What Not To Do

Every day millions of people are doing silly-ass shit in gyms across the world. One of these things includes wearing Vibram Five Fingers to the gym. For those of you who aren’t Californians, CrossFitters, or the outdoorsy type, they look like this:

I’ll point out that most people think that these things are…not straight. I can see how they’d say that, but they are useful for outdoorsy shit like rock climbing, kayaking, or wearing to the beach (I know because I was gifted a pair, and I have worn them doing these things).
Edit: When I tried explaining this to my girlfriend, who hates the Vibrams, I said, “Well, they are useful for some things–” She interrupted me and said, “What? When you want to put your toe in someone’s ass?”

Some people wear them for running (those people are vegetarians or have other unrewarding characteristics such as — and this is a direct quote from my girlfriend — “armpit hair or a huge bush”). I think that wearing them for running is taking the “functional” shit way too far, not to mention running in them is clearly less safe (consider the environment, and accept the fact that the vast majority of people can’t POSE correctly).
“Ohhh, but what about the functionality of aborigines running properly?”

Look, POSE running is good and more efficient. Getting all crazy and doing it in Vibrams indicates you don’t have anything else important to do. Does Brian MacKenzie wear Vibrams when he races? No. He doesn’t.

More importantly, Vibrams shouldn’t be worn to workout, ESPECIALLY when lifting. Jesus, I see people wearing them to squat in and it makes my teeth hurt. When I see them attempting the Olympic lifts, I have a seizure on the spot. “Functionality” isn’t about trying to do things like the australopithecus did “because we evolved that way”. Functionality is a by product of getting strong, and to get strong efficiently, you wear appropriate footwear. You can run into a host of foot problems by stupidly wearing the Vibrams to lift in. Not only is getting injured not a sport, it’s not fucking functional either. If some shit head can only squat 250 wearing Vibrams, and this other not-so-shithead can squat 450 by wearing a belt and shoes — both of which will help make him stronger, a trait that directly contributes to real world events — then he is much more functional than the first guy. And if he isn’t conditioned from a respiratory/vascular perspective for the “worst case scenario hysteria people”, then he can get more conditioned faster because he is strong.

Vibrams Five Fingers are horrible to lift in. If some fitness ass-burger is telling you otherwise, then you now know they are a burger made of ass. Mechanically they create more problems and don’t solve any, injuries are prevalent (hey, let’s jump and stomp our feet without shoes on with an additional 100+ pounds in our hands — good idea, right?), and they don’t have any merit for optimal strength training. If any of you wear Vibrams, then you should have the money to spring for a cheap pair of lifting shoes. Save the Vibrams for what they were made for: wearing them outdoors when no one is looking.

Here is an exceptional example of what not to do. Look how unhappy he is.

69 thoughts on “What Not To Do

  1. Vibrams are for people who have yet to have a toe broken.

    Similarly, while my VS’ did aid in my lifts/appearance, they certainly are nothing in comparison to a nice extra-sleeveless tee. I am far more capable in the gym when wearing an extra-sleeveless tee.

    *Extra-sleeveless Tee: A shirt with sleeves cut off enough that it freely exposes nipple.

  2. Vibrams are the shoe for the type of people featured in ‘Stuff White People Like’. For that matter CrossFit has become the workout for the ‘Stuff White People Like’ crowd.

    If you know the site I’m talking about ’nuff said. If you don’t, go take a tour and have a laugh.

    For you sensitive vibrams wearers, understand that if you’re going to wear or do unusual shit you’re going to catch some ribbing…lighten up and have a laugh at yo’self.

  3. “A. I’ve never seen any of the top powerlifters lifting in vibrams. Chucks, yes, 5fingers, no, barefoot, no. Those guys can’t all be wrong. But maybe I just haven’t watched enough powerlifting.”

