Barefoot Running and the Advent of Vibram Five Fingers in the Philippines

Vest Friends Forever? Varefoot Friends Forever? Naaaah! Just kidding. VFF is just short for Vibram Five Fingers (VFF), a unique footwear design, which mimics the feeling of being barefoot.Last year, barefoot running was already a buzz word among runners. But I, for one, ignored it as it didn’t spark my interest. It was not until I came across with McDougall’s book entitled, “Born to Run,” that I began to appreciate barefoot running as a theory.

Photo courtesy of:

I haven’t tried wearing the VFF. At some point in time, I did check the VFF branch at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell but I never had the chance to try on a pair. If I have to be direct about it, I was not convinced how beneficial barefoot running is considering that with barefoot running, though being a good one, means running the risk of getting pricked by a sharp object and this may lead to suffering tetanus. Yikes! I know how it feels for I was once pricked by a rusty nail while running around the neighborhood with some friends during my childhood days. And I can only say one thing … it’s really, really, painful.

On a personal note, I\’m a believer that the decision to getting the right pair for your feet, be it a normal running pair of shoes or using the VFF technology, at the end of day, the decision really must come from the runner himself. Why? Well, let’s not forget that each runner is different.

I’m no expert about this barefoot running theory. However, it’s impressive to note that there are various articles about barefoot running, both the good and the not so good ones.

What I can share with you, dear readers, is that I personally know a runner who used a pair of VFF during the Condura marathon race, in a multisport race like the Ironman 70.3, and ultimately during the Bataan Death March 102KM race last year.

Ronald Declarador, an ultramarathoner and a triathlete, together with other celebrity athletes and multisport coaches, recently graced the VFF media launch where he shared his experiences wearing the unique footwear. In terms of performance, he improved by an hour. Wearing the VFF taught him to be more aware of the road, especially, with each step that he makes. Now, dear readers, do you see yourself running a full marathon wearing only a VFF? What do you think? What if Barefoot Ted visits the Philippines?

Having a little chit chat with Ronald about his VFF KSO (Photo courtesy of Running Pinoy)

Barefoot Revolution Hits Philippines

This year, the barefoot revolution reaches local shores, aiming to change the lifestyle of the active Filipino one foot at a time. Barefootwear, Inc., the company that distributes the ingenious footwear in the country, recently held a sports-themed media launch at the Metropolitan Club, Rockwell Makati.

With Team Endure triathletes, from L-R: Let aka Running Mom, Ronald D., yours truly, Z, Marvin aka Nuttybunny, and Pio

The event gathered athletes, sports fanatics, celebrities and select health, sports, and fashion media personalities. Gracing the event were celebrity athletes Lorraine Lapus of the Philippine Surfing Academy, Corey Wills of Pulse Yoga, former Olympian Eric Buhain, multisport coach and athlete Joseph Pagulayan, ultramarathoner Ronald Declarador, and Frisbee star Reema Chanco who all profess to VFF’s many advantages. They related their experiences with the very unique footwear, proving the versatility of this new product.

The launch also included the Kettlebell demonstration by the Philippine Kettlebell Club, headed by Nico D’haenen and Running demos by the TRIMAC coaches, headed by Jay Valencia. The activities demonstrated the many benefits of the VFF such as better flexibility, stronger muscles, and improved posture among others. Guests were able to try first hand barefooting while engaging in these activities.

With only just a few months of being available in the country, expect more from Vibram Five Fingers as it continues to break new grounds. As Barefootwear Inc.’s Marketing Manager Cherry Ermita puts it, “The Filipino will never walk the same way again.”

Barefoot Running, Footwear History, and the Advent of VFF

The past years have certainly brought many revolutionary changes to the world. A prime example is the way people use shoes. For thousands of years, people have grown accustomed to wearing closed footwear.

When Vibram founder Vitale Bramani invented the first rubber soles for mountaineering boots in 1935, it was the beginning of a revolution. More than 70 years later, Vibram is still known around the world as the undisputed leader in soling technology for a wide range of quality performance footwear. Today, Vibram manufactures more than 34 million soles annually for more than 1,000 premium footwear brands worldwide such as Nike, Merrell, Ferragamo, Gucci, Cole Haan and Prada, to name a few.

The year 2006 marked the barefoot revolution as Vibram finally unveiled VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS, a unique footwear design that mimics the feeling of being barefoot. It allowed people to experience the sensation and freedom of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram sole. Made by abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric and Vibram TC-1 performance rubber weighing 5.3oz. each, VFF immediately took the world by storm, catching especially the eyes and feet of athletes and sports aficionados. This led to being awarded as one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2007. To date, the barefoot revolution has invaded Europe, North America, Australia and very recently, Asia.

Below is just but one of the many VFF models. I personally chose the VFF W1132 Sprint model because of its bright color. Many regard VFF Sprint as the most versatile footwear due to its adjustable hook-and-loop closures crosses over the instep and around the heel to ensure a secure fit. VFF Sprint is used for light trekking, climbing, canyoneering, running, fitness training, martial arts, yoga, pilates, sailing, kayaking, surfing, and travel.

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Other models include Speed, Classic, KSO also known as Keep Stuff Out, and Bikila. Next to Sprint model, I would recommend for those who are into barefoot running to try Bikila, which is designed for a more efficient forefoot strike and specifically made for barefoot running. Also worthy of note is KSO, which features a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper that wraps the entire forefoot to \”keep stuff out\”.

I would like to thank Juan Carlos Abad and Cherry Ermita, both from Big Toe, for the warm welcome as well as to Kim Faner for the invite. Trying on a pair of VFF was totally a new experience for me. But to go home with it for FREE was totally awesome. Ah, the best things in life are free indeed. Thank you Vibram Five Fingers!

For inquiries, call (02) 513.1449 or email You may also visit the official website at The VFF store is located at Level R1 Bridgeway in PowerPlant Mall, Rockwell.

14 thoughts on “Barefoot Running and the Advent of Vibram Five Fingers in the Philippines

  1. Hello there Daytripper. Thanks for dropping by again. When I started my blog I never had any idea where it will bring me. What was important then was for me to write my thoughts, reflections, insights after each race regardless if it's read or not. I was not even expecting that bloggers like you would find this blog. Just continue blogging. 😉


  2. Oh my … I didn't know Cherry. I was there on Monday inquiring from other sport stores. Had I known it was available at VFF store, I would have bought a pair. Tsk! Tsk! I should have checked VFF first. Will buy a pair from your store. Super thanks! 🙂


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