I just purchased a new shoe that gets a lot of strange looks, comments, and questions.
Vibram FiveFingers KSO (Men's) and
Vibram FiveFingers KSO (Women's).
I needed a pair of shoes for my upcoming Hawaii trip that would work in different environments. Sand, lava rock, rivers, reefs, general walking, and running come to mind. I looked at several different water shoes and Sandals (both full toe heel strap ones to the thongs). I stumbled across the Vibram FiveFingers Shoes. It's primarily designed for running and they make different types depending on if you are running summer/winter or trail running. But it forces you, more or less, to run natural.
When you run barefoot you land on the ball of your foot. It comes natural (after awhile), otherwise your heel will hurt, especially on concrete! With the amount of force applied to your heel, It's like hitting the heel of your foot with a hammer! When you run barefoot you put the forces on your calf muscles rather than joints (knees and hips). You also use more of your quads when you run this way.
Do a few searches on google, you'll see that a lot of runners are using these today or running barefoot, even Olympic athletes.
They also help with certain issues such as over-pronation. I have flat feet, I over-pronate when I step heel to toe. These "shoes" should help resolve that. I also workout barefoot daily. I'll add these to my routine.
From what I've read they shouldn't be used in lateral movements, such as those found in tennis and racket ball. You need more side-to-side support in those sport and the foot may slide in the five fingers. They are best for walking and running.
The Vibram FiveFingers Shoes Trek just came out as well. I'm not sure if it's available in most stores yet. It's approximately $125. The trek has a lot more grip and would be better if it's wet or if there are rocks (more protection) but may not be so good for in the house working out or running.
To get the right measurement, take a ruler (and don't forget they usually do not start right at the very edge), place your heel against the wall and slide the ruler under your foot. Measure to the longest toe and that is the size in inches. Mine are 11.25 or so, which is a size 44 according to Vibram's sizing chart. You want your toes very close to the end but do not want them to be too tight, or feel like your toes are jammed against the toe socket (the 43's were way too tight for me).
You may find that you are between sizes. If that is the case consider a woman's size. They are more narrow but come in 1/8" sizes I believe.
For a video on barefoot running, check this out:
Here is a link where you can purchase Vibram Five Fingers. There are no local stores in my area that carry them.
Vibram FiveFingers Shoes:
Experience the barefoot revolution!