Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Question - How Do I Get My Toes Into Five Finger Toe Holes?

On Monday I posted that I LOVE my Vibram Five Fingers.  Why?  Because after wearing them outside for the last week and a half on walks with my dog, my feet feel wonderful.  This is completely different than how my feet generally feel after a long walk where my toes are numb and the balls of my feet burn.

I received a question from Wren over at Rheumablog  that I thought I would answer in a post as it is a great question.

"I have to know, though: HOW do you get your toes into the toe-holes? I remember years ago someone gave me a pair of toe-socks. Cool! I tried to put them on... and spent the next ten minutes trying to get my short toes divided evenly into the right holes...


I decided they might be cute, but toe-socks were definitely WAY too much trouble!


So, spill! How do you manage this? Do you have well-shaped, flexible toes? Should I be jealous?"

No need to be jealous Wren. Once I get my feet into my Five Fingers, I absolutely LOVE them.  I feel light and bouncy as I walk.  I don't feel the stress on my joints that comes with the supportive shoes I generally wear.  What I failed to mention though in my last post is that I HATE getting my toes into the Five Fingers. 

Rheumatoid arthritis has been a part of my life for over seven years now.  During that time some toes have separated which means others are cramped together or top of each other.  Also, I have hammertoes, especially on my right foot.  So, getting my toes to fit into specific little spots when my fingers don't always want to cooperate isn't an easy task or one that I much enjoy.  If it wasn't for the difference in how my feet feel afterwards, I wouldn't even bother.   But, once they are on, I feel like I can wear them all day.  In fact, I once napped in them.  They are so light they feel like slippers.  (I had them on and didn't want to have to get them back on later in the day.)

Here's how it works:
My left foot almost always fits into the Five Fingers shoe with ease. (Thank you left foot!) Each toe finds its little home and is completely happy.

The right foot on the other hand, is a rebel.  This foot has toes that have big gaps between them which means other toes are almost on top of each other.

I have to put my foot in and out of the shoe several times before I find a position I think will be comfortable. 

Once in, I have to use my fingers to try and separate my toes and move them into the position of the shoe toes.  My baby toe just won't separate from the others and often never finds a happy spot.

Once the toes are all in their spots, I work at pushing the hammertoes further down into their slots.  They never get as comfortable as my left foot, but they are content.

As readers to my blog know, I tend to need to try out alternatives to what is normally recommended for rheumatoid arthritis.  My current goal is to do some barefoot walking as the temperatures warm up here is the Chicago suburbs.  I have spent the winter reading both the pros and cons of barefoot walking and like everything I do, I am making this choice because it is the one that feels right for me.  When I take my shoes off, I feel free.  I like to wiggle my toes.  I like using the muscles in my feet.  And I love seeing people in public who are barefoot.  It always bring an image of freedom to me, something I like and admire in people. 

If you are interested in a minimalist shoe and don't want to deal with finding a home for each of your toes, check out Merrell's new barefoot shoe.  If I hadn't received my Five Fingers for Christmas, I would definitely have gone for these.

*I want to be honest with my rheumatoid arthritis readers. I am feeling really good right now. My flares are seldom and not very intense. You guys know how I felt last year at this time. There is no way I would have had the energy, strength, or flexibility to deal with putting these shoes on during that time. My Dansko clogs were a challenge at the time and all I had to do was slip my feet into them.  But this is where I am now and it is fun experimenting and finds what works best for me.

*Update:  I realized what the benefit of the toes are in this shoe.  With each toe having its own home, they don't curl up when walking.  I notice that with my "supportive" shoes, my toes curl up when I walk.  Maybe that is why my feet and toes don't hurt when walking in the Five Fingers.