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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Jason Cruises "the Med" in FiveFinger Classics (Italy, France, Spain)

Received this annotated account from Jason ("Ardent" on the forums) of his recently finished cruise around "the Med:" he explored Italy, France, and Spain. Here's Jason on the sights (with accompanying photos):

Recently back from a cruise around the Med. Have attached some pics and a little commentry if you are interested.

1, B4 the off. Just a shot to show my home for the past week and that my trusty vffs had come along for the ride.

2, Palermo - Sicily, Italy. Busy place. [You] need eyes in the back of your head when crossing the roads. Came across this cross roads and on each corner was a fountain and multiple statues. Only thing that caught more people's attention were the classics.

3, On the rails. After busy day exploring as much as you can in the time you have, nice just to put your feet up and watch the world go by.

4, Toulon - France. Very nice place the Cote d'zur.

5, Barcelona. What a place! Will be going back there. You could happily spend a day just taking in the Gaudi's work. Guell park is a must.

6, Guell park again and the famous salamanda water feature. Only today out done by the classics, as can be seen in the face of the lady on the left.

No pics but the classics went down a storm in Olbia Sardinia.
Clearly they had never seen any before. Stopped off for an ice cream. Shop keeper straight round to the front of the counter absolutley blown away. Communication was all done via gesture no English spoken. Wrote Vibram Five Fingers on a piece of paper and he promptly went to the rear of shop still in view. Straight on to the net and a big thumbs up came way. Made both our days.

Jason

Leave it to Vibram fivefingers to spur an unexpected cultural exchange! VFFs: not only are they good for feet, they're good for making new friends around the world!

Erin Swimming in Natural Pools in Hawaii in Vibram Five Fingers

Erin Swimming in Natural Pools in Hawaii in Vibram Five Fingers

Erin sent in the above photo of her jumping into a natural pool. The "birthday shoes shot" was taken on Moku Nui, an island off the coast of Hawaii. Here's what Erin had to say:

I'm in my KSO's on the island of Moku Nui, which is one of the two twin Mokulua Islands off the coast of O'ahu, Hawai'i. The island is a seabird sanctuary and is accessible only by sea kayak. I'm jumping into a pool on the island called the Queen's Bath. It was an amazing trip!!

Erin

Looks like you had a great time (and that cliff you're stepping off looks awfully high up to me!). Thanks for sharing, Erin!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 9/13/09

This week's VFF reviews:

  • Review: Vibram FiveFingers Shoes at SparrowRose [KSO]:

    Walking barefoot is like listening with naked ears. Walking in traditional shoes is like having that big, muffling, home stereo set of headphones on your head. Walking in Vibram FiveFingers is like a little bit of cotton held over your ears. It's close to barefoot -- much, much closer than traditional shoes -- but, to use horseshoes vernacular, it's not a ringer.

  • Vibram Five Fingers at LifeofJustin [Sprints]:

    It’s amazing how much different the ground feels when you are wearing these. You really notice the terrain more. When I’m walking on grass, it feels like I’m walking on grass. The same goes for dirt, concrete, and so on. It seems to bring you closer to nature, which is an amazing feeling.
    I plan on wearing these as my every day shoes due to how comfortable they are. I’m now used to getting a few weird looks and an occasional question from a stranger so I’m no longer worried about that.

Fivefinger Sprints aplenty and a pair of KSOs

Note: Thanks to the flurry of traffic from Vibram's kind mentioning of BirthdayShoes on facebook yesterday, I got a number of photos and stories from VFFers! So stay tuned as I work through all these updates!

First was this photo snapped by Martin a few weeks back at Kennesaw Mountain (here in Georgia!). The sprints pictured therein are, clockwise from the bottom, of Martin (navy camo VFF Sprints), Martin's girlfriend Melissa sporting the no longer produced orange and white (I think) VFF Sprints, and then Kelley in the "slate/lichen" VFF Sprints!

Next up is "Big Dave" in his (also no longer produced - these are soon to be vintage!) blue/aqua/grey VFF Sprints. As Dave put it, he was making "big foot tracks in the rain!"

