Vibram FiveFingers are, for many, the ultimate minimalist shoe. Designed to fit your foot like a glove, these flexible-soled toe shoes enable a high degree of tactile feedback as you move about on varied terrain, and they allow your foot to act like a healthy bare foot inside your shoe. They meet our criteria for foot-healthy footwear—they are, in fact, exemplary of it—so for people who already have some experience using minimalist shoes, Vibram FiveFingers can represent the next step in building strong, sturdy, and resilient feet.
With their individual toe sleeves and glove-like fit, Vibram FiveFingers shoes are novel in their design, and if you’re trying them on for the first time, or if you have passive toe deformities such as crooked toes, getting these toe shoes on your feet can be a challenge, especially in the early stages of use.
Fear not, though, as we’ve come up with a simple approach for how best to don your Vibram FiveFingers. Our best recommendation for getting FiveFingers on your feet—after you’ve loosened the laces, straps, or other closure mechanisms to the greatest degree possible—is to start with your big toe, working it into its individual toe sleeve first, and then work the rest of your toes into their toe sleeves sequentially, moving from your big toe out toward your little toe. It can help quite a bit to use your fingers to assist with the process. Also, because of their flexible soles, you can bend or twist the shoes to help get your toes in place. Once your toes are in, pull the shoe’s heel cup under your heel, giving a slight backward tug to ensure your toes are fully inserted in their compartments. Once your foot is fully in, you can tighten the laces or straps as necessary.
The process of getting Vibram FiveFingers on your feet is similar to the process of getting Injinji toe socks on your feet. Most people find that, with some practice, it gets progressively easier to get toe socks on, and the same is true for folks who adopt Vibram FiveFingers. Over time, and with the consistent use of natural footgear, your toes will begin to straighten out and toe flexibility and dexterity will improve, allowing your toes to find their way into the toe sleeves more readily and with less coaxing. Your donning technique will also become more refined and efficient.
Wearing Vibram FiveFingers is an excellent way to strengthen your feet and maintain proper toe alignment, the latter of which is achieved, ideally, through the diligent use of Correct Toes toe spacers. As with all minimalist shoes, we highly recommend taking a measured, step-wise approach if you’re trying them for the first time. Too much wear-time too soon can put a strain on your foot and lower leg tissues, which can lead to discomfort, so it pays to be judicious in your application of this potent foot-building footwear. With time and patience, they can become a helpful tool for injury prevention that also allows you to experience the world in a way that's as close to barefoot as possible.