The call for waterproof Vibram Five Fingers


Not to get all Crunchgear, but Vibram Five Fingers are the greatest shoes in the world. Sure, they look wacky, but I’ve bought into the whole barefoot phenomenon hook, line, and sinker. After a brief transition period, I run exclusively in my Five Fingers – I have a pair of Bikila for running – and wear brown leather KSO treks as much as possible on evenings and weekends.

I have struggled for years with lower back pain, often so bad that it would wake me from my sleep. A few years ago, a friendly chiropractor told me that my hips were out of line, and nothing short of weekly chiropractic adjustments would fix this. Well, being in Five Fingers as much as possible has fixed it (and has also saved me the $10 copay that the good doctor used to collect on every visit). I haven’t had an episode of severe lower back pain since I started wearing the Fives. Lots of research exists to support this connection, and I’m living proof – barefoot is the way to go. I’ve even bought shoes for work that mimic the barefoot experience from a company called Terra Plana, although there’s a long way to go to make barefoot-style shoes that are appropriate for the office. If you’re an entrepreneur developing a barefoot-style show for the office, please let me know – I’d love to help you.

So I was disappointed to discover (the hard way) that Vibram Five Fingers are not waterproof. A 2-mile walk down to the library and back, in the aftermath of this most recent Boston blizzard, is enough to make me want to dunk my toes directly into mug of hot chocolate. Even soaked through my beloved wool Injinji socks, which are now hanging on the heater, dripping onto our hardwood floor. Thankfully, I have my trusty LL Bean Wicked Good Slippers, and I’m beginning to regain consciousness in my toes.

After a little Internet digging, and a quick perusal of the Vibram Twitter feed, it seems that the recommended solution is the Vibram Flow, coupled with wool Injinji socks. The description of the Flow seems to specifically call for use in winter conditions:

For more insulation, go with the Flow. Whether running in colder temperatures or crossing a stream with your kayak, the Flow provides comfortable barefoot protection.

But even Vibram admits that this combo is not waterproof. And it’s another $90 to spend for what would be my fourth pair of Vibrams, which wouldn’t even be completely waterproof. Don’t think that’s going to fly with the old budget, unfortunately.

So consider this a call to the geniuses at Vibram: please make a waterproof shoe. You’re a Concord, MA company, for crying out loud! Give your New England neighbors some love!

In all seriousness, I’ll bet the things would fly off the shelves, at least at CitySports Boston. It would not surprise me at all to learn that a disproportionate amount of Vibram fans live in New England and would love to make their Fives a year-round part of their wardrobe.

Sign me up for a pair, at least.

NOTE: This is a re-post from my old blog, which was hosted at Posterous. It’s the article that’s gotten me the most Google traffic, so I figured I’d bring it over to this new Tumblr blog. Thanks