FiveFingers are terrible?

I came across this yesterday. FiveFingers are apparently terrible and need to go away in 2013. Now, I think the author was joking to a large degree. Cord Jefferson’s mention of owning a pair of skinny jeans himself and still wearing them is a smirk at h…

I came across this yesterday. FiveFingers are apparently terrible and need to go away in 2013. Now, I think the author was joking to a large degree. Cord Jefferson’s mention of owning a pair of skinny jeans himself and still wearing them is a smirk at himself and his whole premise. He’s just blurting out what comes to mind. You can tell when a web writer is feeling lazy or dry for topics when the whole article is a list.

I’m not criticizing lists by any means — is one of my favorite timesuck websites. I’m just saying take it with a grain of salt because we all blurt. Hearing something like “I’ll kill myself if I hear one more person say YOLO” is as common — and as annoying — as actually saying “YOLO.” It’s hyperbole, don’t take it too seriously.

Aside from that, why do you care what anyone thinks of your clothing? Much less a stranger on the internet. But let’s say the author was being serious and/or malicious. Let’s say that even though you don’t know this person, do know his criticism is offhand and petty, and you still can’t let it go.

I say to you: take solace in Crocs. Yes, Crocs. Probably the most criticized and mocked shoe in my lifetime. Most commonly: they’re worn by people who’ve given up on life or themselves, people who want to gurantee they’ll never get laid, and so forth. The usual weird cheap shots. “But they’re comfortable!” just makes critics laugh more.

Crocs started showing up back in 2002 and really took off around 2006. They’ve became a punchline for comedians and showed up on critical lists like the Gawker one very soon thereafter. The plastic clogs are still pretty popular, though you may see less of the original spa-shoe style these days since Crocs has branched out. Some even use them for minimalist running, with some minor modifications. The haters still comment, whether out of that petty obsession with others’ choices, jealousy at the company’s success and continued popularity, boredom, a desire to stir the pot (I’m guilty of this quite often), or (least likely) out of some kind of sincere and valid rage.

But Crocs are still here. They may have had a slightly disappointing quarter recently — only $220 million or so — but they’re still here. I’ll take a “disappointment” like that any day.

FiveFingers are still going to be here in 2013 and beyond. Some owners of FiveFingers acknowledge that the shoes look bad or at least kind of silly to folks who haven’t tried them. Though I personally think they look great. I wouldn’t have 6 pairs if it was a strictly utilitarian thing. But anyway… it’s not really about that and never was. It’s about comfort, yes, but very often something deeper, too. In my case it’s about a doctor and others telling me I’m too big and too damaged to run anymore. And yet I could, did, and continue to do so by transitioning to minimalist footwear. That’s what matters most to me.

I’m mostly debating with myself here because I do think the author was mostly just playing around, even if he actually does dislike FiveFingers with any sort of real intensity. The only thing I took issue with was the angle of his jab: “What happens when you accidentally step in a pile of puke with these nightmares on your feet?”

Does this happen to any of you out there in Birthday Shoes land? Y’all must live way more interesting lives than I because piles of puke aren’t a major hazard in my day to day. Dog poop, yes. Granted, it is pretty gross when it happens. The answer is the washing machine. And let’s face it, they probably already needed a wash because of other odors anyway.

By Greg

Greg is a runner, CrossFitter, trainer, and self-proclaimed geek. He also blogs on [url=]intellectual engagement, fitness, nutrition, and more at[/url] and [url=]writes fiction over at[/url].

13 replies on “FiveFingers are terrible?”

What do you do with ANY shoes when you step into a puddle of puke? At least you can throw your VFFs into the washing machine to get them clean again.

Also, maybe I’m just living a sheltered life, but I don’t think puke puddles are a particularly common problem to begin with.

That said, don’t take anything Cracked says more serious than you would a news report from The Onion. 🙂

And also, hey – even if it were serious, who’d care? We wear toe shoes because we like them. What anyone else thinks about them is entirely irrelevant.

