Geesh - a lot of sensitivity here to these shoes. I'll admit, I was a critic and had zero expectations when I got them so frankly I'm not sure knocking them without trying them would do anyone any good on a gear review post. Maybe we can start a forum where people can rip apart items they don't have or haven't tried - brilliant!
Another side note, I do have full protective Sebago deck shoes with full toe protection. Simply put these Vibram's grip ten times better and they really do offer protection, albeit obviously not as great as a full shoe, or steel boot for that matter. The rubber is firm yet flexible and wraps over the upper part of the toe. Another positive over a shoe - a flatter style sole has a tendency to slip or be unbalanced when stepping on lines. This shoe actually contours around such an obstacle.
Originally Posted by RhodesSwiftsure
Clear your decks and learn to walk around cleats. Alternatively, wear shoes. The notion of spending money on a 10-character sock puppet is so ridiculous as to approach the sublime.
And this one really cracked me up. Rhodes - I'm torn here with your advice... I can work my way towards really cleaning my decks - I mean really get rid of everything - no cleats, no lines, no clutches, no grab rails - then again, maybe I could drop a cool $30M on a Wally 80 with pure flush decks free of obstacles. On the other hand - I could really just get as sloppy as can be but continue to purchase crazy "sock puppet" items like this as technology evolves that would fully protect my body - I'm thinking maybe a suit like Batman's - or maybe Iron Man. Just think - I would no longer have to worry about the boom!
As others have pointed out - it appears quite a few racers swear by these things. Anyone that has ever had experience with a Vibram sole can attest that they make quality products. In doing my research I discovered that these shoes, aka sock puppets, were named a "Best Invention" by Time magazine in 2007 and there are current studies being conducted on marathon runners that are using said sock puppets. Another benefit touted, and one that makes sense, is that with shoes we truly don't utilize all the muscles in our feet and lower legs, whereas the FiveFingers free up the foot and toes to get full range of motion to those muscles. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge to get a pair was reading from those that have purchased and used these shoes and how much praise they put out there on the shoe - so from a skeptic to a believer there you have it.