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US Army Bans VFFs

The US Army has banned its military personnel from wearing toe shoes, such as the popular Vibram FiveFingers minimalist shoes, because it “detracts from a professional military image.”

Straight from a tricky military document with a crazy acronym (ALARACT):

“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 [Improved Physical Fitness Uniform] or when conducting physical training in military formation.”

Until regulations change, or manufacturers develop military-specific minimalist shoes, then it looks like soldiers will lose out.

Since the US government absolutely loves working with contractors, it’s very possible military branches are working with these companies to develop new products.  Not surprisingly, VFF supporters haven’t taken the news well — and this picture has been circulated:

The above image is an Army soldier from the 10th Special Forces Group jumping out of a CH-47 Chinook during training exercises while wearing minimalist shoes.

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