Stepping out: split-toe foot trainers are more science than gimmick

Posted at 7:48 AM, Jan 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-21 07:49:37-05

(WTVR) - Tony Post, former boss of rubber-sole and barefoot-running firm, Vibram, is trading in five fingers for two toes.

In a new kind of digital separation, Post is releasing a range of ToPo Athletic trainers that look and feel less like gloves for your feet and more like hooves, separating the big toe from the little ones with a rather unsightly slot.

Vibram had faced skepticism with its FiveFingers range but their modest success under Post helped create a minor boom in running barefoot or in minimal trainers.

There's scientific evidence to suggest running with less can have beneficial effects. An article posted on notes that for years many products have focused on putting more support under arches, when the support really needs to come from the ends of the foot.

The article points out that the toes (especially the great toe) play a vital role in normal arch functioning, both in the shock absorption and propulsion phases.

The split shoe design should offer more stability, but whether or not the ToPos design takes off seems to be up to how much people judge by appearances.