I have read about the Five Finger shoes, also on here, but I stil have a question on the Return On Investment of buying these Five Finger shoes. I have read that they wear down more easily.

My workout programme is mainly bodybuilding and I join spinning class for cardio. In what way will I benefit from wearing these shoes as opposed to "normal" sneakers. I do have read about avoiding shoes with a compressible sole.

Baring in mind that I do mainly body building, why should I buy them? And if so, which ones?

  • Good news is that the types of activities you do most won't wear them down as quickly as running. May 9, 2011 at 13:07
  • What would be your reason to want to have them if your perceived ROI is so low?
    – Ivo Flipse
    May 9, 2011 at 16:50
  • As to which ones, it would probably be one of the ones on this page: vibramfivefingers.com/barefoot-sports/fitness.htm assuming that one is as good as another. They range in price from $90-$100 USD which, while a significant expense, is similar to other competing running shoes. Compare to the venerable converse.com/products/collections/ChuckTaylor Chuck Taylor at $45 (good for weight lifting, not running) May 9, 2011 at 19:03
  • This is similar to my question that is a little more broad: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/1876/…. I'm also interested in what answers might come up here. May 9, 2011 at 19:06
  • @Ivo: Maybe they could improve my workout results? I don't know, that's why I ask for your input :-) May 10, 2011 at 8:57

3 Answers 3


Uh, no, they aren't worth your ROI. The main purposes I see in Vibram Shoes is to strengthen the supporting lower leg muscles and to change your running gait to put you more on your toes.

Vibram shoes are training tools within themselves. The shoes should be worn progressively similarly to how you would progress a workout -> maybe 10 minutes a day this week and then 15 minutes a day the next week and then maybe a 15 minute run in the 3rd week, etc. You get the idea.

For running they improve form (when properly & slowly introduced) and improve supporting structures (ankles, ligaments, calves, etc.).

So for weight-lifting ONLY, I see them as being nothing more than a conversation piece between sets.


Although flat-soled shoes are traditional for weightlifting, I really like Vibrams for this. Of course there is the strengthening component that everyone talks about, but the real bonus is the extra stability and "grip" you get on the ground when doing deadlifts, squats, etc. I even notice a difference when doing bench press (yes your feet should be involved, but that's a whole other conversation).

Which ones? I like styles that cover the top of the foot, just to make sure that they are as firmly fastened to my feet as possible.

Regarding durability, I've had mine for about two years now and they're still in good condition. I wear them regularly for workouts, and occasionally when doing yardwork. I don't run in them.

In any case, just don't drop the weights on your foot! :-)


I don't think they'll really give you all that much in weightlifting. For the biking, you'll theoretically get more feedback on foot pressure on the pedal, but that will be balanced out by not holding rigid in the toe clip or other strap. For the most part, VFFs are good for better awareness of movement (I have friends who swear by them for sword-fighting). They provide very little protection against impact on the top, so you lose out on the small amount of protection from dropping a weight on your foot that shoes normally give you. There's a minor benefit from letting your toes naturally spread in terms of stability.

That said, they're expensive, the durability is a bit iffy, they're not waterproof, and they're far from the miracle work that people propose them as (which is the reason for the current class-action lawsuit).

I own a set myself, and I much prefer my thinsoled huarache sandals.

  • Might also want to check out some of the most recent research on minimalist shoes and increased injury rates.
    – JohnP
    Jun 5, 2014 at 20:16

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