Friday, August 5, 2011

Navy says Yes to Vibrams and other Minimalist Footwear

Navy finally publishes their own guidance on minimalist footwear and wholeheartedly endorses the concept.

Read the NAVPERS message and see for yourself:


REF/A/DOC/NAVPERS 156651/01JAN03//

AMPN/REF A IS NAVY UNIFORM REGULATIONS//

RMKS/1.  THIS NAVADMIN AUTHORIZES THE WEARING OF MINIMALIST FOOTWEAR WITH THE 
NAVY PHYSICAL TRAINING UNIFORM (PTU) DURING COMMAND/UNIT DIRECTED PHYSICAL 
TRAINING (PT), INDIVIDUAL PT, AND ACTIVITIES TO INCLUDE THE SEMI-ANNUAL 
PHYSICAL READINESS TEST (PRT).

2.  MINIMALIST FOOTWEAR IS DEFINED AS SHOES THAT ALLOW THE FOOT TO FUNCTION 
NATURALLY WITHOUT PROVIDING ADDITIONAL SUPPORT OR CUSHIONING.  ANY SHOE THAT 
IS MARKETED AS MINIMALIST OR BAREFOOT-LIKE FOOTWEAR (CURRENT TYPES SUCH AS THE 
- VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS, NIKE FREE SHOES, VIVO BAREFOOT SHOES, INOV-8 SHOE, AND
FEELMAX) ARE AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR WITH THE PTU.
---------
At this point, the news itself has been well covered by Pete over at Runblogger.com and Justin at Birthdayshoes.com.

What I am interested in is the motivation behind this.  Does this smack to you of a poke in the chest towards the Army?  Not that I have a problem with that; hell I work for the Army and I want to poke them occasionally.

What do you think?  Do you think the Navy published this as a purposeful retort?

By Marcus with 4 comments

4 comments:

considering the negative response the Army got, i think it was more of the Navy trying to "be hip" and get out in front of the issue. Still think the Marine Corps may outlaw them as well. Waiting for guidance on this though....

I found your blog randomly while reading about the Army's ban on minimalist running shoes. I am also in the Army and when I read this I'll admit I was pretty upset! My first thought was "No fair!" The Army's focus on "looking good" completely ruins physical fitness for those of us who actually enjoy it, and I'm a bit jealous that no other service has banned these shoes. I also despise our PT shorts and most things related to organized Army PT (I think it's designed solely for people who DON'T like working out on their own).

This is just my opinion, of course, rather opinionated, and probably not entirely coherent, after being awake for nearly 24 hours on duty. Fortunately for ME, I actually wear the Kinvaras far more than the Five Fingers because I never wanted to cut my mileage enough to run solely in Five Fingers. It's unfortunate for those who would rather use Five Fingers as their sole type of shoes, though I hear that the New Balance Minimus shoes are a very good substitute, and I know a couple of people in my unit now (well, class) who wear them, and nobody cares. I just wish the Army would focus more on utility and less on appearance.

Nina, I agree with you. I think that overall, this is a bit of a non-issue and that there are plenty of alternatives. I think though that the Navy is trying to make YOUR point in their wording which I find fascinating. Because you're right, those who choose to run minimally have many alternatives, Kinvaras being one fantastic option. I run in Nike Free 3.0 with the insoles out and absolutely love them; I'm also within the regulation, not that it was my intent mind you :) Thanks for the comment!

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