I am using Vibram FiveFingers since 2012 so I am entitled to have an opinion about it. Actually the FiveFingers in the photo are the ones I have bought in 2012.
Why I bought such thing? I don´t know. I was in Mozambique, having money and not having where to spend it. So, given the fact I had some canadians colleagues I was ordering trough them from a sports shop and they would bring it to me in Mozambique when they would come from their vacations.
Like this I ordered Vibram FiveFingers, a 80l backpack, another 30l backpack, a multi-functional tool etc
Anyway, the only reason I got the FiveFingers was because I needed some beach shoes and this gloves for feet looked crazy. I felt in love with them from the first picture I have seen.
I knew nothing about the movement behind it, never heard of Born to run, never heard of Christopher McDougall, bare foot running movement, tarahumara and the rest. Nothing. I was not running by that time.
My intention was to have a pair of beach shoes that can make me be different. And different I was.
I used it troughout 2012 as walking shoes whenever I got the chance. What I have noticed was that after first weeks of using, I had some interesting pains in my Achilles tendons. I never minded it, and kept using.
In 2013 when I arrived in Norway I started using the 5 fingers as gym shoes. Including for my warm up on the threadmill.
And I noticed that I can run 1 km withouth the extreme pain I usually had. To be noted that till that momment, spring 2013 I was never ever able to run more than 1 km. Huge pain in my lower back. Not anymore.
So trough the spring I would run in between 1 and 2 km on the threadmill and at some point I combined it with a run back home, from the gym, that meant 1.4 km.
So by the time my Norwegian friend convinced me to run a 10 km race I was using the 5 fingers. And my first ever race was in FiveFingers. Somewhere close to 1 hour. 58,49 min I think.
After this race I started getting more interested in barefoot running and started searching and so I learned that it is a movement and so on. My point is, that I was not influenced by anybody, I just used the shoes and started running.
What changed in me this shoes? They forced me to land on the front of my toes. They changed the way I walk and got me to run. I was a heal runner and that is why after 1 km I was feeling the terrible pain. Using the FiveFingers for an entire year in Mozambique, without planning I did the correct steps. Because later on I found out when passing to FiveFingers you should first start walking with it, before running. So I did.
And I still use it when running trail. At this moment that is their sole purpose. Trail running.
Obviously, because this shoes changed my life I can´t have but a good opinion about them. Vibram FiveFingers got me to run. Using them I ran my first 10 km. Using them I ran my first trails. And not to ignore that although I am using them for 4 years now, they are still ok. The sole is a bit used, the textile has now some holes in it, but overall I think they can still make it 1 year.
Next step is to buy a pair of Vibram Trek Ascent so I can use it in my trekking trips.