Doing the Ultimate Hike in FiveFingers - Help Alejandra Out!

Doing the Ultimate Hike in FiveFingers - Help Alejandra Out!

The following is a guest post by Alejandra Aldana

On May 4, 2013, I will be participating in Ultimate Hike, a 28.3 mile hike benefiting CureSearch for Children's Cancer. My goal is to not only complete this very long hike in one day, but also help raise awareness and $2500 in funds for CureSearch.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a National Childhood Cancer Foundation, funds and supports targeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurable results, and is the authoritative source of information and resources for all those affected by children's cancer. CureSearch funds both local and national research, ensuring that a cure will be found as quickly as possible.

I have decided to take this challenge for a number of reasons. I want the opportunity to help give back to those affected by cancer as well as improve my life and fitness. Part of what I hope to accomplish other than raising funds for children in need is becoming part of a community and pushing my boundaries.

I plan on completing the 28.3 miles completely in my Vibram Five Fingers and while many people are advising me against it, I just don't see myself doing it without them. It is going to take a lot of building my feet up, but I am more than confident I will be able to do so. If you are able to donate to my fundraising that would be great. If not that will be fine, too. What I would love to get out of this, is the opportunity to share my journey with others. There is nothing more powerful and exhilarating than a sense of community for a great cause. If you are interested in joining me on my minimalist journey please let me know as soon as possible (we have already started our first training session). If you would like to help follow and share me and my cause you can do so at 10littlepiggies.tumblr.com.

You can also donate directly by following this link.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement!

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!

Christopher McDougall on Barefoot Running in Parade

If you didn't catch it, there was a short article by Christopher McDougall titled Is It Better To Be Barefoot that hit Parade magazine yesterday (link). McDougall continues to bring barefoot running to the masses by sounding the alert that heavily padded and fat-heeled sneakers might be causing running injuries. As a barefoot-convert himself, we know Christopher's answer to the story's title. Barefoot is better.

Here's a clip:

Our legs are thickly woven with rubbery, elastic tendons that absorb shock and also use it as free energy, like a rubber ball ricocheting off pavement. "If you encase the foot in thick shoes, you not only lose ground awareness, you limit natural elasticity," says Robert Schleip of the Fascia Research Center at Germany's University of Ulm. According to a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in March, barefoot runners experienced significantly less impact than runners in shoes.

"We've gone too far with cushioning and arbitrary shoe designs," says Stephen Pribut, a leading sports podiatrist in Washington, D.C. Still, Pribut is not ready to tell all of his patients to go barefoot, though he agrees that no study has ever shown that barefoot runners are hurt more often than runners in shoes. In a 2009 review article for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers searched 30 years of studies and were unable to find one demonstrating that running shoes make people less prone to injury.

For another article that goes into detail on the "rubbery, elastic tendons that absorb shock and also use it as free energy," check out McDougall's Everything You Know About Muscle is Wrong — a fascinating article about the much-overlooked but powerfully impo