Doing the Ultimate Hike in FiveFingers - Help Alejandra Out!

Doing the Ultimate Hike in FiveFingers - Help Alejandra Out!

The following is a guest post by Alejandra Aldana

On May 4, 2013, I will be participating in Ultimate Hike, a 28.3 mile hike benefiting CureSearch for Children's Cancer. My goal is to not only complete this very long hike in one day, but also help raise awareness and $2500 in funds for CureSearch.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a National Childhood Cancer Foundation, funds and supports targeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurable results, and is the authoritative source of information and resources for all those affected by children's cancer. CureSearch funds both local and national research, ensuring that a cure will be found as quickly as possible.

I have decided to take this challenge for a number of reasons. I want the opportunity to help give back to those affected by cancer as well as improve my life and fitness. Part of what I hope to accomplish other than raising funds for children in need is becoming part of a community and pushing my boundaries.

I plan on completing the 28.3 miles completely in my Vibram Five Fingers and while many people are advising me against it, I just don't see myself doing it without them. It is going to take a lot of building my feet up, but I am more than confident I will be able to do so. If you are able to donate to my fundraising that would be great. If not that will be fine, too. What I would love to get out of this, is the opportunity to share my journey with others. There is nothing more powerful and exhilarating than a sense of community for a great cause. If you are interested in joining me on my minimalist journey please let me know as soon as possible (we have already started our first training session). If you would like to help follow and share me and my cause you can do so at

You can also donate directly by following this link.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement!

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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Run Free Barefoot Tattoo

Run Free Barefoot Tattoo

I got the photo above from Michael, a reader from Quebec, Canada, who underwent a pretty impressive lifestyle and diet change losing over a hundred pounds of weight over the past couple years. It's fantastic to hear these kinds of stories of people completely changing their lives:

I got a little overweight in the last 10 years in fact I never played any sports except a little baseball when I was young.

In fall of 2010, surrounded by fast food and eating unhealthy, I decided it was time to change. I was fed-up wearing XL tshirts and size 48 jeans! I turned to diet and cut out all fast food, sugar, carbs! I ate only fish, veggies, and white meats!

At the time I was working out in a gym and decided to start running on the treadmill. I always hated to run because it would make my shins burn real bad. Keep in mind I believe I weighed almost 300 lbs (That's kind of large for a guy who is 5'6).

Anyhow I first started running on the treadmill with shoes and slowly week after week I lost weight. My mother works at McGill University — and works with a marathon runner. He trains with the McGill running team, so I asked if he could give me some pointers! He told me he ran barefoot on the track, so I investigated barefoot running and found so much info on the web about barefoot and minimalist running that I decided to give it a try!

[I got my first pair of Bikilas in late 2010 and in] January 2011 I decided to weigh myself for the first time ever! 243 lbs! I continued my hardcore eating regime fueled by Cytomax and protein shakes! Early spring I started clicking in the kilometers outside! All summer I ran, I ran, I ran! Fall came and I ran. I still had my gym pass but who wants to run on a treadmill after running in fresh air? When Winter rolled around I continued my run back in the gym.

[Then] January 1, 2012... 140lbs!

I've tried to run with shoes but it just doesn't work out (I've tried all kinds!).

Five fingers may have saved my life [so] I wanted to get a tattoo that will remind me of the pain sweat and tears it took me to reverse 10 years of damage! Ive been a huge fan of your site and read many articles and out helped me very much in my journey so I decided to permanently put the logo on me! Thanks for all the great reviews and articles!

Way to go, Michael! I think you're owed all the credit for your efforts here — and I'm honored to see the birthdayshoes logo associated with your success.

Thanks for sharing!

Coast to Coast in Minimalist and Toe Shoes

Coast to Coast in Minimalist and Toe Shoes

I got the nice note below from David who recently went coast to coast with his girlfriend — both in their minimalist footwear (Vivos and Vibrams). David's a long-time reader but first time submitter and I wanted to share his photo above and his note:

Hi Justin,

I've been reading Birthday Shoes for a few years now. I first came across it while I was working at a local REI. I saw a pair of Vibrams for the first time and started doing some research - three years later I still check in to see new reviews, personal stories and of course...find killer deals. (I think I'll be indulging in a little Labor Day special).

About two months ago you had a link to a sale on Bikila's. At the time I had one pair of VFFs - KomodoSports that were wearing out quickly - so I picked up a pair of Bikila's for under $50! And a couple weeks later you were advertising a Vivo Barefoot sale on LLS - I got myself a pair of the Aqua Lite's (which are great) and a pair of Evo's for my girlfriend (her first minimalist-minded shoe) in preparation for our journey across the US (New Jersey to California). The Aqua Lite's were supposed to be my road trip shoes but once we hit the red rock deserts in Utah, I threw on my Bikila's because I didn't want to trash my new Vivo's.

We managed to snap a couple of pictures in our new kicks as a way to say thanks for sharing these great shoes with us.


Thanks, David! I'm happy to hear the site has been steering you in the right direction (and saving some moola in the process).

