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Training Barefoot—Almost

Back when the Iron Guru Vince Gironda had his gym in Studio City, California, he was notorious for being a stickler for specific training nuances, one of which was training calves without shoes. He insisted it was the only way to work the lower legs effectively, and he even ejected a few people from his gym for wearing shoes on the calf machine. Vince had nothing to do with the new FiveFinger shoes from Vibram, but he no doubt would’ve approved. They fit like a glove over your foot, with individual compartments for each toe, and are designed to make your feet stronger and healthier.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince’s methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince’s students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

The sole is just thick enough to protect the bottoms of your feet, but not so thick as to impair natural movement. Many runners are already in love with these shoes, as running barefoot has taken on an almost cultlike status; however, it does take some getting used to.

So does training in the FiveFingers. Your calves can get very sore from the enhanced range of motion, and you’ll get an entirely new appreciation for deep quad-fiber activation when you squat wearing them.

FiveFinger shoes are available in a variety of designs to cover the wide range of activities you would do barefoot—from fitness training to running to sailing. For more information go to

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