The American Council on Exercise (ACE), is North America's leading authority on fitness and the world's largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization. The Council recently announced the results of a small, independent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Exercise and Health Program on Vibram FiveFingers. The sock-style shoes are designed to protect the feet whilst simulating the effect of running barefoot. The study found that while the shoes may be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic running injuries, using Vibrams and barefoot-style shoes for running can pose additional risks if runners do not adopt the correct foot-to-ground strike style. ACE commissioned the study to determine what happens when runners switch from their traditional running shoes to wearing minimalist running shoes like Vibram FiveFingers.
Advocates of barefoot running suggest that traditional running shoes may increase a runner's risk of injury, as the shoes encourage the foot to use a heel-strike pattern, which causes more pounding and stress. Conversely, barefoot runners tend to run more lightly, landing near the balls of the feet and generating less pounding and potentially less risk of injury. Vibram suggests its product helps users simulate the feeling of being barefoot and achieve a forefoot strike run pattern while providing the abrasion protection of wearing a shoe.
According to the study provided runners were prepared to gradually modify their running style f through regular practice then Vibram FiveFingers were safe and effective shoes. A complete study summary can be found in the latest issue of ACE Certified News.