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!

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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Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Overview

Meet the Altra Provision as described by Altra Running:

Modeled after The Instinct™ platform, The Provision™ adds a firmer midsole and a removable varus stability wedge to assist men with fallen arches, excessive overpronation and knock knees. Built for moderate and high overpronation, the Zero Drop™ platform, foot-shaped design and stability wedge combine to provide a high level of stability without the excessive bulk and weight of traditional stability shoes. Simply remove the stability wedge to convert this shoe to work for neutral and mild overpronation.

The Altra Provision (like the Altra Instinct) skirts the boundary of the minimalist running shoe category. The Provision is definitely minimal because of its zero heel-to-toe drop and anatomically correct shape (custom for women and men) resulting in a nice wide toe box for proper toe splay and the weight is a bit more than the Instinct, 9.1 oz (258 gr) without the stability wedge, 9.9 oz (281 gr) with it compared to the Instinct which is 8.8 oz (249 gr). The stack height is 20mm which includes the outsole, midsole and removable foam insole (5mm thick). The thickness does limit the amount of ground feel or prioproception however the relatively firm A-Bound™ midsole does still allow some ground feedback.

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Interview with Rob Youngren

Rob Youngren mountain unicycling the Slick Rock Trail in Moab, Utah
Rob Youngren mountain unicycling the Slick Rock Trail in Moab, Utah

Rob Youngren is an ultra-runner, unicycler, and blogger here on BirthdayShoes.com. He's based out of Alabama and has been running for twenty years. As a matter of course, he started running in lighter weight, more minimalist shoes, ultimately retraining his foot strike (to midfoot) long before the revival of "minimalist running."

Rob brings an incredibly unique perspective to the BirthdayShoes blogger-crew — one some will find at odds with some minimalist dogma (e.g. Rob is a believer in arch support and cushioned shoes for high mileage runners). His contrary views are born of loggin some 50,000 miles of running, so when I hear his opinion, I usually listen up.

So below is an interview with Rob that talks about his story, where all this is going, his own footwear experiences, and more. It's a fascinating read, so sit back and read on!

Hey Rob! So tell us: why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

The summarized version: I was experiencing lower leg issues and decided I needed to try a different approach so gradually transitioned to running in much more low profile, light weight trail shoes. I also changed the way I ran because I was a wicked heel striker, now I’m a fairly efficient midfoot striker. I do still wear arch supports however.

Wait, what? Arch supports? What's the story?

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20% Off SeeYa, Spyridon LS, Speed FiveFingers

20% Off SeeYa, Spyridon LS, Speed FiveFingers

ATTENTION: This sale has ended!

If you're looking for more recent sales, check the BirthdayShoes Store here for previous sales sent to bdayshoes email subscribers. Consider subscribing by email to get future updates, too (You only get about one email a week that updates on recent posts. This enters you into future giveaway contests, too.).

You can also check out past blog posts on BirthdayShoes tagged as a "sale" here (Note: while virtually all sales are sent to email subscribers while only some of them actually make it to the blog).


The sale

I've been spending a good bit of time hunting around the past few days for sales on Vibram FiveFingers. You can do this kinda research via the BirthdayShoes "store." Anyway, apart from REI's current sale and the ability to use a 20% off coupon there (for members), there are some very exciting Memorial Day sales opportunities this week whereby you can grab Vibrams at 20% off (or more) MSRP.

If you were hoping to gnab a pair of the Spring-released, ultralight SeeYa FiveFingers on sale — or — the new trail-ready Spyridon LS FiveFingers, well, it seems that you've got your shot. You can grab the FiveFingers SeeYas for $80 (reg. $100!) or the Spyridon LS VFFs for $96 (reg. $120!) for right at $80 with free shipping! They've also got all the new Speed FiveFingers colorways for only $80 (also 20% off) shipped free, too (Men's & Women's, respectively). This sale will last through 5/24.

Not into the new-fangled toe shoes (Spyris or SeeYas) or the new Speed colorways, here's the best deal in town on the original black and white Speed FiveFingers. You can hook up a pair at this other retailer for a mere $60 (Sizes 40 - 44 available)! That is an absurdly good deal—40% off the $100 MSRP (way back when I had to buy them from the U.K. a year prior to the U.S. release I paid 3X as much!). No clue how long that sale will last.

I love the Speeds for their comfort and style. Really, of all the FiveFingers I own, the Speeds are the most-commented-on and most-positively received FiveFingers — this is by non-toe shoe wearers, mind you. They breath well with their mesh upper making them a nice casual "sneaker" for the summer or go run in them at the drop of a hat.

I'll wrap it up — get your sale on and good luck!


Oh nooes! This sale has ended!

If you're looking for more recent sales, check the BirthdayShoes Store here for previous sales sent to bdayshoes email subscribers. Consider subscribing by email to get future updates, too (You only get about one email a week that updates on recent posts. This enters you into future giveaway contests, too.).

You can also check out past blog posts on BirthdayShoes tagged as a "sale" here (Note: while virtually all sales are sent to email subscribers while only some of them actually make it to the blog).