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!

Trek LS Vibram FiveFingers Review

The Fall 2011 Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, all-leather Vibram toe shoes for everyday wear (though you could certainly do an impromptu sprint, dead lift, or tree climb in them if need presents itself!).
The Fall 2011 Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, all-leather Vibram toe shoes for everyday wear (though you could certainly do an impromptu sprint, dead lift, or tree climb in them if need presents itself!).

For Fall 2011 comes the all leather Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS, a five toed shoe for men that pushes footwear trends to new levels of insanity: toe shoes for everyday wear? Wearing FiveFingers in a business casual setting? Five toed shoes as fashion-forward footwear? Toe shoes for the modern man?

What is the world coming to? Has Vibram gone mad?

**ALERT August 18, 2011** The Fivefingers Trek LS is now Available for Purchase!

Before I dive in, here is the typically perfunctory, official word on the Trek LS from Vibram's Fall 2011 catalog:

By popular demand, Vibram introduces it's first casual/comfort shoe for men with a distressed kangaroo leather upper and a casual tie lacing system. The Trek LS features the popular 4mm, lightly cleated, Trek outsole and a 4mm EVA midsole for additional comfort.

Illuminating, no? Allow me to elaborate on this description. I've been testing the Trek LS FiveFingers now for a few months and what follows are my thoughts — as well as a slew of photos — all after the jump!

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Vibram (FiveFingers) Sues Fila (Skele-Toes) for Patent Infringement

Vibram (left), the originator of the FiveFingers toe shoes, has filed suit against Fila Skele-toes (right), a maker of a four-toed varietal of toe shoes that hit the market in Spring 2011.
Vibram (left), the originator of the FiveFingers toe shoes, filed suit against Fila Skele-toes (right), a maker of a four-toed varietal of toe shoes that hit the market in Spring 2011.

BREAKING NEWS! I've just gotten wind of a press release that is going out today from Vibram — Vibram has filed suit against Fila for patent infringement. In a nutshell, it seems Vibram, the originator of toe shoes with the FiveFingers brand, believes Fila has infringed on it's intellectual property rights by creating the "Skele-toes" shoes, which have been prevalently marketed in the United States over the past few months. Here's the press release, emphasis mine:

VIBRAM SUES FILA USA FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT

CONCORD, MA, JULY 18, 2011 - Vibram S.p.A., of Italy, today announced that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vibram USA Inc. have commenced legal action in the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts against Fila USA, Inc. for patent infringement. The patents involved cover footwear having individually articuable toe portions, as embodied in Vibram's enormously successful FiveFingers® branded footwear that has helped to pioneer minimalist footwear, the barefoot running trend, and its inherent benefits.

The complaint alleges Fila USA, Inc.'s (“Fila”) "Skeletoes" footwear is infringing several U.S. Patents held by Vibram. The FiveFingers Patents cover a variety of footwear designs comprising individual toe pockets.

“Before Vibram FiveFingers were introduced, there was no minimalist footwear constructed with individual toe pockets that encouraged natural, barefoot movement, while at the same time providing enhanced grip and protection. Vibram pioneered the minimalist footwear category,” said Tony Post, Vibram USA's President. "Vibram launched the concept in 2005, and public reception has grown tremendously since, now the entire footwear industry has responded by entering the minimalist category. In fact, Vibram has even partnered with Merrell and New Balance to create minimal/barefoot like sole platforms that are complementary to our Vibram FiveFingers."

Post added, “Vibram innovated the technology and earned the patents. With our success, copyists and counterfeiters have come out of the woodwork. We will continue to take aggressive action against all who infringe our intellectual property. These infringements are not only damaging to Vibram, they also hurt our retail partners and the public trust. Vibram will work diligently to bring such action to a stop.”

Vibram® is recognized worldwide as the leader in high performance soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’ s greatest climbers and athletes. Time magazine named Vibram FiveFingers one of the best inventions of 2007 in the category of health. Vibram® soles have set the standard since Vitale Bramani created mountaineering’s first rubber lugged sole in the late 1930’s. Vibram® soles have gone on to conquer Mt. Everest, K2 and a host of the world’s tallest peaks. Today, the company works with premium brands including Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Merrell, Red Wing, Scarpa, The North Face, Timberland, Vasque, Wolverine and many more. For further information please visit www.vibram.com or www.vibramfivefingers.com.
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Justin here: Yowza! I'm not sure what to make of this and no, I don't have any of the details surrounding which patents in particular Vibram has that Fila has allegedly infringed. What we have here is a clash of the "toetans" — couldn't help myself. In all seriousness, Vibram has had an insane problem with counterfeit FiveFingers coming out of China (my list of fake FiveFingers retailers is something like 500 websites long!). That said, are the Fila Skele-Toes violating Vibram's intellectual property rights?

@bdayshoes And so, it begins. My boys and I noticed this on t... on TwitpicWe've reviewed the original Fila Skele-Toes here and the Skele-toes 2.0 here. Anecdotally speaking, I can recant countless friends and family members telling me, "Oh I saw your shoes on a billboard on the highway [here in Atlanta]," leaving me correcting them that, "No those are the Fila Skele-toes — they're a good bit different than FiveFingers." That said, confusion over toe shoes probably isn't grounds for lawsuit (Legal Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer!).

I believe Skele-toes are pretty markedly different than FiveFingers — they are stiffer soled, have four toe pockets instead of five, and have an overall feel that isn't very comfortable to me — relative to the comfort of any pair of Vibram FiveFingers. Of course, I chalked the problems with Fila's introductory toe shoes product up to lack of experience and refinement.

All of that is moot, of course, when it comes to how a court will rule on intellectual property rights.

