A tipster sent along this All Army message released this week that forbids Joes and Janes from wearing the latest in “cool guy” running footwear.

ALARACT 241/2011 – MODIFYING WEAR OF IMPROVED PHYSICAL FITNESS UNIFORM (IPFU)

THERE ARE A VARIETY OF MINIMALIST RUNNING SHOES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AND WEAR. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, ONLY THOSE SHOES THAT ACCOMMODATE ALL FIVE TOES IN ONE COMPARTMENT ARE AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR. THOSE SHOES THAT FEATURE FIVE SEPARATE, INDIVIDUAL COMPARTMENTS FOR THE TOES, DETRACT FROM A PROFESSIONAL MILITARY IMAGE AND ARE PROHIBITED FOR WEAR WITH THE IPFU OR WHEN CONDUCTING PHYSICAL TRAINING IN MILITARY FORMATION.

I’m not a big fan of the 5-toe phenomenon since I think it’s a bit weird. But I’m not a runner, so what do I know.

I think it’s interesting that the Army sees them as a big enough threat that they need to ban them on formation runs — purely for their look. This is one where I have to agree…

{ 111 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathan June 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

I think this is perfectly acceptable for the army to do.. minimalist running shoes should only be worn by experienced runners anyway (you get some nasty achilles cramps if you arent … and the army guys in that picture look a little fluffy ). I myself am I runner and have tried 5 fingers… hated them. The only minimalist shoe worth its salt is the New Balance Minimus

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whatfloor June 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

1. Army is conservative, go figure
2. Barefoot running changed my life
3. 10 years military experience
4. Looks are a sh%^ty reason to ban a piece of effective equipment. They should probably invest in ankle socks before banning barefoot running.

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Corbin June 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

I'm an average runner at best, so take my opinion for what it is, but I've been "minimalist" running for a few months now, both with the Merrel Trailgloves and the Vibram Five Fingers. I started out with the VFF and I can say I've seen a significant change in my running for the better and I still prefer the VFF over the Merrel's, I find it a bit sad that our military is more concerned with what looks good over what works…

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anon June 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm

figures what do you expect for a giant bureaucratic machine like the army. they see something new and different and they go " herp derp you cant do this?!?!?!"

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Mike June 28, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I don't wear these things for running – and I agree they look stupid as hell – but they are the best pair of shoes I've ever worn for lifting at the gym. Especially for exercises like squats, cleans, and deadlifts. It wouldn't bother me at all if the Army would have just banned them from "conducting physical training in military formation," but banning them from being worn with the PT uniform altogether? Come on.

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John June 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

if they are concerned about uniform and image tell me why they allow different colored shoes, different versions of the PT shirt, different length socks, hardly a hair grooming style, etc.

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swizz16 June 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

One aspect I can understand to this would be if soldiers starting using this for road marches… I can't find the link anymore but it had commentary from a Physical Therapist attached to SOF units and how the minimalist shoes were great for most soldiers but made them more prone to injury on road marches

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Hammer June 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm

While we're banning things that look stupid lets throw in the ACU, beret, Army jogging suit, reflective belts in day light, and the whole new dress uniform to boot.

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Nathan June 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I think this is perfectly acceptable for the army to do.. minimalist running shoes should only be worn by experienced runners anyway (you get some nasty achilles cramps if you arent … and the army guys in that picture look a little fluffy ). I myself am I runner and have tried 5 fingers… hated them. The only minimalist shoe worth its salt is the New Balance Minimus, which would look fine with the PT uniform (but minimalist running on pavement is a great way to get a stress fracture in your ankle or foot). My vote? stick with regular road running shoes and stop complaining… 5 fingers will soon join the ranks of moon boots and crocs

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Chuck Reynolds June 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

is it because of they way they look or is it because they're not good for your feet on long runs w/ gear?

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FormerSFMedic June 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

This is a huge reason why I couldn't stay in the Army anymore (as an enlisted soldier anyway). The Army continues to hold their soldiers back by implementing ridiculous rules. As soon as commanders see something that they don't understand, they shoot it down. To make things worse, they very rarely ask the soldier why he uses "that" and what "it" does. Soldiers are constantly trying to become better at what they do, and they are constantly getting reprimanded for it. "If the Army didn't come up with it or didn't give it to you, you don't need it" is total BS. I could go on for days on this subject, but I think you get the point. This is a new era in weapons, tactics, kit, and equipment. The Army is NOT at the forefront. I understand there must be a standard, but the Army continues to set the bar LOW.

