Fort Myers Orthopedic and Running Shoe Store, Foot Solutions Estero, Advises Against Barefoot Shoes

Fort Myers orthopedic and running shoe store advises that wearing of “barefoot shoes” for running and walking could pose potential risks. They announce new lines of minimalistic footwear that are a “better fit” for runners or avid walkers.
By: Foot Solutions of Estero
Oct. 24, 2011 - PRLog -- The recent launch of the new “barefoot shoe” or “Vibram Five-Fingers” has caused a buzz around the idea of running or walking virtually “barefoot”, by wearing minimalistic footwear.  Many proponents of this latest trend in footwear claim that it offers the benefits of strengthening along with a more “natural” stride.  However, many experts believe it to be more of a fad than an actual breakthrough in the industry, and may even pose some risks. For more information, visit

“As a Licensed Board Certified Pedorthist, and avid health enthusiast, I find the shoe interesting and useful for very specific activities,” said Christopher Cole, LPed and Owner of Foot Solutions Estero. “However, I find it provides very little value to the majority of the population, for running or walking, when compared to other options of footwear.  There are many excellent alternatives that can provide a ‘barefoot’ experience without the risk of causing potential damage to the feet.”

The Vibram five fingers, who own approx 70% of this new market, claim to be the most natural running footwear, based on their patent design.  After reading their literature and looking at the design, most people would likely agree with the concept.    However, further analysis of the design has some experts concerned about risks, and reluctant to recommend the shoes for their patients or clients.

Cole added, “The idea of going barefoot being ‘more natural’ and therefore, better for you, makes sense.  However, we need to ask ourselves if the places we typically walk or run provide a ‘natural’ surface?’  Typically, we are running or walking on surfaces not found in nature (concrete, asphalt, tile, treadmills, etc.) This actually makes the footwear more of a risk for most of my clients.”

Another marketing point for the “barefoot shoes” is the spreading of the toes during gait, seemingly more naturally than normal footwear. However, Cole encourages people to look closely at the natural shape, length, and positioning of toes.

“You will realize the way in which these shoes fit and spread the toes is actually not really that natural at all,” said Cole.   “If people really just want try them out, or if the shoes are for elite athletes in training or other very specific uses, I would possibly recommend them.  However, for frequent use, I would advise against this type of footwear.”

Studies show that the majority of people who currently wear “barefoot shoes” use them for activities, such as kayaking or boating, not running.  Dr. Kevin Kirby, who teaches biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine, has posted multiple accounts of runners who had developed stress fractures after running in FiveFingers.

In a recent editorial, Dr. Kirby was quoted as saying, “This is definitely not for the majority of runners.  The Vibram FiveFingers are boat shoes; they were never meant for running, and it seems like there’s a strong correlation [between] running with them and stress fractures. They should be banned from being marketed to runners, because they are causing injuries – not preventing them.”

For those who prefer the minimalist footwear, but do not want to incur the risks associated with the “barefoot shoes”, Chris Cole recommends trying alternative lightweight shoes, such as Minimus by New Balance, Pure Connect by Brooks, or Stinger XLT by Spira.  

For more information about lightweight or minimalist footwear, or other specialty and comfort shoes, call Foot Solutions of Estero at (239) 495-8911 or visit  Anyone who visits the Estero location of Foot Solutions will also receive a free Pedorthic evaluation and digital foot scan, to determine which type of footwear is best suited for their individual needs.  Foot Solutions is located on US 41 and Corkscrew Road, next to Publix, in the Corkscrew Village Plaza in Estero.

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Foot Solutions of Estero is a family owned and operated Pedorthic facility and comfort footwear retailer. We are focused on providing a one on one client experience that cannot be found anywhere else.
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Tags:Barefoot Running, Barefoot Shoes, Vibram Five Fingers, Fort Myers Running, Fort Myers Orthopedic
Industry:Apparel, Fitness, Lifestyle
Location:Estero - Florida - United States
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