Muddy Paintball in FiveFingers

Muddy Paintball in FiveFingers

This is the muddiest photo of FiveFingers I think I've ever seen.

What's the story? Enter Michael, who picked up his pair of TrekSports as an all-purpose pair of toe shoes though he specifically planned to use them for paintball:

I've been trying to paintball regularly for a year or so now, something more active then my usual regime of computer games and TV. I'd scoffed at Vibrams the first time I saw them, but the more and more I spotted people wearing them the more I wanted to at least try them on.

Once I started paintball I figured I'd finally had a real excuse to have wear them passed the novelty so I was on a mission to eventually own my own pair. A few months ago I was able to venture to my local Hikers Haven and try on as many pairs as would fit, finally deciding that a pair of KSO Treksport would be the best for the job (as well as seemed to be the only pair that would fit my APPARENTLY abnormally tall dorsal area of my feet). Unfortunately they were lacking on my perfect size and I was lacking in actual funds.

Skip ahead a few months and a new job gave me the opportunity I needed to snag me a pair. They instantly turned into the comfiest and most expensive pair of slippers I'd ever owned.

Eventually I got the chance to head back out for paintball. I generally try to go on dry days, as I hate getting mucky (a bit of an oxymoron when paintballing), but of course that morning was a downpour, leaving the field a minefield of puddles and mud. Within the first 15 minutes of arriving, we had to walk about 50 meters through a river of inch deep mud. At that point I tossed my inhibitions to the wind and had a great time being a mudder. It was of course still winter and the puddles were cold, but the pair of Injinji socks I was wearing were able to keep me warm enough.

I'm convinced that I was more agile, less tired, and much more happy wearing the Five Fingers than I would have been wearing my usual clunky Merrell sneakers, which would have been impossible to clean.

I'll be bringing my Vibrams with me to every paintball day, and hopefully will start doing more things to wear them more often.

Michael T. - Toronto

Glad you've found some use for them!

All that talk about mud reminds me of Stuart running his 255km jungle marathon in Spyridons.

Thanks for sharing, Michael!

ChiRunning, the Book. A Minimalist Perspective.

ChiRunning, the Book. A Minimalist Perspective.

Just finished reading ChiRunning, the book about the popular technique. When I say "popular" in this context I'm referring mostly to the passion ChiRunning practitioners exude for it. I'm slightly terrified about commenting at all, because in my experience the more passionate people are about something the more ferocious they tend to be towards critics. Oddly, the fury seems to increase if the thing being criticized actually centers around the very idea of relaxation. Go figure.

And so I suspect it will go with ChiRunning believers, as I do have a fair number of criticisms. Not the least of which because I'm approaching the whole philosophy having already learned several aspects that are put forth and so feel at least mildly qualified to take issue with parts of it. But I'm also coming at it as a minimalist runner, for which it should be noted ChiRunning is not specifically designed. It's a running form that's ostensibly for everyone, which means some of my criticism might admittedly be a little unfair.

But I'm still going to approach it solidly from this angle because there are many minimalist newbies that will pick up this book. A lot of the information will be very useful, while other portions may not work quite as well for minimalists. Hopefully I can parse some of this out with my review.

Read the rest of this post »

Black El-X FiveFingers Out!

Black El-X FiveFingers Out!

The wait for the all black men's Vibram Fivefingers El-X is over!

You can get them now with free two-day shipping (through Feb. 10) here for $75. Fit is similar to the Bikila if I had to make a comparison (I'm the same size in them as all my other FiveFingers--43 with 10.875" long feet).

Photos of'em if you're curious after the jump. Review of the El-X is here

Read the rest of this post »

Tune Footwear Penny Loafer Review

Tune Footwear Penny Loafer Review

Before I even I started writing for BirthdayShoes, I?d been searching for a pair of minimalist dress shoes to wear for work. I?ve had a couple good options from VivoBarefoot that I can wear on casual Fridays, but I?ve been waiting for someone to come along and create a truly minimalist dress, complete with zero drop heel and a nice thin sole. And then came along Tune Footwear!