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CavGuy02 June 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I think we should look less on what's on their feet and worry more about the guts I've seen on Soldiers.

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James June 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Amen!

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Moondawg June 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Jeeeze, is this all troops nowadays have to complain about.? I remember doing all PT, including runs, in combat boots and fatiques.. Running shoes were not allowed and there was no such thing as a PT uniform. In summer we ran in our t-shirts, in winter we ran in a field jacket. 150 years ago, troops wore a thick wool uniform and long underwear in 100 degree heat. Their footwear was a shoe that was designed to fit either foot and almost one size fits all. Except for really stupid ROE and too many lawyers at to low a level, I'd say troops nowadays have it pretty good.

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Jim June 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm

And that's why all the soldiers from back in your day are broken.

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bbb June 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

AFAICT they aren't saying you can't use them, you just can't use them while wearing an Army uniform, or while in formation.

FWIW, I have no idea whether or not you're required to wear the PT uniform EVERY time you go running.

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Nathan June 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Im not a fan of 5 fingers personally… but what the heck does the army know about running? (note picture at top of article.. fluffytastic)

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Uncle Willie June 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I'm not a uniformity Nazi, but why are their two different shirts and two different color PT belts in that photo?

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Old Soldier September 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

After their initial issue, soldiers have to buy their own uniforms. Every few years, the army uniform board updates the uniform (usually for the better) and there is change-over period to allow soldiers the get some use of their older uniforms. For over half a century, marches and unit runs were done in combat boots. Once good running shoes became common, the medics discovered they reduced the frequency of foot problems and so the regulations were changed to allow them for use in PT formations and tests. Once the army medical community gets a chance to do a long-term evaluation of them (and there are some problems of acclimation and foot strengthening with the five toed shoes) they may be accepted. Too many soldiers would love to shave a few seconds off of their record PT run time and if allowed, would try them on a two mile run on hard streets without any preparation.

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TARFU June 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Same old same old, reading the posts most miss the reality.
In garrison everyone has to look the same, there are no individuals on the parade field. In the field, whatever allows you to complete the mission is "good to hook".
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was….

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TARFU June 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Looking at the picture again, You have Stars on the Colors and you have another set in green and gold (usually MP colors). You also have what looks like Aviation, Quartermaster and Transportation Colors.
My guess is this is a G.O. "Fun Run" and those thick waists in the front belong to the CG, Dep Cdr and CoS. "HQ Staff" probably are the ones with the blue belts and everyone else has NSN Issue yellow.

I could be mistaken, then again I ran the Corps 4 every month for 5 years and Ardennes and Long Street enough I could do it in my sleep.

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grammy June 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

What's the big woop? If the Military didn'y pussify runnning in formation by nike's,cute little short shorts and t-shirts. Change back to combat boots and heavy fatigues. All the whining would be legitamate. Just what do you think your going to be wearing when the sh*t hits the fan? When the military gives in to individuality ,that's only the beginning of the end.

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anonymous1 June 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I'm a USMA grad, and this is exactly one of the reasons why I resigned my commission as soon as I could: the inflexible, unimaginative, hidebound culture. That, and the absurd glorification of sacrifice and privation to rationalize how crappy the organization treats its people. Rant over. Cheers, everyone.

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FormerDrill June 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Agreed, they are great for lifting. Lack of foam and padding means there's no compression in your footgear, giving you a more solid support base for heavier lifts. They are good for running, too, as they force you to engage more muscles in your feet and lower leg, developing stronger stabilisers and a more natural stride pattern. But because they engage the calves and ankles a bit more, they tend to wear me down after 6 or 7 miles. I do stick with proper running shoes for the longer runs like half-marathons and marathons, but I love the barefoot trainers for everything else.

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Orion307 June 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm

And this is exactly why the Army is going to choose an outdated ineffective "family of camouflages" as well, or steal some antiquated pattern from someone else i.e. Marines. Watch and see. Like most of the posts have stated, they are unwilling or unable to adjust to technology and change in a timely manner. Its just sad that our soldiers have to pay the price.

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Old soldier September 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

When you require 1 1/2 million soldiers to BUY new uniforms out of pocket at $100 a set, 4 sets minimum required, and you have half a million sets in warehouses, it takes a lot of planning to do it right. There is as much as $100 a set difference between various camouflage patterns (Free market gouging).

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phrogdriver June 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Form over function.

