Five Fingers fever has caught on and they have become wildly popular with the Cross Fit crowd as well as military so when Eric Steinkopff, Director of Government Sales for Extreme Outfitters told me what was going on there I asked him to get something to me. What’s happening is that Extreme employee Erin Totterton is wearing her Vibram Five Finger footwear for 365 days straight. Eric, who wrote this report is a retired Marine and spent a couple of years as a journalist covering the military beat in Jacksonville, North Carolina prior to assuming his current position with Extreme.
Extreme Outfitters employee Erin Tetterton is making waves and raising a few eyebrows by wearing her Vibram Five-Finger footwear for a complete year.
She began April 17, 2010, and recently passed day 30 of her 365 trek.
â€œIâ€™m wearing my toe-shoes for 365 days â€“ because I can,â€ said Tetterton, whose husband Todd is a Marine stationed at the Stone Bay complex of Camp Lejeune and supports her endeavor as she posts near-daily blogs on her website www.wherethetoesgo.com with pictures taken from her iPhone as part of a college art photography project.
But Erin is no stranger to the unique looking shoes with fingers, because she has had them in her wardrobe for more than two years already.
â€œI originally bought them because they look cool and wore them for about two and a half years, just for fun,â€ Tetterton said. â€œI really like them and wear them because theyâ€™re different. People got to know me as the girl with those funny shoes.â€
She wore them during water sports, boating, swimming, sand volleyball and rock climbing.
â€œI (even) wore them to our wedding,â€ Tetterton said. â€œTodd didnâ€™t know until after the ceremony. The dress covered them up, but it made for some really great pictures later.â€
This year Tetterton found out that people were running in the Five-Fingers and became interested in the ergonomic benefits of near-barefoot running.
â€œOne of the things was Harvardâ€™s study on collision forces â€“ (that highlights) the difference between forefoot striking and heel striking,â€ said Tetterton, who added that a forefoot striker is less prone to injury. â€œThe Vibram Five-Fingers encourage you to be a fore-foot striker.â€
There are also testimonials by individual long distance runners who were claiming to be running injury-free or with a lower incidence of injuries, so she completed the 5th Annual Run for the Warriors, a five-kilometer run in Jacksonville May 15.
â€œItâ€™s improved my run time by 20 percent,â€ Tetterton said.
But it wasnâ€™t always that way.
â€œI started with the Classics and wore them for the first two years,â€ Tetterton said. â€œI think theyâ€™re the most â€˜barefootâ€™ feeling of all they shoes, but they can come off in the water. Flows are great for water sports, especially in slightly cooler water and Iâ€™m looking forward to trying them under my fins for SCUBA diving this summer.â€
â€œMy Sprints are by â€˜go-to-shoe – everything from gardening to running, and they stay on in the water,â€ Tetterton said. â€œKSOs are comparable my Sprints, but they feel a little more structured and a little more â€˜shoe-like.â€™â€
But wearing the interesting-looking footwear has not come without its challenges â€“ such as conveying her message to others who donâ€™t entirely understand.
â€œExplaining it to people (has been difficult), such as my aunt who loves shoe-shopping – why Iâ€™ve limited myself to one style of shoe for a whole year,â€ Tetterton said. â€œThe only two times I wonâ€™t be able to wear them is with roller blades or bicycling cleats.â€
All the focus on the Five-Finger footwear has brought about some unintended benefits.
â€œI donated a bunch of my shoes to charity this year,â€ Tetterton said. â€œSince Iâ€™m wearing (Five-Fingers), I donâ€™t need them. Iâ€™m more interested in what other people around the world are wearing or not wearing.â€
Although the summer weather is really just beginning to get hot in eastern North Carolina, late this fall it will be cold enough to warrant wearing one size larger Five-Fingers and special toe socks inside.
â€œIâ€™m not looking forward to winter,â€ said Tetterton with a laugh.
To purchase these ergonomic â€œtoe-shoesâ€ known as Vibram Five-Fingers, visit Extreme Outfitters for a 10 percent VIP discount at 102 Western Boulevard, Jacksonville, NC 28546, call the store at 910-355-2118 or visit their website at www.tacticaledge.com.