SeeYa, Speed FiveFingers Back in Black!

SeeYa, Speed FiveFingers Back in Black!

Did you know that Vibram has snuck out two new colorways of the men's SeeYa and Speed FiveFingers? If you didn't, read up!

The Speeds are now available in a flat black (see above) and the SeeYas in a black/grey mash-up (also above), which is infinitely less eye-catching than the day-glow SeeYa colorway that came out last year.

In a "but wait there's more" moment, one retailer has both the SeeYas and the Speeds on sale at 20% off through 3/31/2012—and the sale includes these new colorways.

You can find both FiveFingers models at these links:

One catch: free shipping threshold is over $99.

If you'll recall, the black KSO FiveFingers were quite possibly the most popular colorway of all time (see here if you don't believe me!), so I'm sure these new color combinations are likely to please.

What do you think?

P.S. If you're looking for some minimalist-if-lightly-modified "troop" boots (and other sytlish shoes by OTZ), there's a huge sale/deal on them, too. Details here.

Rare Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Two rare pairs of Classic FiveFingers - rare because they can only be purchased through Europe, and one pair (the floral variety) were one-off VFFs made a few years back and are only available via eBay.
Two rare pairs of Classic FiveFingers - rare because they can only be purchased through Europe, and one pair (the floral variety) were one-off VFFs made a few years back and are only available via eBay.

Let me recap: Classics are my all-time favorite toe shoes.

It's something I've talked a decent bit about recently (see here and here), but it stands repeating: Classic FiveFingers are fantastic. What makes them so great? Two things stand out:

  1. Classics feature a 3.5mm Vibram, razor-siped sole. Nothing more; nothing less. The sole is incredibly dynamic with your foot while still protective and still providing a good deal of "ground feel." This is practically the most "barefoot" you are going to get with any minimalist shoe out there.
  2. Classic FiveFingers are open-topped. Being exposed on top allows your foot better air circulation while also allowing you to slide into the toe shoes without hands (with practice).

This one-two punch makes the Classic an incredible "barefoot shoe" for knocking around town, wearing to the park, walking your dog, or lazying about at the beach or the lake or anywhere. Classic FiveFingers are even good for running! Yes, you read right! Don't believe me? Barefoot Ted ran the first Copper Canyon Ultramarathon in Classic FiveFingers! Yeah, he had the grey/orange, black-soled Classics* on the run-heard-round the world as made famous by Chris McDougall in Born to Run (read it already).

Thus I find it painful to watch as people (mostly men) overlook the Classics in favor of some of the more close-topped Vibrams. Sure the new-fangled toe shoes are awesome — the ultra-light SeeYa is probably the closest new model to the Classic's ground-feel and airiness — but I can't put any of them on like I can the Classics. That is, like a pair of my favorite flip-flops. I'd also like anyone who finds the Classics feminine to tell that to Ted McDonald, who I'd not want to run into in a dark alley and is one of the godfathers of the whole minimalist/barefoot shoe movement in the first place!

Full stop. You get the point: I like Classics and I'm not alone. Classics are the only model of FiveFingers I've ever heard of people collecting. It's just that as more and more folks buy up the new hotness in toe shoes, they overlook the age-old beauty of the Classic; Vibram is then left looking at sales numbers scratching their heads, thinking, "I guess no one likes the Classic so we'll have to pair that offering back."

And that is exactly what they've done.

Thankfully, there are still a few options out there to score some seriously sweet Classics, which is what you're seeing within this post — two colorways of Classic FiveFingers that are pretty rare.

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Interview with Robert Barr

Interview with Robert Barr

Robert Barr is a professional photographer and blogger here on BirthdayShoes.com. He's based out of Washington and is slowly, if unintentionally, collecting enough minimalist shoes to start a museum. What follows is an interview with Robert so that BirthdayShoes readers can get to know the writers who help keep this site running!

Why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

My path to minimalist shoes was a long one. For years, I wore the same type of dress loafer. You will see a picture of it below. They were almost always leather, heavy, black, and had a significant heel to toe differential. I have had chronic back pain for quite a long time. It stems from several accidents I had throughout the years. It can complicate things at times. For instance, I can't stand in one place for more than five minutes without needing to sit down. In order to reduce the pain, I would have to pace back and forth or sit down. I spent years trying different types of shoes hoping they might relieve my pain. I tried Sketcher's Shape Ups, Z-Coil, Orthotic Insoles, and many different solutions. Nothing I tried made it better. A hand full of the things I tried made it worse. Long story short I went many years without any real relief. I always ended up going back to my big dress loafers.

I had seen these things called FiveFingers online, and they really appealed to me. I spent a lot of time trying to avoid wearing shoes. Mostly because shoes tend to increase my pain. I really thought they would be cool to try out. I did not want to order any online without first getting sized. I was not really aware of the fact that you could buy them at a retail store. I did some searching online and went to born to run in Bellevue. They did a fantastic job of sizing me into my first pair of FiveFingers. They were a pair of Bikila LS in green/grey.

The instant I walked out of the store with them on my feet, I knew I had found something I liked. I found they helped reduce my back pain while standing. It was no miracle cure, but I did notice an improvement in my ability to stand in one place for extended periods of time. I am now able to stand in one place for around 30 minutes before I would I start feeling back pain agin.

