Air Force barefoot runners breathe easy. Rumors flooded into our e-mail box after we published a feature on barefoot running. Airmen wondered if the rumor was true: Are Vibram Five Fingers shoes banned from Air Force gyms or while wearing the PT uniform?
Staff Sgt. Darrell Knowlton was told when he walked into his base gym at Andrews Air Force Base to take his Five Fingers off. Tech Sgt. Bradley Smith also heard a rumor the barefoot shoes were banned while wearing the PT uniform.
After Action took the rumors to the source. Beth Gosselin, an Air Force spokeswoman, confirmed that barefoot shoes are authorized for wear in a PT uniform and allowed at base gyms. However, airmen must wear socks under the shoes that look more like rubber feet when wearing their PT uniform. Commanders can also ban them if they feel their wear is unsafe, Gosselin said.
“There is no Air Force policy banning these shoes. Right now, individual commanders determine whether or not the shoes are suitable for PT wear,” she said in an e-mailed statement.