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!

SeeYa LS Vibram FiveFingers Initial Review

SeeYa LS Vibram FiveFingers Initial Review

UPDATE October 4, 2012

Guess what? The SeeYa LS is now available!


Any day now the (new for Fall 2012) Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS will hit the shelves. When it does, you can expect to hear it here first — you might as well know that the SeeYa LS is here (as of 10/4/2012).

Built on the same ultralight sole as the SeeYa model that Vibram released Spring 2012, the SeeYa LS adds traditional laces and a wholly new upper. It can handle running, general fitness, and pretty much whatever else you want to throw at it.

What follows is an initial review of the SeeYa LS — I've been wearing and testing them for the past month though if you want a running-specific review, Tim will follow-up his original SeeYa review with an LS review soon.

In the meantime, read on for a slew of photos, intell, and how you can win a pair of the SeeYa LS when they release!

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Let’s talk about (toe) socks, baby.

Let’s talk about (toe) socks, baby.

Introduction

Following up on a recent post on ToeSox Ultralite socks, I got to thinking about the many pairs of socks I use for various activities and weather conditions. While many people prefer going sockless when running or exercising, I almost always wear socks. I find it keeps me from getting blisters on longer runs and helps keep funky odors at bay longer than if I went without. In this post, we take an “up close” look at a number of toe and toeless socks to see how they line up, and I’ll share my preferences on how I use each sock.

For comparison’s sake, I took photos of several socks I had laying around the house. In each of these I asked my wife to stretch them over her thumb so we could get a good look at the thread and knit/weaving patterns.

So with that, let’s jump in!

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Vivo Barefoot Oak Review - Business Casual Barefoot Shoes

Vivo Barefoot Oak Review - Business Casual Barefoot Shoes

I have liked the stylish, Wallaby-esque look of the Vivo Barefoot pretty much from the first day I saw them some three years ago.

For that matter, I got my first pair of Oaks back in 2010 and did a "first look" on them here. Fast-forward and I picked up two other pairs of Oaks thanks to some great sales on some discontinued versions. Most recently, Vivo was gracious enough to comp me a pair (it's a special buy three get one free program — no, not really) so I could do an official review — on a colorway that was still available*!

So that's what I'm going to do today — review the stylish, business-casual-passable Vivo Barefoot Oaks. They're a dressier leather "barefoot shoe" that feature a simple design, roomy toe box, no arch support, a flexible sole, and a great amount of ground feel. Not only do my feet love them but my wife does, too. That's the short of it.

For the full-fledged review, read on (and see on!) for a full review with about forty photos of these puppies!

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ToeSox Ultralite Crew & Ankle Socks Review

ToeSox Ultralite Crew & Ankle Socks Review

Introduction

Let’s talk about socks. When it comes to wearing them with Vibrams, some people love them and some people hate them. I’m in the “love” camp, and always wear socks when running. I find it keeps me from getting blisters when I’m running more than 5 miles or so and it keeps my shoes from getting smelly too fast. Just about the only time I don’t wear socks with Vibrams is if I’m doing a short gym/weight workout.

Currently there aren’t many manufacturers catering to the toe sock crowd. A quick search on Zappos brings up Injinji and Smartwool and apparently Fila also makes toed socks for their Skele-toes lineup. One last manufacturer that has been around for several years, but that I had only recently heard of, is ToeSox.

ToeSox makes a variety of products; their lineup includes socks with and without toes (think “fingerless” gloves) as well as socks with sticky dots on the bottom to provide grip when doing yoga. Interestingly, they even make a 5-toed sandal! Unfortunately I can’t tell from the website if it has a zero-drop heel.

In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Ultralite Crew and Ankle cut socks that are meant to be used with running, cycling and climbing shoes. The Ultralite series is the thinnest of ToeSox’s offerings, as they also make Light Weight (meant for general all-around use) and Medium Weight socks (intended for hiking and trails).

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Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove First Look [Exclusive!]

Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove First Look [Exclusive!]

If you came here looking for a first-look at the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove, well, I've got some bad news. It's come to my attention that the shoes seen here on 9/5/2012 were pre-production samples that should not have seen the light of day (to the public anyway). Merrell reached out and asked (very politely) to have the photos and the accompanying mini-review, taken down. Their concern is from a legal standpoint — likely out of a need to protect trade secrets.

We live in a time when counterfeits run rampant and are shipped around the world to unsuspecting Internet buyers. Technology is growing at a mind-boggling pace and information is shared globally with a few clicks of the mouse. Thus, the only true way to protect intellectual property is to keep things secret — literally telling no one.

That's not easy in the day of the Internet. Since Merrell asked nicely here to take things down — and will send final production pairs in a week or two to be shared here first, exclusively on BirthdayShoes — I decided to pull this post for the time being. It wasn't an easy decision, but it's the right one.

We don't always pull first looks even when it might upset manufacturers. In fact, pulling anything is the exception — we've frequently broken news on upcoming minimalist shoes models (before it was intended to be made public (e.g. here, here, and here among many other examples). What more, the identity of tipsters is kept private by default. It's absolutely important to keep this community a safe place of exchange — if that's ever in doubt please let me know.

And stay tuned! Be sure not to miss when we officially show off the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Gloves by subscribing!

2013 True Linkswear Shoe Sneak Peak

2013 True Linkswear Shoe Sneak Peak

Fans of the site may know by now about the availability of barefoot/minimal golf shoes. We've highlighted a couple of recent barefoot options from TRUE linkswear (tour and phx) and more recently Vivobarefoot (hybrid). One of the great things about the 2012 release from TRUE linkswear, was that the updated sole, while cleated for golf, still allows you to wear them off the course. If you're a minimalist and a golfer, I have to believe you've already tried out this brand. However, the comfortable fit and minimal feel make these a great option even for non golfers out there looking for another comfortable work or casual minimal shoe option.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone about TRUE, because I recently spotted what might be the new 2013 models. I was able to grab some screenshots from a golf channel video, so read on for the screenshots and details.

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