Funny story?I and was out grabbing lunch when I randomly bumped into a guy named Mike Norris who commented on the Skora running shoes I was wearing at the time and had reviewed on the site a few days earlier. We got to talking and I learned that he was in the middle of a starting a minimalist dress shoe company. At the time, the only prototype shoes that he had were the ones he was wearing on his feet. Fast forward a month or two for a preliminary look at Mike?s vision, and a few more months after that and we finally had a couple pairs to play with. Justin reviewed a first look of the tassel loafers and I?ve been putting the penny loafers through their pacers over the past 6 weeks or so.

So let?s dive into the review!

Read the rest of this post »

Luna Split-toe Tabi Socks + Leadville Huaraches Review

Luna Split-toe Tabi Socks + Leadville Huaraches Review

To run a winter 25K huaraches or not ...

When I signed up for my first marathon in March, I stupidly did not consider that such timing meant I'd be doing all of my training in the winter. Mercifully, the southeastern United States has had a rather mild winter. I've had no problem running in my preferred footwear, huaraches, well into the season. Even when I signed up for the 25k portion of a race called the Frosty 50, I still didn't believe it would actually live up to its name. But on the week before the race temperatures began to plummet. And I began to worry. Not the least of which because I had nothing to wear.

This would be my first winter as a full-time minimalist runner. I have some FiveFingers, but don't prefer them for distances much longer than five miles. They're not exactly warm, either ? and wearing socks or getting the bigger versions with more insulation doesn't seem worth the trade off for such greater stiffness. Then I have some relatively thin, smooth-bottomed road running shoes, but the race trail I'd be on was just a smidge too rocky.

But it also wasn't quite rocky enough nor were conditions difficult enough to reasonably test out the built-up severe weather trail shoes that I still need to review. All I had left were huaraches. Which I would've been happy to wear if not for the weather report predicting temperatures in the low 20s. I know some of you out there in barefoot/minimalist land are all about eventually turning yourself into tauntauns that can run naked on Hoth with no worries, but I'm nowhere near there yet.

Many barefoot and minimalist runners can handle cold feet better than me. They tell what sound to me like mythical tales of running with numb feet for miles before starting to get adequate feeling. No, thanks. I'm six and a half feet tall; the circulation in my feet is terrible under the best of conditions. Plus, I'm a wuss ? so there's that. But as I poked at my mountain of shoes I kept returning to my huaraches. I don't mind subbing in other shoes based on weather or terrain, but for everyday running they're just my favorite. How was I supposed to go a whole season without them?

Fortunately, the team at Luna Sandals came up with an answer for me. Split-toe Tabi socks.

That's right, socks with sandals. Stay with me here, it's worth it.

Read the rest of this post »

Bedrock Sandals Earthquake V2 Review

Bedrock Sandals Earthquake V2 Review

About a year ago, I reviewed the original Bedrock Sandals followed by a review of the Earthquake Sandals.

Nick and Dan, the barefoot running friends who Kickstarted Bedrock Sandals the company in 2011, have released an updated pair of Earthquake Sandals they've named the Earthquake Sandals V2. The V2 sandals feature a few improvements over the previous model. I have been running in a pair of review V2s they provided, and I have found them to be an excellent choice for anyone interested in running in huaraches.

Read the rest of this post »

Hiking, Traveling New Zealand with KSO Trek FiveFingers (and Sprints)

Hiking, Traveling New Zealand with KSO Trek FiveFingers (and Sprints)
A photo of Jen K. and her husband in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens on the south island of New Zealand. They are standing in front of a massive Atlas Cedar tree. KSO Treks.

In the mailbag recently we got a story from Jen K. who traveled to New Zealand packing her footwear of choice: KSO Trek FiveFingers (as well as some Sprints). She hiked all around New Zealand in her KSO Treks and had a great overall experience.

Here's Jen in her own words (with additional photos after the jump!)!

Read the rest of this post »