For anyone else who wants to stay on top of deals — you could do a lot worse than the Labor Day sales going on right now and consider becoming an email subscriber for more sales as they come along.

If you have a story or cool photo you'd like to see on the blog here, please drop me a line!

Labor Day Minimalist/Barefoot Sales

Labor Day Minimalist/Barefoot Sales

Updated 9/1/2012: See below!

Labor Day is coming up this Monday, September 3, 2012, for those of us in the U.S. Labor Day weekend means a few things:

  • The end of Summer and the advent of Fall
  • The start of the American football season! (Go dawgs!)
  • Perhaps most importantly, a day off of work.
  • And last but not least, big sales — well that's the idea, anyway.

What follows are some of the deals you can get right now on Vibram FiveFingers (some up to 50% off) and Inov-8s. As the week progresses, expect to see this post grow in size. For sake of ease regarding where the deals are going down, I'll be organizing the sales by retailer and then product, so expect to surf/shop around!


Everyone's favorite huge outdoor retailer has a few big sales going on. Check it out:

Vibram FiveFingers — it's clearance time for select FiveFingers! Check out their VFF sale here. REI is offering select Vibram models/colorways for as low as $40 (Men's Sprints at 50% off).

The deal that's really worth noticing is on the soon-to-be-history leather KSO Treks — they're $86.93 in the classic brown kangaroo leather. That's 30% off (MSRP is $125). Even with the release of the Spyridons, which have a great sole for trails, I'm still a bigger fan of the KSO Treks — note that Vibram is still making Trek Sports, but they have a fabric upper that just doesn't hold up as well as leather.

REI also has the Teva Zilch sandals for $30 (62% off the MSRP of $80 - find the men's here and the women's here). If you've wanted a more minimalist sandal like a Teva or Chaco, outside of huaraches, there haven't been a ton of options. The Zilch is one of the few.

U.S. Elite Gear

U.S. Elite Gear is offering 50% off their entire stock of Vibram FiveFingers with free shipping! It's pretty simple: you just use our exclusive coupon — BIRTHDAYSHOES — at checkout and the discount will be applied. Check out what they've got here — KomodoSports, KSOs, Bikila LS, TrekSports all $42.50 to $50 shipped free after the discount.

LeftLane Sports

LeftLane Sports presently has various Inov-8 minimalist shoes at up to 55% off. We've not covered Inov-8 nearly enough on this site (hoping to change that), but they've been making minimalist-minded footwear for a long while now and have been a favorite shoe of bdayshoes ultrarunner Rob's for years. They're also mighty popular in the CrossFit crowd.

The way to get the Left Lane hook-up — if you're not already a member — is to use my invite to sign-up. This will give you $10 of credit to put towards your first order over $50. The Inov-8s you're likely to be most interested in can be found here. They include the Bare-X Lite 150s for $$67.45 or the Inov-8 F-Lite 195s for $69.95. Not bad, eh?

LeftLane is also hosting an Altra Running sale — it's here. You can get Altra Instincts for close to $50 and Adams and Eves for $43! That's close to a 50% discount!

Travel Country

Travel Country

Travel Country continues to have a slew of Vibram FiveFingers on closeout, with some seriously awesome deals.

Here is just a sample. For the men, you have a chance to get the devil-red "KSO Remix" for a mere $40 (53% off). Or if you're up for a Fall-friendly, Halloween ready colorway, you can pick up black and orange KSOs for $50 (41% off). Meanwhile, women can grab the "Hawaiian Ocean" (blue) and grey Sprints for $36 (55% off). Oh and if you were wanting some men's black Classic FiveFingers, you can get them for $40 (47% off). All orders over $49 ship free. Get'em while they last.

Vibram USA is offering select FiveFingers off of their website at 40% off with Free Shipping up until 9/4! You can see what's included in the image above but what most piques my interest are the men's Trek LS in brown for $84. These puppies are being discontinued and most online retailers no longer have any in stock (seems to me anyway — and those that do want $140 for them).

But women can hook up Jaya LRs ($60), Sprints ($48), and Classics ($45) at very reasonable prices, too — particularly considering you get free shipping on the deal. Not bad! Hook it up while it lasts!


There may be more sales coming down the pipeline. I'll be sure to update this post and if you want to keep up with big sales, consider subscribing to BirthdayShoes by email (it's free, private, and only get notified once a week about new posts on the blog here with the occasional extra email on new products or big sales like this!).

  • Updated 9/1 with sale

Stay tuned!

Ironman NYC (Vibram SeeYa) Race Report

Sign at the Welcome Banquet—don’t ask me what the extra digit is for!
Sign at the Welcome Banquet—don’t ask me what the extra digit is for!

I recently had the opportunity to race the inaugural Ironman New York City triathlon. I ran the marathon portion in Vibram SeeYas, which have easily become my go-to FiveFinger model for running. Overall the race went very well and I hit all of my goals:

  • Simply finish the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 run
  • Come in with a time of 12:XX hours
  • Beat a few friend’s previous times
  • Hit my “reach goal” of finishing in a time of 11:XX hours

Read on to see how I fared!

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