    No doubt. I tried to think of the best deadlifts ever off the top of my head. I came up with Bolton’s 457.5, 455, Benni’s 442.5 raw, 440, Z’s 430, KK’s 430. Out of those all but KK either lifted without shoes or in DL slippers which are how you make shoeless lifting legal. KK lifted in what looked like a flat, thin shoe, maybe a wrestling shoe or a thin Converse like shoe. Misha has some videos of deadlifting in WL shoes, but his best lifts are done in flat shoes. For squats I agree with most people that more support is better. For benching, who cares. I guess WL shoes would be a bit better in competitions where you need your heel down.

  4. What about Jason Pegg? Stronger than most if not all on this board and wears them.

    Okay? Again, choosing to train sub-optimally is stupid.


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  6. Hear is a video of Benedikt Magnusson setting a new world record RAW deadlift in SOCKS.

    I’ve also trained with WSM competitor Laurence Shahlaei for a few months at his gym and he told me that he always deadlifts in socks.

    If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me. Unless of course they have genetically superior feet.

    Is he fucking wearing vibrams?!?! No god damn it. What is it with you peope;1!?.ghf’okjhvsd
    v dfsho hc


  7. If Couch advocated squatting shoeless in 5-toe thigh-high rainbow socks, you can bet the CF’ers would defend the reasoning til the end of days.

    I squat in Do-Wins, DL in socks. Actually, I DL better when standing in a 3′ deep pit but haven’t figured out how to bring one to a meet.

  8. I’m trying to figure out why deadlifting in vibrams is bad but deadlifting in socks is okay.

    And I could care less what anyone thinks about my choice of footwear.

    That being said I lift in a pair of VS oly shoes.

    And Gant wears vibrams.

  9. I have vibrams and I love them. They’re pink, and they even have some red nail varnish on them.

    And you’re right, vibrams are not good for everything. I actually hurt my toe yesterday because of them, but I would also like to know why it’s ok to DL in socks but not in vibrams, and get an answer instead of some sort of nerdrage.

    If vibrams are made to simulate being bare foot, why would it be worst than being … bare foot.

    Asking me a fucking question — that I’ve already answered — and then insulting me will net you no answer.


  10. I admit, they do look corny.. But vibrams actually rocks for running and sprinting – especially for us not built like Ethiopian starvation victims.

    I used to get really sore knees from hauling my 240 pound frame around when running on concrete. After switching from conventional running shoes to vibrams I’ve never had any problem, in fact, concrete feels great!

    Nice picture though :D


  11. “This really bothers you. Let me emphasize that I don’t care. Furthermore, I know Rip better than most people, and I have personally heard him say, “Vibrams are gay and only fags wear them.” I’m not saying he didn’t change his mind or that he’s right, but I can assure you he’s more concerned with the blood in his gym.


    Got it. I didn’t realize that Rip was a 15 year old homophobe. Thanks for the info.

    Jesus, that’s not what I was saying. He has disdain for the Vibrams. Don’t turn this into something it’s not.


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  14. i like five finger vibrams better ,i think that five finger vibrams makes the toe boxes on their feet nice and wide,and you will
    see your calves and bare feet in the process of your running whichis the best way to train yourmuscles of feet and legs.Let’s go to five finger vibrams to have a pair to have a try. i trust that you will agree with me

  15. Damn, I’m hopeless! I wear Vibrams to work (I work out barefoot, except in winter), and I eat strict, no-carb paleo. Quick, let me conform, lest my ‘peers’ judge me!

    Or, I could continue to do what I do, because it is optimal FOR ME. And to those who disagree: walk a mile in my shoes first. Or, to be more specific, walk a few hundred feet in normal shoes, and be forced to wear knee braces all day. Because that’s what heels in shoes (any shoes) reduce me to. I think I’ll stick to my beloved Vibrams, be able to walk for miles again, and be able to ditch my braces. Hell, I can even squat again. Not with much, but every little bit helps. Suboptimal? I don’t fucking think so.

    Now would I recommend them to everyone? Hell no. But they can be a great tool for people with knee and back problems.

  16. Hahaha, relax on the hatorade Justin!

    Are you that insecure to be against wearing vibrams? Please explain how wearing vibrams is bad.
    You remind me of anti-abortion/anti-gay protestors.

    Your mother

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