Do Vibram Shoes Have Arch Support?

The day I encountered Vibram shoes for the first time, I had just one question in mind, “Why do those shoes look like feet?” Because it was different from what I’m used to seeing when it comes to shoes. It took me some time to get used to the idea of shoes that have individual toe pockets. 

Do Vibram Shoes Have Arch Support

Enter the realm of ‘vibram soles’ or ‘minimalist footwear.’ The distinguishing feature of these shoes is that they profoundly interfere with the foot’s normal, natural functions.

Vibram shoes have very minimal arch support. And the bottom is made of rubber, flexible sole. However, there are multiple studies about people who had flat feet and wearing vibram shoes drastically improved their arches. Their feet strengthened from wearing these shoes and the arch of their feet developed.

Vibram shoes were created with the goal of providing shoes that fit snugly and comfortably around the foot. Individual toes on the feet are able to move freely in their places while walking, running, or jogging in these shoes. 

Who should use Vibram shoes?

Teri Hutcheon, a food blogger from Utah, claims that she’s been jogging with Vibram Five Fingers since August 2010 and that she’s grown substantially faster, has experienced less injuries, and has developed some incredible calf muscles as a result of the move. 

She writes on her blog, “I do not believe that Vibram FiveFingers (or other minimalist shoes) are for everyone, but they are certainly for me.”

Considering this, we should understand that Vibram shoes are not for everyone as it only benefits people

      • Who are competitive runners and swimmers
      • If you want to shave time off your race
      • If you want to build up your foot and leg strength
      • Or, if you’re simply curious

See also: Best Work Boots with Vibram Soles

Reasons why you should use Vibram shoes

1.) Maintains appropriate body posture 

When you walk barefoot, your feet will naturally align themselves differently than when you wear shoes.

A regular shoe’s design has a height difference between toes and heel of about 1.5cm, and that forces you to land on your heel. That’s why athletic shoes have 101 different types of cushioning integrated into the heel.

If you take off your sneakers and walk barefoot, you’ll soon notice that you’re putting your foot flatter on the ground and hence aren’t landing on your heel.

With Vibram shoes, you walk exactly the same way. Because of its ultra-thin sole and lack of cushioning, you’ll need to adopt a new running style in which you land more on the forefoot. 

2.) Improves Foot Positioning

When running or jogging in Vibram shoes, you’ll switch to a regular forefoot landing. The ankle will continue to flex after the forefoot has made contact with the ground until the heel has made contact.

When compared to regular running shoes, this provides natural shock absorption, resulting in a lower impact on the body.

The knee will be less stressed, but the calf muscles will have to work harder. This also explains why stiff calves are more common in the beginning.

3.) Gives Better balance

When you walk barefoot, your toes have more room to spread out. Your balance will improve as a result, and you will regain control of your toes.

The benefit of Vibram Shoes is that a small layer of rubber protects your feet from sharp stones and debris while allowing your foot to function normally.

Your complete body posture will change over time as a result of the improved balance. 

4.) Keeps you healthy

The human body is built in such a way that it adapts to how it is used over time, which means that our feet can be used without shoes. 

The goal of your toes is to provide you with extra grip when walking on any surface. When you’re barefoot and you hit a patch of turf, your foot will adjust and you’ll be able to retain your position.

Vibram shoes can be useful in this situation because they let you know if you’re hitting a turf by its natural feel and modify your position accordingly.

It strengthens muscles in the feet and lower legs, improves range of motion in ankles, feet, and toes and increases sensory reception important to balance and agility. 

The mechanics of your body will improve, and in turn, it will improve your health and confidence too. 

Something you should know:

Vibram shoes are otherwise known as minimalist footwear, and Harvard University defines minimal footwear as, “any footwear that lacks high-cushioned heels, stiff soles and arch support.”

Sean Coster, an RRCA and USATF-certified running coach, is an advocate of the minimalist or barefoot running style. He says that,

In general, it’s probably a positive trend in the long run for consistent runners to be getting into less of a shoe, or at least a shoe with less of a bulky heel, this is why kids who grow up in third-world countries are often successful runners. By running barefoot, they develop a low arch and a stable foot. This is always going to be an advantage.

Now let us get into the drawbacks to wearing Vibram shoes

1.) Look different than your regular, traditional shoes 

Vibram Shoes have transformed the shoe industry. These minimalistic shoes have been the buzz of the town, since they have strayed from traditional footwear and have proven popular among people seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. 

I understand that Vibram shoes aren’t like conventional shoes, and that some people think they’re strange and unattractive. However, it has a lot of health benefits, so you shouldn’t worry about the look. 

2.) Easier to injure your toe by stepping on a rock or other debris.

Since the cushioning of Vibram shoes is not as much as that of your regular sports shoe, it is easier to stub your toe by stepping on a rock or other debris. Not apt for hiking or walking on rough terrains. 

3.) Feels like walking barefoot because of less sole padding 

The comfort that you get from your regular sports shoes is very different from how a Vibram shoe feels. Since they are less padded, walking on hard surfaces will be uncomfortable with these shoes. 

Who should use Vibram shoes?

As far as foot support is concerned, Vibram shoes do provide arch support but not as much as what you’d expect from your regular, padded shoes. Especially while walking and running, it provides minimal support to your arch.

But Vibram shoes are great for people with flat feet as many have claimed that they have treated their flat foot problem by regularly using Vibram shoes. 

How to adapt yourself using Vibram shoes?

The biggest mistake people make with Vibram shoes is to think that they can immediately start using them. You cannot just go buy a pair for yourself and start running. You need to give yourself time to adapt.

It’s important to be motivated to make the gradual change from regular shoes to Vibram shoes. To prevent such problems, it is recommended transitioning over a 12-month period.

Transitional workouts include barefoot walking and running on sand, as well as running on grass, sand, and on the road. Strength training is also important, with movements like toe curls as well as weighted calf raises.

Here is a chart so that you can understand the process better:

Weeks Advice 
Week 1 Run half a mile, 3 times a week on non-consecutive days
Week 2 Increase each run to 1 mile, by following same schedule
Week 3 Now increase each run to 2 miles
Week 4-6 Mid-week runs are around 3-4 miles
Week 7 and above Mid-week runs stay 3-4 miles and gradually increase 1 mile 

Here we have curated a list of Vibram shoes for you

Vibram Men’s FiveFingers V-Alpha Hiking Shoe

These premium quality shoes provide maximum comfort, and the rubber bottoms are perfect for medium-rough terrains.


Vibram FiveFingers Men’s V-Trail 2.0 Trail Running Shoes

These shoes made with double stitched seams and heavier fabrics provide good support to your feet while you’re running on trails or any obstacle races. This one’s an ideal shoe for moving on rough terrains.  


Now let’s check some recommended ones for women:

Vibram Women’s V 2.0 Trail Running Shoe

These shoes are made for jogging in the woods, on trails, and in obstacle races. It has features that help climb trails with ease and is water repellent. 


Vibram Women’s V Running Shoe

These lightweight, shock absorbing shoes are ideal for mountaineering, trekking and acrobatic works.


Conclusion

Minimalist shoes like the Vibram FiveFingers might improve the strength of your feet and legs if you’re willing to adapt and be smart about your running.

Because this is what Mother Nature or Evolution intended, and allowing for this design results in healthier feet, more efficient movement, and less injury or discomfort.