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!

  • minimalist sandals!

    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Chad's Thunder Road Marathon in KSO Treks

Chad Randloph is seen running in the Thunder Road marathon in Charlotte.  He's wearing his KSO Treks plus a couple pairs of Injinji socks for added warmth.  Chad had his best marathon time in three years and eight marathons in this race!  Congrats, Chad!
Chad Randloph is seen running in the Thunder Road marathon in Charlotte. He's wearing his KSO Treks plus a couple pairs of Injinji socks for added warmth. Chad had his best marathon time in three years and eight marathons in this race! Congrats, Chad!

Got an update from Chad Randolph (@chad_randolph on twitter) who just ran the Thunder Road marathon in Charlotte in his KSO Treks (plus two layers of Injinji socks!).

You might recall Chad shared his initial thoughts, which were mixed, on the KSO Treks here.

Here's what Chad had to say about the run and how his Treks performed:

Hello Justin,

You may recall from my last dispatch that I had mixed feelings regarding the performance of my new Vibram Fivefinger Treks. I felt that while they performed well on roads and simple trails they didn't hold up well on technical single track.

I'm pleased to say that they have redeemed themselves, though in a way in which was unexpected.

Since I had worn a hole in my KSOs I was now using my Treks for all my running, which has been 50-60 miles per week. So when my next marathon came around I had to decide whether or not to roll with them in the race.

Charlotte's Thunder Road marathon took place on Saturday, Dec. 12th under overcast and cold conditions. The temperature was in the mid-20's at the start and never really got over 40 degrees. I was concerned about frostbite on my feet and toes; it's one thing to run in the cold for a little bit but another thing entirely to spend nearly four hours outside wearing thin footwear. So I decided to wear two pair of Injinji socks and hope for the best.

I'll spare you the details of the race other than to say that I felt great for the duration and didn't have any issues with my feet. The added thickness of the Treks made the asphalt and concrete roads a non-issue, and the kangaroo leather coupled with the double socks kept my feet warm.

I ended up with a chip time of 3:35:38, which isn't spectacular but it's my fastest of eight marathons over the past three years. I fielded a number of questions about my Vibram Fivefinger Treks during the first few miles of the race (as well as overhearing nearby runners making incredulous comments).

Next big race on my agenda will combine the best of both on- and off-road running, a 50k in January 2010, and I plan on wearing my new best friends, the Treks.

Chad Randolph

Congratulations on your excellent time, Chad! And thanks for sharing your additional thoughts on the KSO Trek. It's good to know the Treks preform well on and off the road, and that the added thickness counts for something in cold weather conditions!

Chad has previously been seen on BirthdayShoes here, here, and here.

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 12/20/09

This week's lastest V5F reviews includes one from Boris, who reviews the elusive and discontinued Five Fingers Surge:

  • Review - Vibram Five-Finger Surge at Life in Training [Surge]:

    This may not seem like much but in cooler water this is important as well as the fact that they reach higher up the leg allowing you to tuck your wet suit in and eliminate any gap between the shoe and the wetsuit. To put it simply they will keep you warm, but don't be fooled by that as they are not cold water shoes, with 2mm thickness they won't work for freezing water as you'll need a pair of old school water-shoes with some 5-6mm thickness to keep from losing a toe or two.

  • Running With Vibram’s 5 Fingers “Barefoot” Shoes by Brian Wong [Sprint]:

    I must say, I’ve grown quite attached to my Vibrams. I feel great running in them and using normal shoes just makes me feel like I’m wearing clumsy flippers.

    Also, the first week of using them caused my shins and calves to ache a lot! So I guess it is true that you will mobilize muscles that you don’t normally use with normal running shoes.

  • Get your kicks: Vibram Five Fingers at Rogue Rundown [Sprint]:

    I would recommend for most that if you are going to run in them—and you should, if only for a mile or two, just for the experience—that you ease into them, let your body rewire and recalibrate, rather than just put them on and knock out ten kilometers or whatever. The first time I ran in them, I ran maybe a mile, maybe a bit less. After about thirty seconds, my body had mechanically adapted—my stride was shorter, my steps lighter, I stood much more upright. But the thing I noticed greater than anything was that I wanted to keep running, I wanted to run more. So I only ran a mile or so the first few times, because I’m older and wiser and am thankful to be able to run, and I certainly didn’t want to screw that up.

  • Review: Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek bu John Biggs at CrunchGear.com [KSO Trek]:

    I found these shoes to be on par with the Classics in terms of range of motion and protection. I ran down the icy streets of Jozefow, Poland, where my in-laws are, with nary a slip or slide and I wore these shoes without socks in sub-freezing weather, much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin.

