Muddy Paintball in FiveFingers

Muddy Paintball in FiveFingers

This is the muddiest photo of FiveFingers I think I've ever seen.

What's the story? Enter Michael, who picked up his pair of TrekSports as an all-purpose pair of toe shoes though he specifically planned to use them for paintball:

I've been trying to paintball regularly for a year or so now, something more active then my usual regime of computer games and TV. I'd scoffed at Vibrams the first time I saw them, but the more and more I spotted people wearing them the more I wanted to at least try them on.

Once I started paintball I figured I'd finally had a real excuse to have wear them passed the novelty so I was on a mission to eventually own my own pair. A few months ago I was able to venture to my local Hikers Haven and try on as many pairs as would fit, finally deciding that a pair of KSO Treksport would be the best for the job (as well as seemed to be the only pair that would fit my APPARENTLY abnormally tall dorsal area of my feet). Unfortunately they were lacking on my perfect size and I was lacking in actual funds.

Skip ahead a few months and a new job gave me the opportunity I needed to snag me a pair. They instantly turned into the comfiest and most expensive pair of slippers I'd ever owned.

Eventually I got the chance to head back out for paintball. I generally try to go on dry days, as I hate getting mucky (a bit of an oxymoron when paintballing), but of course that morning was a downpour, leaving the field a minefield of puddles and mud. Within the first 15 minutes of arriving, we had to walk about 50 meters through a river of inch deep mud. At that point I tossed my inhibitions to the wind and had a great time being a mudder. It was of course still winter and the puddles were cold, but the pair of Injinji socks I was wearing were able to keep me warm enough.

I'm convinced that I was more agile, less tired, and much more happy wearing the Five Fingers than I would have been wearing my usual clunky Merrell sneakers, which would have been impossible to clean.

I'll be bringing my Vibrams with me to every paintball day, and hopefully will start doing more things to wear them more often.

Michael T. - Toronto

Glad you've found some use for them!

All that talk about mud reminds me of Stuart running his 255km jungle marathon in Spyridons.

Thanks for sharing, Michael!

Jawa's Vibram Vacation

Jawa runs on Negril Beach in Jamaica in his Sprint Vibram Five Fingers.  Looks like a beautiful place for a sandy run!
Jawa runs on Negril Beach in Jamaica in his Sprint Vibram Five Fingers. Looks like a beautiful place for a sandy run!

Be sure to check the photos linked below in Jawa's narrative below!

I am sure Vibram Five Fingers have been subjected to various conditions and your website serves as a single, authentic source where real people share their success with Vibram. As you may know I have been using Vibram since September 2009 and recently ran my first half marathon.

This winter break, I decided to go with my Vibram to Jamaica for a two week family vacation. In Jamaica we were very active: I ran on the streets of Montego Bay, climbed Dunn’s Rivera Falls, zipped through the longest (1600 feet long) zipline in Caribbean, jumped from a cliff, swung from a rope over YS falls, ran on the beaches of Negril, snorkeled, scuba dove and much more – all with my Vibram. This was truly a Vibram Vacation.

I wore my brand new taupe-clay sprint for this trip. The first day in Montego Bay, we decided to go to the famous Doctor’s Cave Beach. After snorkeling for about an hour, I was simply floating and relaxing.

Next day we went to the famous Dunn’s River Falls – from where the river merges with the ocean, we trekked upstream about 600 feet (See photo here).

Interestingly they were selling water shoes for $15 and many people asked me where I bought my Gorilla water shoes. We also visited the longest zipline in the Caribbean at Lethe Estate. It has 5 ziplines, varying in length from 250 feet to the amazing 1,600 feet (Here I am flying).

