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From Shoes to Unshod, and My Love Affair with FiveFingers in Between (Part 2.5)

by Christine Skelly » on Apr 11, 2011 0

This is part 2.5 in a series on transitioning to barefoot running by Christine Skelly.  You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

The summer I had my first pair of VFFs, I walked very strangely indeed.

With the knowledge that my feet were supposed to land on their pads, I began to walk far too intentionally with my feet-pads and always had my heels off the ground: a gimpy ballerina, or a barefoot walker trying far too hard. I could not get over my quickly toned legs that formed solid muscle over two weeks of VFF wearing and infrequent running. Who wouldn’t want toned legs without squats and lunges? Sign me up! I was subscribed to the FiveFingers lifestyle, hooked and never to return to the way of wearing cement blocks on my feet.

The first run in them is something that must be told of. Must be documented! If anyone wants proof of the power of FiveFingers, you should take a pair and run as hard as you can, and run with long strides.

Running at full power in my Sprints surpassed almost any physical feeling, especially related to exercise. It was weightlessness, and I can relate it to nothing less than flight.

And usually you are tired after this sort of thing, you just ran your full power you would of course be depleted. But on my first run with my Sprints I was doing a standard light run (15 minutes at the most recall) and 3 minutes in did this. I not only went on to complete a full 18 minute run, I did not even experience being winded until I was in the final minutes of my run on the way home.

Yes, they were a brilliant running shoe, yes they also improved my posture and increased my height by a half inch (all the way up to 5 foot 5 and 3/4!) but also helped some serious back pain I had due to a minor work injury hauling  heavy paddle-boats. At time the pain was so bad, the first few days I literally walked hunched in order to avoid straightening my back for the pinpricks in my lower lumbar region. When my back finally began to recover, it would often hurt violently when I was walking to and fro on the cement boardwalk in my flip flops (since I had begun to leave my VFFs at home to avoid them getting grimy from sand). Every step hurt my back more. And when I tried switching back to my Sprints, the pain left almost immediately. My back felt fine most of the time when I wore my VFFs and eventually recovered on its own.

It is as simple as that.

And so I was hooked that summer, feeling like Hermes in my shoes that gave me wings, I kept a physique fitting for my beach job, and couldn’t let enough people know about the shoes that eliminated the back pain that would make most people summon their chiropractor. All natural.


Now how does this size up to actually taking the plunge and running barefoot? The results are surprising and not for the faint of heart. I will reveal all in my next post.

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