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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Ian plays a gig in his KSO Five Fingers

Ian plays his bass guitar at a gig his band performed at a local bar in his Five Finger KSOs.
Ian plays his bass guitar at a gig his band performed at a local bar in his Five Finger KSOs.

Ian sent in the above photos taken before and at a recent gig his band played at a local bar:

Justin,

I wanted to share these photos with you & the folks at BirthdayShoes. My band recently played a gig at a local bar, and I wore my VFF KSOs. The first shot is warming up with scales and arpeggios prior to playing and the second is a picture taken while we were really grooving on a tune. Both photos were taken by Ed or Kristin Ciechon.

I also run ~20 miles per week and do CrossFit in them as well, but the pictures are better with a bass in my hands! I absolutely love these things, and a couple more pairs are on the top of the Christmas list!

Best,

Ian

Glad you're getting such good use out of your VFFs. It's hard not to go from using Five Fingers in an athletic pursuit to using them elsewhere. They're just so dang comfortable!

Way to rock out with V5Fs!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 12/13/09

This week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews:

  • Vibram Five Fingers at the Complete Body [Classics]:

    The Vibram Five Fingers allow your feet to feel the ground. This will be quite an adjustment after having spent most of your life with your feet in straight jackets. You will be able to feel rocks and unevenness in the sidewalk. The Five Fingers are also very flexible–in fact they can be folded in half.
    The Five Finger is probably the only shoe which allows your toes to move independently because of its glove like structure. I am not sure how much my toes move independently now that they have the capability. They feel like they all move in unison, but I am sure they now move more independently than they used to.

You can check out last week's latest Five Fingers reviews here.

Paul's Montreal Oasis Marathon in Sprint FiveFingers

Here we see Paul running the Montreal Oasis Marathon in Sprint FiveFingers.  Notice the photographer in the right photo staring at Paul's feet!
Here we see Paul running the Montreal Oasis Marathon in Sprint FiveFingers. Notice the photographer in the right photo staring at Paul's feet!

Paul, photoed above, recently completed his first full marathon, and he did it thanks to his Sprint FiveFingers. Here's Paul's story:

Hi Justin,

I bought my first pair in Spring 2009 after reading many articles about running barefoot. My current running shoes (Brook Beast) were okay, but sometimes I had trouble with my knees—especially while running long distances like half marathons. Still, I had already completed several half marathons without serious injuries. Would I be able to run a full marathon? I was not sure yet because running a full marathon implies a lot more training, and by more training comes greater risk of injuries. I must add that my physique is not ideal for running: I weigh 200 pounds and I am a very extreme over-pronator. People who see me running feel pain for me ...

So, in the Spring 2009 my dream of running a full marathon was becoming more a project than a dream. I wanted to run the Montreal Oasis marathon, which takes place every September. I knew that my knees may not support a 42.195 kilometers run with my heavy bodyweight and over-pronation. I had read some interesting articles (on wired.com and sportsci.org) about running barefoot, saying that sometimes it's the traditional running shoe that causes injuries. The evidence presented in these articles seemed very credible, so I tried running barefoot a few times, but despite great feeling it gave me, there were some inconveniences like broken glass, dog poop, bad asphalt, running in the late evening, etc. I felt irritation on the soles of my feet after a few kilometers. Then I heard about the Five Fingers and found a pair of the Sprint model at a local store. I started using them for my short runs and while using them I felt I had a lot more pleasure running compared to when running with "real" shoes. I started to increase the mileage, but after running more than 1 hour I started feeling irritation on my feet and toes. I tried stuff like bodyglide, duct tape, but I still felt pain.

I was losing the faith, when I read on Ted McDonald's site (Barefoot Ted) that he completed several marathons, and even ultra-marathons with his Five Finger shoes. I thought maybe the problem was the size, because the volume of the foot increases after long runs. So I bought another pair in a larger size (I passed from 43 to 45) and the problem was solved. I continued my training exclusively with my VFFs, even for long runs. I was feeling no pain on the feet or in the knees. Concerning the over-pronation, I still over-pronate in VFFs (I even land a bit on my heels), but it seems it doesn't do much harm to me, probably because having no cushion or heel elevation reduces the bad effects.

Finally, I completed the Montreal marathon in 4:25 hours, just a few minutes more than my objective. I got some pain in the legs and knees but only after 30K, and I had no trouble running my way through the finish line (note that I don't use a "walk/run" strategy; I was running nearly all the time). I will certainly run my future races in VFFs or barefoot, but not in shoes with a micro-processor in the heel!

tks,

Paul

VFF Turkey Feet Mod - Haley's Thanksgiving 10K Gobble Run

Haley put together a great turkey costume for the Annual Gobble Run (10K) in Tampa!
Haley put together a great turkey costume for the Annual Gobble Run (10K) in Tampa!
Check out a close-up of Haley's VFF Turkey Feet Mod!
Check out a close-up of Haley's VFF Turkey Feet Mod!

Above are photos of what I'm calling the "VFF Turkey Feet Mod" as created and modeled by Haley for a recent Thanksgiving 10K in Tampa — the YMCA Annual Gobble Run. Here's Haley:

Here's pics of me in my KSOs/Turkey costume at the Tampa YMCA Annual Gobble Run this Thanksgiving (Tampa, FL)! My husband wore his as well but was less inclined to be costumed! We had a blast and everyone loved the shoes!

