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!

Travis hikes Loan Peak in Northern Utah (11K feet up) in his KSO FiveFingers

The view from 11,000 feet off of Lone Peak in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah a la Travis' KSO FiveFingers.
The view from 11,000 feet off of Lone Peak in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah a la Travis' KSO FiveFingers.

Justin,

Having been an admirer of birthdayshoes.com for some time, I finally found a VFF pic from this summer that I wanted to share. On the 4th of July 2009, my brother and I hiked Lone Peak in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah. At 11,253 feet, it's among the tallest peaks in the Wasatch range. This picture was taken on my phone from just below the summit looking west towards Salt Lake Valley.

Some fellow hikers spotted my VFFs and flipped out, as is customary. But as we spoke, another hiker passed us with a pair of Sprints attached to his backpack. He had elected not to wear them due to the snow. VFFs are definitely gaining in popularity here, and my local running store has had difficulty keeping them in stock.

I love wearing my KSOs hiking and running. On this particular hike, nothing felt better as I scrambled over the huge granite boulders near the top than wearing VFFs. They were grippy and just a lot of fun to have on.

Thanks for your work on the site,
Travis

Looks like quite a view from the top, Travis. Glad you're having so much fun in your FiveFingers, not to mention braving some chilly altitudes and snow in them!

Thanks for sharing!

Seret runs a Marathon in VFF Sprints and Surfs Mud while trail running in her KSOs!

Seret sent in the above photos (montage-ified) showing off her marathon finish in VFF Sprints and her muddy trail running in her blue camo KSOs.
Seret sent in the above photos (montage-ified) showing off her marathon finish in VFF Sprints and her muddy trail running in her blue camo KSOs.
Hi Justin

I can't believe it's almost eight months since I first bought my KSOs. In that time I've completed two marathons. One in June (which I ran in my old trainers) and one in December in my new Sprints! My finish time improved by 30 minutes.

My husband continues to wear his blue KSOs during strength training and also while out & about. He was able to get the KSO Treks when I purchased my Sprints in Northern Washington. I am so very jealous.

Although it's wet and muddy here I continue to run the local trails. While I'm anxious for the smaller sized Treks to come out next year I am proud to say - I've slipped down hill in the mud a few times but have yet to fall. It's almost like surfing down the mud!

Wearing FiveFingers has improved my balance for sure. I love these shoes!

Keep up the great site!
Seret

We've seen Seret and her husband donning matching KSOs before (here). It is good to see they are both still putting them their VFFs to good use. Congrats on your marathon time!

Anyone else experienced "mud surfing" in their KSOs? I distinctly remember a major mud bust while trail running here in Atlanta in my KSOs. The Treks have fared better though.

Thanks for sharing, Seret!

You don't say! "Running Shoes May Cause Damage to Knees, Hips and Ankles"

A new study that measured and compared stresses on the joints of the leg (knees, hips, and ankles) for runners in shod and barefoot running indicates that "running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes."

The study involved 68 healthy adult runners, slightly more than half women, who ran at least 15 miles per week and observed "joint torques" at the hip, knee, and ankle while individuals ran on treadmills.

You might guess what they found:

The researchers observed increased joint torques at the hip, knee and ankle with running shoes compared with running barefoot. Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque and in the knee flexion and knee varus torques. An average 54% increase in the hip internal rotation torque, a 36% increase in knee flexion torque, and a 38% increase in knee varus torque were measured when running in running shoes compared with barefoot.

These findings confirm that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself, one negative effect is the increased stress on each of the 3 lower extremity joints. These increases are likely caused in large part by an elevated heel and increased material under the medial arch, both characteristic of today's running shoes.

It's great to see studies like this emerge. No doubt we all have reached a similar conclusion that, rather than first requiring proof barefoot running is safe, the burden of proof that running shoes do us any good lays squarely on the shoulders of the running shoe manufacturers.

It is fascinating that walking in high-heels is less stressful on your joints than running in running shoes though I also imagine it'd be a disaster to run in high-heels — not to mention that high-heels necessarily cram your toes into a narrow space.

Anyone else looking forward to seeing the release of the Lieberman study?

(H/T Chris!)

Channing Tatum runs in KSO Treks (via TMZ.com)

Channing Tatum was caught heading to workout in his KSO Treks.  This might be the first celebrity sighting of VFFs — will FiveFingers go mainstream soon?
Channing Tatum was caught heading to workout in his KSO Treks. This might be the first celebrity sighting of VFFs — will FiveFingers go mainstream soon?

Recent G.I. Joe, She's the Man, and Stop-Loss star Channing Tatum has been spotted wearing KSO Trek Five Fingers while on his way to workout.

TMZ had a video segment titled "If the shoe fits" on the VFF-sighting that aired on television on January 1, 2010. In the minute-and-a-half clip, they show Tatum grabbing his things to go workout. The Paparazzi present ask him how he feels about his recent successes only to notice his "toe finger shoes;" apparently, Channing runs in them.

