Vibram Five Fingers Review - Cigar Community and Running - Lifestyle & Culture -
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Home » Lifestyle & Culture

Barefoot Running and the Cigar Community

Submitted by Oliver on February 23, 2010 – 12:00 am8 Comments

As we often try to showcase the community effect of cigar smoking one of those interesting crossroads of discussion is fitness and the cigar community. As contrarian as it would seem to some, many cigar smokers enjoy living active lifestyles. One of the trends that we have started to see around our local B&M Casa Fuma, and at our Crossfit training center (Crossfit Southwest) is the phenomenon known as FiveFingers.

FiveFingers by Vibram are some of the most bizarre looking shoes you will see on an individual, but I will say this about them, they are also some of the most functional! Having seen these shoes around the shop the first thing one notices is that they look like a pair of water moccasins with individual toe covers, hence the FiveFinger moniker. Upon close inspection you will notice that the bottom actually has light treading, and that the sole is contoured to your foot. To be precise, as is stated on the Vibram website FiveFingers are designed to “…bring you closer to your environment, FiveFingers deliver a number of positive health benefits—by leveraging all of the body’s natural biomechanics, so you can move as nature intended.

To be honest I was skeptical at first and thought it was a ridiculous concept, but then I read a study published by a group of Harvard professors that talked about the possible benefits of running barefoot. One of the points they made was that many runners develop a heel strike when wearing running shoes. As is quoted from the study by Liberman et al. in an article of Nature they state that “Most runners who wear standard running shoes usually heel strike, but our research suggests that most barefoot or minimally shod endurance runners forefoot strike and sometimes midfoot strike.” Perhaps one of the greatest barriers of me being able to run any great distance is the fact that I develop bad shin splints due to heavy heel strikes. I have been working on a pose running form to help, but I thought if the shoes could really change my running pattern then why not give them a try as well.

The first time I slipped them on I thought how awkward they felt. Having your toes securely in their own individualized pockets is quite a new experience, but the more you wear them, the more they start to feel like a second skin. My first impression was about how you really felt connected to the ground. One could feel every bump and rock of the ground, as if one were barefoot, but protected. The nice part about the shoes was that even if one walk on rocks or somewhat uneven terrain, one feels it, but does not have the discomfiture of being actually barefoot and stepping on a rock. Immediately I noticed that my tendency to walk on the heel was being supplanted to walk on a less tender part of my foot. It truly began to shape the way I wanted to walk and interact with my environment.

It had the added benefits as well in the jumping rope and weightlifting departments. Jumping rope and performing double-unders has been a challenge for me, but with the FiveFingers on I was able to quickly start getting consecutive skips and better height. I chalk this up to being unencumbered by weightier shoes, and also being able to balance better in general by jumping from the front of my foot. As for the weightlifting, I have always struggled with different snatch movements, because in a large part the force needed to propel the weight upward requires one to push or jump from their heel specifically. In normal shoes I could jump, but I was tending to push from the front instead of loading up the heel. Wearing FiveFingers allowed me to sense what part of my foot I was leading from, and make the proper adjustments. In one session, and in multiple ones since, I have seen up to a 40lb gain in some of my snatches and high pulls!

To be sure the FiveFingers are a modern marvel and oddity. While their looks are definitely unique, their function is unparalleled and a truly marvelous experience for those looking to improve their running form, balance, or weightlifting technique. A gentle caveat is to take it easy in your initial runs while your feet and legs adjust to a new running style. My legs and feet were sore in places I have never engaged before, and took me a few days to recover them. Enjoy them and break them in at a moderate pace, but you will definitely not be sorry that you purchased a pair. If you want more information you can check them out on, and be sure to check them out periodically, because they have some cool new models coming out for the avid hiker and runner!

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  • justin says:

    Nice review. It’s good to get a CrossFit review perspective — despite a lot of people using VFFs for CrossFit, I don’t see too many reviews that talk about how Five Fingers function with stuff like double-unders. I will say, whacking your VFF’ed feet with the jump rope while doing d-us can hurt!

    I’ll be picking your review up in my weekly round-up of Vibram Five Fingers reviews on It posts on Sunday — just a little link love for good reviews like this.

    Happy VFF’ing.


    • Anthony says:


      Thank you for taking the time to respond kindly to our article! We here at Puffing Cigars are honored to have our article reposted on your site! For quite some time we have been following and enjoying your work! Keep it up!

  • grant says:


    I echo Anthony. We have been spying a bit on your site to see what’s next out of Vibram. Thanks for the repost.

    As for the shoes, I love them. I recently picked up the “Trek” version. Made more for hiking with its aggressive tread I still work out in them and wear them wherever my wife won’t be too embarrassed by me wearing them. (They do get a lot of attention and questions).

    Amazing concept and I am definitely drinking the kool-aid.

  • justin says:

    Well I won’t be doing a full repost – just a link to your review here with a little bit of a blurb.

    Glad you guys like the site! And glad you are enjoying your KSO Treks! If you ever get any action shots in them and want to write up some of your impressions of them, send it all my way!


  • grant says:

    Will Do, Justin.

  • they says:

    I swore I’d never wear vibram five fingers. We called them the vibram kso of Suck a few years ago and I was sure they were crazy. Friends, I’m here to tell you I was wrong. And I’m sorry. Here’s my story: I ran a marathon a few years ago. I got plantar fasciitis and couldn’t run after the marathon. I worked through that inflammation but by the time I was ready to run vibram FiveFingers Sprint again I had gained thirty pounds. Wham. Shin-splints. So I was a fat former runner with leg problems. The prognosis wasn’t good. So I tried a few things – the elliptical, weight training, losing some freaking weight – but the thing that saved me were these vibram five fingers shoes.

  • vibram says:

    Thanks for sharing ..
    I like the vibram shoes

  • eric doucet says:

    Ive had issue with 4 pairs 1 pair bikila 3 days toes unglued. 2nd pair bikila same thing sole separate right off. for my 3rd pair i exchange for kso instead no toe separation but pull tab came stitching came apart after 2h . 4th pair kso mailed to me same size but material is so tight i manege to get foot in i can only where for 5 min and my foot goes lil numb am tired dealing with the company not sure i will buy another pair seems a lot factory defects and inconsistency i am pissed off at them and i want my money back
    such peace of garbage and no i am not a spammer or getting paid for this i am a pissed off consumer and will wright this where ever i can find a revue don’t buy this crap