The rules of style are weird: society forces us to wear uncomfortable clothing in the name of fashion and nobody seems to care whether what we put on our body is actually good for us.
But rules are made to be broken, and I’ll tell you a quick story to show you how:
“Remember these?” I asked, holding up an old cardboard box. A pair of air cushioned running shoes, all beaten and dirty, peeped out. She threw them in the trash.
Shaking her head: “I can’t believe this was two years ago… even though I gotta say: biking around Paris stopping in every shoe store was kinda fun”.
Those days in Paris, when we had to visit the city renting bikes because her feet and knees hurt too much to walk, were the beginning of a quite stressful journey.
My wife Ambra broke her ankle when she was 16, and like any careless teenager she neglected to get it fixed. Combined with a lesioned meniscus and over a decade of wearing high heels, her feet hurt so bad that walking around for more than a couple hours felt like a torture. After countless models of runnings shoes, doctors proposing different kinds of surgeries and 3 pairs of customized insoles that ended up inflaming tendons and creating a whole new series of dramas… I got one of my brilliant ideas! 😉
“Why don’t you try these on” I said one day, handing her my pair of worn out Vibram Five Fingers.
“I can’t do that – she said – everybody’s gonna look at me”. “Please, walk in these for five minutes” I insist.
Five minutes later she’s checking their online store and ordering a pair.
Her Vibram shoes made their debut on a busy day in the hilly Hong Kong. After we had been out and about for more that 8 hours, no signs of discomfort, just an ecstatic face.
The result was too good to care about style. “Even though they’re kinda sporty, Vibram is all we’re gonna wear” I said, happy to have found a partner who shared my enthusiasm for the shoes I loved.
I say it knocking on wood: I had used Vibram for years, walking around, hiking, or even at the gym, pushing myself to the limit. Never a break, sprain, nothing. Was it my Vibrams that kept me safe? Maybe.
Traditional shoes sandwich toes together, squishing them like two book ends and seriously altering our balance. Walk like that for a lifetime and it’s no wonder we have injuries, especially while running! Just because it’s normal it doesn’t mean it’s not insane.
Imagine wearing gloves all day, that not only constricted your hands from flowing freely, but were tighter than a corset so your fingers actually overlapped one another.
Shoes and feet are no different. And Vibrams solve all that.
Just a few days ago, after flying back to Italy, we finally checked something off our bucket list: we visited the Vibram flagship store in Milan. We were happy to discover that to get that kind of comfort, you don’t have to give up style. Like kids on Christmas morning, we opened every box and tried on all their different collections: running, trekking, casual, golf, classic, even boots.
We bought 6 pairs of shoes, one for every occasion. And every time we walk around and see people stare at our feet, we lift our shoes and say: “They’re called Vibram and you should check them out. These shoes are freaking amazing!”
Some of them smiles, some of them take notes, and hopefully some of them will soon have another inspiring story to tell. Just like ours.