People have been exercising barefoot since gyms opened there doors for the first time, so I don’t really see why it would really be a problem to wear “toe” shoes.
I mean, when you think about the whole protection idea, that doesn’t make to much sense either. I know I have first hand, the mess that a ten pound plate can make of a big toe when dropped from the height of a bench press, even when covered by a millimeter thick leather of a sneaker. I just think that the sensory information that your feet creates further benefit and outweighs the risk.
With that being said, I dont believe Vibrams are for everyone. Unfortunately, they have become “cool” and everyone is wearing them and I suppose finding out the hard way that they shouldn’t be. The reason, is just shoes in general.
We are born in this world with the possibility of perfect feet, but unfortunately we strap our feet in boxes we call shoes right away and allow our feet to flatten, turn out and lose their elasticity. So for everyone that has contributed on this question, it is easy to see that this may actually end up being the bigger problem. You see, with the correct shoes and orthotics we can minmize the effects fthat flattened feet will have on the kinetic chain but with something like “toe” shoes, there is no such luck. The door just swings right open for medial knee pains and hip instability.
Hope this helps,