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!

EL-X FiveFingers – Running Review

EL-X FiveFingers – Running Review

When Vibram discontinued the original FiveFingers “Classic” last year, they rebooted the series with a completely redesigned model called the EL-X that has only been out for a few weeks. This is one of the most minimalist outdoor FiveFingers to date. Justin has already put together a thorough overview based on his initial impressions, so in this post I’m going to follow up with my thoughts on how they perform as a running shoe.

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New Balance MT 110 Winter Boot Review

The New Balance MT110 Winter Boot.
The New Balance MT110 Winter Boot.

I should start off by admitting that I avoided trails for a while there. Especially organized single-track trail runs, when the fire of competition pushes me to run harder than I might normally. My first real running injury was on the Philosopher's Way 15k almost two years ago, and I've shied away from longer trail runs ever since.

A lot has happened since then. I've learned more about good running style and adjusted accordingly, shifting away from the lumbering heel-striking that this former defensive lineman had been doing for decades. I've come to realize that my poor running form was equally if not more at fault for my destroyed left knee as were the roots, rocks, twists, and turns of that 9+ mile trail run.

But still, it's a mental thing that no amount of cold, serious intellectual consideration can undo on its own. I'd have to actually get out there and battle those fears. The lack of more rugged minimalist-style trail shoes makes for an easy excuse, though. Especially when it's cold, wet, dark, and icy out. By the very nature of minimalist running, especially trails can seem out of the question for some runners. Add in extreme weather and it becomes even more unlikely. So when the New Balance MT 110 winter-specific boots arrived on my doorstep I was curious. Something had to go wrong with these, I just knew it. They were either going to be too built-up or not protective enough.

Read on to see what, if anything, went wrong — and what went oh so right.

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Luna Split-toe Tabi Socks - Pre-Sale!

Luna Split-toe Tabi Socks - Pre-Sale!

A short while back I posted a review of Luna's new Split-Toe Tabi Socks. It was possibly my most unabashedly enthusiastic review to date. And for good reason -- these socks are amazing! I've since worn them on two additional trail races (10 mile and 8 mile) as well as countless chilly training mornings, and all of my original praise still holds true with no criticism to note. If anything, my love for these socks has only grown.

So when I got an email from Luna recently about the status of the socks from a sales point of view, I was both excited and sad.

Bad news first: Luna hasn't been able to keep up with the demand for these socks. These special tabi socks are carefully crafted in Japan and then imported a few dozen at a time. Now, I was a humanities major so I have no idea where Japan is actually located, but sources* tell me that it's far away. And though I've heard Luna Sandals referred to as the Cadillac of huaraches, that comparison only works insofar as the quality they put forth -- not necessarily the name recognition or resources. (Yet.) We're not talking Nike or Adidas here. We're talking about a company whose entire staff could probably carpool to work together in one vehicle. We're talking about a company whose founder, Barefoot Ted, is probably most quickly identified by explaining to someone that he was "the quirky one" in Born to Run. So it's really not surprising that right now they're ordering in the dozens instead of the hundreds or thousands when it comes to socks of this quality that have to travel this distance.

Now for the good news: Luna is planning to change that. What do you do when demand for your products outstrips the supply? You up your game. You think bigger. That's just what Luna is doing. Their plan is to start taking pre-orders for the next shipment in order to gather funds to place a bigger order. And now for the better news: Luna sent Birthday Shoes the exclusive pre-order link to share with our loyal readers!

Go check it out.

It'll take a little longer to get the socks shipped out to customers (as much as 4 weeks), but trust me when I say it's worth it. If you've been on the fence about these socks, go re-read my review of them. Post questions or thoughts. Or contact Luna directly -- I'm sure they'd be glad to talk about them.

The bottom line I'd leave you with: if you're a huaraches fan whose feet need a little something extra during the cold months but don't want to give up your sandals, or if you like keeping things minimal but could use some compression, you just can't do any better than these tabi socks. Go pre-order and help support an excellent small-but-hoping-to-grow shoe company.

DISCLAIMER: I did not benefit in any way whatsoever from this post. I really am just that enthusiastic about these!

*Google. According to this amazing search website, it'd take me over 129 days to get to Japan. That's pretty far.

Vibram Alitza, Entrada FiveFingers are Here!

Vibram Alitza, Entrada FiveFingers are Here!

It's now clear that the Vibram FiveFingers Entrada and Alitza are out — at least one retailer (TravelCountry.com)is now stocking all five colorways of Entrada (The Classic-like one) and four colorways of Alitza (The Sprint-like, strappy one).

These new women's-centric FiveFingers arrive on the heels of Vibram's men's El-X hitting stores over the last month. The Alitza and Entrada round out the Spring/Summer 2013 Vibram FiveFingers offerings (the Maiori and Signa have yet to hit stores as of Jan. 31).

What are these new VFFs? Want to see a few more colorways? Read on!

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Vibram FiveFingers Sorrento Review

Vibram FiveFingers Sorrento Review

Above is the men's Vibram FiveFingers Sorrento, leather loafer-ish-yet-casual five toe shoes we last buzzed about in the Fall (here).

In fact, the Sorrento has actually been available now for months—just not in the United States. And on that front, I'm sad to say that they won't be making it this way Spring 2013 (as hoped), either.

Bummer, I know.

I started wear-testing the Sorrento back in Fall of 2011 when the model was in it's pre-production phase (we glimpsed it way back in 2011 here); fast forward to this past summer when the Sorrento released in Europe, Vibram Italy was kind enough to send me a final production model, which brings me to today's review.

Why review the Sorrento if it's such a limited release model? Simple: I like it. A lot.

In short, Sorrento FiveFingers are comfortable, casual toe shoes you can knock around in day-in and day-out. Meanwhile, they look funky—but in a good way (not unlike the Speed FiveFingers), which makes them easy to wear daily.

And that makes for happy feet. And if you really want them but live in the U.S., well I'll see what I can't do to direct you to a retailer. And who knows, maybe like the Speed which didn't make it to the U.S. until about a year after I reviewed it on release in Europe, we'll see the Sorrento this side of the Atlantic some day in the future.

Now let's get to it. Read on for my full review!

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