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Vibram settles lawsuit over FiveFingers health claims
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NFN Scout
(scoutout) - F - M

Locale: New England
Options for all of us on 05/11/2014 10:38:25 MDT Print View

Gotta say, this news was frustrating to me. Not because I don't think companies should back up their claims, I certainly do. But simply because "toe-condoms" have continued to be such a joke to many, and now there's this hit to the main company, that I just hope those of us who want minimalist shoes will still have a decent range of market options. As much as it might seem minimalist shoes are everywhere it's still really hard to find winter options and sandal options too. I just hope we continue to have choices for all.

p.s. I define minimalist shoes as those with a foot shaped body (i.e. wiiide toebox), no attempt at "supporting" your foot, zero heel-toe drop, and a sole that allows you to feel the ground contours easily (while preferably protecting you from sharp things).

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Pigeons on 05/11/2014 11:38:57 MDT Print View

"Meanwhile, people often base their decisions on one single trial. Person has an injury, tries minimalist shoes, the injury gets better--voila! Minimalist shoes must have been the cure! So, people will often generalize from a sample of one. Maybe a different type of non-minimalist shoe would have worked even better, but that "experiment" is never done."

In general, you are right Scott. The thing is, I haven't seen a single example of what you are speaking of in this thread. No one has claimed a cure, no one has used only a sample of one, no one has said that they are absolutely sure that another shoe would not have done the same thing. For all of the talk of wanting "proof", a great many negative opinions here have been based on assumptions by reading circumstances into posts that not only are not there, but are actually contrary to what was said in the post that they were addressing.

Those that have had a positive experience with minimalist shoes are saying only that, that its working for them where other shoes that they have tried did not. If someone has another shoe for me to try, I'd love to hear about it.

To address some other's posts, there has been no "evangelizing" in this thread, no attempts to convince others that they need to try minimalist shoes, and the term "minimalist" shoe has been defined in numerous posts at least as clearly as the definition of UL and SUL backpacking.

Edited by DaFireMedic on 05/11/2014 11:44:08 MDT.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Minimalist on 05/11/2014 12:29:19 MDT Print View

"I mean, I was at a Fleet Feet running store one day and they were having a Nike Free run - part of the entry fee was a pair of brand new Nike Free shoes for you to race 10k in right now! The flyers included all sorts of claims about fixing your back pain, eliminating achilles soreness, etc. I stood at the checkout line and watched a few hundred runners, wearing their shiny new minimalist shoes to go run 6 miles in right off the bat....and I just shook my head"

That is indeed scary Jennifer. I wonder how many of those people were put out of commission by this. I'm almost certain that I would have been. My guess is that while not every one of them was probably injured (the Nike Free at least has some heel to toe drop and cushioning), not too many of them continued using the Free beyond this run. Also, Achilles tendon injures, along with Plantar Fascitis are the two most common problems I hear of with minimalist shoes.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Minimalist on 05/11/2014 12:56:41 MDT Print View

I'm stuck at a computer reading and writing this morning so I'll share my experiences here again…I've always liked this topic.

I started marathon training in 2008 as a change from ultradistance cycling (got burned out training for double centuries and a solo attempt at the Furnace Creek 508).

I ran my first marathon in 2009 (Los Angeles). My entire year of training, and the subsequent year after running L.A. was plagued by knee and IT band issues. I tried every therapy I could find. Rollers, massage, eliminating running altogether, anything. Every time I thought I had it under control I would get a flare up, even on short runs (under 5K). I was a heel striker that wore traditional "support" and "motion control" shoes prescribed by well regarded running coaches and shoes fitting "experts" that analyzed my form. None of it helped.

Somewhere I started reading about barefoot running and how it changes biomechanics. It's immediately apparent. Try heel striking when running barefoot. It automatically forces you to adopt a mid to forefoot strike. Which engages your feet, ankles, achilles tendons, and calf muscles in a much different way. You can immediately feel it. I figured I had nothing to lose. I remember my first barefoot (not barefoot "shoes", but actually barefoot) run. I was stressed and pissed off from a bad situation at work, could't sleep, and was out the door at 11PM. I ran a 5K, barefoot, on asphalt and concrete around my neighborhood. It was the first time I ever ran with a mid to forefoot strike outside of sprinting. It felt weird, very different.

