Richard explained perfectly (by the way Richard, I hope I don't look like a dude on my picture with all that hair, I am not a "He" and never was ). For the "relax your lower leg" part, I mean that we tend to use our lower leg too much in the beginning. We contract it every which way for no reason and push off with the foot rather than the hamtrings and glutes. The lower leg should not participate in anything but absorption of impact. I think of it as almost an artificial leg with shock absorbers that's just there so I don't run on my knees. I know it sounds weird, but it makes a big difference when you consciously relax the lower leg so it does not participate in the propulsion. Let it do its bouncy job all by itself by concentrating on relaxing everything under the knee. I hope it makes a little sense.
Pain in that area usually means you are not using your heels enough. Land with your whole foot instead of just on the front so your calf does not work so hard. Also, make sure to not lean forward when running. Stand straight and land right below your pelvis with short bouncy elastic strides. Relax your lower leg, dont use it for propulsion, only absorption.
Running injuries in Vff's are not the result of lack of padding so much as bad form (or form not adapted to minimalist shoes) and not transitioning gradually enough. I hurt myself a little in the beginning, because even though I thought I had been gradual with my transition, apparently not enough. And even years after starting, before going on whole day hikes I had to build up my soles' resistance even more, or I would have ended up with the same issue as you did. Minimalist shoes don't forgive, you have to remain constantly vigilant.
Wow, I can't believe someone actually found time and energy to start a lawsuit about this. Incredible. So it's true what I was reading on an other web site (a vet's website) that said that even robbers can sue you if they slip and fall while robbing your house in the US. If Vibram's marketing is considered misleading, there are many more other products that are way more misleading for sure. Well that sure won't keep me away from my Vff's, I think I want even more pairs like UberC5. Those shoes alerted me to something I should have realized myself many years ago: that my feet can adapt much better to the work I give them than thick shoes, and that they cannot possibly perform at their best when restricted. They allowed me to run again, get rid of huge orthotics and develop calves I can finally like.
I have used both Treksports and Flows in waterfalls and in-river trails (like the Narrows in Utah) and they both performed really well. Flows have a little bit better traction in wet environments while Treksports have better protection from sharp rocks. But I would use any of them in any water trail.
I don't particularly land on my forefoot when not running, but it does not prevent from wearing Vff's or uncushioned shoes. Unless you are pounding your heels on the ground, you'll be fine. I walked around for many hours and hiked all day in fivefingers with no issues, they are not just for running. However, Lems have a bit of cushion if your feet are particularly tender.
Hey, just got the Alitza, Grey/Rose/Purple, so 21 Vff's, 8 other minimalist pairs.
All Vff models and colors are indicated in my signature, but not the other minimalists': the Stems are light grey, Lems are black, Evo II are the Navy Blue, Off Road Hi in Olive, Boxing Boot in Brown, Lucy Lite Crimson, Konvines are grey animal print and khaki camo.