"The human foot is a work of art and a masterpiece of engineering" - Leonardo da Vinci
For my husband's birthday last month, I ordered each of us a pair of Five Finger Vibrams. Ha! I can only wonder what kind of images are flowing through your mind after hearing of a product with a name like that! They're becoming more and more popular these days and were even featured in a recent Sunday newspaper here in Turkey with a story about an American actor photographed wearing them. But for those of you who haven't heard of them yet, they can most basically be described as gloves for your feet.
Wearing them is almost like wearing no shoes at all. They fit so snuggly and have no padding. The bottom of the shoes are tough enough to prevent cuts and scrapes from sharp stones but thin and pliable enough to allow you to really feel the earth beneath your feet. This connection with the earth is very important to me. Oh and they are so very comfortable! Because they individually house each of my toes, my feet can work as they're meant to and playing outside becomes much easier. I can walk, run, jump, climb and play without really feeling like I'm wearing shoes. I can also wear them in the water. I have a bit of a phobia about walking in water when I can't see the bottom. Now I have my Vibrams I don't need to feel scared of standing on something yucky or bitey or ouchie. They're fantastic. Can you tell how excited I am?
I virtually grew up without shoes. All five of my brothers and sisters and I spent our weekends and afternoons roaming around our farm and exploring the bush behind or property, barefoot. We loved the liberating sensation of having naked feet. I remember how lovely it felt to squelch in mud puddles and how agile we were climbing trees. We were born without shoes and it felt more natural going barefoot than squeezing our wriggly toes into rigid and confining shoes.
Even now the first thing I do when I come home is to kick off my shoes.
Unfortunately it's not socially acceptable to go around barefoot. If I walked into my local grocery store or restaurant without shoes I'd most likely be asked to leave. As a foreigner living in a very foreign country, I have to be careful about what I wear to avoid being stared at or verbally abused. So going without shoes in public (in fact, even in my own home I'm frowned upon for not wearing slippers) would ostracize me even moreso. Now I can wear my Vibrams (and still get stared at), conform to the custom of wearing shoes, and still feel as though I'm barefoot.
What do you think of them? Kinda funny looking, hey? But man oh man, they're good fun! I just love 'em!