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Published May 14, 2012, 10:17 PM

"Barefoot" shoes making waves in the metro area

Fargo-Moorhead (WDAY TV) - Before Nike, Asics, and New Balance, we were running and exercising in bare foot. Now, the newest trend in running shoes is promising you that same feeling you had as a kid, running barefoot through the neighborhood on a hot summer day. There are even some health benefits to the strange looking shoes that literally fit like a glove.

Before Nike, Asics, and New Balance, we were running and exercising in bare foot. Now, the newest trend in running shoes is promising you that same feeling you had as a kid, running barefoot through the neighborhood on a hot summer day. There are even some health benefits to the strange looking shoes that literally fit like a glove.

You may have seen these shoes that, well, don't look like much of a shoe. The slender tough soled running slippers are called Vibram Five Fingers.

Leah Kramer – Scheels Shoe Specialist: “With the Vibrams, when you run you are coming down on our fore front and pushing the foot back down.”

Scheels Shoe Specialist Leah Kramer says the slippers may look funny and feel awkward at first, but they will allow you to experience the benefits of bare foot running, without the risk of slicing your foot on a shard of glass.

Leah Kramer: “Pretty safe, they all have a three millimeter base, some of them with four, and some of them with two, just depends on the style that you wear.”

Kramer advises new buyers to take it slow when first using the shoes. Since they enhance your foots natural function, they use more muscle, but after you get past the initial soreness there are some benefits.

Leah Kramer: “Builds muscle strength within you calves, it gives you more agility and range as far as your ankle motions, and it also improves neural functions in your feet and your legs, so a lot of people do like that as it improves balance.”

The shoes started as this basic black design and now there are several colors for all different types of activities. They even have these ones that are designed for yoga and dance class.

Leah Kramer: “In mens we have a lot of trail running, and casual wear.”

Andrew Jason made the switch to these barefoot alternatives 3 months ago. At first Jason's calves and heels were sore, but after retraining his feet to use more of their natural function, he can now run up to 10 miles, and even plans to run the half marathon in them.

Andrew Jason – Love Five Finger Shoes: “When I first started running in them, they kind of hurt because it is a whole other form of running.”

Jason doesn't mind the strange looks he get when he wears the funny looking slippers. He likes the convenience of being able to wash them, and says he won’t be going back to clunky typical running shoes anytime soon.

Andrew Jason: “I sometimes forget I am wearing shoes, which is really nice, because I personally hate shoes.”

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