General Massengale, your troops are ready in formation for PT.

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CavGuy02 June 29, 2011 at 5:22 am

Do people even read "Once an Eagle" any more? Great reference though!

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David June 28, 2011 at 10:40 pm

This sort of BS is why I'm no longer active. The author explains the reason for the ban very well in this statement, "I’m not a big fan of the 5-toe phenomenon since I think it’s a bit weird." This is exactly why the military is NOT all it can be… it's a philosophy is ignorance based policy decision making. Sorry christian…I admire the fact that you had the balls to openly disclose your ignorance. However that fact that you followed it with an OPINION on the subject that you just admitted to being ignorant of is just dumb.

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CPT P June 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm

If you continue to read the message you will find these gems*…

AS SOLDIERS DO NOT SWEAT EVENLY OR CONSISTANTLY, SWEATING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

SOLDIERS FALLING OUT OF FORMATION RUNS ARE AGAINST THE GOOD ORDER AND DICIPLINE OF THE UNIT. THEREFORE, TO STRESS UNITFORMITY, PROFILES WILL BE EVENLY DISTRIBUTED TO THE LOWEST DENOMINATOR. E.G. IF THE UNIT HAS A SOLDIER WITH A BROKEN LEFT LEG ALL MEMBERS OF THAT UNIT WILL BE REQUIRED TO BREAK THEIR LEFT LEG. EXCEPTIONS CAN BE MADE FOR SOLDIERS WHO ARE ALREADY INHIBITED ON THAT LEG (TIBIA/FIBIA BREAK VS FEMUR BREAK) BUT COMMANDERS MAY NOT SUBSTITUTE ENTIRE APPENDAGES. IF THERE ARE 2 SOLDIERS IN THE UNIT EACH WITH A DIFFERENT LEG BROKEN, ALL SOLDIERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO BREAK BOTH LEGS.

ALL SOLDIERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO BE THE SAME HEIGHT. THIS WILL BE DONE BY ISSUING STOOLS TO EVERY SOLDIER. THESE WILL BE INSPECTABLE ITEMS AND, WHEN STOOD UPON WILL RAISE THE TOP OF THE SOLDIER'S HEAD TO EXACTLY SIX FEET ONE INCH (6'1"). SOLDIERS TALLER THAN 6'1" CAN ELECT TO SURGICALY CORRECT THIS DEFFICENCY OR WILL BE ISSUED STOOLS THAT WILL RAISE THE TOP OF THEIR HEAD TO 6'1" WHEN KNELT UPON.

*Note: This is a work of fiction and intended to be humorous. The opinions and views expressed are solely of the individual and are not the views of The Department of Defense, the United States Army or of any of its affiliates, Soldiers, or employees. The events depicted in this anecdote are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.

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Mike June 29, 2011 at 2:27 am

Care to explain the ACU then?

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anthony June 29, 2011 at 5:11 am

Oh this one is easy, they knew it would look cool in video games. What cracks me up is when I see swat teams that have adopted the same same pattern.

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Oscar June 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

The ACU neither works nor looks good.

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Darrel_P June 29, 2011 at 4:44 am

But don't reflective belts make you impervious to gunfire and shrapnel as well as making vehicles bounce off of you like they were but tiny insects???

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Cav June 29, 2011 at 6:13 am

And the new dress uniform is awesome!

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Franka June 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

yep i cant wait to get mine issued and look like the door to door milk man from the 50s! the people who pick out this crap are color blind

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Will June 29, 2011 at 5:03 am

Looks like the a fobbit marathon

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Ahhh shoot June 29, 2011 at 5:14 am

according to the article… "THOSE SHOES THAT FEATURE FIVE SEPARATE, INDIVIDUAL COMPARTMENTS FOR THE TOES, DETRACT FROM A PROFESSIONAL MILITARY IMAGE AND ARE PROHIBITED FOR WEAR WITH THE IPFU OR WHEN CONDUCTING PHYSICAL TRAINING IN MILITARY FORMATION."

So yup according to that it is all about the image.

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Johnny June 29, 2011 at 5:51 am

As a Team SGT, who has barefoot runners on his team and in his Company; and as a barefoot runner for about a year now I take serious issue with this. I think this is a petty and entirely arbitrary decision. This and other changes make me seriously reconsider whether I am going to reenlist. Thank God my BC is decent, and that he has a tactical mindset and doesn't follow these retarded rulings!!