Haley

Nice Three Fingers, Haley! Too bad your husband didn't join you — you two would have made quite a pair!

Using tape to add strength, durability, and even style to the Vibram Five Fingers KSO (and KSO Trek) straps! [modification]

A pair of blue camouflaged KSO Five Fingers showing off the Marley Mission Tape Mod!
A pair of blue camouflaged KSO Five Fingers showing off the Marley Mission Tape Mod!

Jason a.k.a. "marley mission" on the birthday shoes forums came up with a stylish way to fortify the straps of his KSO Five Fingers in order to minimize strap wear on VFF KSOs. I asked Jason to share some photos of his Tape-Modded VFF KSOs on the main blog. He graciously agreed.

The Marley Mission VFF KSO Tape Mod

Hey all. Justin asked me to send him some tape mod pics of my VFF after seeing me post some pics on the forums. As I totally love the site I replied that it would be my pleasure.

Now of course the starting reason to do tape mods of the straps was to add protection to strap areas where the strap looped through across the front of the shoes. As you might have seen from previous comments on the forums regarding VFF straps — they tend to fray and can even break from constant strap loop contact.

Basically, I also noticed this with my VFF pairs (I have 1 treks and 3 kso's) as the plastic piece in the loop area does act as a "saw" of sorts against the fabric of the strap. As I run around 60 miles a week now between all four pairs - I decided to do some preventative taping in the loop areas on the straps. One thing led to another and I decided to tape mod the entire strap areas on all four pairs.

Brown KSO Treks Tape Modded:

Click for a larger image Click for a larger image Click for a larger image

I did these with Realtree Brown 2" Duct Tape from ducttapesales.com. The duct tape sticks real well so no crazy glue was needed to further secure tape seams. Other notes from the treks pics are that these pics were fresh from a 2 hour trail run in the snow. I have also used crazy glue around the edges of the sole area where the sole connects to the shoe material — in both a repair situation and preventatively.

Orange / Black KSOs Tape Modded:

Click to see larger! Click to see larger! Click to see larger!


I did these with Orange Camo 2" Gaffers Tape from ducttapesales.com. I also used no glue here with tape seems as the tape was suffieciently adhering to the strap material. The different tape material choice had to do with the desire for the orange camo design which I only found in Gaffers Tape - not duct. As you will see next with blue camo tape I also made a material switch to Hockey Tape - as this was the only tape material that i saw having a blue camo design.

Blue Camo KSOs Tape Modded:

Click for the larger image! Click for the larger image! Click for the larger image!


I did these with Blue Camo 2" Hockey Tape from ducttapesales.com. I used some crazy glue on the tape seams here as the hockey tape seemed to need that reinforcement in the seam areas. Obviously, since the pieces of tape carry only a 2" width - several pices are needed to loop around the straps. Each piece cut varied in the length but no pieces—even in the thickest area in the loop section of the strap—measured more than 3 or 4 inches. I was careful to take my time in wrapping the straps so they fit nicely against the strap material.

Black KSOs Tape Modded (aka - the screwed up pair):

I did these with White Duct Tape from a local convenience store. These did NOT come out like I had hoped. Using traditional duct tape that had a white color I initially thought would look good but this particular tape turned out difficult to work with with and the black and white contrast did not give the result I wanted. The tape also did not seem to go on as smoothly though it is holding strong. I then tried to add a "zebra design" with a black sharpie only to learn that the sharpie began easily rubbing off the duct tape material so I stopped mid way. I will probably leave them as is as I don't want to put too much tape on and the tape itself does the job by protecting the strap. You can check these out at the forum thread dedicated to this mod.
Thanks Jason for this contribution to the Five Fingers fan community!

Bien and Ben Run Nittany Valley Half Marathon in Vibram KSOs

Bien (left) met fellow VFF-runner Ben (right) at the starting line of the Nittany Valley Half Marathon.  Both ended up finishing the race at the same time, spreading the good word about Vibram Five Fingers.
Bien (left) met fellow VFF-runner Ben (right) at the starting line of the Nittany Valley Half Marathon. Both ended up finishing the race at the same time, spreading the good word about Vibram Five Fingers.
Bien took a photo of the icy grounds at the half marathon.  Worried about the cold, Bien wore two pairs of Injinji socks!
Bien took a photo of the icy grounds at the half marathon. Worried about the cold, Bien wore two pairs of Injinji socks!

Above are photos of Bien and Ben taken at the Nittany Valley Half Marathon at Penn State on Here's Bien on December 6th. Here's what Bien had to say about the race:

Hi Justin,

I ran the Nittany Valley Half Marathon at Penn State yesterday and met Ben, also wearing KSOs, at the starting line. We actually finished at the same time too, so it was a great opportunity to take a photo. This a picture of us right after the race, with the frost still on our hats. This is my second half marathon using the KSOs — I did the Baltimore Half 6 weeks ago, and beat that time by a whopping 12 minutes.

The icy cold start didn't deter us from wearing the VFFs. It was great to see that a lot of people already knew about them and both Ben and I helped spread the word about "barefooting" all along the way.

Thanks for all your work on the site!

-Bien

Bien also added that he wore two pairs of Injinjis for the race to thwart the icy ground (see the photo above).

Impressive progress on your times, Bien! And great to hear VFF fans are sticking together and spreading the good word!