My FiveFingers

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Running 3 Miles in FiveFingers

by Dan Hinckley » on Sep 26, 2010 4

I’ll admit that I didn’t think the impact of running barefoot would be so significant.  I’ve been running steadily for the past 6 months and was easily accomplishing distance of 10 to 12 miles with no lower leg soreness.  Apparently, I was letting my shoes do a lot of the work.

I ran three miles in my Vibram FiveFingers just the other day for the first time, and it was much more of a work out than I was expecting.  Training in FiveFingers is going to take more effort than just picking up right where I left off with my running shoes.  I felt great for about the first mile, but as I continued to run I started noticing tightness in my lower leg muscles just above my ankles.  Despite the tightness the run still felt great.  I completed all 3 miles and ran through all sorts of conditions.

One of the things I love most about running in Fivefingers is that you really get to feel the terrain you’re running on.  With shoes I feel the terrain in my ankles, not in my feet and its frustrating.  With shoes, I wouldn’t notice the slight adjustments in the ground until my ankle slightly twisted.  This isn’t a problem with FiveFingers as every pebble and twig is felt by my feet.  It seems that this extra feel is allowing my other muscles to adjust for the changes and I rarely feel any twist in my ankles.

I only had to stop once during my run.  I had run through tall grass and some of it broke off and got stuck between my toes.  I’ll admit that this is the first time I’ve stopped a run because the terrain was stuck in between my toes.  During the run my feet raced over concreate, asphalt, dirt, pebbles, a few rocks, tall grass, and twigs.  I was lucky enough to stay away from water and was able to keep my feet dry.  The best part about the 3 mile run in Vibram FiveFingers is that when it was finished the footwear still looked great and my feet were protected.

The Next Day

The next morning I noticed the tightness in my lower calf again.  It wasn’t too bad and I went about the day normally.  The rest of my feet and legs felt great and the tightness was only from muscles I clearly wasn’t using when I was running in shoes.   My ankles felt great and I expect them to continue to feel this way the day after runs.  Having sprained my ankle so much playing basketball I really pay attention to how strong they feel and how I’m strengthening them.

Since I didn’t hurt too bad, it won’t be long before I run another 3 miles.  After I get more comfortable with this distance in my FiveFingers I’ll start running further distances, and I’ll be sure to share here on

Submitted Comments

  1. Yo Dan,
    The reason for the your soreness from using 5fingers is the changes in your gait compared to using a traditional running shoe. With a traditional running shoe you have a strenuous heel strike, then midstance and push off. While running in the 5fingers, if you’ve noticed, you experience a more normal midsole strike, then push off. This softer midsole strike is what doctors/scientists are attributing to the lowering of knee and back pain while running in the 5fingers. I wont ever use traditional running shoes again. Viva Vibram!

  2. Dan says:

    Donald – thanks for the added information. I really appreciate it! I have noticed that I hit mid-sole when running in my 5s. Just hope I strengthen up quickly!

  3. Louise Scott says:

    Liked this helpful piece. I’m planning my first three mile run in my VFFs but not until after I complete a few races I have scheduled in September. Once they’re behing me I can start to experiment – looking forward to it.

  4. Alex says:

    I’m running 22km in my Vibrams on Sunday. I’ve been training in VFFs for about 3 or 4 months, doing a 10km a few times a week and a couple of 16km runs. Previously to running in VFFs I was doing 10-16km in traditional running shoes quite regularly, but with lots of hip and knee pain afterwards. Since the VFFs, none of that. Lots of foot and leg muscle soreness but that’s expected when you start using muscles you’ve never used before. Also some shin splints, but that’s my own fault for going too far, too fast. Keep it up Dan! You’ll be up to speed in no time, just pace yourself and don’t push too hard or you’ll be laid up for weeks and your VFFs won’t even get to leave the closet! Great article.

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