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.

  • minimalist sandals!

    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

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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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!