Although at times I get some strange looks, apparently I’m not the only one in the military trying out Vibram’s “almost barefoot” FiveFingers shoes (see my previous post). The Army Times – and its sister publications – has an article on “who can wear ‘toe shoes’ during unit PT – and who would want to”.
Going around the services, Jon R. Anderson writes:
Marine Corps leaders say no problem. Navy leaders say no way. Top Air Force leaders have cleared them for takeoff, even while some base commanders have grounded them for being too faddish.
Given my experience with the military I was surprised at the number of positive statements from Army officials. I guess it’s like the Navy doctor they quoted: “Once Navy SEALs start wearing them, everybody in Virginia Beach wants to wear them.”
The article points out a number of arguments in favor of the shoes:
– They are running shoes
– You can wear them with socks (socks are required in Army PT formations)
– They improve proprioception (something I could definitely use)
– Faster run times (good news for me, but I’m still waiting)
– Longer hauls, better conditioning
– They improve balance
– Eliminates heel lift and motion control
The article says I won’t be allowed to wear them for my next physical fitness test, though. Apparently they worry of an “unfair advantage.” No worries, I’ve already taken my final physical fitness test.