Barefoot-style shoes are growing in popularity, with some users convinced they improve running economy and help prevent injury. A new study suggests that wearing Vibram® FiveFingers “toe” shoes may have other positive benefits.
Conducted by a team from the National University of Health Services in Lombard, Illinois, the study included 16 individuals who wore Vibram FiveFingers KSO™ shoes for at least 1 hour and no more than 2 hours each day for 8 weeks. The goal was to see how the footwear impacted balance, functional deficits and proprioception. Subjects were not required to complete a particular type of activity while wearing the footwear; however, they were asked to take no other measures to improve balance or proprioception.
At the end of the study, researchers noted that the Vibram footwear was associated with improved balance among wearers. “Specifically, participants were able to stay balanced through a series of maneuvers for an average of 8.78 seconds longer than they were able to prior to the start of the study,” they explained.
Participants who used the shoes for running also said they felt less knee pain than they did when running in other shoes.
This information was pulled from an NUHS press release. Researchers presented the data at a symposium for the Federation Internationale De Chiropractique Du Sport in South Africa in April.