Thursday, May 8, 2014

Collaborative Stupidity Wins Again (sigh)

So there's this article out now about how Vibram Five Fingers got sued for causing injuries to people wearing them. You can read the article here. I've been getting asked about my opinion on minimalist footwear a lot since I got mine (a mere 3 years ago, I believe), and have nothing bad to say about them, other than the fact that they don't make rainboots (it makes Taiwan winters a bit of a hassle....). Minimalist footwear, if properly fitted and properly used, can help a person's foot strength and laxity, proprioception (think about how your hand feels naked versus in a tight mitten), posture, and probably ego, since they're the coolest-looking thing you can put on your feet (ok, that last one might be a little bit of a stretch).

I dunno...these might be even cooler than wearing shoes that look like feet...

The article states that people were injured in the "transition process" of wearing the shoes, so people sued. And sometimes when the people sue a big company and make a big deal out of it, they end up pooling their piggy bank contents and getting a pretty decent lawyer and they win the damn case. So in this case, Vibram lost. 

But my qualm isn't with the fact that Vibram lost. Or even that they got sued. Every big corporation will get sued many times over the course of their business-ey years. It's just gonna happen. 

My qualm is with the fact that the people who sued Vibram were idiots with no common sense. Anyone with a brain should be able to figure out that if you're going to make a change as big as the type of footwear you wear on a regular basis, that it should:
        a) not be a drastic difference from the type you are replacing
        b) probably be a gradual process if it is pretty different (maybe alternate between old shoe and new until your feet get used to it? or *gasp* make sure you can WALK comfortably in them for a long time before you run in them??)
        c) not go on the foot that shares a brain with someone who thinks that instant gratification applies to fitness and health

Seriously, think about it. You protect your feet for the majority of your life with a bunch of pillows and a shell. And then all of the sudden, you decide to throw your feet out into the world, fending for itself, and expect it to survive. Anyone who's watched shows on animals in captivity knows that this is a bad idea. 

He was probably in on the lawsuit.

This makes me think how often people wear those shoes, too. I'm asian, so I never wear shoes inside someone's home (even if they're wearing shoes, I'll probably end up taking mine off anyway....just a habit). But some people do. And some people wear their shoes every place in their house except for IN their bed. Those poor, captive feet. I bet they have an awesome case of athlete's foot. The people who blame the company that designed the shoes probably are the same people who are "gluten free" for no reason other than the fact that it's the latest trend in health/fitness. Perhaps some people like these?

I also have been in martial arts since I was 8 (so no shoes there, and plenty of foot-strengthening movements), and my favorite pair of shoes in middle/high school was a pair of blue and white Converse. After I moved to California, all I wore were flip flops. So my transition into toe shoes were pretty fluid. 

The reason I got the Vibrams, by the way, were because all those years of martial arts kinda screwed up my big toe a bit, and I realized that normal shoes were compressing my toes inward, where my "black belt feet" (as my ex boyfriend called them) wanted nothing to do with being squished. Either that, or it was catching my big toe in the puzzle mats for 5 years of my training in California. To this day, I still hate puzzle mats. The Vibrams solved my problem within a week or two. Now, they are all I wear. But it wasn't hard to transition into them, because I was used to being barefoot or wearing shoes with minimal soles, and I rarely wore high heels.

I'm lucky this never happened....knock on wood.

So these people who whined about these shoes who ruined their lives...probably should have thought a little more about how to transition into something, instead of just "going for it 100% (I have thoughts on 100%, but in a later blog....). But since they're probably pretty competitive people and like to keep up with the trends, I have a suggestion for an award they can compete for, so they can feel like they accomplished something. Apparently there are more contestants now than there ever were before.

No comments:

Post a Comment