Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Five Fingers, and A Ton of Laundry

Hi all,

Quick informative post tonight, I'm TIRED, and want to go to bed, but not without saying hi to my lovelies! HI!

Long story short, I'm home from Madison for a day, before blasting off for another day of lesson excitingness with Farrah. Right now, I'm waiting for a load of gross, wet, dirty laundry to finish doing its business...hence the title. The place where we stayed is a gorgeous barn, but the drainage systems they have worked out are slightly, erm, questionable, especially when it rains for 3 days straight, so the result is lots and lots of muddy pants cuffs, aaaaannnd super dirty shoes.

Speaking of shoes...I got some new ones this trip. "What shoes?", you ask. Vibram FiveFingers! These shoes are seriously the most amazing thing ever--Time Magazine agreed, too, they were the 2007 "Most Useful Invention". Anyway, for those of you who are familiar with the concepts of Natural Barefoot in horses, it's actually very similar in people. Our foot has tons of tiny little muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, etc, that are designed to MOVE.

Nature intended the human to land heel first...ALWAYS! What traditional shoes (and particularly riding boots!) do is this: They typically jack up the heel and arch for "support", and include a pointed toe, which causes toes to contract and "stick" together. As a result, much of a person's weight lands on the toe/ball of the foot, causing an unnatural position. Consequently, the body strives for the heel-first landing and makes up for it by bracing the knee, kicking the calf and ankle out, and slamming the heel into the ground, sending all kinds of shock and negative compression all through the body. There's a cause for aches and pains if I ever heard one! I challenge you to stop and think about how you walk in your boots/shoes.

What the Five Fingers do is very neat. They are, quite literally, a toe-shoe. They resemble a toe sock, but are complete with a full-strength Vibram sole. The shoe is light-weight and flexible, and encourages the foot to flow in it's normal way, hitting heel-first and weight rolling through to the front, but while providing the support and protection against rough terrain (the anticipation thereof also causes a brace, which is why these are better than just going plain ol' barefoot)

What I've noticed personally is a huge increase in awareness of where my hind-quarters are (so to speak, haha), as well as a HUGE change in posture, flexibility throughout my legs, and overall athleticism. The back pain I've had for several years is instantly gone (interestingly enough, all it takes is to put my boots back on, and it's back). I can easily run double the distance I used to without getting tired, and my riding has taken a huge turn for the better, with my "long legs" emerging quickly, my balance being more refined, and my fluidity much more subtle and easy to obtain.

Natural Barefoot...ALL THE WAY!

If you're interested in reading more detail from the creators themselves, check out the FiveFingers site at

I own a pair of the Women's KSO in Palm/Gray.

Savvy on! I'm off to BED!

PS-More on my trip with Farrah on Tuesday, after my brain has fully recuperated!


Virginia said...

cannot believe you got a pair of barefoot Just kidding..but really, don't get your foot stepped on by a horse and please tell me you arent riding in them??? I know several people that have them. Anyway, good luck witht he lessons/clinics, whatever!

Amanda said...

the shoes are amazing my brother got a pair and boy are the conferable!! love the picture btw :)