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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Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail

Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail
Martin got a nasty spider-bite causing his right ankle to swell up while hiking the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu (in his grey fivefinger Flows!)

In the mailbag comes the above photo from Martin, who recently took his VFF Flows to Machu Picchu — no minor feat as it took convincing the guides that he'd be okay without ankle support*. It's not often we see the elusive fivefinger Flows. And if you're wondering why Martin's right ankle looks so swollen, well wonder no further:

I bring your attention to my right foot, which if you haven't noticed got a lot bigger than my left on the final day's trek into Machu Picchu. They think I got bitten by a spider. Tourists were so enthralled by my Vibram Five Fingers they didn't even notice my grotesquely, morbidly obese right ankle as they snapped away in glee at my shoes, even at one point making me stand on one foot so they could take pictures of the bottom of my feet. The ankle got a few inches bigger than this before the swelling started to go down. The Inka Trail itself was pretty fun wearing the FiveFinger Flows. My tour guide was actually not going to let me do the hike thinking I would sprain my ankle or something. I told him to give me a chance, and ended up being one of the fastest people. The porters were also highly intrigued by my footwear and I had a lot of curious people ask me how they felt on the hike. Everything was awesome, except downhill in the rain was very tricky. I had to slow down considerably for that so I wouldn't slip, as my feet became quite slippery!

Glad your foot and ankle have recovered. That must have been quite a bite to cause that sort of inflammation! And who would have thought you could camouflage it just by wearing fivefingers! Just one more use for VFFs!

Thanks Martin!

* The more I hear about needing "ankle support" and "arch support," the more I just laugh at how silly people can be. It's as though we'd all be incapable of doing anything but for fancy, constricting and "supportive" shoes or boots! And of course, "studies" need to be done to prove that barefoot running/walking/hiking is safe. Just silly.

Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers

Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
VFFs enable you to gingerly hike about without stomping all the vegetation!
Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
It's not often mentioned, but VFFs are easy to haul when being given a break.
Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
Click on this image and note how Piz is digging his toes into the wet sand!

The above photos are of "Piz" showing off his black KSO Vibram fivefingers on his two week vacation in Canada. And based on what Piz had to say about the trip, it sounds like his KSOs were a big hit:

Just returned from 2 week vacation in Canada and my first experience with VFFs.....I have to say that they are the funnest, most versatile and conversation-starting "shoes" I've ever worn! Whether it was hiking Niagara Falls, walking thru Old Montreal or trekking the Bay of Fundy, my VFFs were perfectly suited for whatever I wanted to do. After the initial adjustment/feeling of not wearing traditional shoes, I sat back and smiled as tourists/family/friends did the double-take and asked me what I was wearing. Looking forward to the new Vibram catalog and Christmas or birthday. I'm SOLD on my Five Fingers. Thanks guys.....


There are a lot of good reasons to wear fivefingers — the ones most focused upon revolve around the health benefits and comfort. However, the more I wear mine, the more I love how they are simply great conversation-starters.

Thanks for sharing, Piz!

Introducing the Five Fingers Performa Jane, and a better look at the Five Fingers Bikila sole, and more on the Five Fingers Speed

05.06.10 - The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out!

(All of which is now old news to the forum members)

Below are some exciting updates on upcoming models of Vibram fivefingers slated to be available in early 2010 (Though the word is that the fivefingers Speed will only be available in Europe!).

Introducing the 2010 Vibram Five Fingers Performa Jane

The women's fivefingers Performa Jane coming in 2010 is a styled and strapped version of the (available now!) Vibram fivefingers Performa.

A few astute VFF fans probably already noticed the Performa Jane—you could have spotted it at the tail-end of RawFoodWorld's interview with Vibram President Tony Post (Go here and fast-forward to around 7:25 in the video). The women's only, single-strapped Performa Jane is aptly named as it's nearest shoe counterpart is the "Mary Jane." It looks as though the Performa Jane is another (indoor specific) option for Pilates and Yoga. The Jane, like the now-available standard Performa, has the seven-part, ultra-minimal podded sole and will be made out of leather.

In addition to the purplish color above, it looks like the Performa Jane will also be available in black!

Let's take a good look at the upcoming fivefingers Bikila sole

Above is pictured the sole of the upcoming 2010 fivefingers Bikila. Note that the arch portion is EVA.

We first got a good look at the upcoming Vibram fivefingers Bikila a couple months back. I know of at least a few runners (ahem Alan!) who are already dying to get their hands on a pair of these runnning-specific VFFs. Today, we get to see a closer look at the new Vibram sole design of the Bikila (and that of the Speed).

Here there are a few things worth pointing out:

  • The sole is 4mm of "podded" Vibram TC-1 rubber (Comparison point: standard VFF thickness is 3mm razor siped). It looks as though these mini-platforms are connected by thinner rubber (the light grey part). This jointed design looks like it is intended to provide a bit more grip on the road while still preserving foot flexibility.
  • The arch portion is EVA. The intention here seems to be to reduce weight. It reminds me of the KSO Trek's sole in that the arch section is the most slender as it pertains to the rubber.
  • There is 3mm of polyurethane insole that is most thick at the ball of the foot. Note that this is different from the KSO Trek, which has 4mm of EVA midsole.

