Vibram 5 Fingers Saved My Marriage

by Greg Vander Werff –SLRC Employee

Okay the title of this entry is a lie. Vibram did not save my marriage or fix my kids stutter or cure my fathers prostate cancer. It’s just a shoe and not even really that, and guess what? I like them. A lot.

I read the book “Born to Run” in May of 2009.  I loved the story of the Tarahumara, Caballo Blanco, and sandals made out of leather strapping and old tires.  I was inspired by a people that can run ridiculous amounts of mileage on a diet of mice and pinole.  I was jealous that they are lean and strong without the use of a heart rate monitor.  I bought into the hype.  I wanted the Vibrams and I wanted them now, so did the rest of America. I simply couldn’t get them.  Demand far exceeded the supply and I was out of luck.  Fast forward to Jan 2010. Salt Lake Running Co got our first shipment of Vibrams in and I was told this shipment was for customers only (the customer really does come first), I was lucky enough that about 10 days later a pair arrived for me via special order.

I had waited for this shoe for 8 months and in the process of waiting something happened. I lost some of that initial excitement. This is the best thing that could have happened.  When I finally put those funny looking things on my feet and headed to Liberty Park for a run on the bark chip path nothing miraculous happened, just a good hard run.  I felt muscles working that don’t usually get worked, my abs, butt and calves were sore.

The next day I ran in my regular running shoes and felt a little more self aware of my posture. I ran well and felt great although a bit stiff.  Over the next few weeks I continued this routine. Vibrams on weekend runs regular shoes the rest of week.  I started using my Vibrams during my weight lifting workouts and again that funny looking pair of shoes made me aware of my posture and I made the correction. My Grandma suddenly comes to mind, “Gregory dear. Sit up, stop slouching.” She always smelled like Postum and hard candy. She lived to be almost 90 and never slouched.

I’ve had the Vibrams for almost 3 months now and I really like them. I use them for body awareness and to work all the little stabilizing muscles I’ve neglected over the years.  I still do most of my running in my regular running shoes and I feel I can tolerate more due to my work in the Vibrams.

If you are interested in a product that is very different from others on the market consider the Vibram Five Fingers.  I’ve used them reasonably and they have become one of my favorite workout tools, my reward shoe in a park or on the trails after a week of roads and treadmills.

The Vibrams won’t make me wealthy, get me better gas mileage or get rid of the hair on my back. They will help me get stronger to enjoy the sport I love. More important, Grandma would be proud of my posture.

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