Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

I recently got the above photo from Ron. Ron is a 60+ guy who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee—after some 32 years of running.

What follows is his story about what the doc's had to say about how he should handle the news, and as you might guess, some FiveFingers came into the picture:

I call this my victory photo.

Last year, at age 60, and after 32 years of running, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the left knee. It hurt to walk, let alone, run. My general practitioner doctor suggested minimalist footwear as part of a program that included stretching and strengthening. [Meanwhile, both the] knee specialist and the physical therapist said to back off and use orthotics.

I took my general practitioner's advice.

Well, here I am a year later, relaxing at over 14,000 feet on the top of Mount Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains. This was just one of several hikes I took during a 6-day vacation. I totalled nearly 35 miles of hiking and every step in my Vibram KSO Treks.

I proved to myself that I wasn't too old to make such a big change after 32 years of walking and running in the most expensive and most cushioned shoes. Of course, I still have osteoarthritis in the knee, but I am back at it, thanks to the therapeutic value stretching, strengthening, and minimalist footwear.

(I go barefoot alot, too!)

Ron A.

Fantastic to hear, Ron! And kudos for following your intuition and having success despite adverse conditions.

Hope you have many more successful hikes!

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.

Cross Country Running with Courtney in KSOs

Courtney has been running cross country in her Five Fingers since the fall despite running into the occasional skeptical coach.  Note Courtney's face compared to her fellow competitors as she bounds up the hill.  Speaks volumes!
Courtney has been running cross country in her Five Fingers since the fall despite running into the occasional skeptical coach. Note Courtney's face compared to her fellow competitors as she bounds up the hill. Speaks volumes!

Courtney sent in the above photos from a recent cross country race she ran in her black KSO FiveFingers. Courtney's been running in here KSOs since the fall. I can't help but notice Courtney's resolve in the leftmost picture of the collage as she bounds up a hill in her VFFs. Her fellow racers look whipped but Courtney just looks determined!

Here's Courtney talking about her experiences (and the reactions of coaches and fellow runners, too) with her KSOs:

I've been running in [my KSO Five Fingers] since November/October. I absolutely love them, they are the coolest shoes ever! :)

Other runners think that they are odd, interesting, cool, etc. One coach at a meet was bugging me about them and lecturing me about how I needed something with support and cushion, and did I have any idea how many pounds of force I was putting on my foot, etc. It's very annoying getting talked to like you're an idiot. But I raced in them at that meet anyways. :)

When I running, or walking around I can also hear people talking about them, pointing them out. I wish they came with a box of pamphlets so that I could answer more questions about them.

I'm also planning on converting my friend on the guy's XC team by having him read Born to Run, because it's appalling how the modern running shoe and "correct form" are based off of well-sold lies.

Sounds like your coach hasn't seen the latest study showing that running shoes result in more impact being experienced than when running barefoot (or walking in high heels!).

Way to go against the grain, Courtney! Keep on spreading the good word, and eventually we may be able to turn the tide of misinformation!

Ryan in Arizona heads to work in his Classic VFFs

Ryan took a leap and wore his Classic FiveFingers to work.  Ryan is taking bold steps towards a more comfortable professional dress environment!
Ryan took a leap and wore his Classic FiveFingers to work. Ryan is taking bold steps towards a more comfortable professional dress environment!

I got this note yesterday from my buddy Ryan out in Arizona — as you can see from the photos above, Ryan is wearing his Classic Five Fingers to the office with his suit slacks!

Hey Justin,

Happy New Year. Well, I finally did it – I work in a suit type environment but just couldn’t put my feet into shoes this morning. So, here I am at the office kickin’ it in my classics (which I love). I’d be sporting the Moc’s if I could just pony up and buy some.

No doubt Ryan got some odd looks due to his unique combination, but I applaud his courage and I'm sure his feet were thanking him! Men's dress shoes just aren't comfortable!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 1/17/10

Bit of a delay in posting last week's latest reviews — I was out of town.

