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Old 12-26-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
Ryan Earle
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Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Summary:
Today (12/26) I was informed that my Vibrams were not safe and that I could not wear them in the weight room or on the treadmills.

I have a meeting with management to discuss this on Monday -- I was curious if anyone has dealt with this before and what have you done? I printed out a lot of review materials and plan on sitting down and explaining how they are just funny looking shoes, but is there anything else?


I have been doing Crossfit for the past year and am in the best shape of my life. About 8 months ago I bought some Vibram Five Fingers KSOs and have been wearing them without problem for 8 months at my local big box gym while doing crossfit. I would get comments, some points, etc... but no problems.

Decemeber 1st I moved to Lynchburg, VA (my home town) and started working out at the local YMCA. I have been doing Crossfit 5 days a week (picking WoDs from the main site or Crossfitfairfax.com). Anyway, I have been wearing my Vibrams and have been doing so since Dec. 1st.

Today (12/26) I was informed that my Vibrams were not safe and that I could not wear them in the weight room or on the treadmills.

I have a meeting with management to discuss this on Monday -- I was curious if anyone has dealt with this before and what have you done? I printed out a lot of review materials and plan on sitting down and explaining how they are just funny looking shoes, but is there anything else?

I also intend to look at their policy and see what it says. Vibram claims they are shoes -- I guess I just need to provide that?

If they don't allow them, I plan on moving to another gym -- I love my vibrams and have been using them for over 8 months now.

Last edited by Ryan Earle; 12-26-2008 at 08:03 PM..
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
Matt Thomas
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Your Y sucks. At the Y I go to they'll let me take my shoes off so I can do HSPUs against the wall or do deadlifts. There's a powerlifting type guy that comes occasionally who is allowed to use chalk. They let me do cleans and snatch even though they don't have bumpers. They even let me bring my own stuff in, like parallets. Not trying to rub it in, but maybe it's just a management thing and not a Y policy? I have no doubt that I could wear Vibrams to my Y without any problems. I mean seriously though I wear adidas goodyears to the gym and if I dropped any significant amount of weight on my foot I don't believe they would help protect my feet noticeably more than Vibrams would.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:41 PM   #3
Boris Terzic
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

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Originally Posted by Matt Thomas View Post
I mean seriously though I wear adidas goodyears to the gym and if I dropped any significant amount of weight on my foot I don't believe they would help protect my feet noticeably more than Vibrams would.
I agree, many shoes provide almost no protection. I think it might be more of the visual similarity to toe socks that they have a problem with, I find the many gyms get up at arm at anything that is too unusual.

I've worn my vibrams as well as sambo shoes to several gyms and no issues. BTW the smabo shoes are like leather socks for those who aren't familiar.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:45 PM   #4
Daniel Gam
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

yeah that's pretty dumb. ppl have no common sense

if you even drop 5, 10lbs from a couple of feet onto your toes/foot, i don't care what kind of shoes you're wearing. its gonna hurt like hell, and its probably going to do some damage. unless you're wearing steel toe boots.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:58 PM   #5
Stephen Wakefoose
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

I know what the shoes are and are familliar with them without owing a pair. they offer no greater or lesser protection than any other sneaker or athletic shoe. Flat out ask to see the policy in writing and what is the exact perameter that they "judge" other peoples shoes by. Ask where this is posted and bring with you a printout of OHSA terminology and definitions for safety shoe and unless every one is wearing a steel toe or composite safety toe shoe they are blowing smoke and just don't like the way your shoes look. would use basic language like discrimination and they will be needing a diaper. Call their bluff and tell them your lwyer asked for acopy of the safety shoe guideline from both their facility and the YMCA in general they won't know what to do. After they're done crapping their pants and apologizing tell them you would like to be compensated for this harrassment like so many months free.

Or quit call the papers tell them how you were treated and start a garage gym lol

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Old 12-26-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
Henry Miller
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Either they require ANSI rated steel toe (steel is almost never allowed by ANSI anymore, plastic is better in most cases), or they have no policy. There is no middle ground because no shoe manufacture will claim any protection (other than blister/callus, and maybe wart) unless they have an ANSI rating (or equivalent in your country)

Take them off and run barefoot. You are indoors, so there shouldn't be broken glass or the like to worry about.
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Old 12-26-2008, 09:44 PM   #7
Ryan Earle
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Thank you for the feedback.

I overhead them trying to compare the Five Fingers to Teva Sandals -- they do have a posted sign that says "Shoes required. No sandals" or something to that effect.

I don't think that applies to the Vibrams. The Vibrams have a no slip rubber bottom, fit like a glove (feet aren't moving around in the shoe) and provide perfect balance. However they seem to think they are some fancy sandal and not a shoe.

Last edited by Ryan Earle; 12-26-2008 at 09:46 PM..
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
Matt Thomas
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

I think my Y has a sign posted that says "must be wearing close toed shoes in the weight area." That makes sense and if that's an all Y policy I agree with that. But the Vibrams are definitely close toed.
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:37 AM   #9
Benji Whitehead
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Bring in a pair of Nike's or Adidas or whatever and offer to let them wear the regular tennis shoes while you drop a 25lb plate on their toe. Tell them you are willing to have a 25lb plate dropped on your Vibrams after they take their turn with the Nike's. After they decline, explain to them how stupid they are being by claiming that regular athletic shoes are somehow 'safer' if they still don't get it.
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:52 AM   #10
John Seiler
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Re: Problem at Gym: Vibram Five Fingers

Their problem is they don't know the reason for the policy. Gyms want people to wear close-toed shoes because they keep blood from going everywhere, not because they offer protection for your foot.
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