Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

I recently got the above photo from Ron. Ron is a 60+ guy who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee—after some 32 years of running.

What follows is his story about what the doc's had to say about how he should handle the news, and as you might guess, some FiveFingers came into the picture:

I call this my victory photo.

Last year, at age 60, and after 32 years of running, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the left knee. It hurt to walk, let alone, run. My general practitioner doctor suggested minimalist footwear as part of a program that included stretching and strengthening. [Meanwhile, both the] knee specialist and the physical therapist said to back off and use orthotics.

I took my general practitioner's advice.

Well, here I am a year later, relaxing at over 14,000 feet on the top of Mount Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains. This was just one of several hikes I took during a 6-day vacation. I totalled nearly 35 miles of hiking and every step in my Vibram KSO Treks.

I proved to myself that I wasn't too old to make such a big change after 32 years of walking and running in the most expensive and most cushioned shoes. Of course, I still have osteoarthritis in the knee, but I am back at it, thanks to the therapeutic value stretching, strengthening, and minimalist footwear.

(I go barefoot alot, too!)

Ron A.

Fantastic to hear, Ron! And kudos for following your intuition and having success despite adverse conditions.

Hope you have many more successful hikes!

College Football in black KSO 5 Fingers

College Football in black KSO 5 Fingers

Sonia sent in the above photo taken last week's Penn State Vs. Temple game. Sonia is sporting her new black KSO Five Fingers and enjoying her newfound foot freedom:

Hi,
This pic was taken at the Penn State vs. Temple game last week. I had just got the black KSO's and love them! My brother in law got in the pic too! Can't wait for next pair but are on back order! I am a 50 year old women and have been waiting for these my whole life!!

Thanks,
Sonia

I asked Sonia if she also got a chance to tailgate in her KSOs, and of course, not only did she, but she got a lot of looks and questions about her new barefoot shoes.

Enjoy your new VFFs, Sonia!

New Kicks in Waikiki: Fivefinger Sprints and Classics

New Kicks in Waikiki: Fivefinger Sprints and Classics
New Kicks in Waikiki: Fivefinger Sprints and Classics
New Kicks in Waikiki: Fivefinger Sprints and Classics

The jury is in: Vibram fivefingers are the perfect compliment to Hawaii.

Above, we see Jennifer photoed in her pink Sprint fivefingers and her husband in a black and white shot of the blue camo KSOs. I asked Jennifer how they liked their VFFs in Hawaii (and elsewhere) and here is what she said:

Hi Justin,

We actually bought them near Honolulu. We met a professional fighter and his brother/trainer wearing them up the 1100 railroad tie stairs that ascend KoKo Head crater. They were running it and doing sprints wearing them. And it is a HARD HIKE. We were so curious about the silly shoes allowing these two to blow past us up the climb.

They told us about all the weak foot injuries they had once had. Plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, tendon problems. They told me that after 2 months of wearing them, no more bone spurs. No more fasciitis and one even said he had gone from being flat footed to having a natural arch. My husband and I were sold. Because it makes sense. If you let your body do what it was created to do, it will function better. I have been suffering from bursitis, Achilles tendonitis and mixed injuries from a broken toe that just won’t get better. I told my husband the day before that I had accepted that I was never going to run again. So we went immediately after the climb and got fitted.

In Waikiki everyone was friendly, interested and wanted to know about the kooky shoes. They were a great conversation piece. My sprint classics weren’t great in the sand, but VERY nice protection from the rocky beaches. So far, I am wearing them everyday, not to dinner, but walking dogs and to the gym and that kind of stuff. In LA everyone looks, but nobody has the courage to ask about them, yet. My feet and ankles are feeling stronger everyday and when I start running again, people aren’t going to have to ask, I’ am just going to tell them about the miracle shoe!

jennifer

If your experience is like most VFFers, no doubt you will find healing in forgoing thickly padded heels! Just remember: rehabbing your feet and ankles from the atrophied life of modern footwear takes time (and patience!).

I hope you find you can run again soon!