My favorite part of the vacation was in Negril, a small town an hour drive from Montego Bay. Negril claims to have 7-mile long sandy beach. I ran through this beach three times and I can attest it is only 4.5 miles (See photo at the top of the post). In Negril I ran through the Hedonism resort (nude beach), and the best part is that all the eyes were on me (my Vibram) as I ran at a steady, 9 minute/mile pace. I also ran through the main road which was treacherous for about 4 miles. There was no side walk but plenty of broken glasses, pebbles, sharp rocks, discarded furniture, two dead dogs and all kinds of trash. I was still was able to complete a 10+ mile run through the beaches and streets of Negril. Check out my Negril Run Garmin stats.

All my family members are PADI Certified scuba divers and we went for six dives. Of course, I went to dive with Vibram. Since Vibram feels like a glove for the foot, I was able to fit into diving fins (see here) easily. My daughter took this next picture when I was 75-feet under water.

Some additional pictures:

I couldn’t resist doing a headstand in the black river area on the south coast of Jamaica on this beautiful road. This is a single lane road with traffic on both sides so I have to do it quick (see here [getting ready] and here [headstand!])

Thanks
Jawa

Dr. Jawa is quite the pioneer for VFFs! Teaching in his black KSOs, racing in his blue camo KSOs, and cooling down with yoga moves in them, too — now he's taken Jamaica by storm!

Incidentally, I too have climbed Dunn's River Falls in my VFFs (Beware my blinding paleness!) — KSOs in my case back in May. They worked like a charm.

As a great number of us are dealing with a frustratingly cold winter, seeing Jawa have such a blast in a more temperate climate induces a mixture of excitement ... and jealousy! I just keep telling myself that Spring is just around the corner!

Thanks Jawa!

Edgar Kicks his KSOs at a Radio Station in Barcelona

Edgar wore his KSO Five Fingers "on the air" at a radio station in Barcelona.
Edgar wore his KSO Five Fingers "on the air" at a radio station in Barcelona.
Edgar normally gives Segway tours around Barcelona — wearing his VFFs, of course!
Edgar normally gives Segway tours around Barcelona — wearing his VFFs, of course!

Hi Justin,

Today i went to a radio station invited to talk about the segway tours I give around Barcelona, when they saw the Ksos they were so intrigued by them that I had to explain on air what they where and why I am wearing them.

I took a few pictures while at the radio station :)

You might recall that Edgar gives Segway tours around Barcelona in his KSO FiveFingers.

I love the looks on the radio guys' faces. I'm not sure if it's incredulity or curiosity! Way to spread the word Edgar! And if any VFFers are in Barcelona, be sure to check Edgar out!

Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks, on Barefoot Running

This is interesting — an open letter from Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks, on barefoot running. If you have a second, go read it. Here's a clip from his letter:

Let’s call a spade a spade. [Brooks makes] running shoes: High-quality, biomechanically mapped, performance running shoes calibrated for runners’ unique needs. We hope runners buy our shoes and we’re confident they’ll enjoy them. But this isn’t about selling shoes. And, quite frankly, this isn’t even about running barefoot.

So what are we talking about here? First and foremost, we’re all talking about running, and that’s a great thing because we believe to our core that running is a positive force in our world. We want everyone to run and be happy. But to get there, whether you should run barefoot is not the great debate. We are all unique. The focus should be on how you run and train, and then finding the right shoe that addresses your unique biomechanical needs. "The Perfect Ride for Every Stride," as we say at Brooks.

There's more, including Weber's categorization of runners into a spectrum generally broken down into runners who effectively must wear shoes because their form is particularly bad or their feet particularly weak, "biomechanically blessed" runners who have the option to wear shoes or not, and everyone else, a catch-all for the average, majority of runners.

Though it's interesting at a meta level that Brooks is publicly addressing the barefoot running movement, the letter seems fatally skewed towards a pro-shoe bias. As is often the case of any insider, you breath your own exhaust long enough and it's difficult to see clearly. Weber and Brooks mean well, I'm sure, but I personally think they are misled.

Below is a comment I left to the open letter. It's no surprise that I'm biased (aren't we all?); and though I'm hesitant to post so much opinion on this blog, the "running shoe debate," pun intended, is important so I'm reposting my comment here.

