The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

You're out on a run. Your nose is getting stuffy, so you lean to the side for a quick farmer's blow. It's cold out, but you didn't realize how cold until you go to wipe your nose with the back of your glove to clear off any additional moisture -- only to find that it's already frozen around the edge of your nostril in mere seconds.

Welcome to the inaugural Asheville Marathon, held on the grounds of the beautiful Biltmore estate. "Well," I thought dramatically at around mile 20, "At least I'll die somewhere majestic."

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    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Tree-climbing in Flow Five Fingers with Jerald

Tree-climbing in Flow Five Fingers with Jerald

Jerald sent in the above photo of him climbing a tree in his Five Fingers Flows. The images are shot in "VFF-view" (VFFV?), a view similar to that which you get in a FPS computer game.

Anyway, here's what Jerald had to say:

I climbed a tree in my Flows and that's not all I do, I also Practice Parkour in them, and my KSO's.

[I asked Jerald how he like Five Fingers for parkour, and he added:]

Parkour is Great, the laser sipped sole is perfect for running up Brick walls. And the tree climbing is a blast, I feel alot more connected with nature.

Tree-climbing and parkour — two types of physical activity that likely have roots going back as far as the dawn of homo sapiens. That you can do both in your "birthday shoes" makes a great deal of sense!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 11/15/09

This week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews:

  • Vibram FiveFingers Sprint First Impressions by Craig Sheppard [Sprint]:

    So what does it feel like to frolic in the park, shod with Five Fingers?

    Really, really liberating. You feel like you have all-terrain barefeet. The lack of padding means you feel every stick, stone, and crack on the ground, which does cause you to watch where you're going. But knowing your feet are protected means you feel like you can go anywhere. There is an amazing amount of grip in the soles as well. I find them strangely energizing. I don't have much patience for running, I should admit. It seems laborious, monotonous, and uncomfortable. Yet, doing a mile here or there in the FiveFingers is invigorating. I've had to go slow and short to adjust, it's sort of re-learning to run all over again. There's a fresh novelty factor involved I'm sure, but I have a feeling it may go deeper than that.

For last week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews, go here!

Robin and Erik Take on Indonesia in Vibram Five Fingers

Robin and Erik Take on Indonesia in Vibram Five Fingers
Random Indonesian Monkey is put at ease by human with "Monkey Shoes."
Robin and Erik Take on Indonesia in Vibram Five Fingers
Skipping about in Indonesia in KSO Five Fingers. It's hard not to frolic in VFFs.
Robin and Erik Take on Indonesia in Vibram Five Fingers
A bit of bouldering in Vibram Sprints.
Robin and Erik Take on Indonesia in Vibram Five Fingers
Robin and Erik explore Indonesia, getting a great feel for the place via their Vibram Five Fingers.

Robin and Erik (photoed above and also see the additional photos below!) took a two week trip to Indonesia. They spent the first ten days surfing and the remainder of the trip climbing Mount Rinjani, adjacent to Lake Segara Anak, to see the volcano there (photoed below).

And of course, they did it all in their Vibram Five Fingers — Sprints and KSOs in this case. Here's Robin's note on the trip:

Greetings from Sweden!

Here are some pics of V5F-adventures in Lombok Indonesia. In them you see Robin and Erik running with buffalos in the hills of Gerupuk and climbing Mount Rinjani (3726m) where the beautiful Lake Segara Anak(2000m) is. When climbing the mountain we walked in V5F for 24h in a 50h period. The shoes were wonderful for hiking, wouldn't want to wear any other shoes, but our feet got quite sore after all the walking. Amazing nature, check out the lake in google earth, it's absolutely out of this world beautiful. Also the shoes are great for surfing, much better than the camel toe surf boots which are commonly used. We love the shoes and can't wait to run Stockholm Marathon in the Bikilas.

I took Robin's advice and checked out the Lake on Google Maps. Amazing to see the reflecting mountains on the lake via satellite. Incredible!

View Larger Map

Below are more photos from Robin and Erik's trip. Looks like quite a Five Fingers adventure! Anyone else want to go to Indonesia now?

Photos of Robin and Erik gallivanting about Indonesia in their Vibram Five Fingers

Photos of Lake Segara Anak and Mount Rinjani, Indonesia

Bob perches atop Castleton Tower, Utah, in KSO Vibram Five Fingers

Bob sent in the video below taken atop world-renowned Castleton Tower, Utah. Bob reached the top of the tower and promptly switched to his Vibram Five Fingers. Looks a bit windy up there! Here's a video:


Hey Justin! It's Bob. I've got a sweet and short FF video for you.

