The pound of my heavy-on-the-heels stride has been brought to my attention on numerous occasions but I never realised just how hard I walk until slipping into Vibram’s FiveFingers. Voted one of the best 2007 inventions by Time magazine, the Kermit-like trainers, with separate compartments for every toe, are designed to simulate the experience of going barefoot. They promise improved agility, balance and strength – with the added bonus of a protective layer for your peds. (The shoe comes in slightly varied styles to accommodate different activities, from running, to rock-climbing, to water sports.) As I started my run, I had the sense that I was carrying a significantly heavier load than I usually felt wearing my superpadded Nikes… and I certainly couldn’t have gained that much weight since yesterday’s jog.
But by the time I neared the halfway mark, I hit my stride: I had no choice but to fall lighter on my feet (as trainers have always advised), and the heightened sense of using every muscle in my lower leg as well as the terrain under my toes offered a refreshing back-to-nature sensation. Six miles later, my feet were remarkably ache-free, except for the blisters already forming on the tips of my toes. Changing back into regular footwear, in contrast, felt like sliding into clunky armour. Now if only the FiveFingers didn’t look so strange, we’d really be in business.
Vibram’s FiveFingers trainers, Dhs300-500 at www.hanigs.com