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CavGuy June 29, 2011 at 6:16 am

How is running with fad shoes a "tactical mindset"? If he really had a tactical mindset, he would be making you do PT in boots and utes.

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Dave June 29, 2011 at 6:07 am

many units, including mine, have implemented the use of diferent color belts to show rank. yellow junior enlisted, green NCOs, Blue Officers.

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Rock June 29, 2011 at 6:18 am

Why would we be banning fruity looking shoes and at the same time allowing fruits to serve?

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michael June 29, 2011 at 6:51 am

The best reason you can come up with is "I think it's a bit weird?" Really?

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Ret Military Cop June 29, 2011 at 7:09 am

The dress and foot wear should be the standard military uniform and foot wear. I don't think they are going to
change clothes and wear shorts and tennis shoes during a fire fight.

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Johnny June 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

I for one, am going to completely disregard this new policy. My team will now PT on our own, and as we are in the fittest Company in the BN, no problems form higher….

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guest June 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm

So we just choose what orders to obey or disobey based on our personal opinions? What a good leader you are.

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a leader June 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

a leader is one who creates paths not one who follows them… HoooAAAH!!

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Oscar June 29, 2011 at 7:27 am

My favorite shoes for running are Merrell Trail Gloves, but for high-intensity, functional PT like Crossfit (i.e. the kind of PT a Soldier needs), Vibram Five Fingers are the best. They give me a flat, stable stance that results in better balance when lifting heavy weights overhead at high speed, and allow me to grip the floor with my toes.

If the Army is so conserned with uniformity and proffessional appearance, as the ALARACT states, then why do they allow all different brands and styles of running shoes, including some in garish neon colors? There is no logic, reason or sense behind this arbitrary regulation.

Fortunately, I'm an officer, so I have the freedom to work out at the Crossfit gym off post, rather than put up with the Army's idiotic rules, but the same is not true for every Soldier.

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Guest June 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

I'm not in anymore, but as I recall, running shoes are required to be solid white.

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Bill June 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

Footwear that mimics your naked foot is obviously going to be the best; here is a reason why we have toes, and, relative to the rest of our body, our feet do not weight a lot – the moment you start clunking around in boots or wear anything that widens your feet, your agility is going to be severely reduced and increases your chances of getting shin splints.

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SFC (Ret) June 29, 2011 at 8:06 am

Those shoes are terrible on the feet, much less appropriate for a military formation. If you are getting out because of something like this I say goodbye. I guess it would ok for you to have them show up with the short down below their butt, showing their boxer and these goofing shoes.

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Frogman June 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

Amen brother I actually wear the Vibram five fingers Down Range. I got ALOT of crap from my boat crew at first but when they saw that they were slipping on rocks I wasn't I could dig my toes in and keep climbing now there's a couple of us wearing them. There great for someone in the TEAMS in my opinion because I can wear my fins with them and still use them once we hit the ground running so to speak. There a great invention it improves posture and strengthens your running and climbing. Just my .02

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guest June 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

This is a good policy. I'm from the old school where we ran in combat boots. These things look like the favored shoe of the DADT crowd!

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franka June 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

and thats why half of your generation is on a no run profile or have feet problem because they made you run in boots where ever you went. they didnt wait for you rest for your feet and let you have that time to heal.

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Don June 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I agree these new shoes look weird… but so do all those soldiers that walk around these posts in running shoes while in ACU's. After 20+ years and having to deal with the mind set of everyone needs to look the same all the time I still can not see what all the fuss is about this. If you can just see it from this perspective…. The Army has yet to do a complete study on the ultimate effects this type of footwear has on soldiers. If it increases moral then they will not let you wear it. Also if some out of date CSM somewhere doesn't like it then you will not be able to wear it. If some butt kissing commander somewhere doesn't like it then you wont be able to wear it…… After reading the comments before I posted this I see that quite a few of you out there just think the Army as a whole is against you. Well it is not the Army as a whole it is just those select few that happen to be in charge that are against you.

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slcgunpilot June 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Nice. "Detract from a professional military image"… you mean like the reflective safety belt over an already reflective IPFU? What a** clown came up with this? When has improving one's ability at physical fitness (by legal means) been a problem?

The lunatics are running the asylum.

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SgtMass June 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

When I was in we had to wear plain grey sweats, plain grey t-shirt, sweatshirt or greys with ARMY insignia. Nobody gave a crap if you ran in combat boots, pink tap dance shoes or barefoot. The only thing they cared about was that everyone was able to go out and COMPLETE the runs without falling out and if that meant wearing sardine cans on your feet than so be it. Who cares what footwear your sporting doing PT. Let's get with the times!

