Guest post by Brett Stewart of TRI PHX
Vibram Five Fingers (VFF's) are dear to a great deal of barefoot enthusiast's hearts; they allow us to run, walk and train in conditions that might be too rough for our little tootsies. They also allow us to be "barefoot" out in public — at restaurants, shops, and even our offices (well, mine at least).
The freedom of your toes in Vibram Five Fingers is one of the greatest feelings, but it can also cause problems for roughly 10% of the feet in the world. It comes to be that 13.8 million feet have what's affectionately (OK, medically) known as Morton's Toe. My mom called it a "sign of intelligence," but I just say it's when Piggy #2 is longer than his big brother (Your big toe is shorter than your second toe).
VFF's are made for the other 13.75 Billion (with a B) feet out there with the more traditional shape; so what's a guy to do with feet like mine?
Modify your Vibram Five Fingers by stretching the second toe!
Here's how. It all starts with a vise and a bungee cord. I clamp the 2nd "finger" in the vise and stretch it as far as I can like this:
Next, I have to persuade the rubber with a little bit of heat. I used a grill lighter so I didn't burn my actual fingers. I found that warming the entire area from the toe pad to the forefoot pad allowed for an even stretch.
NOTE: Be really careful not to melt the fabric on the toe! It is very flammable, and you will mess the toe up pretty good if the flame hits it. Heat up the rubber slowly and take your time. I did this step 2x on each shoe and heated for about 30 seconds each time, stretching 'em even further by hand and then repeating:
After cooling, phalanges pocket #2 should be a bit longer; continue until you have the desired fit.
Voila! you've got custom-fitted Vibram Five Fingers for Morton's Toe!
About the Mod Author —
You can find Brett Stewart over at TRI PHX blogging fitness (Check out this barefoot circuit!). I originally saw Brett's Morton's Toe mod at his post here and asked him if he'd share the mod on BirthdayShoes and he graciously agreed!