  • FiveFingers After Six Months at Not Buff, Not Brilliant [KSO]:

    Third -- they are still useful for other applications. I wear these for Krav Maga classes and other conditioning classes that I do. For that, these are perfect. They are very light, and they teach you in a very painful way how to do a proper front kick to the bladder. If you've done it wrong, there is no padding to protect your toes from being broken or strained.

  • Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek Review at BirthdayShoes [KSO Trek]:

    I think the FiveFingers KSO Trek will have a permanent place in the Vibram line-up due to its impressive combination of design, performance, materials, and aesthetic — all while maintaining a minimalist form-factor (The KSO Treks weigh in at under 6 oz/each "shoe" and under 12 oz total). I find myself wearing my Treks frequently nowadays for just bumming around.

    This is the my "official" KSO Trek review!

Go here for last week's latest Five Fingers reviews!

Photos of Bikila and Speed sales models (Pre-production versions)

05.06.10 - The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out!

A day or two back, a facebook photo from a FiveFingers fan in Finland surfaced that appeared to be showing off the upcoming and yet-to-be released-but-eagerly-anticipated, running-shoe specific Five Fingers Bikila (Here's the photo of Ville's Bikila-clad feet). Wendy alerted me to the photo and I got in touch with Ville. Gotta love cross-country collaboration amongst VFF fans!

So Ville graciously gave me the scoop. Seems that he has a good friend in the VFF business and was able to secure a pre-production sales sample of the Bikila. In other words, more a prototype to show off the concept than the final model (Used, apparently, for stuff like this or as likely used by Henk Sipers). The tell-tale giveaway was that the insole of the Bikilas wasn't attached — removable to demo construction (The final version will be seamlessly attached as is the case with all VFFs).

That's enough backstory. Here are the photos Ville sent me:

A few photos from Ville in Finland who is getting to test-drive a pre-production version (sales sample) of the upcoming FiveFingers Bikila.  Note: this isn't the final version which will be released in the Spring.
A few photos from Ville in Finland who is getting to test-drive a pre-production version (sales sample) of the upcoming FiveFingers Bikila. Note: this isn't the final version which will be released in the Spring.

It's very exciting to see an in-the-flesh version of the Bikila, even if it's still not the final one, which I'm betting will be even more slick. It's further great to get another look at that sole, which looks both minimal and high-tech at the same time (Note the use of EVA to cover the arch in lieu of Vibram rubber).

Ville provided a few insights to the photos. The upper is a stretchy material and seems not to have any seams. With seam-rubbing being one of the most oft-cited issues for runners in VFFs, this could be a major plus for the Bikila. Ville also confirmed the reflective material on heel and strap.

I need to reiterate that this is a sales sample and not the final product, so there could and likely will be some changes to the final version we see in March. And yep, March is looking just about right for the roll-out of the Bikila as Vibram recently hired an ad agency to aid in the promotion of a product for a March release.

But that's not all. As coincidence would have it, I also got a few photos from Dastin in Germany who got his feet into, again, what appears to be one of the sales samples of the Euro-only FiveFingers Speed. Check'em out:

Dastin in Germany got his feet into what appears to also be a pre-production sales sample of the Euro-only FiveFingers Speed.  The final version has not yet been officially released (as far as we know).
Dastin in Germany got his feet into what appears to also be a pre-production sales sample of the Euro-only FiveFingers Speed. The final version has not yet been officially released (as far as we know).

Again, the "tell" that these weren't production releases was in the ability to remove the insoles — a feature to demo the design of the product but not one you can expect in the final version.

In both the Bikila and Speed cases, I can only further assume that these European importers are offloading their sales samples in anticipation of receiving the real deal in only a couple months.

Are you all as excited as I am to see the final versions of these puppies hit the market?

As we get closer, be sure to stay tuned to birthdayshoes as I'll be doing everything I can to stay on top of the Bikila (and Speed) release!