How to Choose the Right Five Toe Shoe for Athletic Training
With the boom of five toe shoes sold by companies such as Vibram, Fila, and a host of others, how do you know which shoe is best for you? It may not be as hard as you think. Even if you are very aware of your own foot limitations (pronate, supinate, normal, etc.) these types of shoes should not scare you away from their benefits. I have tested several pairs of these multi-toe shoes and although there are similar there are some things to keep in mind before you choose one:
TRY THEM ON - Unless you have bought a pair from a specific manufacturer you need to make sure you have walked in them. You will find that in some cases the sizes will vary from what is labeled to how it fits. I had to buy a pair that was a size larger in order for the shoe to be comfortably snug to my feet in most cases, regardless of manufacturer. In many cases these types of shoes may be considered a specialty item so you probably will be tempted to buy them online. Buy at your own risk, but keep in mind they may be snug if you order the size that you normally wear.
YOUR FEET WILL SWEAT - It sounds stupid to say, but the material for these shoes is similar to a water shoe in some cases, and your feet will sweat. I found that some brands had a better air circulation system for the shoe than others, but don't be surprised that your foot will sweat more than your use to. This is due to the fact that you're probably going to wear them without socks. Considering that you can wear these shoes in any terrain, including water, there is some encouragement to not wear socks.
THEY SELL SOCKS FOR THEM TOO - Yes, they have multi-toe socks that can be used with these types of shoes. I wore a pair, and they were not too bad. They do make a difference if you are a heavy sweater, or you plan in being in a warm/hot terrain using them. I didn't use socks too often with the shoes because I was comfortable in them pretty much as soon as I put them on.
DON'T START RUNNING IN THEM RIGHT AWAY - I have met with various types of people from athletes to office people that wear them, and regardless of how you will use the shoes it takes some time for your body to become accustom to the how your feet move inside the shoes. In some cases, oddities such as a toe dragging on the pavement as you run will be something that you should learn gradually. That is not the shoe that is how your foot naturally moves as you jog, walk, or run.
THEY ARE NOT ALL THE SAME - In most cases, the shoes look similar. But, they differ in terms of material and the sole. Some manufacturers use an anti-bacterial rubber. This comes in handy as like I mentioned, your feet will sweat in them. Also, the material differs on the shoe-upper as well. In this case, the more expensive shoe is often a better quality all-the-way around in terms of extras. If cost is a factor, there are some great alternatives, but saving up for the right pair for you won't hurt.
In the end, you will see that these five toe shoes will be a good change to any activity, especially the athletic/training type of activities. Go slow, and enjoy!