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Whenever and wherever you go, someone seems to have on Vibram Five Fingers. These alien-looking shoes are both barely there and everywhere. The company says wearing its neoprene shoes is akin to going barefoot, and can help strengthen your muscles, reduce pain and improve your fitness performance. When you see these gorilla feet outside of a gym or hiking trail, it may seem like a fashion faux pas -- but is it?
People choose to wear Vibrams to move, as the company says, as “nature intended.” Vibram says its shoes strengthen your feet and lower legs, improve the range of motion in your ankles, feet and toes, improve balance and agility, improve posture and just plain feel good. Scientific evidence to support these claims is inconclusive, but some fans live in their Vibrams -- which is why they are everywhere.
Vibram claims you can wear its Five Finger shoes almost anywhere in the gym – whether you want to shake it in Zumba or power lift. Vibrams are waterproof and may be used for water sports. Vibrams are worn for barefoot running indoors and out. You’ll see people wearing them in yoga and pilates, or after a workout to help their feet relax.
You can wear Vibrams on the trail as they may help you better sense the terrain underneath you – you get to connect to nature! Vibram also recommends you wear its shoes traveling on the bus or plane because they help alleviate pressure on your back and help you find your naturally healthy posture. If you aren't trying to impress, you can also wear your Vibrams shopping or to a casual brunch.
Switching to barefoot shoes without a break-in period may be an invitation to injury. If you have severe pronation problems -- in which your feet turn in a lot -- Vibrams may not be for you. Vibrams are just plain ugly to some, so they may not fit in at certain venues. Although Vibram is developing a shoe appropriate for office wear, until it comes out, you might want to wear them only during leisure times. Also refrain from wearing them to any event designated formal, semiformal or business casual. While you technically can wear them anywhere, that doesn't mean you should.