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Olympic-Themed FiveFingers Classics

Denmark flag-styled Olympic Classic FiveFingers ... coming sometime summer 2012?
Denmark flag-styled Olympic Classic FiveFingers ... coming sometime summer 2012?

If there's one FiveFingers model that garners more of a following all others, it'd have to be the Classic. It's my all-time personal favorite style of Vibrams and I'm not alone: just take this fan's 20+ pairs for reference.

Unfortunately though, it seems that the Classic doesn't tend to get the most attention from the FiveFingers community at large — or perhaps newcomers to toe shoes who are wooed into picking up a "fancier" pair of toe shoes like the SeeYa, Spyridon LS, KomodoSport LS, or Bikila LS (among many others). I don't blame them: if you're new to the concept of a five-toed shoe, you're likely going to drop that $75-$100 on a model you feel like will cover as many bases as possible — and one with perhaps a little more conventional look (some shy away from the Classic's open-topped design for aesthetic reasons).

The result of all of this is that the Classic model is getting a bit ignored by consumers, which drives us crazy Classic fans a little batty. More to the point, it means that colorways in Classics, particularly in the United States, have been cut back to flat black, which is most unfortunate, as the black colorway is probaby the uber-Classic fan's least favorite. Sigh. Just a couple weeks back I scratched my Classics' itch by grabbing a couple rare pairs via the aforemented uber-fan from the Netherlands who helped me complete the transaction.

Thankfully, I can only assume some folks in Italy love this original model, too, because Vibram (at least in Europe) looks to be planning an Olympic-timed release of some very fun and cool Classic FiveFingers.

Case in point, the above pictured Denmark-flag styled Classics! What's going on here? Well, we're only able to just start piecing the information together, but it appears that Vibram will be producing some limited-number FiveFingers Classics styled in various flags from around the world! Which ones? Well, that's unclear at this point.

What we know to date is that Denmark is definitely "in" (as exemplified by the already existing model as shared by a certain Facebook page) and it seems like the United Kingdom is going to get a pair, too. Check it out (after the jump)!

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BodyGlove 3T Barefoot (3-Toed Shoes) Review

BodyGlove 3T Barefoot (3-Toed Shoes) Review

The BodyGlove 3T Barefoot "three toe" shoes first crossed my path back in mid-February. It wasn't long before I got an email from BodyGlove wondering if I'd like to try out their first product geared towards the water-loving barefooter — after all, BodyGlove has a substantial history of making surf- and beach-related apparel. Really, given how often people think FiveFingers (or Sockwas) are watershoes and/or the early attempts to find a cheap minimalist shoe by turning to aqua shoes from Walmart, in a way BodyGlove is just closing the loop with the 3T Barefoot.

And less you think your eyes are deceiving you, rest assured that they're not: the "3T Barefoot" only has three toe pockets, granting the smallest three toes a single pocket and the biggest two toes a pocket a piece.

Meanwhile, as I live in Atlanta and don't make a regular practice of watersports (sadly), BodyGlove sent me the 3T with the express understanding that I'd just be evaluating them as a minimalist (toed) shoe.

And so I've gotten acquainted with these three toed shoes. They're a bit unusual, but perhaps worth your consideration. Let's go!

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Vibram, FiveFingers U.S. Store Grand Opening

The view from the front of the first Vibram retail store in the United States-located on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
The view from the front of the first Vibram retail store in the United States-located on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts.

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, Vibram opened it's flagship retail store (The first in the United States) on 292 Newbury Street in Boston. We covered the official press release here a couple weeks back. Vibram USA blew me away by offering to get me to Boston (last minute!) to enjoy the opening ceremonies, so let me start this by saying, "Thanks!"

What follows is a pretty exhaustive round-up of the flagship Vibram (FiveFingers) retail store. I've got an absurd amount of photos plus a little video tour to share, since I'm sure you're all wondering it'd be like to take a toe shod pilgrimage. Let's get to it!

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Running My First Half-Marathon

Jay crosses the finish line in the Corvallis Half Marathon - on the Oregon State football field in 2:07 sporting some hornet-colored Dash Soft Start RunAmocs.
Jay crosses the finish line in the Corvallis Half Marathon - on the Oregon State football field in 2:07 sporting some hornet-colored Dash Soft Start RunAmocs.

Part 3 of My First Half-Marathon (Read Part 1: A Man Can Outrun a Horse in a Race | Read Part 2: The 53 x 400 Meter Non-Relay)

Jay's Corollary to Murphy's Law

We all know Murphy's Law. And it has several corollaries. I learned one during training for the Half. Call it Jay's Corollary: If you are going to experience some kind of injury or just some weird pain, it will happen half-way through your training run. If your plan is to run six miles, then the stabbing ankle pain will start stabbing at mile three. On your ten-mile run, the weird pinching pain in your hip will drop like a judge's gavel just before mile six.

Thus ensuring you have to make one of those lose-lose situations. You're as far from sanctuary as possible, so what do you do? Power through it — which means try and run though it looks like you have crab DNA taking over your body — the rest of the way home. Or stop and walk, which will turn your one-hour run before dinner into a three-hour ordeal, with plenty of time to think all sorts of negative thoughts as you limp home. I suppose you could call a loved one or a friend. If you're a coward, I mean.

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