An article titled Bare feet or funny feet? by Paul Cullen appeared in the Irish Times today. The piece discusses the emerging trend around barefoot running, Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, and of course, Vibram fivefingers. Here's a great blurb about Cullen's foray into barefoot running, a run-in with some sort of foot rash, and his first pair of Spider-man shoes:
Back in Ireland, I took my first barefoot run through the Phoenix Park on April Fools’ Day, which seemed appropriate. The ground felt cold as I padded forward gingerly. Like a bomb disposal expert, my eyes scanning the ground for danger. Your feet hit the ground with a reassuring thwack when running barefoot, and your toes come into play far more than in shoes. The coast was clear, it seemed, apart from some deer droppings, and soon I had picked up the pace and was enjoying the experience.
And so it went for some weeks, until disaster struck. Not a cut from broken glass, but a hive-like skin rash whose most likely cause was a plant (ragwort?). There was nothing for it but to stop; the rash disappeared.
All was not lost, once my FiveFingers arrived in the post from Italy.
To meet the growing demand from runners who want the thrill of barefooting without the risk, manufacturers – in this case, Vibram – have come up with ultra basic shoes that provide protection without messing with the benefits of going barefoot.
If Spiderman wore shoes, they’d look like FiveFingers; appallingly ugly but surprisingly comfortable foot gloves made of rubber and plastic. There are individual sleeves for each toe, which entails a bit of wiggling, but I found them easy to run in. I did miss the squelch of the earth beneath my soles but no longer had to keep my eyes peeled for shards of glass.
All said, another great bit of PR for Vibram fivefingers (now if only supply could catch up with demand, right?).
But it doesn't stop there! Astute reader Noah glimpsed on the IrishTimes website a thumbnail photo of what appeared to be another color option for the upcoming, Spring 2010 fivefingers Bikila.
We'd previously only seen a gray/green version for men and a pink/orange version for women. So this was a new find!
To really go the extra mile, Noah contacted the Irish Times reporter and actually got a higher-res version of the image to share here on birthdayshoes! Check it out (click for a larger version):
As you might recall, the Bikila is slated for a Spring 2010 release — I seem to recall hearing February mentioned, so we're inside six months!
Way to sleuth, Noah! Thank you!