The answer to the question of “what do you do if you step in XYZ” is exactly what you mention – throw them in the washing machine. I have people asking me about my shoes all the time. Some people clearly think they are silly. Most people question how someone can comfortably wear something that separates the toes. A few mention that because of the lack of arch support, they could never wear such a thing with their flat feet.

But there is a percentage who is really intrigued, wants to know where to buy them locally, and is very positive about them. And the fact that I can just throw them in the washing machine to make them sparkly clean again frequently gets nods of approval.

@Derpy – You summed up my thoughts much better than I did. Brevity is not my strong point!

@Kirk – I thought they were silly at first, too. Till I tried them. Now here I am, writing for a minimalist website. I definitely drank the flavor-aid.

The worst thing i have yet got between my toes is WATER. Ohh, isn’t that soooooo gross. 😛 that is unless you count my fingers. 😛
Anyway, that sort of thing is not that likely to happen.

I am a nurse and VFF’s are the new Crocs in our hospital! I have worn my Treks for a year now and people vomit in the ER a lot. I have never stepped in vomit though. Not in 5 years of nursing, never have I ever stepped in vomit. I do this thing where I look where I am walking, while I am walking. Also why would wearing VFF’S cause someone to clean vomit off anything with their bare hands?

Kirk, I was diagnosed with fallen arches 27 years ago and used to get shin splints like crazy, as a result. So, for the next 25 years, every year or so, I’d get a new pair of prescription orthotics. Recently, insurance companies stopped paying for them, so they’d cost me about $500/year. About four years ago, I started experiencing a lot of pain in my feet, and as long as I ‘ve been wearing orthotics, I’ve had limited range of motion in my feet. Orthotics are made to limit how much your foot moves, after all. So, I changed podiatrists. My new one was younger, and better educated …well, more recently educated, than the former one. He recommended I get a pair of VFFs and slowly work into them, since they would be a drastic difference from my years of wearing orthotics.

Indeed, it took me about two weeks to get used to them, and for that duration, my feet were exhausted! I discovered that this was because I had not been using all those muscles for years! Fast forward to now, and my shin splints have not returned, and I’ve switched to wearing VFFs (or going completely barefoot) all the time!

I now believe that the shin splints were caused by having footwear with an elevated heel, and that the orthotics just facilitated wearing such horrible footwear. I will never again wear any shoe that does not have a zero drop heel. The difference is immense. In addition, if I can help it, I will never again wear anything other than a pair of VFFs. My toes and feet are stronger than they’ve ever been and I have better balance than I’ve had in years, thanks to the increased proprioception afforded by the inherent design of my KSOs (sooo looking foward to trying a pair of EL-X)!

Ravi, so true! I frequently get people asking me what happens if someone steps on my toes. My answer is “same thing that would happen if someone stepped on your toes”. Few shoes offer much protection against getting your toes stepped on. The only issue I’ve encountered with VFFs is that when walking in tall grass/weeds, they get stuck between my toes. But, after enough of them get stuck there, the problem solves itself! 😀

@M – I hear ya about walking in the weeds. During spring my KSO treks pluck up flowers all the time – but hey, all part of “Spring Fashion”. Note:Yellow dandelions coordinate perfectly w/the Vibram logo!
It’s great to hear that the VFFs have helped w/your foot problems; that’s also why I switched over. I too had an orthotic pair that definitely worsened my circulation + strained my shins.
Of course I completely rolled my eyes at VFFs when I first saw them. I judged + denigrated them as some novel fad. Now? I am PROUD that my coworkers refer to me as “Monkey Toes”!

You know, that pile of puke comment does have a bit of merit. I wear VFFs almost exclusively… including when I take my dog to the dog park and let me tell you that there are few things more disgusting that feeling dog poop squeeze up between your toes. Of course, I only had to learn that lesson once. I watch like a hawk when I’m walking around the DP now.

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