Here is the policy that our anonymous source forwarded us:

1. Situation. The popularity of Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) and other minimalist footwear for use as running footwear has reportedly skyrocketed in the past 12-18 months in both civilian and military populations due in large part to word-of-mouth promotion by advocates of barefoot/minimalist running, and effective marketing by Vibram and other footwear companies. Additionally, anecdotal information provided in various publications and/or web sites has suggested that barefoot and/or minimalist running is biometrically more sound than shod running. The sudden increase in the use of minimalist running shoes has prompted the United States Army Physical Fitness School (USAPFS ) to provide additional guidance as to the definition of “commercial running shoes” referenced in AR 670-1 paragraph 14-3, dated 03FEB2005. This interim guidance which is offered in accordance with AR 670-1, Paragraph 14-3 states that; “Commanders may authorize the wear of commercial running shoes with the PFU and IPFU. Commercial running shoes do not include mininalmist shoes, light weight track/road racing flats, racing spikes, toe shoes, or shoes that simulate barefoot running. Commanders and leaders at all levels will comply with AR 670-1, Paragraph 14-3.”

2. Mission. Effective upon receipt, all BOLC B and WOBC schools will update policy memorandums to reflect this interim guidance, and brief all students and cadre of the new change. This guidance will also be integrated into command briefs and/or policy letters for incoming students until such time as DCG IMT warrants guidance is no longer necessary.

Though we cannot attest to the accuracy of this information, we doubt it is a hoax. Here is what our tipster told us when we expressed our amazement:

You read it correctly. To further clarify though – this policy only affects TRADOC (Training & Doctrine Command) which is where all Soldiers attend basic training and officer basic courses. However, the tone of the policy indicates that an Army-wide policy is forthcoming banning ALL “minimalist” shoes.

What do you think about these new restrictions?