Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dear Vibrams

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vibram company for helping to:
  • Strengthen my foot muscles
  • Reduce my potential foot injuries
In case you haven't heard, Vibram USA just settled a Class Action Lawsuit against them for $3.75 million stating that they made false and unsubstantiated claims about their footwear.  Specifically, the two claims that I'm writing to thank them for.

I'm not going to dive into the discussion of how crazy and absurd a litigious society we've become.  This is nothing new, nor the most egregious, wackadoodle example out there (remember that case where McDonalds was sued for putting toys in their happy meals).   However, it's a fine time to illustrate my favorite theme here lately:  take ownership of your own health.  Apparently this is a bit of a stretch for a lot of people out there.

I want to make this much clear ... I understand the lawsuit.  Don't make false claims.  I get that.  But I'm left scratching my head on this one.  If you wear Vibrams or even go barefoot, how can you NOT strengthen your foot muscles?  Especially if you're coming from what passes for shoes in this day and age.  And if you strengthen your foot muscles, won't you be less likely to get a foot injury?  Hmmm, not really rocket scientology in my mind.

Anyway, I'm just wanting to give Vibrams some love when they may be feeling a little perturbed.  I've owned at least 3 pairs and so has my mother.  She uses them to walk on the beach while I use mine every chance I get, which is a lot more now that I live in a warmer climate.  I sprint in them (the best!) and as you can see from my pic in the last post, I Farmers Walk in them as well.  Interestingly, just yesterday I had a mother stop me in order to show her little daughter the Vibrams I was wearing.  I'm pretty sure most people are familiar with them by now, but the little girl was fascinated.

If you recall my tale of transitioning to barefoot running (and walking) you'll remember that I caused a stress fracture in my 4th metatarsal on three separate occasions.  This was before Vibrams had started up and I was using those old school Puma's you can see in the link.  If I had Vibrams back then would've I prevented the stress fractures?  Probably not.  I just did too much too soon.  Successful transitioning to walking and running midfoot for people that have worn regular shoes since childhood is a slow and deliberate process.  If you persevere though, there are many benefits to be had.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you what those benefits might be, otherwise I could get sued. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go actually DO something to improve my health and fitness.

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