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 Runs in Red Sprint FiveFingers

Jason Runs in Red Sprint FiveFingers

Jason ("Ardent" on the forums) sent in the above photo of his slightly muddied red and black Vibram fivefinger Sprints*. Jason's been regularly running in his Sprints now since early this year. Here is what he had to say about the experience:

At the time this pic was taken (feb) I was converting from ordinary run shoes to vffs alternating from one shoe to the other and slowly increasing the amount of runs in the vffs. I now only run in vffs. Road, pavement, fields, paths, tracks, whatever. However, back in Feb we had snow, to be fair it was melting at this point but plenty undisturbed in the fields. Looking at the sole of sprints tells you there is going to be minimal grip when it comes to snow, mud and sludge. I was right. I set off along a bridal path and was skittling about like bambi on ice and having a great time. The thing I always remember was the thought of the expression on peoples faces that followed. All these seemingly barefoot footprints.

Even though I had been running through snow my feet where strangely warm (wet suit effect). The sprints were only this clean as crossed a stream shortly before the end of the run. I have gone on to clock over 220 miles in the sprints. Done the Prestwold 10k in June, caused many double takes afterwards.

Jason regularly blogs about his training pursuits, including those in his VFF Sprints at his blog here. Thanks for sharing, Jason!

* My favorite color combo**, the red and black Sprints make your feet look irradiated—like anthropomorphized Martian feet. They look particularly creepy in darkly lighted rooms (like movie theaters).

** I'm a University of Georgia alum, what can I say?

Vibram Five Fingers, Fjords, and Fjell

Vibram Five Fingers, Fjords, and Fjell
Vibram Five Fingers, Fjords, and Fjell
Vibram Five Fingers, Fjords, and Fjell

Received the above photos of Mark taken at various places in Norway (Top to bottom: a fjord on the island of Tustna, on the top of Jørenvågsalen, and on the top of Fjellstua). Here's what Mark had to say:

I have enclosed some pictures of me in my five fingers KSO's taken during my trip to Norway this summer. (Fjell is Norwegian for mountain). I wore them for most of the time, including climbing two peaks of nearly 3,000 feet, canoeing, and trekking through forests. They handled everything well, although it would have been nice to have a pair of the new treks for the mountain descents...the thin KSO sole did mean I had to tread extra carefully so as not to bruise my feet on the way down. All in all I was very impressed with them as an outdoor shoe, it confirmed what I already suspected - these things are brilliant!

The three photos are:

- Near the boat houses on the fjord on the island of Tustna

- On top of Jørenvågsalen, the second highest mountain on Tustna

- On top of Fjellstua, a small mountain overlooking the city of Ålesund

Thanks,
Mark

You can spot a "Pantheist" t-shirt in the top picture — that is Mark's band.

Thanks, Mark!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 8/23/09

Below are the past week's latest reviews of Vibram Five Fingers:

  • FiveFingers in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness at Whole Health Source [Sprints]:

    I had a few converstions with my parkour instructor Rafe Kelley, during which I realized I had to re-teach myself how to walk and run correctly. Rafe is well-versed in natural human movement due to his background in MovNat, gymnastics, martial arts, strength training, parkour and anthropology. Modern shoes allow us to walk and run in a way that our bodies did not evolve to tolerate. The padding in shoes allows us to take large steps, in which we overshoot our center of gravity and contact the ground in a jarring manner. It also allows us to strike with our heels when we run, which is not comfortable when you're barefoot.

  • Vibram Five Fingers at tri life adventure [Classics]:

    The beauty of these shoes is that they essentially allow you to run barefoot without the hassle of dodging thorns, shards of glass and other vagaries that render true barefoot running impractical. There is also no doubt about the effects of a bad foot strike as the pain is immediate but after a few minutes you find the sweet spot and from there you could basically run all day.

Order the Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek, the Moc, and Performa!

Be sure and check out the Vibram 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.

The Five Fingers KSO Trek, Moc, and Performa

Update: The KSO Trek, Moc, and Performa are available at local retailers! You can also grab them at KayakShed or hunt down a pair via the birthdayshoes store!

Thus far, the KSO Trek has been reviewed here. Also, see the first look at the fivefingers KSO Trek, including video and photos here. See my thoughts after an initial trail run in the fivefingers KSO Treks here.

Finally, for an ongoing discussion on pre-orders and general ordering of the new Vibram fivefinger models, see this forum discussion!

———end of notes and updates———

I'm excited to announce that John over at Kayak Shed is now taking pre-orders for the Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek, the FiveFingers Moc, and the FiveFingers Performa!