Of course, as the fivefingers Bikila won't be ready until early 2010, we've still got awhile to speculate as to how it will perform. Clearly, Vibram has put a lot of thought into creating a running-specific VFF that strikes a balance between enabling the foot to run naturally while still providing some amount of protection. It will be exciting to see how this balance plays out!

And finally, an update on the European-release only fivefingers Speed

The 2010 European-release only fivefingers Speed sports a mesh upper and laces, which would be a boon for individuals with high insteps.

We first saw a leaked photo of the Euro-only fivefingers Speed back in late July. At the time, reception was mixed—laces being the most noteworthy departure from the more standard VFF velcro-strap system, the Speeds looked a bit different.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the stock photo above actually shows how a laced-up fivefingers could look, dare I say it, stylish. Yes, it's grown on me a lot since I saw that first photo and I now think the Speed looks cool.

Setting aesthetics aside, there is also a compelling case to be made for the fivefingers Speed's laced design. One of the difficulties Vibram has had to overcome in designing fivefingers has been to create a standard "foot" shape that can work for all the variations in feet—thickness of toes, variations in arch heights, curve of toes/toe length, width of feet, etc. For the average foot, VFFs can be sized and fitted within a certain tolerance so the wearer is comfortable. But for those individuals on the fringe of the "foot bell curve," sizing and fit starts breaking down*.

In particular, there are a number of VFFers who struggle with either high insteps or high arches. These issues can make fitting into enclosed-style VFFs difficult: there's only so much the mesh design can stretch to accommodate feet on the fringes.

Really, it's this foot issue that makes laces a great solution: they enable you to customize the tightness and fit of the upper to your foot. In other words, a compelling case could be made for laced VFFs.

Alas, as the Speed is a 2010 Euro-only release, I don't know if I'll be able to get my feet in a pair. Then again, this community is big enough maybe I can get a hook-up from across the Atlantic!

Exciting stuff in 2010

It's clear Vibram continues to respond to community feedback to try and provide new and innovative barefoot-like solutions for the minimalist footwear and barefooting community, and these new additions to the line-up, the Bikila, Speed, and Performa Jane, all look like compelling new VFFs. For now, we'll all just have to enjoy the recently released KSO Trek, Moc, and Performa!

Finally, if you want a sneak peak at a bit more, check out this forum thread! Hat tip to Corin, Ryan, and Mieke for all passing on information leading to the above post!

* Check out the current BirthdayShoes wiki entry on sizing and fit!

Pete gets his KSOed Feet wet on Spanish Beaches

Pete sent in the above two photos taken at a Spanish beach. I collapsed the two shots into an animated GIF to heighten the effect.

Here's Pete:


Took [my] KSO's for a spin in a Spanish beach. Got curious looks but most of all it was fun to run by the water and not even care about incoming waves :-)


Even though Vibram fivefinger KSOs are designed to "Keep Stuff Out," that functionality tends to break down when it comes to running water filled with fine silt and sand — a point confirmed by Pete:

I did not notice the sand so much while running ( I suppose due to water) but afterwards it was rather hard to get it out of the shoes. There is still some :-)

For all of you presently strapped to a desk and staring at a computer, can you hear the crashing waves?

Thanks, Pete!

A day of fun with Sonia at the Harley Party and Sands Casino as seen through black KSO VFFs

A day of fun with Sonia at the Harley Party and Sands Casino as seen through black KSO VFFs
These Black KSO fivefingers have all the fun!

Above is a montage of photos (click for a larger version) sent in from Sonia who continues to enjoy her newfound foot freedom:

Hey Justin,

Just love your web site and had so much fun today that I took pic's of the whole day! From the Harley Party to the Sands casino ... the whole day from beginning to end — oh what fun!! People love these and want to know more!


These black KSOs sure know how to party! Keep having fun with them, Sonia!

Running a 5K with Chad - this time in Classic Vibram Five Fingers

Running a 5K with Chad - this time in Classic Vibram Five Fingers
Chad pictured above with his new-to-running son, James.

Here's an update from Chad, who previously ran a marathon in his black KSO fivefingers, and recently ran the Charlotte, North Carolina's Hit the Brixx 10K and a 5K in his grey and orange fivefinger Classics — pushing his son in a jogger:

Hi Justin,

Just another note to let you know how my running is going. This morning I pushed my son James in our baby jogger (somewhat of a misnomer, as he's now five years old, four feet tall, and weighs sixty pounds) at Charlotte's Hit the Brixx, where I did both the 10k (50:49) and the 5k (23:02). It's a little hard to see, but I wore my orange and gray VFF Classics with black Injinji socks. That's me with the white hat, white singlet, and yellow BOB stroller.

We had a great time at the race, and James ran in his first fun run, albeit with regular running shoes. Maybe this is the beginning of a long love a running for him, I hope.



Nice times, Chad!

I'm just learning to walk properly while pushing a stroller (harder than it looks it seems! Or maybe I'm just clumsy), to say nothing of running.

Great to hear about your son getting into running, too!