I may catch some guff from the minimalist barefooters, but I tried prescription orthotics in my Five Fingers and I liked it.
I purchased my Five Fingers back in August of 2007. I was intrigued by the marketing and their unique look, more than I was about running in them. I have put a lot of miles on them over the last few years, but have developed a love-hate relationship. I love how fast and free I feel while running in them. I hate the toe separation, my toes just don't separate. I hate that the balls of my feet become bruised after wearing them for any extended period of time.
Even with that I have kept them around and will pull them out when I am feeling a minimalist urge. However, last fall I was told my minimalist footwear days are a thing of the past.
I went into a foot and ankle specialist, due to pain in my ankle and outside arch, after a long run. I hadn't been wearing my Five Fingers, but had been using a pair of traditional cushioned running shoes. The doctor decided I had some tearing in my tendons and took some measures to help fix it from cortisone shots to casts. In the end he decided what I needed was orthotics. He thinks I have a minor level of cavus foot and that as I started to push my mileage up and do long runs 10+ miles that I was slowing damaging the outside of my foot.
I was resistant to getting orthotics and to any perceived quackery coming from him, especially when he told me to stop running and pursue cycling. He also told me that from here on out I needed to where super cushioned shoes. I ended up giving in to the orthotics if it meant that I would be able to run again, but have not bought into the idea of moving away from minimalist shoes. I have always had an inkling in my mind that if I build up the strength in my feet and lower legs that I might correct any problems I had naturally.
After a few months of wearing the orthotics I have noticed a difference and feel they have helped me heal and also seem to have helped with the cavus foot.
I was digging in the closet today and saw my old Five Fingers and was hit with the wild idea of trying to fit my prescription orthotics into them. They fit beautifully and felt amazing, the pictures above are with me wearing the shoes with the orthotic. I definitely noticed how it helped fill out the heel of the shoe and made the overall shoe fit my foot better. These are an old version, so I am not sure if the newer models will work the same way. The orthotic runs from the heel to the end of the ball of my foot, so I had a little more cushioning/protection with them in, something that felt really nice. I did some sprints in them on the front lawn and driveway and didn't find any pain or problems. In fact it actually made me want to keep trying them out going forward.
I felt like I was doing something taboo and wrong. They still had the minimalist feel and light weight, but with the support my arch needs. The heel is a bit raised and so they feel like a more traditional running shoe. I can only imagine my doctor would be crapping bricks if he saw me wearing them, but what he doesn't know won't hurt him.
Anybody else try this?