Several months have passed since my last pool workout. Consequently, my knees have been pretty swollen and stiff from the lack of movement, warmth and water pressure. New Year’s resolutions never seem that exciting to me, but this year I do have one goal. Getting back in the pool at least once a week while supplementing some mild leg exercise once or twice more every few days is the plan. Nothing seems to make my legs feel more flexible and mobile than mild exercise. And the closest I can get to actual running is in the pool.

One thing that turned me off of pool exercise was the rough pool floor at my local YMCA. As I increased my running intensity underwater and gradually moved to a more shallow depth, it started getting harder to push off the bottom with bare feet because of the course surface. I noticed others wearing pool shoes so I set out to find some protection for my feet. Until I stumbled upon Vibram Five Fingers, I thought there may not be any footwear with such a low profile. They look just like gloves for your feet.

It was tough deciding whether the Five Fingers would work well in the pool for running since most of the reviews talk about running with them on dry land and all the models are quite pricey. Two models are available for water sports, the KSO and Sprint models. From the description online, the Sprints sounded like they might work for my activity. And as a splendid surprise from my family, I got a pair for Christmas this year.

So the next day I set out to take them for a test run. And what a run. They fit so snugly around each toe and conform well to your feet. At first they felt a little tight in the toes, but once I got in the water I didn’t even notice. While running laps it felt like they weren’t even there. The Sprints have straps that go across the top of your feet to help keep them tight underwater too. And since there isn’t much material in the shoes, they dry pretty quickly. So far I’ve used the Sprints a few times and would say they’re definitely worth the money, especially if they get me back in the pool. Out of all the treatments for inflammatory arthritis I still think aquatic exercise is the most helpful.