Do You Need Vibram Five Fingers To Squat And Deadlift?

Over the last few years the CrossFit community has popularized a special shoe/sock/foot device that is supposed to revolutionize the fitness industry. It seems that the fans are buying the miracle claims like crazy and currently there are a lot of people walking around with their Vibram Five Fingers. At NattyOrNot.com we call those guys the foot snobs.

Captain upper body Hugh Jackman deadlifting in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. {image via: birthdayshoes.com}

Are Vibram Five Fingers any good for squatting and deadlifting?

Vibram Five Fingers seem to be fine for deadlifting. The sole is quite thin and keeps you closer to the ground. One of the reasons so many deadlifters use ballet slippers is that they shorten the pull unlike shoes with regular soles. Believe it or not, people are that crazy, and even if it is just 1 inch, those maniacs still want the advantage. Question is, do Vibram Five Fingers offer any benefit over the slippers?


In the video below you can see Andy Bolton deadlifting 1003 in a pair of slippers.

For the price of a Vibram Five Fingers pair you can buy enough slippers for the whole ballet school.

During the deadlift you are not jumping or running. That’s why slippers are perfectly fine and you don’t need expensive footwear just because some CrossFit guy says you do.

When it comes to squats, however, it gets tricky. We don’t like the Vibram Five Fingers for squatting at all. When you squat you need a stable shoe that does not give up from side to side. You want the shoes to make you feel stable and secure. That’s why it’s better to squat in real shoes. Have you ever seen a professional powerlifter or weightlifter squat heavy while wearing funky shoes? It does not happen very often, if ever. Those guys know that a good squat requires stability. That’s why they often use weightlifting shoes which have ultra hard surface and a wooden heel.

For more information about proper footwear during squats and deadlifts read this post.

Why are so many people obsessing over Vibram Five Fingers?

For the most part it’s called snobbery and being rich. Not many people can afford to spend so much money on a shoe they’re not going to wear everyday. At the same time many of the benefits seem to be over-hyped as you can read in this article. Of course, Vibram Five Fingers have their benefits and are much better than a pair of super expensive kicks that are supposed to make you jump and dunk like professional ball players, but they don’t have magical properties either.

What do you recommend?

Find a way to try Vibram Five Fingers before buying it in order to see how it feels. At the same time don’t think you are losing much by not having access to similar shoes/socks. They aren’t so special and most people would do just fine with a flat sole lightweight shoe.

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