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buy vibram five fingers shoes Five tips for breaking in your FiveFinger shoes My calves hurt. Every time I take a step the left one, which I've nicknamed "whiny," begs for me to stop. And there's a constant throbbing coming from the muscles in the arches of my feet. I didn't even know my arches had muscles. The salesperson at the REI store where I purchased my shoes issued a warning: Make sure to break them in slowly. A similar one is posted on the Vibram website run no more than 10% of your typical distance for the first two to three weeks; never run two days in a row in the first month; stretch before and after each run, focusing on your calves and feet. I ignored the warnings. Mostly, I thought to myself, because if I ran only 10% of my norm I would be running a total of 0.3 miles. So I jumped on the treadmill and ran away, loving the feel of barefoot freedom and the slight improvement I could already sense in my posture. Proponents say barefoot style running creates a more natural stride with a ball to heel forefront strike that builds strength in your feet and lower leg muscles, ultimately resulting in fewer injuries. It also improves balance, agility and range of motion. Tell that to my co workers, who are tired of hearing me say "ow" every time I stand up. If when I go back to the gym in my FiveFinger shoes, I will remember that salesperson's good advice. So future barefoot enthusiasts, take heed. Here are five tips for breaking in your FiveFingers properly: Even if you can find them cheaper online, drive to the nearest retailer first. FiveFinger shoes come in European sizes and fit differently (obviously) from other shoes so you won't know the right size unless you try them on. Don't be afraid to try on men's shoes if you're a woman, and vice versa as there's little difference. Make sure to pick the right pair based on the shoe's tread there are different grips for different activities like water sports, yoga or running. Without the right support, fakes could end up hurting more than helping. Wear them around the house, to the grocery store or to work. Take some time to feel how your posture changes and to decide whether there is any cramping or rubbing on your toes (which could signal a wrong size). Or toe socks. Either will make it easier to put your shoes on and will prevent blisters from the combination of sweat and fabric rubbing against your bare skin. Powder will also keep your shoes smelling fresh although if they get too stinky FiveFingers are easy to wash with soap and water. You can adjust the length and time of your workout as you feel comfortable but don't assume you're special. You may have spent a lot of time running around barefoot as a child but that doesn't mean your muscles are up to snuff. Take it slow and do only portions of your workout with the FiveFingers at first. If you're not willing to take a break, bring along your regular sneakers during the transition. 5. Schedule yourself a bit more time at the gym. First, because trying to get your toes into the right pockets is more difficult than it looks. Second, because you'll spend most of the workout answering questions about your shoes. I haven't gotten so many comments on my footwear since I wore red cowboy boots to a swim meet. Most importantly, remember that FiveFingers are not right for everyone. For people with really flat fleet officially called over pronators barefoot activities may put too much stress on muscles. I had a broke back in 2003 and have suffered from serious back pain since. I cannot stand while shopping for longer then 30 45 minutes at a time. Since wearing Vibrams my back no longer hurts. I did suffer at first with my calves hurting slightly and thighs but it was an amazing feeling in fact I got Charlie horses. but It was worth it. I have been wearing my VFs for 4 months straight and put on my normal tennis shoes and thought I was going to cry as I wore these heavy clunky things and low and behold my back pain returned. VFs are the way to go. August 16, 2011 at 15:06 I have been wearing VFFs for the last 2 1/2 years. I never experienced any pain wearing these shoes during the break in period or at any other time. I used them for everything from 10 mile hikes in the Rockies to strength training in the gym. Never a problem. My daughter used to have terrible ankle and knee pain with a variety of expensive running shoes she runs 3 5 miles per day. Since she started wearing VFFs 2 years ago, all pain is gone. She worn through 3 pairs so far. I think some people might have trouble adjusting if they are used to wearing shoes all of the time, even in their houses. I always go barefoot in my house and in my yard in summer, so I think my calves were well adjusted to the lower heel set. August 16, 2011 at 15:19 My boyfriend and I recently bought our first Vibrams, and have worn no other shoe since. My boyfriend is very flat footed. He has special supports in his shoes to help with that. But since getting his Vibrams, he no longer complains of sore feet on the weekends (when he not wearing his shoes around the house). We have also noticed that he is beginning to develop an arch in his feet. He walked through some water, then across the deck and his footprint was like a normal footprint, arch and all. I joked saying you sure those aren my footprints? Sure enough he walked through the water and back across the deck, just to prove that they were his. I will testify that these are the best shoes I have ever owned. I have no more backaches (did for the first week or so, I think from adjusting to the shoes), and I notice my posture is much better. We have also noticed that our toes are no longer scrunched up. We have definite space between our toes, which I think is neat. We use them on an everyday basis, but plan to get more for running, hiking, etc. August 16, 2011 at 15:27 If you want to see how great Barefoot running can be but don want to plunk down the $70 150 for VFF grab some $8 water shoes at Walmart and go for a short run. It very similar, especially if you take out the insoles. For those of you who are intrigued by barefoot(ish) running but don want the freaky looking VFF check out Soft Star Shoes (like Robeez baby shoes, but in all sizes, even adults) or ZEM gear (like a wet suit bootie for running). I have no connection to any of these companies, beyond being a big fan.