These three new models are the latest fivefingers designs from Vibram. Each was created to address specific requests from fivefinger users. Specifically:

the Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek

click either pic for a larger version

The KSO Trek employs the most aggressive Vibram fivefingers sole yet, 4mm of stone-bruising protective EVA midsole, and a tear/sweat/bacteria-resistant kangaroo leather upper to make for the most rugged and durable answer to trail running, hiking, cold-exposure and general outdoor use yet — all while "keeping stuff out."

The Five Fingers KSO Trek is available in black and brown and retails at $124.99. KSO Treks are size according to the existing KSO specifications (Help on sizing five fingers here). Read the full KSO Trek review here.

Get the KSO Trek at KayakShed or or hunt down a pair via the birthdayshoes store!

the Vibram fivefingers Moc

click either pic for a larger version

The Vibram fivefingers Moc is a male-specific VFF that utilizes seven distinctive Vibram rubber pods (with the heel, ball, and each toe receiving their own individualized sole) all while providing the flexibility, tear resistance, breathability, and comfort of kangaroo leather. The Moc is the closest thing to a true "foot glove" yet. Finally, the Moc has a slightly higher front lip (or "vamp") making them quite the svelte men's VFF. Could someone get these and wear them to a black-tie event already?

The ultra-flexible Moc is intended for use indoors — yoga, martial arts, weight-lifting, CrossFit, James Bond-like espionage, etc. You can see my unboxing and first look at the five fingers Moc here.

The Moc is available in blue and black and retails for $109.99. The Moc effectively sizes the same as the Classics.

Get the fivefingers Moc at KayakShed! Or find a pair via major Vibram Five Fingers retailers online at the store!

the Vibram fivefingers Performa

click either pic for a larger version

The Vibram fivefingers Performa is a women's specific "foot glove" like the VFF Moc. It employs the seven-part podded Vibram sole technology whereby the heel, midfoot, and each toe gets its own, individualized "sole" and the entire casing of the Performa is constructed of kangaroo leather. The primary difference is aesthetic: the Performa has the more typical VFF design with a lower arching front lip (or "vamp") as opposed to the higher vamp of the Moc.

And they simply look rad.

The Performa is an indoor-specific fivefingers model which can be used for any indoor activity under the sun — including yoga, martial arts, pilates, weight-lifting, and CrossFit, just to name a few.

The fivefingers Performa is available in coral, violet, or black and retails at $109.99. The Performa sizes the same as Classic fivefingers.

Get the Five Fingers Performa at KayakShed or hunt down a pair via the birthdayshoes store!

Lynn's Half-Marathon in Vibram Five Finger KSOs

Vibram Five Fingers fan Lynn photoed above runs the Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon.  Lynn's transition to Vibrams took four months.
Vibram Five Fingers fan Lynn photoed above runs the Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon. Lynn's transition to Vibrams took four months.

Lynn emailed in about hitting a personal record (PR) on the recent Rock'N'Roll Chicago half-marathon, the first he's completed wearing his Vibram blue camo fivefinger KSOs. Lynn said:

This was my fifth ½ marathon this year and the first in my VFF’s. This was also my PR for this distance. The time for the other four ½ marathons (all in shod) were: 1:52, 1:51, 1:54, 1:57 (run the day after the 1:54 ½ marathon). I ran this one in 1:47 which beat my previous PR for this distance by more than a minute.

This photo was taken around mile 3 which was in the Chicago loop. The last half of the race takes place along the lakefront. The bibs indicate the starting corral you were assigned. I was assigned the 4th corral. The guy behind me was assigned the 3rd corral and I beat him by over 10 minutes (not that I checked).

My DW doesn’t think it’s the VFF’s. She thinks it’s my conditioning. I think my conditioning is because I’ve been converting over to running in the VFF’s for the last four months.

Congratulations on reaching a new PR, and I think I'm going to take your side — it's gotta be the improved running technique afforded by the near-barefoot running of VFFs!

Thanks for sharing!

Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers

Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers
Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers

The above photos were taken by Shawn, who has used his fivefinger KSOs not only to fish atop lake rocks, but also for camping, hiking, canoeing and portage, and running. Here's what Shawn had to say:

Justin, Your site prompted me to order KSO's a few weeks ago. I've used them to run a 5k and do a landscape project at home as well as everyday wear. The attachments are photos from a five day canoe trip to Quetico. I can no longer imagine wearing regular shoes to hike, portage and just walk around campsites. Oh yeah, fishing off of rocks is a great use too! Cheers, Shawn

Ah nothing like the quiet relaxation of fishing. Looks like you're making good use of your birthday shoes, Shawn! Glad you are enjoying them!