There was zero IT band or knee pain. Granted, my calves and achilles turned into tightened steel cables and I was seriously sore for days.

I tried it again when I felt better. Same results, less soreness.

I bought a pair of XC racing flats. Zero support, hardly any cushioning, zero drop. I learned to run on my mid to forefoot. My mileage slowly increased. I stuck with "minimalist" shoes (what I define as having a low drop and minimal padding) and kept increasing my mileage. I was running marathon distances again. I started running 50Ks. I ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim. I've done single day crossings of Joshua Tree (38 miles) twice, once after biking across the park first. All these events were in low drop, low padding shoes. I weigh 215 pounds….hardly a wispy Kenyan.

In the years since I went minimal, I've only had one running issue: ITB pain on the Rim to Rim to Rim. Which I sort of figure is to be expected when running 42 miles and 20,000 cumulative feet in a day.

I've run barefoot, in VFFs (which I didn't like because sticks get stuck between the toes), the whole New balance Minimus and MT series since their inception, the lighter Inov8s, and a few brands of racing flats.

Today, I don't attribute it to the shoes. I attribute it to changing my running form, which going barefoot and minimal helped facilitate. I find that I can now have the same injury-free running even in more traditional, padded, higher drop shoes (like a Brooks Cascadia 7) because it has to do with my form, not the shoe. But high drop, thickly padded shoes do make it harder to maintain a forefoot strike, at least for me.

I'm a pretty firm believer that much of this discussion actually has more to do with how shoes potentially change your form, for better or worse, than the actual shoe.

Edited by xnomanx on 05/11/2014 13:01:06 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Minimalist on 05/11/2014 13:11:47 MDT Print View

Heel strike as a function of shoes

Edited by greg23 on 05/11/2014 13:14:19 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Minimalist on 05/11/2014 13:15:06 MDT Print View

Greg, that video could be a before and after of my running form.

In my case, going minimal helped me learn it. But now I can pretty much do it no matter what I'm wearing.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Minimalist on 05/11/2014 13:18:51 MDT Print View

I got interested because I was developing foot problems walking.

I shortened my stride, shifted my impact to more forefoot, and got rid of ITB issues as well as metatarsal head issues.

I did a a few other things as well, so I can't say it was Just form. But Form was a big part of it.

Edited by greg23 on 05/11/2014 13:21:46 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
What is Minimalist on 05/11/2014 13:22:37 MDT Print View

I think Ryan Jordan had it right when he divided such shoes into "Barefoot" and "Minimalist." Barefoot shoes would be VFF, Trail Gloves etc. basically the thinnest and least padded shoes. Minimalist shoes would be the slightly heavier shoes like the Altra Lone Peak, Innov8s etc. they have a bit more padding, and sometimes a bit of a raised heal but they are intended for the same style of running.

Personally I didn't see a huge difference when I switched from low boots to trail shoes and from traditional trail shoes to minimalist trail shoes for hiking. I currently hike in the Altra Lone Peak. Two weeks ago I did a 4 mile hike in the Guadalupes in Merrell Ascend Gloves which are even more minimal and was fine. I did try a pair of Trail Gloves for a training hike but felt with a pack they were too thin.

I think for hiking the zero drop vs. cushioned heel debate is not always relevant. When I'm hiking up a steep trail I tend to forefoot strike regardless of which shoes I'm wearing. And when I'm going downhill I tend to land on my forefoot as well (unless I'm wearing really stiff boots). So in a sense a cushioned heel wouldn't do much for me hiking anyway. The forefoot cushioning on the Altras is basically the same as on a traditional trail shoe. I do like the zero drop for flat sections of trail though.

I should note I didn't change suddenly. I was barefoot a lot growing up and since 2011 I've been wearing relatively minimal shoes pretty much all the time.