Maria hikes to the top of Mount Taugetus, Greece in FiveFinger Sprints

Maria hikes to the top of Mount Taugetus, Greece in FiveFinger Sprints
Maria hikes to the top of Mount Taugetus, Greece in FiveFinger Sprints
Maria hikes to the top of Mount Taugetus, Greece in FiveFinger Sprints

Maria sent in the above photos taken on her recent trek to the top of Mount Taugetus, Lakonia, Greece, which is the highest point of southern Greece. Having made the hike in her gray fivefinger Sprints, I asked Maria to tell me how things went. Here is what she had to say:

Hey! They fared extremely well on the 2 hour hike up; on the way down I was slowed by the fact they were very slippery on the rocks and that so many people stopped me to inquire about my shoes ... and at the end — no sore feet!! Just really tired legs and sore calves.

This [hike] was somewhat of a religious pilgrimage that takes place every year in celebration of the the prophet Elias, hundreds of people make the climb from the surrounding villages to a small church at the summit where food, drink, music, and good company is enjoyed.

This summit is the highest point in the south of Greece.


Maria also sent in this photo of the gathering at the summit. Looks like quite a good sized group up there! And what a beautiful view.

Thanks for passing on your story, Maria!

Miguel Takes his new VFFs for a Spin to the Beach

Miguel Takes his new VFFs for a Spin to the Beach

Above are Miguel's new kicks — the brown/walnut Classic Five Fingers. The photo was taken after their inaugural bike ride around Hollywood, Florida:

Hey this is Miguel of Hollywood FL and these are my five fingers!!

They just came in today and the first thing I did was take them down to Hollywood Beach for a bike ride. I spend alot of time in my trusty rainbows but now I have an alternative.

I went with the classics as I like the idea of as close to barefoot as possible,

I cant wait to do some hiking in them.

Cheers,

Miguel

I've not seen many others with the brown/walnut Classics, which is surprising. I got this color for my second pair of Classics, and really dig it!

Enjoy the new sensations on your fivefingers honeymoon, Miguel!

Alan's first half-marathon in his fivefinger KSOs

Alan's first half-marathon in his fivefinger KSOs

Alan Thwaits photoed above before a recent 10-K he ran in his black KSO fivefingers

Alan Thwaits, our very own "AlanT" on the forums, recently completed his first half-marathon, the Run for the Grapes half marathon in St. Catherines, Ontario—in his black KSO fivefingers. I asked Alan if he'd mind I share a bit from his blog post on the race, his second in KSOs (First was a 10K):

Sunday’s Run for the Grapes half marathon went really well. It was second race in my Vibram Fivefingers KSOs and my first KSO-equipped longer distance race (the first was the Underwear Affair 10K a couple of weeks ago). Here are the stats:

Finishing time: 2:07:45
Pace: 6:04
Category placement (men 60 – 64) 7/12
Gender placement: 189/244
Overall placement: 305/451

That’s not bad at all, considering that I’ve really only been running in my KSOs for three weeks. Before that, I took about four weeks off training because of injuries I’d sustained from overdoing it when I started running barefoot. But the healing process went well, and my “on the fly” three week training program got me to the half marathon. ...

I got lots of interest in the KSOs, all the way from cute comments to serious enquiries. Interestingly, the more experienced runners said they’d heard or read good things about them, and wanted to talk about transitioning from conventional shoes and whether running in Fivefingers might help alleviate long-standing injuries. One young runner said he already had a pair of Fivefingers Sprints, and was just beginning to transition from conventional shoes. After the race, I had a couple of long conversations with runners who said they would seriously consider buying VFFs. I think I might have made some converts!

You'll have to go to Alan's blog, The Road to Comrades, for the rest. Also, check out why he runs while you're there.

Thank you Alan for both your contributions on the forum and for sharing your experiences running and racing.

Javier tours Turkey in black KSO fivefingers

Javier tours Turkey in black KSO fivefingers
Javier tours Turkey in black KSO fivefingers
Javier tours Turkey in black KSO fivefingers
Javier tours Turkey in black KSO fivefingers

Javier sent in the above photos from a trip he took to Turkey earlier this year. From top to bottom you can see Javier in his black KSO fivefingers in Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Priene, Turkey. Here's what he had to say about the trip and his KSOs:

Took my black KSOs all over Turkey in Spring 2009. Ruins, trails, even bustling Istanbul. They got a lot of smiles, especially at the street markets. I even had a guy stop me and ask me where he could get a pair!

I've also converted 3 coworkers :) I love these 'shoes'!

-J

Fivefingers continue to prove the instant cultural icebreaker as people travel around the world! Thanks, Javier!