Hey friends, I’ve been experimenting with barefoot running over the past 3 weeks. I was inspired to give it a try after seeing the articles for Vibram Five Fingers in both Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness over the past year. After the last three weeks I can honestly say; try it… You might get a few confused glances while your motoring around the seawall or walking out of the gym locker-room in the goofy looking shoes, but it’s worth it!

I am currently running on the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila and have, more now than in the beginning, loving it. I have to admit, the first few weeks were challenging. Changing to this kind of running shoe will not only force your body to adapt to a new running style but it will also, initially, reduce your time and distance. After three weeks I finally feel like I am regaining my stride and wake up without burning calves the morning after.

I started preparing to barefoot run in Vancouver a few weeks ago by following some of the instructions available at http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ -do it. The recommendations provided on Vibram’s website will make your experience more enjoyable. It is a a completely different running experience. The seawall in Vancouver proved a good testing ground for the Vibram Five Fingers. Initially, feeling rather bold, and completely ignoring the advice on the vibram website, I cut my run down to six kilometers and was feeling like superman as I headed in the doors to my apartment afterward. Then, fast-forward to the next morning… I could hardly stand up! Out came the tiger balm and I realized exactly what they were referring in the instructions -start off slowly. Let’s just say – three days later I cut my barefoot run down to three kilometers and have gradually increased back up to my normal 10 km now.

I chose the Vibram Five Fingers shoes because I wanted the agility of the five finger design on pavement, trail, and water -this shoe really performs in every way I expected. I also love that I can just jump in the shower, with my shoes on, after my run and these shoes are as good as new once again!

The last week I’ve been on vacation in California, fortunate enough to stay in West Hollywood with a good friend, Alex. Before I even got on the plane I was mapping my treks through the Hollywood hills, excited to test the off pavement capabilities of the Five Fingers – Runyon canyon here I come! For the past five days I’ve been running up and down in the trails of Runyon and love my Vibrams more that ever. The confidence and stability of these shoes on the steep trails is excellent. I can’t rave enough about the versatility of these shoes; plus they pack up into the smallest corner of your luggage when you’re travelling.

For the purpose of this review and my general love of shoes, I’ve been researching other barefoot style runners. Of the shoes on the market right now, here are my top three (most will appeal to the less adventurous fashionistas out there). Of course, the Vibram Five fingers are my first pick and I wouldn’t change my choice at the end of the day but these other two runners are good alternatives or could be used to build your foot and leg strength while you grow into a pair of five fingers. All three come in at just about $100. Happy Running!

3. Nike Free

2. New Balance Minimus Runner MT10

1. Vibram Five Fingers