Vibram Five Fingers VS Merrell Barefoot Shoe

Throughout the summer months I was mostly barefoot or wearing my Vibram Five Fingers.  The results of wearing little to no shoes have been amazing.  My feet not only look stronger but my not so cute hammertoes actually look as if they are straightening out.  (This observation came unsolicited from my husband and I totally agree.)  The greatest result – little to no pain in my feet, ankles, and legs over the summer months.

Along comes September and I am out of shorts and back to business casual clothing.  This also means I am back to wearing shoes.  My feet aren’t happy.  In fact, they have been protesting loudly.  When I slip my feet into my supportive Dansko sandals or clogs, my toes begin to scream within the first hour.  I can feel my hammertoes trying to curl up even more than they are already.  I feel bad for the little things.  I try to give them as much relief as possible by wearing sandals rather than the clogs so that they can wiggle around throughout the day, but they still aren’t happy.  

I decided last week to break down and buy another pair of shoes.  Although I most likely won’t be able to get away with wearing my Vibram Five Fingers to work, I might be able to get away with wearing Merrell’s Mary Jane barefoot shoe to work.  My son Alexander owns a pair of the Merrell barefoot shoes and really likes them.  I felt hopeful.

I ordered the shoes and wore them out the first day feeling optimistic.  My daughter was happy that I was out of the VFF when we went shopping as they are a little embarrassing to her.  They felt light weight like the VFF and I could right away tell that my hips and knees were going to like them.  However, after shopping with Sophia, I got into the car and immediately took the shoes off.  I couldn’t keep them on my feet one more minute.  My toes hurt and the rest of my foot felt numb.  I had such hope that these minimalist shoes would feel as good on my feet as my VFF, but in the end, the results were the same as with my supportive Danskos.  So, they are being returned.  

By the way, I took my VFF to a shoe repair store and they can’t fix the hole.   I am sad but determined to keep wearing them until they can’t be worn any longer. 

6 thoughts on “Vibram Five Fingers VS Merrell Barefoot Shoe

  1. Don't know if it will work for your VFFs, but “in the old days” we used to repair our berkinstock sandles with barge cement. Also, don't know where you purchased, but if at REI, they will replace. Have you contacted VFF? They may still be under warranty. A quick google search reveals
    http://birthdayshoes.com/vibram-five-fingers-sole-repair-using-shoe-goo
    Hope this works for you!
    Have you tried smart wool toes socks in your VFFs? They may give you a few more weeks. I wear mine to work, got my Rheumatologist to write a script for them – not any different than using a cane or a wheelchair – a medical necessity in my opinion.
    Also, I have ordered two pair of NEOS overshoes, which should be here in a couple of days. I'll let you know how they work with the VFFs
    I ordered these:
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___44910
    and these:
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___44906?cm_vc=PDPZ1
    I'm hoping one of them will work for outdoor winter hiking over the VFFs and one for general cold town conditions.
    I've worn out one pair of VFFs, but that's all I worn for a year, so not so bad & my feet are better every day!

    Good luck with your repair!

    Like

  2. Susan, thanks for all the great information. I have contacted VFF and they aren't under warranty any longer. I received them last year for Christmas and I have put a lot of miles on them. I walk around two miles every single morning with my dog and then for hikes, errands, etc. You can defintely tell they are worn down.

    I checked out the shoe goo link and will be looking for some this weekend. Thanks!

    Definitely let me know how you like the overshoes. I have a pair of wool Injinji toe socks that are awesome! The last two days I have worn them with my VFF in 50 degree rain with NO problems.

    You give me hope and I appreciate your feedback on VFF. I know I need to make them more of my everyday wear, despite the fact that I feel like an ape wearing them!

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  3. Hi Cathy,

    A couple more thoughts on shoes for you:

    These look interesting, I may try a pair, and you can design your own, once you have the size right!

    http://www.softstarshoes.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=107

    this site seems to have the most info in one place: http://birthdayshoes.com/2011-fall-vibram-fivefingers-boots-laces-leather-and-more

    and I saw women's high top VFFs in the new catalog at my local camp store, stylish, with buttons and high enough to wear with a skirt.

    The funniest comment I've had in two years was a spontaneous “hobbit feet” in the elevator. He was a friend, and a kind soul, I think he was just so surprised it slipped out – we both laughed! For the most part, people either don't notice, don't comment, or are excited and want to know more. Every class I've attended in the past two years (and we do lots of training where I work) I've had to do a little “speech” about my shoes. Since I'm in health care, I spin it that way, and spin the barefoot running angle & people just think I'm “hip”.

    You are such an inspiration to the RA community, I hope you can show your great leadership once again, stand up for your feet, and find shoes that will work for you in the workplace!

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  4. Susan,
    I had the Soft Star Shoes on my original wish list last Christmas with the VFF. My husband went with the VFF. I love Birthdayshoes.com. Lots of great information. Yesterday, I had the Softstar shoes pulled up again looking at the Rambler. My daughter said, “No mom, those look like slippers. You are better off with the VFF.” 🙂 Anyhow, I am considering one or the other. I did wear my VFF to work last night. The only person who noticed was one of my students who said, “Teacher, you seem shorter tonight.” Then he looked down and noticed my shoes.

    I love that you are so comfortable in your VFF and use them as a source of information for others.

    Like

  5. Susan,
    I had the Soft Star Shoes on my original wish list last Christmas with the VFF. My husband went with the VFF. I love Birthdayshoes.com. Lots of great information. Yesterday, I had the Softstar shoes pulled up again looking at the Rambler. My daughter said, “No mom, those look like slippers. You are better off with the VFF.” 🙂 Anyhow, I am considering one or the other. I did wear my VFF to work last night. The only person who noticed was one of my students who said, “Teacher, you seem shorter tonight.” Then he looked down and noticed my shoes.

    I love that you are so comfortable in your VFF and use them as a source of information for others.

    Like

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