We just climbed to the summit of Castleton Tower in Utah. It's one of the most famous and dramatic pillars in the US. In the video I'm standing on the windy summit in my KSOs. (Quite possibly the first ever FF on the summit??) The vista is breathtaking.

As I say in the video, in two days we're going into Moab to run a 50k in the FF. Should be fun!


Via Wikipedia, you can see an enormous, 13,953 x 1,441 pixel panorama taken atop Castleton Tower. Quite a view:

An incredible 360 panorama atop Castleton Tower, Utah. Click the thumbnail for the enormous, 2.5mb image!

No doubt Vibram Five Fingers ("FF") feel pretty incredible on your feet after a good deal of climbing in the typical, super-snug mountain climbing shoes.

Good luck on the 50K, Bob!
Update: Bob passed on a bit more on the Castleton experience as well as an update on how his Marine Corps Marathon went. Check it out:

You're absolutely right, after spending all day climbing that pillar, nothing feels better than tossing on some KSOs. We had to wait about an hour at the summit for a second party to join us, so my feet were feeling much better than my climbing partners! And then I got to rap off the tower in the comfy FF as well.

The marathon was a blast, thanks so much for asking. I had a bunch of people ask me about the FF, so I think it was a pretty good promotion. Feet were light, I took walk breaks throughout and felt very strong at the finish. Did it 4 hours, which is a decent time. (Both the marathon and tomorrow's 50k are foremost training runs for the 50 miler in Mexico with the Tarahumara's, as featured in Born to Run. So I don't want to kill myself in either.)

I raised $1500 for St. Judes, all through the Internet, which was super awesome. Thanks for your help!

Glad to be of help — way to go VFF-land!
Update 2: Here's Bob rappelling down the Tower in this Five Fingers:


There are a bunch more videos from the climb, which you can see via Bob's YouTube page!

Brian at the Berlin Wall (in KSO Vibram Five Fingers)

Brian at the Berlin Wall (in KSO Vibram Five Fingers)
Brian, "Hear I am leaning against an appropriately painted remnant of the Berlin Wall."
Brian at the Berlin Wall (in KSO Vibram Five Fingers)
Brian, "Berlin is a great city for VFFs with all the different surfaces underfoot."

Brian, who you might recall from his Otterness photo or Fife playing, has been photographing Berlin this week in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Here's what Brian had to say about the trip:

Hi Justin,

I am in Berlin taking pictures to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. It's for a project I've been working on since 1985, photographing the Iron Curtain and Berlin Wall, and then documenting their gradual transformation into historical artifacts and icons of the imagination. See the pictures from this week on my blog. The last time I was in Berlin, 2006, I had already converted to minimal shoes and was wearing Vivo Barefoots. This time, I'm doing the Berlin Wall in VFFs, my preferred footwear, even when carrying 40 pounds of photography equipment on my back. Temps have been in the low and mid-forties, but I've been perfectly comfortable in my KSOs.

Glad to hear the KSOs haven't been weighing you down as you haul gear around Berlin. It would be neat to view the Berlin Wall through the perspective of almost 25 years of change. Good luck on completing this body of work!

You can go check out a few of Brian's posts this week to see some of the Berlin photos he's been taking — for example, see here, here, and here.

Thanks, Brian!

"Barney Feet" a.k.a. Sprint FiveFingers on the Today Show

Looks like I need to update the alternate names for VFFs page to include "Barney Feet," the name given to Sprint Vibram FiveFingers (in fuscia-lilac) by the Today Show yesterday morning, November 10, 2009.

Here's the one minute clip where they talk about it:

TS: "Time to check in with Sara who's still wearing her purple Barney shoes. How's it going?"

Sara Haines: "I'm lovin' them ..."

She goes on to say that her pinky toe wasn't liking the separation so much but that she finds them to be pretty comfortable. Sara tweeted a photo of her in her "new kicks," too, which shoeaholics retweeted and it made it onto VFF Now. Stick with it Sara!

They also question if VFFs would be good if you had bunions — anyone have any experience with this? I've had a few people asking about bunions and VFFs, specifically.

In other VFFs-in-the-news news, musician Matthew Sweet apparently enjoys wearing his black KSO FiveFingers. Check it out:

Make like an apeman! They're called Five Fingers, even though Five Toes would describe them more accurately. I wear them religiously. They are shoes. Susanna Hoffs and I have been on the road playing informal acoustic shows in support of our covers records, 'Under The Covers volume 1 & 2.' One of the most asked questions for me at the venues is, "Tell us about those shoes!" "Those shoes" are the Five Fingers by Vibram, and they are a dream come true -- a shoe for people who would rather be barefoot, like me!

These are but two more examples of FiveFingers turning heads and becoming more popular!

H/T to Sean in Niceville for passing on the link to the Today Show clip!