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Glockster20 June 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm

The officers are now wearing a blue PT relective belt. As for the shirts I noticed it too. Have to love the irony.

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Robert June 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I will admit, they are a bit weird at first. But get used to them and you feel a lot better during and after a run. Its just more natural. And I always get flack about my just barely above the ankle socks. I use Nike socks that are made for runners and fitted for each foot. Ive had numerous foot injuries and surgeries and even torn some ligaments in my knee. Nothing has helped me run better than going with shoes that work, not shoes that look good.

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d-magic June 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

can't wear shoes that "detract from a professional military image", but boys will soon be allowed to hold hands in uniform! Go figure!

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GunnyJames June 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Yup, the picture didn't do a very good job supporting the "uniformity" justification. Now, is the real problem with physical fitness, or combat fitness? If you are used to wearing tennies when you run, you're gonna have real problems the first time you have to run in boots over any distance. The concept of training like you will fight really breaks down here. Boots, utes, and a ten-pound pack! (And a 10 pound aluminum training rifle) For you Army folk, utes is Marine shorthand for utilities, what you guys used to call fatigues. ACU now? As we used to say in the Corps, the Army has such an identity crisis, and shortfall in training, they have to wear patchs on their skivvies to tell them what head (latrine) to go to.However, the Army doesn't have a lock on dumb orders with dumber, arbitrary jusifications. In Nam, had a new CO that didn't like how un-uniform the hootch interiors were, so he came out with a new order specifying how the hootch interiors were to be laid out, how much personal gear, etc. The real kicker; no more than 3 nails per person to hang things on. Stupid? The Japanese allowed 5 nails in the POW camps!!==Gunny J

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jim June 30, 2011 at 12:04 am

Oh give me a break. I've heard a lot from the "do they come in hetero" crowd, and none of it is worth the bandwidth used to publish it. Do they look weird? Absolutely. Is there hard evidence that shows that they improve running and tactical strength in measurable ways? Absolutely. If you want to say that they look odd, fine, but don't make or judge policy based on your opinion. Let those of us who look for — and listen to — the facts judge that.

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Twitch June 30, 2011 at 4:56 am

Interesting, the guy who wrote this article is as ignorant as the Army in this case. I'm currently at a command where my C.O., OPS O., and Chief were wearing out their FIRST pair of Vibrams before i could get some. Worn out 3 pairs so far, and 1 pair of trailgloves. Minimalist running = stronger = less injuries when you go about it smartly. Dare i say…go Navy?…

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ArmySFC June 30, 2011 at 5:17 am

There are better minimalist shoes out there than the VFF. New Balance has a great alternative, as does Merrel. I have run marathons in the VFF and have since swictched to the new balance minimus which in my opinion are far better shoes and authorized in P.T. Uniform. VFF are not the only minimalist shoes out there.

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JimmyJohn June 30, 2011 at 7:01 am

HELL YEA!!! My grandpa threw a fit when he found out I wasn't running in boots. "Are you gonna fight in shoes?"

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e bruce June 30, 2011 at 7:54 am

I think that everyone is overlooking the reason for minimalist running shoes. Minimalist shoes force a runner to forefoot strike, not heal strike, when running. Bad running technique caused most running injuries not running shoes. Check out running gait techniques by Chi or Pose running to understand forefoot running. Toe style shoes just reinforce the need to do forefoot running by eliminating heal cushion.
I would to see a Marine DI with a recruit showing up wearing Five Fingers.

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SleepyDave June 30, 2011 at 7:54 am

Damn straight, Guns. As a former Navy puke, I can tell you that I thought I was in great shape, running in tennies and Navy-issue short-shorts, until the day I had to train in boots and cammies. FML, I thought I was going to die. Having been the section leader of a dedicated cadence section for a 300+ training command, uniformity is the biggest PITA for the command, and there are few things more detracting from a military appearance that the 6'2" runners having to practically jog in place in the back while the 5'1" short-stacks had to run like hell to keep from getting run over by the people behind them. Not to mention the fAtkids-diet most people got at RTC (brownies and soda, WTF? Glad our RDC had the sense to forbid us from eating geedunk.) Fancy shoes are the least of your problems. Div 172, Group 26, SILENT BUT DEADLY!

