my toes and feet became stronger and were no longer cramped and confined. Wiggling toes always amuse people who have never seen FiveFingers, and my Sprints are especially good for this, being lighter and feeling truly like a second skin instead of a clunky shoe.

5) I Don’t Miss Single Use Shoes

FiveFingers finally won me over for how many purposes they had and thus how many types of shoes they eliminated. Sandals, running sneakers, casual walking around shoes, cute everyday shoes, water shoes, and the list of course goes on. It might be cultural that shoes have become single use objects that are overly specialized and thus almost not useful at all except when the planets align correctly. I enjoy knowing that 1 pair of “shoes” will save me from buying 5 other pairs of shoes that I normally would have felt an impulse to purchase.

6) I Don’t Miss the “Gross Feet”

I know several people who don’t like feet. “What about them?” I ask and they just say they’re “gross”. I don’t really understand how a body part itself can be inherently negative, because now I love my feet and legs and they’re strength. But I can understand where colleagues are coming from, perhaps if you think of how often shoes will causes corns and bunions, and warts that must be removed or left to irritate it’s landlord. I can understand how sweaty, even smelly feet might be gross, but I am still of the mind that the body sweats- it happens people. It’s basic anatomy. So I can understand why people often don’t like these feet features, and I am all too glad to leave them behind in lieu of better and brighter foot endeavors.

There are of course several other everyday reasons to be glad for the FiveFinger conversion, and it is difficult to convey how much FiveFingers can positively influence your life to others who just think they have high arches and thus can never go barefoot. I have to restrain myself in these situations, not only from eye-rolling strongly, but stepping up on my soapbox and telling them just how bad their arches are because of their shoes. In any case, the change is one that can only improve and be made with those who have open minds, and I am glad to share this space with others who took the plunge.

Do you miss anything about old shoes? Any shoes you feel you must hold onto or are you able to leave the shoe culture completely behind? If so, share! And if not, let us know too. We just want to hear from you.


  1. Robinson

    August 01st, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I switched to running in VFFs (and wearing them when not at work) at the beginning of the year. 5 weeks ago, I bought a pair of black treks (they blend in with dress pants), and wear nothing but VFFs now.

    And no, I don’t miss regular shoes AT ALL!


  2. Brian

    August 01st, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Great post – I still have to wear fancy dress shoes to work from time-to-time and they absolutely kill me. I would love to go barefoot & VFF 100% of the time, but for now I do it as much as possible (~70%)


  3. Melanie

    August 01st, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I can’t yet give up my flip flops or my trail sneakers. The flip flops are because sometimes it is hot and my feet just desperately need to breathe, and the trail sneakers are, interestingly, to protect the TOPS of my feet, as well as the ankle bone, from injuries caused by being kicked or stepped on my my dogs. My dumb puppy broke my ankle a few weeks ago – yes, that’s right, BROKE my ANKLE when he was about to run into the street and I stuck my leg out to stop him, and his knee struck my ankle bone. CRACK. Also, when retrieving, they love to run right up to me and press the object into my hands, incidentally stepping on my feet in the process.

    I’m getting pretty good at dodging their paws, and usually I will wear my VFFs on hikes anyway and scoff at the danger, but sometimes I am just not in the mood. There are other times when it’s just too dangerous not t have protection on my feet, too, like when moving (dropping stuff) or playing basketball (getting stepped on by guys wearing sneakers).

    I wish Vibram would invent a fivefinger design with a thick, tough, padded canvas upper. There would be some break-in, sure, but it’s a small price to pay IMO for the impunity to wear VFFs in more borderline scenarios.


    • john

      August 01st, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      @melanie “I wish vibram would invent a fivefinger design with a thick, tough, padded canvas upper.” haha, aren’t those called shoes? Your dogs sound huge. I remember walking my father in law’s dogs (a doberman\pitbull mix, and a rottweiler) and those dogs would drag me around and I’m 6’2″ 240lbs! But, anyways, I got my VFF’s a couple weeks ago and I’m already running in them several miles a day and I love em. Very comfortable, and it only took me a day or so to get used to having no padding under my feet.


      • Melanie

        August 02nd, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Nope, because “shoes” also come with a thick sole and a solid toe box. I want the best of both worlds!

        The dogs aren’t so much large as enthusiastic. A 60-pound dog exerts a lot more than 60 pounds of force when it is using your foot as a bumper brake at 30 MPH. They’re belgian shepherds… I dealt with the pulling problem by buying an attachment so they could pull me on my bicycle!


  4. Marianne

    March 20th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    sighs… I’ve always been more comfortable barefoot even as a child. Walking with unmatched socks coming out of my feet… of just barefoot with really cold feet. I’ve often removed my shoes while walking in the city because I had blisters (from every shoes!) and walking barefoot makes my whole body feel better. But I always loved shoes… especially Boots. So, as clothing/object/accessories, I have a collection of DrMartens! Ah!… I love them… I also love wearing fuzzy slippers especially if they have fur and big eyes… when I’m cold in the house… or thick toe socks ;o). But, because I LOVE using my toes for so many reason and I love to be able to walk all over “barefoot”. They could be my only footwear… maybe except in Winter or at work where they decided recently that my “shoes”… they didn’t like …. I feel they’re going to see my most outrageous DrMartens more often!! *evil grin* ;o)


  5. Susan Fry

    March 03rd, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I always kick off my shoes at any moment possible, so I am about to leave and buy a pair of vibrams so I don’t have to! In S. New Mexico, the tar on the streets boils in the summer! I have already gotten rid of all the dress shoes, etc. BUT i ride a Harley everywhere I go, and sometimes I am welding or working outdoors with heavy sharp things! I started wondering about the style of vibrams with over the ankle protection for the bike (thought my subculture may shun me!! lol). A couple of years ago I had a wreck and nearly tore my foot off rolling a 700 pound motorcycle over it as I dragged it across the gravel at speed. My husband maintains that my heavy boots were the only thing that saved me, but I sometimes think a lighter more flexible shoe would have let me roll with it and saved some of my tendons. My husband says I would have ground all the skin off my feet as I did much of my body! Hopefully no more wrecks! Obviously I see kids around here riding their bikes in flipflops… now that makes me shudder. Anybody think a Vibram is ok for a riding boot? I’m curious.


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