Tom D.
(DaFireMedic) - M

Locale: Southern California
Re: What is Minimalist on 05/11/2014 16:42:09 MDT Print View

"I think for hiking the zero drop vs. cushioned heel debate is not always relevant. When I'm hiking up a steep trail I tend to forefoot strike regardless of which shoes I'm wearing. And when I'm going downhill I tend to land on my forefoot as well (unless I'm wearing really stiff boots). So in a sense a cushioned heel wouldn't do much for me hiking anyway. The forefoot cushioning on the Altras is basically the same as on a traditional trail shoe. I do like the zero drop for flat sections of trail though."


Craig was right in saying that the shoes themselves only assist you with changing your form, as well as that shoes with a high drop make it more difficult to use a fore/mid foot strike. When there is too much drop, you end up having to "point" your toes too much, especially in downhill sections to avoid striking the heel. Too much drop also increases forward pressure on the knee, which for most people may not be an issue, but I definitely feel it. If the entire sole is cushioned yet still flat, it takes a much more conscious effort to maintain form, at least for me.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Form on 05/11/2014 16:54:30 MDT Print View

I don't run. I only hike in miniamlist shoes. I usually heel or midfoot strike when walking on flat surfaces. When walking downhill or uphill I forefoot strike.

I don't care that much about form. I wear minimalist shoes so I can feel what I'm stepping on. It prevents injury. When you have that level of proprioception the chances of twisting an ankle are as low as it could possibly be. I've started to twist my ankle in bad ways dozens of times that could have led to a serious injury but because I could feel the ground my feet and legs automatically adjusted to prevent it.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Pigeons on 05/12/2014 12:37:28 MDT Print View


"Marko, I think you misinterpret the pigeon experiment. "


Sample of one, or sample of few (with few being too small) all the exactly same thing.

However I do agree with your assertion that in some circumstances the data is marginally BETTER analyzed by the pigeons than by some people. :-)

Edited by millonas on 05/12/2014 12:39:06 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Vibram settles lawsuit over FiveFingers health claims on 05/14/2014 00:36:15 MDT Print View

From what I remember, the stated health benefits were kind of nebulous anyway. Not to mention Vibram had a section on their website on how to slowly work into using these shoes, and I think there were even instructions in the box.

Lets face it, if some overweight, never ran before, out of shape person straps on a pair of these and goes for long runs on cement they are going to have problems.

Whatever happened to common sense and you are responsible for your own actions? Oh, wait a minute... there's that 25% for the lawyers plus costs.

I've posted plenty in the past about these and other minimalist shoes and the need to very slowing work into shape, and the need to carefully consider the running surface.

Do you think I can sue the minimalist shoe manufacturers because mine do not protect me from cactus thorns?

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Pigeons on 05/14/2014 06:53:17 MDT Print View


To put it kindly, I'm guessing that you're not a statistician, right? There's a huge, huge gulf between a sample of 1 (where you essentially have no information about what's going on) and a larger sample size. Even 2 data points is much better than 1.

I'll stick with the pigeons. Look where they live--those guys are survivors. :)

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Pigeons on 05/14/2014 07:56:34 MDT Print View


Again scott read what you said that I was responding to. You are incorrect that there is "no" information from one data sample. There is no information about the higher moments of the probability distribution (and therefore the statistical significance), but there is information about the mean. From a Bayesian perspective you can already begin to construct predictions from one sample. For example, the best prediction in that case would be the same thing would happen again. Since this is what the straw men you are talking about are supposed to be guilty of, then from the statistical perspective they ARE making the right decision. Their guilt lies not in the difference between one sample and two, but in the small number of samples they are using to make predictions about future outcomes. There is also the issue of confusing the priors. Probably making a prediction from one sample if the prior is "me" will work fine. But it you then draw the conclusion that the prediction will work if the prior is "everyone", or even just "runners" without thoroughly sampling "runners" you would be off base.

In your earlier post you seemed be under the impression that there is some kind of major conceptual difference between one and "too few". There is no "huge gulf" from a prediction strategy perspective, for pigeons or people. Ironically, hyperbole is what the shoe company is supposed to be guilty of.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled (ever so slightly) on-point thread.

Edited by millonas on 05/14/2014 08:19:22 MDT.