Five toe running shoes — are they truly effective?

By Patrick Drew, updated February, 2014

five toe running shoesWhen it comes to our overall health and fitness, how many of us can truly say that we get eat as healthily as we can and get as much exercise as we possibly can? The truth is that whilst many of us probably don’t get enough exercise, more and more people are doing something about this every single day, and are making a conscious effort to become more active, and get in shape. There are many different forms of exercise, but it simply can’t be denied that running is arguably the most beneficial in regards to fitness and weight loss. The problem is that running can take its toll on your body and can damage your feet and joints, especially if you don’t have the right equipment, especially footwear, for the task at hand. Enter a relatively new running shoe that has been taking the health and fitness world by storm, the five-toe running shoe.

What exactly are five toe running shoes? — Basically, you won't need us to describe to you what an ordinary running shoe looks like. However, five toe running shoes are most certainly not 'ordinary', if anything they can be described as 'extraordinary'. The design and premise is actually really simple. Five toe running shoes fit over your feet like gloves do on your hand. There is a toe hole for each of your toes, hence the name five toe running shoes.

Five toe running shoes fit over your feet like gloves do on your hand.

What are the benefits and are they truly effective? — Experts recommend using a good quality pair of running shoes for prolonged periods of physical activity, and the reasons for this are very simple. The better the shoes are, the more your feet will be supported, and therefore the less damage will be done to your feet and joints. Five toe running shoes offer users maximum levels of mobility and comfort, meaning your workouts will be extremely efficient, comfortable, and above all else, safe. The sole of these shoes is locked entirely in place at the ball of the foot to offer users maximum stability levels and balance. They help improve range of motion in your feet and ankles as well, which many regular running shoes actually restrict pretty dramatically. Another key benefit of these shoes is the fact that the heel is actually completely flat, and not lifted in the slightest, allowing users to distribute their body-weight evenly. They're extremely effective and are great for the serious runners amongst you who happen to be looking for a shoe that offers them maximum levels of comfort, mobility and protection.

The interesting thing about this kind of running shoe is that it forces the user to run exactly as they would if they were to run barefoot! What happens from a perspective of body dynamics when running barefoot is that you naturally tend to shorten your stride slightly and land on the forward's part of the sole of your foot, instead of the heel! In fact — some experts state that it is only with the last few hundred years of the invention of shock absorbing shoe soles that we have ended up running in such a manner that we land on our heels — and this is bad for us! When landing directly on the heel the impact travels directly, and affects, the heel, knees and sometimes hips and spine.


A much more healthy manner of running is to run and land on the ball (or forefront) of the foot, thus minimizing the level of impact, ensuring a smoother run — which is healthier for the body. With the various forms of five toe running shoes, there is a minimum of shock absorption under the heel, thus forcing you to run as you would if barefoot. The inclusion of the five toes enables the user to spread out their toes for better grip and balance.

The inclusion of the five toes enables the user to spread out their toes for better grip and balance.

What are some of the most popular models on the market today? — As these shoes are so effective, not surprisingly, many other companies are trying to get in on the act and design their own styles of 5 toe running shoes, often with cheaper materials and workmanship in order to save money, and sell them cheaper, to try and attract more buyers. Many of these are just not effective, so always try to go with a tried and tested brand and model. Without a shadow of a doubt, Vibram Five Fingers, from makers, Vibram are the best five toed running shoes currently on the market. They do various styles, and designs, many of which are very affordable and very efficient indeed. As far as five toe running shoes go, you simply can’t go wrong with Vibram.

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