And what say you? Since we can all play armchair lawyer here, do you think Fila has infringed on Vibram's rights? One thing is for sure, Vibram was not kidding when they published this ad back in 2010 in Footwear Plus magazine:

The back of Footwear Plus magazine, Vibram has a special message "to anyone thinking about infringing on any of our 200+ patents and trademarks."
The back of Footwear Plus magazine, Vibram has a special message "to anyone thinking about infringing on any of our 200+ patents and trademarks."

What say you? Let's hear it!

Huaraches - Review of the Original Minimalist/Barefoot Sandals

This photo was taken after my first run in my first pair of huaraches made from an Xero Shoes kit.
This photo was taken after my first run in my first pair of huaraches made from an Xero Shoes kit.

Vibram FiveFingers opened my eyes to minimalist shoe running and ever since, I've been on a quest to find the best balance of lightweight protection and comfort without sacrificing flexibility and ground feel. After VFFs, my next stop was at Xero Shoes where I purchased a kit to make my first pair of huaraches, running sandals worn by Tarahumara and featured in Born to Run. From there I began to experiment with different lacing materials, soles, and tying methods. Now, I maintain a huarache kit with all of the essentials needed to whip up a pair in a moment's notice.

This article will provide an introduction to huaraches to help get you started along with some tips I've picked up after making a few dozen for myself, family, and friends.

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KomodoSport LS Vibram FiveFingers Review

The Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS (laces!) - new toe shoes from Vibram for Fall 2011
The Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS (laces!) - new toe shoes from Vibram for Fall 2011

Note: Available now! Also, see the women's KomodoSport LS FiveFingers Review!

I've been testing out a sneak-peak, pre-mass-production version of the upcoming, yet-to-be released KomodoSport LS Vibram FiveFingers. In a nutshell, the KomodoSport takes the speed-lacing system of the Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS, which was released earlier this year, and the sole structure and design of the KomodoSport Vibram FiveFingers, which were also released earlier this year. I know at least a few Vibram fans prefer their KomodoSports to their KSOs.

How does this feature mash-up function? Well, if you like a laced upper and the KomodoSport-style sole, it almost goes without saying that these puppies are for you. I have been finding them exceedingly comfortable (particularly in the "forget you're wearing them"/"forget to take them off around the house" departments). What follows is my run-down and review of the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport LS. Though they aren't out yet, they'll be out soon enough (looking like August 2011).

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KSO Kids FiveFingers for Running a Kids Marathon

Skye, a 7-year-old girl in Germany, running her first Kids Marathon in her KSO Kids FiveFingers.  Looks like she's having a great time!
Skye, a 7-year-old girl in Germany, running her first Kids Marathon in her KSO Kids FiveFingers. Looks like she's having a great time!

How cool is this girl? She recently ran a race in Germany sporting KSO Kids Vibram Five Fingers! Check it out:

This is Skye she is 7 years old. She recently got her first pair of kid KSO vibrams. The picture of her is running her very first America Kids Run marathon in Ramstein, Germany. She enjoys hiking, running, and playing hard in her vibrams. In fact she even tried to wear them to ballet class :)

Apparently, prior to picking up her Kids KSOs, Skye was running in New Balances. In her mom Toni's words, Skye "really loves the vibrams." And just in case you're wondering, the "Kids Run marathon" isn't 26.2 miles. These races start at a half mile and go up to a 5K. Skye ran the mile this year and will get to run two miles next year.

I asked Toni to share a bit more about how Skye and the family got into toe shoes and what she's been doing in them since the race. Here's what she had to say:

My husband is stationed in Germany he bought a pair of 5 finger speeds about a year ago, he swore that these were the best shoes he had ever owned. He put them to the test by running a relay marathon in Bahrain. When he saw that they were going to make them in kids sizes he jumped on the opportunity to get our daughter a pair. When we heard that they were hosting America Kids Run which is a tribute to children of military families Skye decided that she wanted to run in it and run with her Vibrams. She began training by running with our small dog Paris which is perfect size for her. She ran the America Kids Run Run on May 21st in Ramstein Germany and join with military bases all around the world who were running. She is planning on running in American Kids Run again next year and will run for breast cancer awareness in October.

After running the in the American Kids Run she has become addicted to her Vibrams. She wears them everywhere! She even tried to wear them to ballet. She loves that they can be thrown in the washing machine. Skye loves to hike in her vibrams. She says that she climbs better and run faster in them. As a parent I was impressed that after a couple hours of wearing them they had molded to her feet and she was able to get them on by herself with ease. These shoes are great because they are so durable. So glad that vibrams could make her first run a success.

THIS FAMILY LOVES VIBRAMS!!!!!!!!

This kinda thing gets me really excited about VFFs — it's awesome that kids have a choice in footwear that is not only fun to wear, but incredibly functional.

Now if only they were cheaper!

Thanks for sharing Toni and good luck on your future running, dancing, and play, Skye!

Teva Nilch Review (Barefoot/Minimalist Shoes)

The Teva Nilch is a recently released thin-soled (6mm) "water booty" from Teva.  Will it work as a barefoot/minimalist shoe?
The Teva Nilch is a recently released thin-soled (6mm) "water booty" from Teva. Will it work as a barefoot/minimalist shoe?

When I first saw the Teva Nilch on the Teva website I immediately thought of Terra Plana’s VivoBarefoot line and Justin's review of the NB MINIMUS Life. Though the Nilch are sold as "water booties" these looked simple and nice enough to pass as a nice casual shoe with a pair of jeans. They jumped right to the top of on my To-Buy list. Fortunately, thanks to a little help from KayakShed, I was able to try a pair (as well as a pair of the Teva Zilch which James reviewed recently).

Does the Teva Nilch stack up to those other guys in terms of quality and comfort? Would it be fair to call the Nilch a "barefoot" shoe? Follow me after the jump to find out.

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