The Kenyans saw him in his Five Fingers and called him “crazy.”

In a recent article posted on, Boston Globe reporter David Abel shares his skepticism about minimalist shoes and the barefoot running movement. Last summer, he started running in a $85 pair of Vibram Five Fingers. “It sounded odd as my feet slapped the pavement in the thin rubber soles,” he wrote, recalling his first experience in the shoes. “But they weigh only ounces, and I felt an almost giddy lightness as I strode toward my trail in Jamaica Plain.”

However, as soon as Abel left the pavement and turned onto the trail, he stepped on a rock. It “felt as if a needle had been thrust into my heel.”

As he continued to run in the Five Fingers, Abel noted that the moisture made them smell, while the rubber dug into his feet.

Adel began to become a skeptic.

“The more I ran in the FiveFingers, the more I questioned the claims about them,” he says.

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