Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

Hiking Despite Osteoarthritis in Barefoot Shoes

I recently got the above photo from Ron. Ron is a 60+ guy who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in one knee—after some 32 years of running.

What follows is his story about what the doc's had to say about how he should handle the news, and as you might guess, some FiveFingers came into the picture:

I call this my victory photo.

Last year, at age 60, and after 32 years of running, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the left knee. It hurt to walk, let alone, run. My general practitioner doctor suggested minimalist footwear as part of a program that included stretching and strengthening. [Meanwhile, both the] knee specialist and the physical therapist said to back off and use orthotics.

I took my general practitioner's advice.

Well, here I am a year later, relaxing at over 14,000 feet on the top of Mount Bierstadt in the Rocky Mountains. This was just one of several hikes I took during a 6-day vacation. I totalled nearly 35 miles of hiking and every step in my Vibram KSO Treks.

I proved to myself that I wasn't too old to make such a big change after 32 years of walking and running in the most expensive and most cushioned shoes. Of course, I still have osteoarthritis in the knee, but I am back at it, thanks to the therapeutic value stretching, strengthening, and minimalist footwear.

(I go barefoot alot, too!)

Ron A.

Fantastic to hear, Ron! And kudos for following your intuition and having success despite adverse conditions.

Hope you have many more successful hikes!

A Five Fingers Christmas

Molly's  Christmas Tree
Molly's Christmas Tree
VFF Collection
VFF Collection

Molly sent us the pics above and the following note about their Five Fingers Christmas:

It's Christmas in our house and what better time to celebrate Vibram Five Fingers. This is our collection of VFF, mostly obtained throughout 2010. Between the two of us, we have 15 pairs (Classics not shown, sorry!). We swear by Five Fingers and have spread the joy to family and friends all year. Here's to a Barefoot 2011!

Thanks Molly! Nice collection.

We wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all Birthday Shoes readers out there!! Thanks for your support and have a great 2011!

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!