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Five Fingers in the Gym

by Tyler Hurst » on Feb 10, 2011 4

As part of my quest to get in better shape, I’ve found that running helps build stronger legs, strengthens my feet and gives me something to do when I’m bored. What long distance running doesn’t do much of is help me lose weight, build muscle all over my body and increase peak cardiovascular endurance.

So when Pro Fitness AZ offered me a chance to compete in their Body Fat Reduction Challenge, my Five Fingers and I jumped at the chance. Some people will tell you that wearing Five Fingers around weights and other objects is somehow dangerous, but they are full of crap. Here are some things I’ve learned both about myself and my Five Fingers since I started training two weeks ago:

Photo by Carl Cox

1. Footwork matters. A lot.
Every Tuesday and Thursday is spent with boxing gloves on, as I do my best Glass Joe impression against my trainer Vin’s pads. The more I swing and slap his pads, the more I realize my footwork isn’t quite right. Vin is working with me to correct it (front foot pointed straight, back foot perpendicular) and because I’m able to feel to ground, it’s easier for me to know when I’m doing it wrong.

2. Pain is an indicator
Most coaches always told me to play through pain, but not through injury. Problem was, pain was usually a sign of an injury about to happen, which made it hard to understand what the hell they were talking about. I can very quickly tell if the weight I’m supposed to lift is too much by how my feet feel on the ground when I’m wearing Five Fingers. Instead of the cushion masking the pressure, the lack of it allows me to make micro adjustments on the fly, too.

3. You’re not going to drop a weight on your toes

Okay, maybe you might drop a weight on your toes, but I guarantee no tennis shoe in the world (except for some seriously hardcore actual tennis shoes with Kevlar-reinforced toe guards) is going to protect your foot any better than Five Fingers. Go try it and let me know.

4. My ankles and knees no longer hurt

Squats and lunges used to be killer on the joints in my legs. I always thought it was because I was lifting too much, but now I know it’s likely that my feet weren’t situated correctly and I had no way of feeling it. Five Fingers definitely solved that problem.

5. Five Fingers start conversations
Seldom do I walk into a room and not have someone ask me about my Five Fingers. I love meeting people, sharing workout tips or even joining running clubs. If you’re the type that at at all struggles at starting conversations, wear your Five Fingers to the gym and enjoy the glances from strangers and the knowing nods from other Five Finger wearers. It’s good to be welcomed.

Do you wear Five Fingers when you work out?


  1. Steve Dinn

    February 10th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I just wore them to my local gym, and somehow unsurprisingly, somebody said to me, “I wouldn’t want to drop something on my feet in those shoes”. That is the comment that I *always* hear. I completely agree with the notion that no shoe that anybody else is wearing is going to make dropping a weight on their foot any easier to take.

    I’ve just started using them for running (my calves are screaming at me right now!), but they are great for my main workout, which is using kettlebells. In the summer, I would do my workouts outside while barefoot, but in the basement where my bells are currently, it’s FREEZING! The VFFs make the floor tolerable.


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    February 15th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I dont have fivefingers yet. But I would like to buy one soon.


  4. Emily

    September 29th, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Which ViBRAM fiveFingers are good for the gym?


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