The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

You're out on a run. Your nose is getting stuffy, so you lean to the side for a quick farmer's blow. It's cold out, but you didn't realize how cold until you go to wipe your nose with the back of your glove to clear off any additional moisture -- only to find that it's already frozen around the edge of your nostril in mere seconds.

Welcome to the inaugural Asheville Marathon, held on the grounds of the beautiful Biltmore estate. "Well," I thought dramatically at around mile 20, "At least I'll die somewhere majestic."

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Vibram Five Fingers to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

July 12, 2009
Chris says, "Here's a photo of me in the VFFs July 12, 2009 at Carolina Beach. It's a little frightening to look at even for me."

The BirthdayShoes.com forum is chock full of great information from the most passionate minimalist shoe fans around. Sometimes the stories are so compelling that they need to be published here on the main blog. Chris's story is one of those. He has been through quite a journey to lose weight and get in shape over the last few years and Vibram Five Fingers were a key component of his regimen.

Read Chris's story and see pics of him today after the jump!

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New Balance NB Minimus Life Give Away!

165 people entered the NB Minimus Life Giveaway!  Look at all those old shoes!
165 people entered the NB Minimus Life Giveaway! Look at all those old shoes!

The NB Minimus Life Winner is jracecar! (3/7/2011)

JRaceCar's caption - I admit that I was wrong about you, airshoes.
JRaceCar's caption - I admit that I was wrong about you, airshoes. [Editor's comment: note the razor blades and bubble wrap -- interesting photo and I think the NB Minimus Lifes are going to a deserving pair of feet!]

Jracecar or "Adam" had a bit more to say about his photo:

The photo came from me finding the worst example of a running shoe that I owned and attempting to indicate a break from that part of my life. I paint pictures on occasion, and when I do I often use razor blades to apply and remove paint. So that is oil paint on the blades I had leftover from a recent project. The bubble wrap is just something that was in the art space, and promised a much more relevant and interesting texture than the basement carpet that was the alternative.

Very cool, and congratulations Adam!

We received more than 165 submissions (though those received after the 165 came after the drawing cutoff time!). Each photo was submitted with a description or tag that describes the shoes being submitted. Some great, fascinating submissions below—which ones are your favorites? Vote by name in the comments and we'll elevate the best below. Here's one to kick it off:


Andrei

Lindsay
Todd

More Pics after the jump!

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New Balance NB Minimus Trail Photos and Video

The New Balance Minimus Trail in black (or very dark grey) and neon yellow.
The New Balance Minimus Trail in black (or very dark grey) and neon yellow.

We've reviewed the New Balance Minimus Trail already, but I got my feet into a pair of the dark grey (I might call them black) and neon yellow New Balance NB Minimus Trails recently and figured I'd do a little video overview and snap some photos to share with the site here for the benefit of those who don't have the ability to run over to a local store and check these puppies out.

So after the jump is a video and twenty-four photos of the New Balance NB Minimus Trail!

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Review Fila Skele-Toes - Four Toed Shoes

The Fila Skele-Toes - toe shoes with four toes!
The Fila Skele-Toes - toe shoes with four toes!

A few weeks back we took a sneak peak at a new brand of toe shoes—as in, not Vibram Five Fingersthey're the Fila "Skele-toes." Comet Shoes hooked me up with a pair to examine, review, and share with BirthdayShoes readers, and that's what I'll be doing today.

If you're new to the concept of "toe shoes", you might benefit from a brief history on their origins. Believe it or not, they got their start almost five years ago by an Italian company called Vibram — they produced the first five toe shoes called Vibram FiveFingers and have turned traditional footwear paradigms upside down — and it's not because shoes with toes are just eye-catchingly strange, either.

"What the heck are those?" may be a good question, but perhaps the better question is "Why toe shoes?" I've explained toe shoes here, but the Cliff's notes version is this: shoes that allow your feet to function naturally—as they would barefoot—when you do things like run, walk, work out, or play—are healthy.

The mainstream thick-heeled, heavily cushioned, arch-supporting sneakers we've come to accept as "normal" are more about marketing hype than actually supporting good foot health. You don't need them at all. Worse, it's possible they're hurting you more than helping by preventing your foot from moving naturally — and affecting your entire body's biomechanics in the process. If you don't believe me, BirthdayShoes.com has hundreds of user stories from people around the world doing everything from running marathons in toe shoes to hiking, traveling, skydiving, or powerlifting. Stick around because more than just a weird novelty in footwear, toe shoes are changing footwear.

The Fila Skele-toes are not actually five-toed shoes because the Skele-toes design gives the smallest two toes one pocket for ease of entry (the "EZ-Slide"). While the Skele-toes' "four" toe design is an obvious difference to Vibram Five Fingers, the Fila Skele-toes are also different than VFFs in other more subtle ways — all toe separation aside. Actually, Fila is marketing the Skele-toes more as a lifestyle shoe than a fitness shoe.

After the jump I'll talk more about the Skele-toes design, function, and differences to Vibrams (you can't help but compare) and wrap up with a little video review action.

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Review NB Minimus Life by New Balance

The New Balance NB Minimus Life (men's version)
Two shots of the New Balance NB Minimus Life barefoot shoes being released by New Balance for Spring 2011. These are meant for casual, everyday wear or light fitness (nearest I can tell).

For Spring 2011, in addition to the NB Minimus Road and the NB Minimus Trail, New Balance is releasing a third minimalist shoe geared towards casual, everyday use with perhaps a bit of fitness (e.g. weight lifting, perhaps) functionality to boot — this third offering in the New Balance's minimalist footwear line is called the New Balance NB Minimus Life (originally the "Wellness").

I've been wearing a pair of the NB Minimus Life shoes almost exclusively since I got them about a week ago.* I'd say this was for testing purposes only (Disclaimer: New Balance sent me these to test), but truth is, I just really like these shoes. They are super comfortable, extremely easy to put on (they lack true laces), have very little sole to speak of (though the sole they have is soft/cushy and there is a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm. More on this later.), no arch support, and they have a good-sized toe box. Plus, they just look really good to me. I've worn them with shorts, jeans, workout clothes, and even khakis. For a sneaker, they're plenty versatile, and though I've only "run" to the car or back and forth here and there in them, I'd imagine you could run in them if you were so inclined even as that's not what they're expressly designed for.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to dive into some details with photos, video, and more after the jump.

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