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 10littlepiggies.tumblr.com.

You can also donate directly by following this link.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement!

Xero Shoes Huaraches Review (and Connect vs. Contact)

Above pictured are the Xero Shoes Connect 4mm Huaraches with black nylon laces.
Above pictured are the Xero Shoes Connect 4mm Huaraches with black nylon laces.

Background

Xero Shoes aren't really shoes at all — they're sandals. Mind, they're not just any sandals, they're huaraches. Yes, "huaraches" is just Spanish for "sandals" — that's not the point — huaraches are the "sandal tech" made out of leather and old tires worn by the Tarahumara Indians while traversing miles and miles through the Copper Canyons of Mexico.

As legend has it, the Tarahumaran Manuel Luna taught Barefoot Ted how to make his first pair (circa 2006?), Ted took what he learned home and began sharing how to make huaraches in the U.S., and next thing you know, a few years go by and today you've got numerous flavors of huaraches to choose from, as well as a few new takes on the ancient sandal tying style.

One of the early movers and shakers in the burgeoning huaraches (pronounced wah-rah-chaise ... or at least that's how I try to say it) movement was Steven Sashen, a runner/sprinter, long-time entrepreneur, guru, and ex-comedian. You might know him from his Sh*t Barefoot Runners Say videos. Anyway, a few years back Steven made his first pair of huaraches. As he was running in them, fellow members of the Boulder Barefoot Running Club took note and asked Steven how to make their own.

One thing led to another and it wasn't long before Steven decided to make huaraches on a much larger scale and so Xero Shoes was born. Xero Shoes got its humble beginnings selling DIY kits including a sheet of Vibram rubber and colorful nylon laces. Countless kits later, Xero Shoes decided to bring to market the first ever molded rubber made-for-huaraches sole. And to date, these are still the only huaraches that use their own dedicated sole design (as opposed to cutting soles from flat sheets of rubber).

Today, I'm going to be reviewing the Xero Shoes Connect (4mm thick sole) and Contact (6mm thick sole). I'll be taking an approach that's not so much about running in Xero Shoes and more about wearing them all the time — as an ultra-minimalist sandal. I'll do a comparison of the Connect vs. the Contact, and I'll touch on how the Xero Shoes stack up against competitors.

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True Linkswear Phx (Minimalist) Golf Shoes Review

True Linkswear Phx (Minimalist) Golf Shoes Review

In early 2011, TRUE linkswear brought barefoot shoes to the attention of golfers everywhere with the first golf shoe designed to be "the closest thing to a barefoot golfing experience as possible." The shoes received rave reviews from golfers as they were the most comfortable shoe they'd ever worn both on and off the course (not much of a surprise coming from traditional shoes). I reviewed the Tour model primarily from a barefoot perspective, and while they weren't the most barefoot feeling shoe I've golfed in, they were definitely the best barefoot shoe built for golfing. You can read my original review of the TRUE linkswear Tour here.

Earlier this year TRUE linkswear released their entire 2012 line with a brand new sole and two new models (the Phx for men and Isis for women). I was able to compare the old and new Tour models, and have been testing out the new Phx for the past couple months. Overall, the new sole greatly improved the look of the shoes without altering the comfortable barefoot feel. The new Phx sports a more casual look at an extremely tempting price.

Read on for my comparison of the old and new Tour minimalist golf shoes and a review of the new TRUE Linkswear Phx.

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xkcd Immortality Vibram FiveFingers (God's Shoes!)

I *do* hear that they're the most comfortable thing to wear on your feet since sliced bread.
The xkcd comic from June 6, 2012, alluding to the magical powers of toe shoes.

Today's xkcd comic pays homage to the mystical powers of toe shoes and to the general initial aversion folks have to wearing them for the first time (despite their supposed awesome goodness). Immmortality Vibram FiveFingers? Sounds a lot like "God's Shoes" to me ...

Personally, I would gladly pay $20 to get this comic on a tshirt. Anyone know Randall Munroe? How can we make this happen? If you'd do this comment below, share this post on facebook, share it on twitter, and let's try and get Randall's attention. Maybe he'd be open to it with enough interest!

Oh right, about the "God's Shoes" — this xkcd just reminds me of the old (prescient) Married with Children episode (from 1991! — Ep. 8 of Season 6) where Al Bundy conjures up shoes with individual and calls them "God's Shoes" Check it:

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Flag-Styled Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Flag-Styled Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Back on May 1, we wrote about the possibility (and first sighting) of Classic Vibram FiveFingers fashioned after certain flags to be released around the time of the Summer Olympics — you can find that post here. At the time, we only had an image of the Denmark-styled FiveFingers; today, I've gotten my hands on all the flag-styled Classics.

There are 5 styles of Olympics/Flag-styled FiveFingers being produced — one each for the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Denmark, and the United States. There's just one catch: they'll only be available outside the United States — in Europe or Australia — in limited quantities (likely extremely so). As for availability in the U.S.? We're pretty much out of luck — they'll only be available for purchase in store (not via phone) from the Vibram retail store on Newbury St. in Boston, Massachusetts.

Want to see what all the designs look like (including the U.S. version not glimpsed above)? Hop on after the jump!

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Review of the New Balance Minimus Trail Leather Shoes (MT10)

New Balance recently released the popular Minimus MT10 Trail shoe with a leather upper.
New Balance recently released the popular Minimus MT10 Trail shoe with a leather upper.

New Balance's first minimalist shoe offerings hit the market back in the Spring of 2011. Perhaps their most popular "Minimus" style then, and perhaps even still, was the MT10 or the Minimus Trail (which we've reviewed in depth here and with video here). And while the 2nd generation of Minimus shoes are "Zeros" — so called because they're the same stack height at heel and forefoot — the original Minimus shoes all had a 4mm heel-to-toe drop.

Four millimeters isn't a lot and some might even like the differential, which still allows for a forefoot/midfoot running style but with a little less distance for your heel to travel as it descends and lightly touches the ground before lifting off again (as with a natural running style).

Anyway, the popularity of the original Minimus Trail is probably what led New Balance to offer the MT10 in a couple leather versions — the grey leather Minimus Trails (MT10LG) being seen photoed above and what I'll be talking about today (they offer them in brown leather, too — the MT10LR). Like the looks? Want to know what's up with this shoe? Well read on!

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Interview with Leah Sakellarides

A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.
A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.

Leah Sakellarides is a runner, blogger (outside of BirthdayShoes), and photographer based out of Southern California.

Below is an interview with Leah that talks about her ideal minimalist shoe (and her dislike of the color pink), transitioning to natural running, and her multifarious endeavors and outdoor adventures!

Why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

I wasn’t sold on minimalist footwear at first. I’ve been a runner my whole life so I was skeptical about all the new kicks that were coming out. I first found out about VFFs when Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, started wearing and talking about all the great things about them. So with an open mind I tried the FiveFingers Sprints on at the sporting goods store when they first came out. I couldn’t imagine that they would perform well at all, but I decided to give them a shot anyway. It took a while for me to get used to them and once I did there was no going back! I felt lighter and more nimble than ever in them. Also, my regular running shoes would cause IT band pain in my knee, but all that disappeared with VFFs. Now every time I put a regular running shoe on, it just feels like I’m wearing a platform and my ankle feels like it’s going to roll. It’s just not natural.

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