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!

Vibram Five Fingers for Winter: Review of the Cortina

Dirk in his Cortinas.
Dirk in his Cortinas.

Perhaps you have followed Dirk Verelst on the BirthdayShoes forum or read his previous blog post on Denim Classics in the Vibram Five Fingers 2010 European Line-up. Dirk is very knowledgeable about all things Vibram and quite a collector of unique Five Fingers. He recently scored an obscure pair of Vibram Five Fingers Cortinas, a funky boot-like winter shoe that never made it into production. He sent us pictures and the write-up that follows.

Guest Post by Dirk Verelst

As winter is upon us, many people find themselves being forced to return to regular shoes. Save a few exceptional people perhaps, no one's toes/feet can stand prolonged exposure to cold, snow and/or melting-water when wearing Vibram Five Fingers. Faced with this problem, I sought out an obscure, likely never produced (on any scale) pair of boot-like Vibram Five Fingers that might better be described as "bear paws" — the elusive sasquatch of toe shoes, the Vibram Five Fingers Cortina!

Read the rest of this post »

Doctor Volunteers to Help Others See

Dr. Srun in his Camo KSOs
Dr. Thomas Srun treats patients on his recent mission trip to India.

In this season of giving we are excited to share the inspiring story of Optometrist Dr. Thomas Srun. He volunteers his time to do mission work all over the world. His efforts help the blind see and help others see better. Oh, he is also a Vibram Five Fingers fan! Here is what he shared with us about one of his recent missions to India:

I work as an optometrist in DC and Maryland. I was selected to be one of the Optometrist to go on this mission trip in India to perform eye exams and to dispense glasses. We saw close to 10,000 patients in a matter of 8 clinic days. Part of our clinic was outdoors. Some days just seemed like it would never stop raining, but the clinic had to go on! Since I was in my Vibram KSOs, I always volunteered to be outdoors as it was easier for me to slush around in puddles of muddy water as I checked people's eyes. I'll definitely be bringing these on my next eye clinic in Jamaica in January and back to India in March!

Thanks!
Dr. Thomas Srun

What an amazing man! If you would like to help Dr. Srun support this great cause, go to his website and make a donation to the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity of Pennsylvania (VOSH/PA) and help deliver site saving surgery around the world.

Stem Footwear Barefoot Shoes

Stem Footwear Barefoot Shoes
Stem Footwear 2011 Outdoor Retailer Show Flyer

STEM Footwear has put out preview of their new line of minimal footwear to be available Fall 2011. Here is what Andrew Rademacher, STEM Footwear Inc., President of Sales had to say about STEM's new shoes:

I'm excited to announce that STEM Footwear will be UNVEILING our 2011 Origins Shoe Line in Jan. 20-23 at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, UT. Our shoes have secretly been under prototype development and testing for the last 6 months, now we are ready to REVEAL the final product in January. Check out our recently updated website to catch a sneak preview: www.stemfootwear.com

STEM Footwear uses Primitive Performance Technology using the lastest in high tech materials in a "back-to-the-basics" way. Our secret sole material allows you to naturally feel the ground as nature intended. If you'd like to find out more about our shoes, follow us on facebook and twitter. Also you can pre-order your own pair now at www.stemfootwear.com/shop.html

Thanks to everyone who has helped us create such a great response for STEM Footwear.

Check out their website and tell us what you think!

Vibram Five Fingers Sole Repair Using Shoe Goo

Guest post by Chad

It was an unhappy day when I threw out my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSO shoes. I had gotten them for Christmas in 2008 and they served me faithfully throughout many miles of running in 2009, including the Hatfield & McCoy Marathon. By fall the soles had gotten thin to the point where a hole developed in the left one. I tried patching it with a bicycle tube repair kit, but that fell off after only a few miles of running.

Chad's worn KSOs with a hole that needs to be filled in.

When my next pair of KSOs showed signs of wearing out I resolved to come up with a solution. While wandering through a local sporting goods store I picked up a tube of Shoe Goo adhesive. I had used Shoe Goo many years ago, when I played high school tennis to keep my shoes in usable condition.

The Process

It turns out that Shoe Goo works terrifically well in rebuilding the thin spots of Five Fingers' soles. Application is as easy as spreading peanut butter onto a slice of bread.

  1. Read the directions. Clean the area before applying.

  2. Use a coffee stirrer or tongue depressor to spread the Shoe Goo.

  3. Apply over the area in a medium thickness.

If you want to apply an additional layer, wait a couple of hours or more then apply as before. The manufacturer’s website says to allow 24 to 72 hours to cure completely, but I’ve found that overnight will suffice.

I’m happy that I’ve found an inexpensive way to extend the life of my KSOs and will use Shoe Goo on my other Fivefinger models, including my Classics, KSO Treks, and Flows.

About the Author —

Chad is a long time contributor to BirthdayShoes.com. Here are some of his previous posts:

Thanks for the "How To" Chad!

Vibram Five Fingers Help with Plantar Fasciitis

Vibram Five Fingers Help with Plantar Fasciitis
John running in a local Turkey Trot and trail running in the Coronado Mtns, AZ.

John sent us the following story about how Vibram Five Fingers have helped him solve his plantar fasciitis problems:

Listen up kiddos. I have major feet problems, plantar fasciitis and the Army gave me inserts, which gave me stress fractures. Told me I was limited to 1/2 mile runs. You never know how much you miss running till you can't do it any longer.

A good friend and workout buddy had some Sprints on, and yeah I made fun of him. He told me to check them out, so I went on the web and hit up this site along with reading the pros and cons of barefoot running techniques. Started with the Classics, broke my feet in slowly, worked my way up to a pair of Treks, did some trail running in them out in AZ up in the mountains (Coronado), and felt like a kid again. Had to not really teach myself how to run, but to remind my body and feet to do forefoot strikes. Came back home and went crazy and bought the Bikilas and Sports.

I was having to do a walking PT test, and it sucked. Now that I am running again, I freakin' crushed the other guys in my unit out of no where on our last test. I do 8 miles about once a week and then do regular short runs of 3 miles about 3 days a week, and try to do a 5K every weekend. Get this, I've actually been placing in the top 3 sometimes and always the top 10 in my age group (40). This time last year I wasn't going more then 1 mile without pain. These shoes have made such a difference in my physical condition it's crazy.

John's hints for newbies:

  • read reviews
  • get one pair to work into and get your feet use to them slowly
  • get your second pair and rotate them out daily, I never wear regular shoes any longer except my work boots
  • get some foot powder/spray and powder your feet daily and spray the shoes
  • throw them in the washer every so often otherwise they will get funky, but don't machine dry them, hang them out
  • be prepared for questions from people you don't even know. If we all work together, this might just change the world!


I'm doing 5K races like crazy, starting to do 10Ks this month, and I feel like a teenager running from 5-10k in the Vibrams.

Much Love and Happiness
John

Thanks for the testimonial John! Sounds like you've had great results eliminating your plantar fasciitis pain and are running some really fast times.