Last but not least, we have James who was in attendance at the Flight 93 memorial service yesterday:

Thanks for sending in your shots! And stay tuned for other fivefinger stories that I'll be posting shortly!

First trail run in Vibram fivefingers KSO Trek

Be sure and check out the Five Fingers KSO Trek review!

The review covers the KSO Trek's design (sole attributes and thickness), aesthetic, performance, fit, and more. You can read it by going here.

VFF KSO Trek trail run — First impressions

I did about a 30 minute run through a local natural park (a lot of doubling back and just messing around) in the fivefingers KSO Trek last night (Sans socks). Overall conclusion: the KSO Treks performed well thanks to a sturdier, more rugged and grippy Vibram sole, which conquered mud, gravel, and varied trail terrain. They are more water resistant than the KSO and seem to clean pretty easily (and dry over a reasonable timeframe). Further testing will, of course, be required!

Note: Vibram fivefingers "KSO Treks" below are referred to as "Treks;" standard KSOs just "KSOs." This is to avoid confusion as below I make a number of comparisons are made between the two.

Specific tests and observations

Creekbed, gravel, water: I ran back and forth through a creekbed a number of times to get a feel for various gravel sizes and water absorption. Water got in fairly readily at the toes; however, water didn't get in at all through the top. The kangaroo leather seems to do an excellent job keeping water out (KWO?). Overall, less water got in with the Treks than with the KSOs. More on this later.

As for gravel, the slightly stiffer and more aggressive sole seemed to glom together gravel a bit more: rolling gravel beneath your feet didn't "pinch" as much. However, and I'm not a regular runner or a trail runner nor have I done a full barefoot run, it seems to me the trick in conquering gravel is less about the shoe and more about relaxing your feet and not tensing up your ankle, which goes for KSO and Trek alike.

Trail debris: I hopped up large fallen trees and over logs. Grip seemed a bit improved though this is too close to really say. Roots and one-off ground protrusions were a bit more forgiving though still felt.

Ascents and descents: I ran up a couple steep ascents. Here is where I noticed a big difference: the KSO Treks got me up one ascent (50% grade? Maybe more) that I'm pretty sure would have owned the regular KSOs. It was muddy and soft, but the Treks dug in and got me up without me falling flat on my face and sliding down the muddy slope.

As for descents, both low grade, fast descents were confidence inspiring. High-grade descents that I took slower (angling steps downward) also felt stronger than with KSOs.

Mud: In both cases, there was definitely mud uptake from the lugged soles; nothing too bad and it seemed to clear fairly well on its own accord.

Asphalt: I also ran on asphalt (streets) for about a quarter mile at the beginning and end (gotta get to the park!); Treks handled the asphalt fine.

Cleaning and more on water resistance: After, I went ahead and washed them with water in a sink. I ran water from the sink straight into the top of the Treks with my hand inside to feel for permeation. Water was not getting through though the kangaroo suede was turning darker. Next test: I just started filling the Trek up with water to see what would happen. Sure enough, water started blowing up the Trek like a balloon (Reminded me of a bota bag) with points of seepage at the seams and then a sort of bubbling out of water through the synthetic side material (on the left and right of each toe).

This waterproofing made removing the little debris from the inside of the Treks very easy to remove: just fill up the Treks with a little bit of water and then pour it out like rinsing a glass. Big difference here as compared with the KSOs. They seemed pretty easy to clean (though I didn't bother getting too "granular" on getting all dirt out of the tread).

Finally, after the drenching I gave them at around 6pm last night, I hung them to dry in the laundry room. As of 9am this morning, they were dry.

Initial test conclusion: Initial testing of the KSO Treks was positive and I think anyone who wants to use them for trail running or hiking will be pleased.

Long-term use and long-distance use will, of course, require a good deal of further testing and feedback!

Previous posts on the KSO Trek

Official Announcement on New fivefingers Models Released!

You can read it on the official Vibram fivefingers facebook page!

The note lists the three new models, the men's KSO Trek (First look!), men's Moc, and women's Performa, and provides a brief description — the same info that was posted here on birthdayshoes.com back on August 22!. In addition, it tells us that they will be available at retailers in the next week (or two).

Finally, an additional note mentions information about them on vibramfivefingers.com will be available in October.

Yay!