With five little spider hiders!
Well, if there was ever a way to get me golfing it would be to give me some of these shoes--its the only way they got me to start jogging;) #lovevirbram!
I have little doubt this is real.
Their sales have been on a big decline, since the "toe shoe/minimalist running" fad is done with. Most athletic/outdoorsy stores don't even carry the five-fingers anymore, whereas they all did 2 years ago.
Why is the fad done with? My guess is that most people that bought a pair still have them because they use them for non-athletic stuff.
(source: I wear holes in a pair every 6-9 months, so I regularly have to buy a new pair for running)
And like the fedora it was adopted by the gross-dude crowd.
The fad is done with because it was a fad.
Time to write an investigative journalism story about who invented these shoes, and then delve into their private lives and reveal all their secrets and how they're really strange; that's what we do about sports paraphenalia these days, right?
Yes, well. That too. =)
Minimal style running shoes are not a fad and it is certainly not over. The reason why Vibram Five Fingers sales are down is because just about every running shoe manufacturer now makes minimal shoes (sometimes even whole lines of them), not to mention that plenty of new running shoe companies have cropped up that specialize in minimal shoes. Just about all of these have the same benefits as the Five Fingers, and don't have individual toe pockets and as such don't look ludicrously silly.
Also in my own experience, because minimal shoes have very little or no padding in the soles, you can wear them for ages, because, well, there's nothing that's "compressing" that you're worried about. I own about, hmm, six or so pairs of minimal running shoes (mix of trail and road), and I still bust out my oldest ones at times, because I feel like I get the same run in them now as when I first bought them. Sure, they can get a bit stanky and worn out over time, but you can easily clean them.
I will never ever ever run in non-minimal shoes again, it has made running so much more of a joy for me. A couple years back, probably about six months after going full-in minimal, I did a run in normal running shoes. I will NOT do that again, it was complete misery.
NickyG, true there are other manufacturers that are jumping on board, but the trend only continues among people who are already runners. Vibram sold huge numbers to people who were not runners at all. Since I got my first pair I've done many races, and participated in several multi-weekly run clubs, and about 99% of the time on a meetup, I was the only person wearing any kind of toe shoes. Conversely, for a while there every time I would fly (at least one flight a week for a few years), I'd count half a dozen people lounging about the airport in toe shoes of some sort. Often enough too, just people wandering around the office, grocery store, bars, whatever.
Perhaps it's fairer to say that the "Toe Shoe" fad is done, since it was much farther reaching than just runners to begin with.
As far as switching back to shoes with padding, you might be a bit quick to make that statement. I was similarly passionate and hot to trot about minimal running shoes and such when I decided to run my first marathon. Hubris!
I am a very experienced runner who has mostly focused on 5k/10k's. But half marathons and up on pavement, you really need the padding. We are not built for that distance, on that hard of a surface. Took me months to not feel the pain in my toe bones after that marathon.
Note, that you can still be a forefoot striker in padded shoes, and get much of the same benefits. In fact, you don't even need zero-drop shoes for it. I have found my preference for the Vibrams continues despite all that because my feet are sensitive to friction (I had large calluses before I ever was a runner), and the toes help keep everything extra snug for minimum friction.
They're kind of ewwy.
While we're at it we should grind some axes too.
Yes good, mine's a little blunt.
I have a pair (the fivefingers, not any golf version). I'm not a minimalist runner, and hopefully am not in the "eew" or "gross dude" categories. I got mine at a store closeout for less than half the normal (i.e. rip-off) price, and thought that they'd be an interesting experiment for bouldering/short range hiking. With the increased flexibility and ability to actually use my toes to at least a minor degree as one would when barefoot, but still having some protection, they've won me over regardless of how weird or faddish I may appear going to and from said activities. They definitely take some getting used to, but if you like being barefoot, but don't like shredded soles, they're a good thing.
I have found the same; the Vibram five-fingers are great for hiking.
However, terrible for climbing--something I discovered after starting to climb using vibrams, and then trying out real climbing shoes. (Vibram lost a class action lawsuit because they claimed they were good for climbing--telling that they claim they are good for everything under the sun. And now Golf!)
I will say, the pair of Merrill minimalist shoes that are 0 padding (sole made by Vibram, but no toes) are GREAT for climbing. Flexible arch, but keeps the toes together so you can really work your big toe into crevices. I found them less impressive for running, due to my aforementioned friction issue.
Barefoot and a seven iron is really the best way to play a round.
I bought a pair of the Five Fingers and I LOVED running in them! I also don't think I'll run in "regular" shoes again. I love being able to feel the ground. I ran and ran and ran in my Five Fingers. Until I needed knee surgery.
I have to somewhat passionately disagree. I've done the full Philly marathon in minimals (original New Balance Minimus road w/ 4mm drop and minimal padding) and something like four or five half marathon races with minimals and many many training runs of 13-18 miles in length with minimals (lots of which were zero drop shoes) and I have enjoyed every moment of it. Now, I'm not going to say they're for everybody, but I looooove 'em and that VERY MUCH includes longer distances. I'm sure you've read Born to Run, right? Definitely makes a pretty good case for minimal footwear for distance running as far as I'm concerned, as does the science that's examined this in depth.
That sucks scratcheee Sorry to hear it.
Not a runner, but I've got a pair in basic black. They're super comfy and fun, but they definitely change the way you walk. Also toe socks are annoyingly expensive. (Although the options seem to have improved from the $11-a-pair when I bought mine.)
It's kind of sad how the "that looks UNUSUAL and therefore I DESPISE IT" clique always crawls out of the woodwork for stuff like this. I keep expecting better of the BoingBoing crowd, at least.