Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers Meets Z-Health - at

Justin Owings runs the very groovy, a site dedicated to all things & people digging Vibram FiveFingers. The site presents great interviews with surprising folks who wear VFF's. Like Christopher MacDonald, author of Born to Run. Perhaps that one might be expected. But what about Justine Lam, Ros Perrot's eCampaign director. Not so obvious.

Then there's just the great resources about VFF's from pose running gurus to super reviews of various VFF's in use (and ok, one ref to an article about how to fit these suckers). And it looks great, too.

So, after some conversations about VFF's being great for proprioception, and how Z-Health optimizes those benefits, Justin asked if i might do an article describing how/why Z-Health might just take VFF wearers to an even better neur0-physiological performance place.

And it looks so nice! So, here is the article that pulls together stick figures, da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, cell phone towers, Henry VIII, 18thC class warfare and of course Vibram FiveFingers.

Here's a quick fact form the article:
Given this context that (a) the more freely our joints move, the better the information, and (b) the more joints that are sending back these signals, the richer the picture of how we're moving, let's consider the foot. All those joints!. Twenty-five percent of the body's joints are in the feet: per foot, there are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. We are designed to send 25% of our physical orientation from our feet!

And yet in a conventional shoe — especially a "supportive" trainer, the arch is blocked from flexing, the ankle is restricted, we heel strike with abandon, and the squishiness of the soles deadens any true sense of the state of the surface to which we might otherwise be adapting by our highly flexibily designed foot. Modern shoes are like sensory deprivation tanks for the feet...

Enter Z-Health: it helps reeducate the foot (and other parts of our body) to move like we were designed to move.

Thanks for the invitation, Justin, and happy trekking to all.

the vff'd feet of justin owings...

ok i like this one, too (despite the pc hardware):


helium said...

Have you ever tried other barefood shoes? Vivo Barefood or Feelmax?

For example I've heard that the Feelmax have the thinnest sole so you can feel the ground the best and they look like regular shoes but they are all pretty narrow which is a huge disadventage for barefood people, because they normaly have a bit wider feet.

dr. m.c. said...

If you look at the piece i did called "free your feet" you'll see a bunch of shoes listed. These look like a cool addition.

Also didn't know other folks were doing toe sox


Ron Ipock said...

I bought a pair of Feiyue shoes. They pass the twist-test but they have some drawbacks.

They are weird. They have thin soles, thin enough to feel the surface you are walking on. Yet, they also have some padding on the bottom. Moreover, the inside of the shoe is slighly convex.

These traits do not seem to affect walking and, in fact, make that endeavor feel good. But as exercise shoes, these shoes leave much to be desired.

I did a ten minute set of kettlebell snatches and the shoes seemed fine, but kettlebell jerks were another story altogether. I was planning on doing a four minute set with two 24kg kettlebells, but I could not complete more than two jerks in a row without staggering and losing my stance. The problem was twofold. First, the padding on the shoes inhibited my contact with the ground. Secondly, and more importantly, that convex sole I talked about is very unstable. The apex of the convex curve runs along the bottom of your foot from the middle of your heel up to the toes. The shape of the sole is not a problem as long as your weight is distributed very evenly, but once you pronate or supinate slightly, the convex really exaggerates the motion. As you can imagine, when you are explosively jerking 48kg, the last thing you want is a wiggly surface.

Anyway, these shoes are good for jumproping and walking and gadding about town, but they do not lend themselves to bipedal strength training. But they are advertised as being the preferred shoes of Shaolin masters. Maybe I should see if I can get used to them and then re-approach the kettlebells and go all ninja on them


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