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Guest June 30, 2011 at 8:40 am

I'm a former soldier and airman. I'm also an endurance runner and enjoy minimalist and natural running. The five-toe running shoes are not a fashion statement. They enforce a natural, healthier and safer way to build running ability and general fitness for the soldier. This was yet another odd and unnecessary move on the part of the Army. Humans were meant to walk and run with their feet…not in overcushioned and over-stabilized "running" shoes. Given the general fitness appearance of many of today's soldiers and airmen, I suppose it is particularly sad that the Army would oppose an appropriate and effective means of protecting one's feet during a run. I suppose being all that you can be refers to waist size these days.

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Coupe06_Retired June 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

…I'm from the "old school" too, and d***-glad the Army had enough insight to STOP the madness of PT-ing in boots then, and going to running shoes.
Our generation's feet weren't the problem…it was our KNEES!
And if you can find any of our generation from that era who can't run anymore, or can't run for as long as they used to enjoy, ask 'em – they'll tell you plainly: the constant pounding from running on pavement in boots did major damage to their knees.
Moral of this reply: Quitcherbitchin'…!!

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Female guest June 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

I'm assuming you meant to type "Massengil" as in the brand-name douche for women (of course). I realize this is just a "funny" joke meaning the guys are "girly" but in case you weren't aware, there are females in every branch of the military, including the Army.

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Jake June 30, 2011 at 11:09 am

As a certian retarded captain once said to me: Different is wierd and wierd is wrong.

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Chuck, Retired USCG June 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

I was in the Army 71-74, and we always ran with combat boots. Also those sweaty solid green 100% cotton fatigues. Sometime they would let us ground the blouse and run in the tee shirt, but that was the only break we ever got. I think the PT shorts and running shoes they use now are nice. We had no such thing. Best to you, Army brothers and sisters! Proud of you!

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Johny Minter June 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Why not go back to Combat Boots, Black with a Spit Shaine, 6 am PT and then eat and go to work. Todays Army worrys what Joe Tent Peg whats, the Army should put out the orders if you don't like find a new job.

CW4 (28 years) retired.

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clikc July 1, 2011 at 2:49 am

Over the past 6 months or so these shoes have become very popular around the gym. I though they were a great idea from the get go. Not even for PT but for everyday use. I bought a pair of the 5 finger and took to the track. After running I didn't even realize that it had been two miles. I was hooked. I wear them every day when I go to the gym. The hard part is this ban that the Army has put out. If I run with these shoes at night and then run with my "professional" shoes in the am it will defeat the purpose. I bet if it was someone from the army that invented these like when Gillette commercialized the razor it would be mandatory…

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defensor fortissimo July 1, 2011 at 3:22 am

And I suppose next they're going to tell me i can't run in my gas mask because i might pass out. Oh wait that's already happened.

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Casey July 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

Running any other way than your natural stride taken while barefoot is dangerous and stupid. Gear or not, the way most people run with regular running shoes, ruin their knees and hips.

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SFTIAIC July 2, 2011 at 11:12 am

This is ridiculous. It must be faddish if people are doing it… or maybe it's cause it's helping the physical readiness of our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines… I include them cause if the Army outlawed them, they will soon follow. Who cares how they look? Either run in uniform and boots or back the He!! off of my running shoes.

Personally, I routinely have to spend well over $125 for a pair of shoes because of the "shape" of my foot (that is the military hospital's definition, not mine). Flat and wide. No the PX or NEX never carry the proper shoe I need. I have to go to speciality running stores and get mine there. These "5 finger" shoes have virtually eliminated all of my knee and lower back problems I have associated with long runs. I run half marathons through the summers, no I am not the poster child of fitness, but WELL with in standards. There are other brands out now with similar soles made by Vibram that are used on the 5 Fingers. Apparently some of us have to search for other options.
Another thing I don't EVER complain about spending more for my running shoes than anyone else. I don't get compensated for the extra money I spend, I don't mind. My foot, my problem, not the Government's.

Another great idea shot down by our military leaders.

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nunster July 3, 2011 at 12:54 am

Would those Al Bundy shoes if anyone remembers that episode. But would they work while running on gravel or rocky roads?

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Operatethis July 3, 2011 at 7:53 am

Maybe the Army should worry about enforcing height and weight standards before they ban these shoes. A formation full of out of shape turds running a 13 minute mile pace, with about 8 people falling out looks a helluva lot worse than soem guys wearing a different type of shoe. I love my five fingers, my knees haven't hurt since i started wearing them. Maybe one day we will all stop hugging the fatties, and we will do some decent PT. It doesn't matter how perfect the uniform is if the soldier occupying it is subpar.

