User Stories

Vibram Five Fingers to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

The forum is chock full of great information from the most passionate minimalist shoe fans around. Sometimes the stories are so compelling that they need to be published here on the main blog. Chris’s story is one of those. He has been…

The forum is chock full of great information from the most passionate minimalist shoe fans around. Sometimes the stories are so compelling that they need to be published here on the main blog. Chris’s story is one of those. He has been through quite a journey to lose weight and get in shape over the last few years and Vibram Five Fingers were a key component of his regimen.

Read Chris’s story and see pics of him today after the jump!

Hi everyone, my name is Chris…

I’ve lurked about this site for some time, at least since Summer 2009, reading reviews and making my decision on what pair to buy. Let me back up a bit… I should say that I was specifically interested in these shoes because of a comment my chiropractor made. See, I’ve always been a heavy kid, with exception of about two years I spent in the pacific northwest (Portland area), I’ve always been well above 300 pounds. I dropped down to about 220 in Portland with all the walking. Heck, I got to where I could even run a little. Fast forward about 7 years. I had just ended a really bad 5-year relationship and was topping the scales at 341 (Summer, when Jeep photo was taken). I decided that walking 5 mi. a day wasn’t enough to cut back on the weight loss… that and I couldn’t exceed the 5 mi. without ankle and knee discomfort. It doesn’t help that in ’99 I was slammed into at about 55mph by a speeding Expedition while I was at a dead stop in a beat up old Ford… my lower lumbar is compressed, or was..

Yeah, I was a fat guy. I mean, I graduated high school wearing a size 50-52… that was in 2001! I’d dropped down to a 38 by 2004, then gained it all back from stress and a nice southern sedentary lifestyle…

Here’s today, about 115-pounds lighter from the heaviest I recall (341) (under 227 in photo)

I like this pic because it shows off my parrot tattoo.

As what others have said before, I started out with VFFs and gradually worked up to walking my 5mi again over a 6-week period when I first got them. I never took the black/black KSOs off from June until about late November when the rains and cold weather made them too cold to contend with. But I still wore them to the gym. Black Friday 2009 was when I got serious about making a permenant life change. I was 322.8 lbs. that day. I’ve weighed in at a low of 221… so no matter how I cut it, I’ve lost 100 honest pounds. It was no small feat, and these shoes held up well. I bought my first KSOs in June ’09 and wore them until Feb or March 2010. I got a pair of KSOs to replace them (Orange/black) and a pair of black/black Classics. I now need to replace both pairs and will be buying a pair of Bikila’s to replace the KSOs and another pair of KSOs to replace the Classics… I just don’t find the classic that useful.

Since I’m on the subject of VFFs, is it normal to wear a hole on the left shoe if you drive a stick? I thought it was funny that the only reason the first pair of KSOs were retired — after many popped stitches, tears, the straps breaking off … we all know what the original hard used KSOs were like… that both pairs of replacements, in a years time, have holes in the same spot on the left shoe. This is partially why I am anxious to see if I get more than a year out of the Bikilas… that added padding around the ball is just what my clutch foot needs!

I also haven’t worn any other shoe (exceptions: dress shoes for a date, once, and my 17-year old pair of Timbertland Boots to the junk yard to scavenge for car parts — often but does not exceed 6 hours per visit once a week or so) since I’ve gotten these. I stand taller now — almost 6’4″ in “normal” shoes. My posture has improved and the last set of x-rays after another rear-end collision I was involved in (I can’t win, can I?) … showed that the cartilage between the lower lumbar had actually increased a little with the massive amount of weight loss.

I just ran 6.00 miles last night in 1h 4m. I felt it was slow, but it was also below 40F and I don’t do my best times in the cold I’ve noticed. I would like to do a 5K in under 25 minutes. My best so far has been 27 minutes and some change. I run 2-10 miles a day from spring to fall, 2 miles in the morning, 2-4 at lunch at work, and up to 6 at night (depending on how froggy I feel).