For last week's latest Vibram Five Fingers reviews, go here.

Will Reminisces on Warmer Times in VFF Sprints

"Dear Diary, Let's face it, diary. Chicks can't keep their toes off me."
"Dear Diary, Let's face it, diary. Chicks can't keep their toes off me."

Justin,

I was poking through some of my photos on Flickr and came across the attached shot from September. It made me miss the extended warm weather and out door running we had in Wisconsin this year. I've been running indoors all winter because of asthma. I do, at least, enjoy the funny looks I get at the gym running in the VFFs!

Hurry up, winter!

VFF my BFF,
-Will

I imagine it's quite cool in Wisconsin now! Stay warm, Will!

Aquathlons and Vibram Five Fingers (KSO Treks and Sprints)

A photo montage from Luis Manuel Cid (Inset in blue wetsuit, KSO Treks) and Luis Armando Santiago (Sprints) at an Aquathlon.  Click the image for a larger version!
A photo montage from Luis Manuel Cid (Inset in blue wetsuit, KSO Treks) and Luis Armando Santiago (Sprints) at an Aquathlon. Click the image for a larger version!

Luis Manuel Cid sent in the above photos from a recent aquathlon he completed—Luis is the one in blue and Vibram Five Fingers KSO Treks. His friend, also named Luis, is in the Sprints.

If you've not heard of an aquathlon before, they are a race that involves running and swimming.

I asked Luis how his KSO Treks fared in the race and, since Luis has been wearing his Treks now for a couple of months, how they've performed generally. Here's Luis:

The Treks are doing great, they were the first VFF I bought and are still my favorite Vibram model. I bought them when they first came out in September and took them out of the box for a 14 mile run. This was after a few weeks of barefoot running which in retrospect was way too little foot strengthening for running such a distance, but luckily I have done just fine. I also have bought the Classics and the KSOs which I also think are great, but the Treks Roo leather wrap around my feet more tightly and comfortably, some refer to this as a more luxurious feeling. The sole has a great grip, even in asphalt, and being a little thicker than the others I think it is more forgiving on newbie running mistakes. Perhaps this has to do with no injuries and many, many miles since I got them back in September.

My only minor complaint is that on very long runs (over 15 miles) on hot and humid conditions the leather inner sole feels a bit slippery. I actually did not swim on them in the aquathlon as they were considered an artificial propulsion device under the rule book ... not sure how they would have helped me swimming but the rules say:

Any swimmer wearing any artificial propulsion device, including but not limited to fins, gloves, paddles, or floating devices of any kind shall be disqualified.

As you can also see below, Luis wears his KSO Treks to work. I don't think sitting an office desk ever looked so comfortable! Thanks for sharing Luis!

"I took the VFFs for an 8 mile run on the afternoon after the morning Aquathlon. Then they went to the washer machine and back to my feet for work this morning!. Only shoe I know capable of performing all these tasks, most versatile shoe I have ever owned
"I took the VFFs for an 8 mile run on the afternoon after the morning Aquathlon. Then they went to the washer machine and back to my feet for work this morning! Only shoe I know capable of performing all these tasks, most versatile shoe I have ever owned!"

How Kyle Steed got into VFFs and Running

How Kyle Steed got into VFFs and Running

Above is a photo from Kyle Steed taken of his KSO VFFs and some local ground art.

Kyle recently got into Five Fingers, which he aptly calls "the whole VFF movement." Here's what he had to say:

Justin,

Here's a bit about why I got into the whole VFF movement.

I heard an interview on NPR about barefoot running. They were talking about the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. My wife first heard the interview and called me one afternoon to tell me to turn it on and listen. After listening to his story about going to Mexico and witnessing this group of people who ran long distances in no more than thin leather sandals, I was intrigued. The thought that running barefooted, or with Vibrams, could help prevent knee injury and actually help improve your run was what really motivated me to get a pair of my own.

I spent probably a good week or two researching online to find out what model I wanted, as well as reading other articles on Wired.com, The Wall Street Journal and other smaller blogs. I have now logged about 12 miles in my KSO VFFs, and while that may not sound like a lot, it's a beginning. My goal for next year is to enter and complete a half-marathon and possibly a full marathon.

You can keep up with how my runs are going on DailyMile.com.

Thanks.

Kyle also did a nice video about his first run in Vibram Five Fingers. Check it out:

[video:vimeo:8001683]

Kyle may be doing future video updates on running in his VFFs, and you can stay on top of that over at his blog kylesteed.com!