Running In Five Fingers Shoes – Some Tips

A few months ago, I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes and blogged about my thoughts. At that time, I was just using them for general wear, and for the gym.

But I am an avid runner, and had not yet tried them out on the road. Well, I did try them once and got blisters. So. I thought I would do some research and a little training and see if I could run in them for real. Answer: yes. Here is my assessment:
Running In Five Fingers from Brad Rourke on Vimeo.

As you can see, they are working out very well for me. The key is to train yourself to have the proper gait — looking up “barefoot running” can help get some pointers. I describe the key ones in the video.

Here are the shoes I use: Vibram Fivefingers KSO

My goal now is to wear my Vibram Five Fingers in my next marathon! Wish me luck!

21 thoughts on “Running In Five Fingers Shoes – Some Tips”

  1. Thanks! A friend of mine runs in hers in Manhattan. A bunch of folks were asking her questions so I just posted a link to your vid. I haven’t worked up to running in mine, but I enjoy walking around in them — I’m going to wear them today to walk around some notices in my townhouse community.

  2. I love the VFF’s. Been running in them since June. Ran the Manchester Marathon and then a half two weeks later in them and I’m never running a race in anything but! Just got a pair of VFF Treks and they have been great for cold weather running! Best of luck in your VFF Marathon debut. I’m hoping to run 2 or 3 this year in both my treks and regular KSO’s.

  3. Great video–I did the ’09 MCM in Vibram Sprints and I think you really nailed the tips! I find that Injinji socks are really good for keeping blisters away on runs longer than 6 or 8 miles. Have you experienced any calf (soleus muscle) soreness?

    Good luck on your next marathon!

  4. Brad,
    I am glad that you found the best shoes in the world! I won’t run in anything else since I found them in Dec 2008. I currently run in KSOs like you have in your video. I am getting the Treks this week when the come in at my local shop. As Tim mentioned Injinji socks help out a ton on longer runs. With out socks I go 3-5 miles and anything above that I put socks on. The longest I have ran in my Fingers is 10 miles with no issues other than a small blister.

    You hit all of the main issues that people ask me about the shoes. Especially the cushioning. I think people have forgotten what their feet are really for. They are the suspension system for your body. They don’t work well with all of the cushioning provided in modern shoes. Running injuries would dramatically decrease if everyone ran in Fingers.

    Thanks for the review Brad.

    Take care,

  5. Nice video. You know, at this point I think the majority (maybe 60% or higher) of VFF wearers are actually runners — that’s actually how most people got into FiveFingers.

    You mention that you land flat footed – this is actually a bit different than what I normally hear (and also how I run in VFFs), which is that you land at the midfoot and briefly (or not at all) touch at the heel thereafter.

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments! Here is some clarification on the “flat foot” issue. {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:””}”title”:{“value”:”Thanks everyone for your comments! Here is some clarification on the “flat foot” issue. “}”videoUri”:{“value”:””}}}

  7. I agree with justin in regard to landing (not that I have heard that is how you are supposed to do it). It started by running almost on my fore foot and toes like sprinting, but tired rather quickly, not to mention my calves killing me. As I relaxed and started to just let me stride develop, I noticed that I step down on my midfoot and less than half a second later touch the heel down briefly before my foot rotates back and my toes propel me forward. The only type of running I do is high intensity intervals, and I would say my leg strength has increased at least 15% from before with running shoes.

  8. I have been running in my Vibram Five Finger Sprints for about a month now. One thing that has really helped me in my form is running up hills. That’s just my two cents. Thanks for the video and all the best in your running endeavors.

  9. Brad!

    Great clarification of the Ball-“heel kiss”-Ball barefoot running motion. Hopefully this will help prevent injuries and keep people running toward health, happiness and peace!

    Faith – I agree that hills help a ton, and thanks for reminding me – I just started training again I completely ignored what made me successful last time – running tons of hills!

    My personal experience in running and cycling now lead me to believe that our bodies shift to their most efficient state as the exertion gets more intense. Thus my mind gets out of the way and my feeling takes over



  10. Just got my TREK’s and did a 1.5 miles and could do any more because it hurt. 1 wk later .. did 4 miles and my soleus is really sore. Didn’t know I had a soleus !!! I try to run like I’m on an elliptical machine – spinning my stride and landing on the ball of my foot.

  11. I’ve been running five fingers for about 6 months now. I was previously having to run in motion control shoes for over-pronating and still ending up with ankle and knee issues. After my last stress-fracture I decided to give the five-fingers a try. I am now running 3-miles, 3 to 4 times a week, and despite the sore calves (I still think my form could improve) I have no skeletal issues at all. It is great to be able to run consistently and not feel like I am injuring myself!

  12. Purchased my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers (Treksport) and attempted a four mile beach run. Unfortunately, I ended up with a couple of blisters. Blisters are not normal for me. Is this something that others have experienced or did I just waste $100? Thanks in advance for your comments.

  13. Im an on/off runner, I got up to 1/2 marathon distance around town last year then messed up my L hip in January so there went a few months then my Achilles tendons started bothering me so there went a few more months. i finally got back into it about 3 weeks ago and first thing Achilles tendons again. So I decided, after doing some googling,. to try my KSOs. I bought almost two years ago for sailing and as beach shoes. Today 1/4 mile 1/8 walking X 1/2 X 1/4 walking X 1/4 X 1/8 and finally a half to finish ( week two and lo and behold my calves hurt, my feet hurt and my lower back hurts but its all good “I did something smart” hurt and I’m already seeing a lessoning of the pain and increase in strength. I’m sold on VFFs
    Great vid.

  14. This is very helpful. Been running in Bikilas for about 8 weeks (1st set of 5 finger shoes). At first it was great, hurting all the “right” way. But over last two weeks, have had increasing heel and Achilles pain. From reading, I’m thinking I need to focus on modifying my gait. Love the shoes, so will suffer through a bit longer to see if I can work this out.

  15. Hi, So I bought a pair of Vibram FF’s for my daughter as a hoot and a fashion thing for her. But she is a runner. Eight months ago, in her spring track season (March-April) in her 7th grade yr, she ran a personal best 5:59 mile. Having never ran organized track before then, we felt that was a good time. We have always known she was fast. But are these shoes appropriate for a runner that is “less than full grown”? She loves these shoes we got her for Christmas, but I did not realize they were running shoes for real, I thought that was just a marketing gimmick taking some liberties with some half-truths. Do you recommend these shoes for student runners? Should she train the the grass when she wears them? Signed hopeful parent of a future Razorback.

  16. Thanks for the instructions! The Vibram box says “MOVING BAREFOOT IS DIFFERENT READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE” but there are no instructions. What helped me is taking your advice and just running barefoot on the grass – it all comes back to you (running barefoot) when you’re on the grass. Thanks again for the info!

  17. Hi, your video is great. I’ve purchased Vibram 5 fingers Speed, that ones with laces with a retro look. So I’m receiving the pair in one day time., and I purchased a pair of injinji socks too.   Am I crazy? I mean, does it really worth barefoot running, instead of heel running ? (which is the design in the most of the runners) I want to recommend you a pair of runners    UK Gear Pt-1000,  they are used for the army, and are designed to last 1000 miles. So far they look pretty good after 500 miles.  Greatings from Spain. If you wanna get in touch with me, this is Pascual, from VAlencia (Spain) and my email is

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