I’m 28 years old. I’ve never been able to run before in my life, but these shoes make me want to run. I enjoy it so much. Every aspect of my life has changed for the better because of these awesome and very minimal shoes. I’ve worked in IT for over a decade now (since I was 14). I’ve now been looking at some health and fitness education and going for a personal trainers certification. I currently host a work out session once a week with two friends and have encouraged 5 other coworkers to either try VFFs or to work out… 3/5 kept the VFFs and all 5 of them still work out. On Facebook I’ve motivated some of the guys from my various Volkswagen communities into losing up to 65 lbs.

Great story Chris! Losing 100 lbs. is an amazing accomplishment and it is really great that you are bringing others along for the ride. Thanks for sharing!

By Britt

Hailing from College Station, Texas (Home to Texas A&M!), I grew up running cross country. Believe it or not, I gave Justin the name for this site back in early 2009 but I didn't jump on the toe shoes bandwagon until a year later. I am also really into quadcopters and drones and have a blog called

13 replies on “Vibram Five Fingers to Lose Weight and Get in Shape”

Congratulations. That’s an awesome achievement, truly. Running is such a big part of my life and such a source of joy, health, and life, so it always makes me smile to see others find that. For me personally, the VFF part of the story is awesome but really just the icing on the cake. 🙂

I hope you’re suitably proud and loving all the ways your life has changed for the better. Congrats again.

Wow! I grew up in the Carolina beach and Wilmington area! It was awesome to see the sand dunes and ocean in your pics, but not as awesome as the weight loss! Kudos, and keep it up!

What an accomplishment! Congratulations for choosing health and vitality. VFFs make running fun and playful, but you still had to make wise food choices and put your VFFs on and head out the door. Kudos!

Congrats! Hey that hole you’re wearing in your vff’s is probably due to the fact that it’s your dominate foot. The one you tend to pivot on and use the most.

A Big Congratulation to u Chris on losing your weight from being 341. Your story was very good thank you for sharing it.I know it was alot of work and you did it.I like your black KSO & Classics i have 4 pairs of KSO i wear year round.I use to wear flip flop year round and now it KSO.My best friend or coworker”Truck Driver”is 6″4 and weight 380 with a 16-EEE in shoe and 15 in flip flop.He looking for a pairs of KSO to wear too.Question! What shoe size are you.Again to you Congratulation on your weight loss Chris and keep up the good work.

Thank you so much for your inspiring story! I have some VFFs and am trying to slowly increase my running mileage without getting the burning calves too much. Also working hard to lose weight.
Again, thank you so much for the inspiration!

That is an awesome story. You Should be so proud of yourself. The shoes are amazing and I know what you mean about not wanting to stop running, but your heart and determination got you through this as much as anything. Congrats!

Congratulations!!! Much of your story could be my own, except that I’m a woman and still in the midst of my weight loss journey. I hope that my husband will be inspired when I share this with him as is currently the twin to your beach picture. He wants to lose weight but is daunted by taking that first step…literally. I’ll share your story with him to show him that it is possible to make such a significant change. Thank you for the inspiration and great job on your hard work! It’s definitely paid off; you look great!!!

At a boy, Chris! I’m a 51 yr old now, and things are aging, but not according to those youngsters finishing races around me who can’t believe I am that old and I beat them. If you keep up what you are doing now, when you are 51, you will be able to look in the mirror and be proud. The possibility of premature disease and death will be statistically insignificant for you, and you will also look around and see how much older your friends look than you do! Keep it up, you are an inspiration.

This is motivation to me. I have always been heavy. I bought a pair of fivefingers last week and havent wanted to take them off. I cant wait for the weather to get better. I need to lose a large amount of weight (Ive gained around 60 lbs in three years since starting college). I literally feel myself WANTING to run in these shoes. I cant wait to get started!

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