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Robert Donnell July 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I agree.

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Robert Donnell July 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Worse yet, I remember being forbidden from wearing issued clothing and equipment, idiots!

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G.I. Joe July 5, 2011 at 7:37 am

I have been running w/ vibrams since 2006. I have had 5 ankle surgeries and these shoes have been a God send for me. My last ortho surgeon even runs w/ the Bikila five fingers. The army has been behind the times for quite sometime now when it comes to physical fitness. If they taught their troops the proper way to run they wouldn't have to worry so much about shin splints and and other running induced injuries.

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gearsofguns.com July 7, 2011 at 11:19 am

Im torn, I have NOT used them so I am not going to say a thing about there effectiveness but I'm leaning towards the Army. In the field a soldier uses gear given to him so he should train under those conditions. Cosmetics isn't a good enough reason for me.

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Achilles July 10, 2011 at 5:32 am

Hey guys, there are a few alternatives for minimalist runners. Look into ZEMgear and companies that make moccasins for minimal/barefoot running. I know for sure ZEMgear makes a shoe that holds all 5 toes in one compartment and also happens to be one of the closest shoes you could wear to emulate going barefoot. Until they put some dumbass rule in the regs like 'you need shoe laces with yoru shoes', its probably the best bet for us natural runners.
http://www.zemgear.com

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Tim July 10, 2011 at 7:23 am

Do some research on the reasons why Vibrams are a better running shoe for ANYONE, under all circumstances sans hot coals. If you aren't running properly, you will have problems. Luckily, running in Vibrams generally teaches you to run properly, so don't fret over "achilles cramps" (I wasn't aware that tendons could cramp…) and get on with it.

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Kilroy July 10, 2011 at 8:23 am

This is really ignorant. Many of the people on long-term profiles wouldn't have them if they trained in five finger shoes. Yes they look weird, but have you tried them? They are amazing! I had knee surgery, and used toe shoes during rehab because they cause you to have LESS wear and tear on your legs. Big heavy cushioned shoes don't have the effect you think they do, trust me.

Training in boots with heavy rucks is stupid. Period.

$5 says the person that made this ruling has a marginal run time on their PT test. Chances are, they don't know jack squat about running.

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Bootneck July 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Great advert for US Army that picture above!!! Can't wear something that will improve their performance!!!!! But it's OK to be a fat *******… Go figure.

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Bootneck July 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Great advert for US Army that picture above!!! Can't wear something that will improve their performance!!!!! But it's OK to be a fat *******… Go figure.

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Bootneck July 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Great advert for US Army that picture above!!! Can't wear something that will improve their performance!!!!! But it's OK to be a fat b ##### d… Go figure.

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Jnd July 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thank god. our military should not look like a bunch of dorks.

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Kate July 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

I am a runner and avid supporter of minimalist shoes however the vibram shoes were not only never intended for running use, but they cause fractures when used on concrete and other man made surfaces that the human foot was never intended to run on. Overall they do not improve performance as I have had many friends who are also runners use them and get various different injuries. I think that this was a wise decision of the Army and forcing people to use a safer minimalist shoe will in no way cause them to become fat.

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Kate July 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

While I am a runner and a strong believer in minimalist footwear I alsobelieve that this was a wise decision on the Army's part purely because of the risks associated with the Vibram Five Fingers. These shoes were never intended for runningand when used on man made surfaces while running have been known to cause foot fractures, the only reason why these shoes are still being sold for this purpose is because of how much profit they are making. My suggestion to those who want to safely improve thier running is to use Vibrams only while running on trails and other natural surfaces and when those types of surfaces are not available switch to a minimalist shoe that is intended for running use on man made surfaces such as the Nike Free or Saucony Hattori.

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BTDT July 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Making statements like you do makes me see why people have lost respect for NCO's who have forgotten their Creed and that they do not make policy, they enforce it. They should not have promoted you and let you grow up and mature and earn your rank rather than have it handed it out to you.

Nothing that you being yelled at and embarrassed openly in front of your men wouldn't cure.

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No Whiners Allowed July 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I never saw so much whining in my life than on here!

Daddy said NO! and you all should get on to things that really matter.

Yes, you will run better if you get off your lazy azz and get out there and just run.

If you actually train, you will get better at what you train at. What a concept!!!