As you might guess, TMZ takes the opportunity to mock Channing's choice of footwear. Thankfully, at least one TMZ crewmember is also a VFFer, though unfortunately it seems his reason fell on def ears. I got a kick out of the video clip:

[video:youtube:EWZAFk3cYHM]

Though Alex does a laudable job in the video espousing the merits of Vibram Five Fingers to the TMZ crew, they were still able to get some quality digs in on VFFs. Perhaps the funniest being an exchange where one guy asks, "What do they do for you?" and getting the response, "They make chicks not like you!" A comment from a questionable source at best:

TMZ had a field day mocking Tatum's "Avatar" shoes.  At least one TMZ crew member spoke up on their behalf, but others were less enthusiastic, to say the least!
TMZ had a field day mocking Tatum's "Avatar" shoes. At least one TMZ crew member spoke up on their behalf, but others were less enthusiastic, to say the least!

Anyway, whether Five Fingers ever go mainstream is an ongoing question here (I think they will!). And if I'm not mistaken, this is the first celebrity sighting (excepting Sergey Brin's wearing KSO Five Fingers). Anyone have a clue what is going on with Tatum's left KSO Trek? The strap seems to be missing and I have no clue what is going on with his left foot's middle toe, but it looks totally mangled:

What is going on with Channing Tatum's KSO Trek Five Fingers here?  Looks like a dog got a hold of his left VFF!
What is going on with Channing Tatum's KSO Trek Five Fingers here? Looks like a dog got a hold of his left VFF!

(H/T Shawn | @sdemeule)

Other links on Channing Tatum's VFFs:

Anthropological perspective on the barefoot-is-better meme from Greg Downey

Greg Downey, an anthropologist in Australia, wrote an exhaustive blog post on Neuroanthropology.net titled Lose your shoes: Is barefoot better? back in late July 2009 that has just recently come to my attention.

The post covers topics ranging from how we run unshod to how shoes affect our feet (e.g. how feet adapt to shoes over time, how shoes mute sensory information, etc.). He gets into when shoes first entered the scene in human history to modern adaptations of our feet to do any number of activities (such as paint or play guitar). Though Downey's answer to the "is barefoot better" question seems overtly ambivalent, I doubt you could read it without coming away with the perspective that our feet are strong, robust, and adaptable structures by themselves. Said differently, feet are only handicapped if we make them that way. Downey (with a bit of help from Adam Sternberg) puts it thusly:

Sternbergh explains the developmental influence of shoes simply: ‘This is the shoe paradox: We’ve come to believe that shoes, not bare feet, are natural and comfortable, when in fact wearing shoes simply creates the need for wearing shoes.’ Shoe designers are convinced that feet need to be protected against the ground, and the result is that our feet are so sheltered that they do become fragile.

Another section I found interesting in the post referenced Ross Tucker, who described how our feet function (or fail to function in the case of shoes):

uring barefoot running, the ball of the foot strikes the ground first and immediately starts sending signals to the spinal cord and brain about the magnitude of impact and shear, getting most of its clues about this from the skin contact with the surface irregularities of the ground. Take away this contact by adding a cushioned substance and you immediately fool the system into underestimating the impact. Add a raised heel and the shod runner is forced to land on it. Strap the cushioning on tightly with the aid of a sophisticated lacing system and you block out shear as well, throwing the shock-absorption system even further into the dark ... The cushioned midsole of the modern running shoe robs the system of important sensory information necessary for ankle, knee and hip response to impact. The arch support (or orthotic) in modern running shoes not only prevents the arch suspension system from absorbing energy by preventing flattening but eventually leads to intrinsic muscle atrophy and complete loss of active muscular control of the arch leaving only the inelastic plantar fascia as a checkrein to flattening. The barefoot runner’s ‘foot position awareness sense’ which relies heavily on sensory input from the sole of the foot minimizes his risk of sustaining an ankle sprain on uneven ground. The shod runner is at marked increased risk of ankle sprains because his ‘foot position awareness sense’ is handicapped by the paucity of sensations coming from his soles.

There's a lot more there, and I'll save you from further quotes. Suffice to say that our feet are incredibly adaptable, strong, and sensitive structures. For that matter, Downey's anthropological round-up leaves me believing that when you need your feet to perform optimally, it's best to get out of their way. That said, shoes/footwear do have a place in human evolutionary history, but the trick is in finding the right balance.

You can read the entire article here.

(H/T to Byron on the Minimalist Runner Google Group)

Cody and Daryl Wall-Climb in FiveFingers

Daryl works around a door in his Sprint FiveFingers and injinji socks.
Daryl works around a door in his Sprint FiveFingers and injinji socks.
Cody hangs tough in his Classic FiveFingers at Vertical World in Everett, Washington.
Cody hangs tough in his Classic FiveFingers at Vertical World in Everett, Washington.

Cody checks in from Washington with his latest "vff adventure." This time, he brought along a fellow VFFer, Daryl:

hey its cody, i have some more pictures for you of my friend and i going free climbing in everett at vertical world! so check it out! woo! Fivefingers are an interesting challenge on the smallest holds, but on the larger holds that allow you to use your toes, they rule, i have never had individual toe muscles worked like they have been today!

Toe holds in toe shoes must torque the tootsies quite a lot! Way to hang in there!