So I bought a pair last weekend and I've been using them to walk around the city (San Francisco). There is a lot of concrete and not really any soft ground. (Also a lot of hills)
I am experiencing a lot of pain in the ball of my foot and part of my toes. I decided to go for vibrams in the first place because my crappy Target tennis shoes were SOMETIMES causing small discomfort throughout my foot when I walked for long periods (30 minutes +). I got these five fingers on sale so I can't even return them, but I'm thinking of giving up on them. What is going on?
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probably just sore from changing from regular tennis shoes to vibrams. i was in so much pain when i first started wearing them. i remember i was a cashier and had to work the day after i wore them the first time. i couldn't even walk and asked my boss if i could sit in a chair at the register.
switching to a minimalist shoe should be gradual. A sudden change like this can be damaging to the intrinsics of the feet, especially if you're using them for a long period of time. However, vibrams and other minimal footwear is not for everyone especially over pronators who should really have a more rigid heel cup. What does the wear pattern look like on your old tennis shoes?
Is the pain mostly on the downhill? You just aren't used to walking almost barefoot on concrete. It will take a lot of time to get used to that. I'd do just a few minutes a day, carry another pair of something that you can change into. It took me a lot of time to get to the point on those hills that old ladies weren't blowing past me. I miss it - don't live in SF anymore. Go out to the beach and walk in them for practice and building up your feet/legs.
if you have never lifted before, and you sit down and do a 5x5 routine, the next day you will feel like your arms are going to fall off. This is called DOMS, but is analogous to what you are feeling.
You are asking your body to react in a way that it is not trained to do. You are using muscles, and putting load on joints that are new to them. Give it time, and take it slow. Do 30 minutes of vibrams one day, 40 the next, and so on so your body can slowly build up the muscular support it needs.