The Military today never had it so good in gear or comfort. What a bunch of whiners.

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retrofoot July 12, 2011 at 8:38 am

Those comments are on target….looks mean nothing, and the Army's ban being based on supposed "professional military image" is simply the usual, useless politics. I agree that many other minimalist shoes do nearly as much good, but Vibrams DO allow better toe function/ contribution to proper mechanics. G.I. Johnson needs to bone-up on biomecahnics…and common sense!

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Troy July 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

The beret has already been changed. It is no longer allowed in ACU's.

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Mike July 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Stupid arbitrary rules… the corner stone of the American military. Some ********** general doesn't like these shoes, so they are gone for everyone.

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Guest August 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

Amazing. If you look hard enough for sexism, you'll always find it.
Read the book "Once an Eagle" by Anton Myrer.

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guest August 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

They're not gone forever.
In the nineties, nobody wore Oakleys in uniform but SF. Now they're RFI standard issue.
When the camelback first came out, you had to wear it UNDER your BDU top tuck away the hose.
They'll be okay for wear.
It'll just take 5-10 years.

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anonymous2 August 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Great….another college student. These guys sure do lead from the front!

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SFC Leckie September 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

I think its crap! look at the photo above. I see 2 different colored reflective belts, 2 different kinds of PT shirts. There is no uniformity there at all. With the exception of the Soldiers actually being in a formation. However, as has been stated in previous posts on here, it should be runners preference. I wear them every time I work out whether it running or strength training. Once my legs adjusted to the dynamics of running in the VFF I love them. There are definite benefits to wearing them, that being said they are not for everybody. You must be prepared for the differences when you purchase. Other branches are using them and have had no problems. But, the army being PC about EVERYTHING is going to throw them out because of looks…..

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Robert September 27, 2011 at 6:01 am

I have been running in the VFF for 17 months and I love them, at age 42 I am still able to run everyday without pain. Before the VFF, I was not able to run much and continually had to visit my doc because of hip, knee and lower back pain. I have had two acl reconstructions and a foot reconstruction. Just becuase you didnt like them is not a reason for them to be banned. The Army is f-ing supid for banning them based on looks. Its like anything else, the more people use them, the more acceptable they will become. Eventaully the army will undo the decision because of the "acceptance" by the general population.

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charles October 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

nothing to do with look, the army doesn't want their troops to be any kind of individual since these shoes are "different." Nice to know the army has their priorities straight

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SGT,JON JONES October 23, 2011 at 7:09 am

HI HILLS + PONTED TOES=BACK AND FEET TROBALS, GIT SOMTHING LIKE THE FEET,..!!!!!..SGT JON JONES. 31-B,31-E,88-M,…NG, 0311,0321, u.s.m.c.——-GOD speed ,10-23-2011a.d. 1107(h) est.

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Dave February 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

I grew up barefoot or wearing moccasins. The Military boots and running in padded shoes has lead to all of my injuries. I even changed career fields to avoid the injuries from running/rucking in the boots. Am I weak or not tactical??? It has been about 1 1/2 years since I have been running in minimalist shoes and barefoot(everything from toe shoes/moccasin to shoes such as Stem) and here are the benefits: 1. The stress fracture I have had on and off for 15 years is gone. 2. I have an arch in my foot again. 3. I run faster.
With that said there are a lot of minimalist shoes so when I am in pt uniform I wear what meets Army standards. Do I agree with the banning of the toe shoes. NO, but we follow orders. In five years when I retire I will wear whatever I want on my feet and my Combat boots will be my moccasins. Back to if I am weak or not. I bet with my moccasins on and a good rifle, I will match up to the best our Army has with all its technology backing it. Most people have lost their basic instincts and think a high speed radio or vehicle will be all they need to make them tactical. What about Afghanistan??? Wake up if you have not already. Go primitive. Native American here!!!

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Bill February 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

"Army guys" = Soldiers

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chris a March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm

all surface barefooter here. and vff enthusiast. maybe you should try calcium. no problemos here.

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chris a March 1, 2012 at 3:34 pm

good call. but screw the wait

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slag March 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Double Amen!

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Jason Blotsky March 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Look at that photo! What do you think would 'look' worse, split-toe shoes, or the 12 or so out of fluffy guys barely able to breathe. If they cared about looks this certiainly would not be a photo op. Just paint the shoes army green and use them! 90-98

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accobbimb May 7, 2013 at 12:29 am

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