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!

Saucony Hattori Review

Saucony Hattori Review
Saucony Hattori minimalist running shoe.

Saucony Hattori

The Saucony Hattori is a very minimalist running shoe released in mid-May 2011 (Available for purchase now — see, for example, Road Runner Sports) expected to be available from Saucony on May 15th. Other retailers may have them as soon as May 1st. Saucony sent us a pre-release pair of the Hattoris to test, so I did a 4 mile run in the them, then spent a full day knocking around in them.

See more pics, my observations and impressions about the fit of the shoes, ground feel, etc., and a preview video after the jump!

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Reebok RealFlex Natural Running? A "Barefoot" Running Shoe?

A collage of the Reebok Realflex marketing blast.
A collage of the Reebok Realflex marketing blast. Note the runners running on natural surfaces in a shoe that is supposed to protect against man-made surfaces. Makes sense, no?

Update 5.15.2011 (see below)

Reebok has officially joined the bandwagon of barefoot running "or natural running." That may be understating the significance of this event—Reebok has not just created a "natural running" shoe. No, no, they have perfected natural movement.

The Reebok Realflex is a new* shoe design intended to allow a foot to flex naturally but with ... wait for it ... protection! Apologies for my sarcastic tone, it's just a bit mind-numbing to read how the company that brought us the EasyTone can lay claim to perfecting nature. Perfection and protection — enter the Reebok Realflex.

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Chris McDougall's Naked Book Tour (Born to Run)

Chris McDougall's Naked Book Tour (Born to Run)

Author Christopher McDougall is beginning a cross-country "Naked Tour" to coincide with the paperback release of his blockbuster book Born to Run.

The "Naked Tour" will include barefoot runs, demos and "cabarets". These part seminar/part show cabarets will feature an impressive group of luminaries from the barefoot running community and of course give folks an opportunity to pick up copies of the best-selling book Born to Run. Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Scott Jurek, Lee Saxby and Luis “El Coyote” Escobar are just a few of the folks participating.

We're huge fans of Chris McDougall and if you're not already plugged into his blog, you should check it out. If you're lucky enough to be within shouting distance of one of his naked tour events, definitely plug in and check it out!

Naked Tour Schedule

(Click for details at each location.)

Check out the Naked Tour page for new events and additional info.

And the Winner Is!

Congratulations to Chargrill for tweeting this post before the deadline. He is the winner of a signed copy of Born to Run, a Naked Tour t-shirt and stick on tattoo all compliments of "El Oso".

A Vibram FiveFingers and Barefoot Wedding

Gidds and her husband
Gidds and her husband at their wedding.

Gidds sent us the following story about going barefoot at her wedding with the groom wearing Vibram Five Fingersblack KSOs, of course.

I started wearing VFFs last year around Memorial Day because I have a lot of foot problems but I strive to have an active outdoor lifestyle. My husband and I live on the Florida Panhandle and enjoy many outdoor activities from hiking to kayaking and SCUBA diving. I have an aqua pair of KSOs and I bought him a black pair of KSOs as a surprise last summer. He wasn't sure he wanted them at first but now he wears them constantly when he isn't working. He wore his because we don't take anything too seriously and like to have fun and be outdoors, so it was fitting for our wedding day. Plus they matched his suit. I chose to go barefoot for part of our wedding, which was on the edge of one of Florida's many freshwater springs, because aqua KSOs just didn't go with my dress. I did wear them for most of the honeymoon though.

Ha! Pretty cool. Thanks Gidds!