FiveFingers for 'Tweens': Youth-size Barefoot Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers has announced an expansion of youth size offerings for this spring. The Youth Alitza, EL-X LS and Speed models will be available for $65-$75 in european sizing 34-37, filling the size gap between the kids and adult sizes currently offered by the company.

Vibram FiveFingers Youth Speed.jpg

Youth-size VFF Speed model

Personally, I just wish youth-size VFFs had been around sooner. Like, you know, when I was a youth. In my mind, there’s nothing better as a kid than running around barefoot with friends in the park or backyard. The only problem is that most parents out there aren’t so keen on dirty feet in the house. Ugh, parents! Enter VFF’s kids and youth sizes, and boom, problem solved.

At 22, I’m not exactly a geezer, but my feet might as well belong to an 80-year old. Years of running competitively in “traditional” running shoes turned me into a heel striker, plantar fasciitis sufferer and eventually, an ex-runner. All before turning 18.

Over the past three years, I’ve got back in the game and managed to steer clear of injuries by recapturing the way I ran when I was a kid. Guess what kind of shoes I run in?

—Patrick Murphy is an assistant editor.

Posted by Nik - 03/28/2013 08:52 AM

Yes, this is the right approach to shoes. It protects your feet, but leaves the suspension function to your legs, which have been perfected by evolution over a million years.

I tried VFFs the first time when I was in the desert for a week, walking hard baked ground for miles a day. I am not a hiker, but I did get into bare feet system really quickly.

Results: – Despite walking way more than I am used to, on a hard surface, I did not have sore feet – I did not have sore legs. Not even once! – I had a much better posture. The posture one is “supposed” to have, except without even trying. – I could run faster – at least it felt like it – I could feel things under my feet, which greatly helped balance. This is less pronounced with the thicker-sole VFFs but the originals are perfect. It’s like a 6th sense under your feet.

So now whenever I have to walk a lot, it’s VFFs. Running is probably even better but I am not a runner. Love them when traveling too – if you’re at that airport for 4 hours, and walk on the tiled floor for long periods, the VFFs never let me down. Again, no sore feet, no sore legs, and good pace.

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