You’ve probably seen them at the gym, on the street or even at work. In essence, they look like gloves for your feet and this means they mimic the natural shape of your feet and fit snugly around your toes. Think along the line of toe socks made from the same material as shoes. They certainly look unique, and that’s why you may have probably encountered them a few times.
These shoes look are so conspicuous that as soon as anyone sees them they naturally want to ask questions and this means the wearers often end up marketing the shoes unknowingly. Even better is that many people have recently started wearing the shoes and this includes celebrities like Prince Harry as well as sports stars.
But what are these shoes exactly? Why are they so unique? And why is it that they are so beneficial to our feet and general health? In this article, we look at the benefits of the five finger shoes and how they work- as well as whether or not to buy them.
What are Foot Glove Shoes?
Foot glove shoes or five finger shoes are sock-like shoes that mimic the feeling that your feet would experience when walking or running barefoot. They help you walk in a more natural way, and even help improve your abilities when engaging in activities like yoga, jogging and running.
Benefits of Foot Glove Shoes
The technology behind foot glove shoes is such that they are built for maximum comfort. The soles are structured in a way to allow for flexibility and create resistance on slippery grounds.
Apart from this, the underside is elastic, which allows for adaptability of your toes, thus strengthening the muscles in your feet. This actually helps in improving speed as well as balance. Additionally, they are made from raw materials that protect the feet against rough terrain.
Most reviews tell us that glove shoes go a long way in promoting natural foot mechanics, and thus help strengthen your feet. If you have flat feet, it may take a few weeks before you get used to wearing the shoes, but within that period, your muscles will have adapted and improved the strength of your feet.
While trying to get used to them, do not wear them for long periods at a go. Instead, gradually increase the periods for which you wear the shoes. This is very important, because your feet will need to adjust before getting used to the shoes.
Studies suggest that glove shoes are perfect for a wide array of physical activities, like jogging and running. If you are a frequent runner you know that it’s not advisable to strike your heel too hard when running, as it may cause heel-related injuries.
Running with five finger shoes is almost like running barefoot. These shoes will help you strike the ground with the front part of your foot, rather than with the heel which helps in maintaining stability and balance.
How do they feel?
When you put on foot glove shoes, you immediately feel liberated. One of the first things you’ll notice is how much lighter your feet will become and that makes you feel more sure-footed and a lot faster.
At the same time, you’ll be struck by how you feel underfoot-and this is something you’ll really enjoy at first- walking on grass and feeling the soft, mushy sensation beneath your feet, or walking on soft tiles and feeling the firm, flat ground underneath.
You can identify what you’re walking on by how you feel underneath your foot and this is a fun way to increase the awareness of your surroundings.
The downside is that your feet will hurt most of the time, especially when walking on concrete or cobbles. Your feet will sting and start to feel numb. However, this is something you’ll adapt to overtime as you get used to wearing the shoes- which is an indication that your feet are toughening up and your muscles are strengthening.
Similarly, you’ll find that when you first wear your foot glove shoes, your ankles and calves are going to feel achy in a very muscular way, and it’s normal to experience a little muscle ache.
Best Foot Glove Shoes
As mentioned earlier, five finger shoes are all the rage right now. From big players like Nike to up-and comers like Vibram, companies are flooding the market with foot glove footwear. Let’s take a glance at two of the best foot glove shoes Vibram has to offer:
1. Vibram FiveFingers Women’s Vi-b Fitness Shoes
- Machine Wash Cold / Air Dry
Introduced in 2013, Vibram FiveFingers Women’s shoes are lightweight, breathable and flexible. Taking inspiration from the ballet flat, these foot glove shoes brings your foot closer to the ground, increasing muscle strength. The extremely breathable design of the shoes allows air to flow in and out of the shoe providing a constant flow of fresh air to your feet. Finished with an anti-microbial sockliner, you can rest assured that odour is eliminated creating a fresh environment inside the shoe. This versatile shoe will carry you from the playground to the trail and even to the indoors, thanks to its non-mark features.
Why we like about them:
- They are lightweight and flexible
- They are extremely breathable
- They are odour-free
2. Vibram FiveFingers Women’s Spyridon Outdoor Shoes
- Machine Wash Cold / Air Dry
These Spyridon outdoor shoes from Vibram provide the perfect balance for your foot while protecting you against rough terrain. A minimalist Vibram rubber sole gives perfect cushioning against debris and stones, while allowing you to assume a more natural running style. The aggressive tread design as well as the Vibram 3D technology incorporated into the sole delivers maximum foot-grip and protection on all areas of your foot. Inclusively, this shoe is the ideal choice for a runner looking to take their barefoot style to a rough terrain.
Why we like about them:
- They provide maximum cushioning against all terrains
- They protect your feet in all directions
- They feature a polyester mesh which allows for breathability
- A simple lacing system for a quick on and off as well as a snug fit
Frequently asked questions
1. What are the benefits of foot glove shoes?
Foot glove shoes combined the benefits of normal shoes and being barefoot. They provide protection and cushioning, just like shoes, but they allow your feet to function more naturally.
It’s like walking barefoot. Glove shoes improve stability, balance and foot movement. For runners and athletes, these shoes can increase your speed, flexibility and agility.
They also help with pronation problems (overpronation or underpronation).
Foot glove shoes are designed to provide excellent traction and grip on different surfaces including pavement, road, gravel and muddy trails.
2. Are foot glove shoes good for running and sports?
Yes, they are. In fact, they are better than some sports/running shoes. You just need to find a pair of glove shoes designed specifically for running.
The barefoot-like sensation feels great on the road. Your feet feel lighter and more flexible. You spring faster and further than with normal shoes.
Because of how the shoes contour to your feet, you overall foot movement becomes better and more fluid. This reduces pressure on your heel and prevents foot pain and injuries. It also prevents problems in your ankles and knees.
Most runners find glove shoes to be more suited to shorter sprints. But you can also get a thicker-soled pair that’s ideal for long-distance endurance running.
3. How does it feel to wear foot glove shoes?
It feels close to being barefoot. The shoes fit like gloves, with your toes cocooned into separate pockets.
Most foot glove shoes are elastic, which allows them to adapt to your foot’s shape and movements. This adds to the ‘barefoot’ feeling.
The feeling can be a bit disconcerting at first but you’ll get used to it. The trick is to start out slowly, wearing the shoes only for a few minutes each day.
If they are for running, go for short runs with them in the beginning.
Over time, they’ll feel more comfortable and you’ll be able to wear them for longer periods.
4. Can I go hiking with foot glove shoes?
Like running, it depends on what the shoes are designed for. You can find foot glove shoes designed for use in rough terrains.
They are breathable, have a tougher sole to protect your feet and the traction is better.
Some outdoor glove shoes are designed to allow water through. But the rubbery material doesn’t get soggy.
5. How do I choose the best glove shoe size?
Sizing for glove shoes is roughly similar to that of normal shoes. Buy a size close to what you normally wear.
Most people get the perfect size the first time round but you may need to make one or two returns before you get the right fit.
Refer to the seller’s or manufacturer’s size chart before you order.
6. Can I wear glove shoes with socks?
Yes you can but not normal socks. Look for glove socks.
Note that wearing socks can make the shoes a bit tighter. If you are planning to wear socks with your glove shoes, consider ordering a size bigger. But most people find it more comfortable to wear glove shoe without socks.
7. Can I use insoles with glove shoes?
No, you can’t. An insole wouldn’t stretch all the way to the toes and it might make the shoe too tight.