Read my comment below. Feedback is welcome.


So this is about running. If that is the case, then shouldn’t the focus be on how best to get people running injury-free?

Therein lies the rub and the evidence may soon be mounting (slowly) towards barefoot running. Like the recent study showing that torsional stress on hips and knees is higher running in shoes than running barefoot (link)

Anecdotally, there are many, many cases whereby individuals report going from being biomechanically cursed running in shoes (and getting injured) to running min-shod or barefoot and reducing/eliminating injury and becoming biomechanically blessed.

Since wearing shoes is the default position, the progression here is typically from being a shod runner first and then later becoming a barefoot runner. Anyone out there gone the other direction? Anyone out there given a concerted effort towards barefoot running only to fail and have to get some biomechanics correcting shoes?

You note:

We are all unique. The focus should be on how you run and train, and then finding the right shoe that addresses your unique biomechanical needs

This is problematic for shoes for a couple reasons — but no problem for going barefoot.

  1. how do you focus on how you run and train (or how to run properly) if your shoes affect how you run and train? This chicken/egg problem isn’t trivial when shoe design directly affects how you run.
  2. a quick count of the men’s shoes offerings at Brooks brings up 31 styles. That’s 31 styles for every unique runner out there. Even if we grant that all the unique variations in runners can be categorized to find the one correct shoe style out of 31 that will be the best, how is a runner to go about testing them each to find the magic style that works — a problem compounded by (1) above, which is that the shoes affect the way you run.

Contrast this against the automatically customized shoe — one built only for you, one that has built-in AI with a few thousand input receptors to provide instantaneous feedback, and a “shoe” that will rejuvenate forever. This shoe is so advanced that it has has an internal frame of almost 30 parts. Even still, this shoe is hardwired into the rest of the body.

Of course, I’m talking about our feet: unique to each of us and massively adaptable. Feet are our living shoes.

Now sure, if you’ve been clunking around in dead-shoes (pardon the terminology), then your live-shoes may be a bit weak and need to be rehabilitated. We expect as much whenever we cast a bodypart for months, so we should expect the same for anyone who has been sticking their feet in “foot casts.”

I don’t mean to come off so pejoratively towards dead-shoes, but they’re just so simple compared to our feet, and if you’re going to talk about uniqueness, then I think the default position should side with the innately unique solution — bare feet.

I’ll wrap it up, but to me, your runner categories is off. It seems to me that the only ones whose default position should be to run in shoes (or non-minimalist footwear such as VFFs or otherwise), are those who’ve not sustained injuries — those who are “biomechanically blessed” to run in shoes! If this isn’t you, maybe you can spend an enormous amount of time and effort trying out all the shoe options out there until you find one that doesn’t injure you -OR- you could just go outside and run down the street barefoot.

Disclosure: I’m biased as I run http://birthdayshoes.com, but even as I love VFFs, I still recognize that even they dumb down my feet. Their success is just a testament to how much better they are than your average shoe (And hey, for all I know, Brooks are way above average, so no dig there I swear!).

(permalink to the comment | Note: did some minor edits to my comment here where typos/wording could be improved! )

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 1/24/10

This week's latest FiveFingers reviews:

  • Review: Vibram Five Fingers "Sprint" at Give Me Back My Five Bucks [Sprint]:

    So it works for most of what it was designed to do. Whether you can get used to them in terms of looks and fit, is up to you. For me personally I'm not ready to give up on my regular shoes. But I do wear my VFFs around the house, sometimes when I work out on my Wii, and washing my car, etc. My mom thinks they'd be brilliant for her, since she does a lot of paddling and kayaking.

  • Vibram FiveFingers, review at Professional Adventurer [Flow]:

    BREAK IN. Even though they fit well out of the box, my feet and the FiveFingers had to break into each other. Fist I wore them inside my house for about 4o minutes and upped the time as I could for a week before I took them out for a hike, then a run. I am pretty sure this is an important step.

You can read last week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews here.