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!

  • minimalist sandals!

    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Army Says No to Toe Shoes

Army Says No to Toe Shoes

The U.S. Army has officially, unequivocally banned the use of toe shoes. Read the relevant part of the ALARACT and weep: "Only those shoes that accomodate all five toes in one compartment are authorized for wear. Those shoes that feature five separate, individual compartments for the toes, detract from a professional military image and are prohibited for wear with the IPFU [Improved Physical Fitness Uniform] or when conducting physical training in military formation."

We had posted before about the Army banning Vibram FiveFingers but there was some debate (nearly 100 comments on that post) about the veracity of our report. Hard to argue with this release as it makes the Army's thoughts on minimalist running shoes pretty clear — there can be only one compartment to rule them all*.

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Breaking In a Pair of Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Breaking In a Pair of Vibram FiveFingers Classics

New Vibram fan Katie wrote in the following about her recent discovery of FiveFingers Classics:

While still deciding whether or not to buy some VFFs, I browsed the web extensively, finding mostly running and hiking stories. I was looking for an example of Vibrams being great shoes for every day use, since I myself am not a runner, hiker, jogger, etc. I found enough on birthdayshoes.com to convince myself that a pair of Vibrams would be perfectly fine to have for mostly casual use. I bought my Classics (and my husband a pair of KSOs) in late May 2011, and I haven’t worn any other shoes since! I wear them to family cook outs, work, the grocery store, the mall, church—you get the picture. I have tried running in them, and I must say running is a much more enjoyable experience in Vibrams.

However, the first few days of wearing them were discouraging. My big toes were cramped and in pain, and the back of the heel (on the Classics) hurt me with every step I took. I would find myself not even moving in them and having to take them off because of the discomfort (I might have just gotten a size too small). I was so excited about them that I just couldn’t not wear them. I’m glad that I didn’t give up, because, as the clerk at the shoe store told me, they do loosen up with wear. It’s gotten much easier to move my toes around while wearing them, and now I can but them on as quickly as any other slip-on shoes. My heels rarely give me trouble anymore, and my left big toe only occasionally feels strange (remember, I haven’t been wearing these long). I feel very comfortable in them now, and plan on taking them to the beach and maybe walking the cobble stone streets of St. Augustine Florida this summer!

~Katie

P.S.: My husband loves his KSOs. They never gave him a bit of trouble.

Glad you stuck it out! I think Classics do seem to break in a bit after a few days of wear. One trick to speeding up the process is to invert the heel.

I hope you keep enjoying your new toe shoes, Katie! Certainly a good time to have a pair of open-topped Classics with the summer heating up!

Vivo Barefoot Achilles Review (Minimalist Sandals)

The Vivo Barefoot Achilles — a modern interpretation of huaraches minimalist running sandals.
The Vivo Barefoot Achilles — a modern interpretation of huaraches minimalist running sandals.

I have been running in homemade 4mm-thick soled huaraches for eight months now and enjoying them very much, but I'm always on the lookout for something even better (For example, check out my recent review of the Teva Zilch Minimalist Sandals). I was intrigued when I learned Vivo Barefoot would be releasing a modern interpretation of the huarache sandal. Can modern technology improve upon a time-tested classic, or will technology only hurt as it has in millions of other modern running shoes?

Read on to find out!

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FiveFingers for Dancing the Night Away at Senior Prom

Spencer and Jana show off their choice of Senior Prom footwear--toe shoes!
Spencer and Jana show off their choice of Senior Prom footwear--toe shoes!

Spencer writes in about his recent senior prom experience in Vibram FiveFingers!

Me and my Girlfriend's family all love FiveFingers! I have two pairs, Black KSO VFF's and Gray/green Bikila's. We wear them everyday!

This year for my senior prom at Grants Pass High School in Grants Pass Oregon. My Girlfriend and I decided to wear our VFF's (KSO's and Treksports)! We had a blast, answering people questions and dancing the night away in out Vibram's. Most people already know me at school as the "Toe Shoe guy". We are a walking commercial.

Everywhere I go (as you know) I get questions from A-Z about my shoes. Now I know of 5 people that have got them at our school after they saw mine! I have had nothing but good experiences in them! I run in them, hike in them, jet boat in them, and have even played my trumpet for thousands of people in them! Anyway I thought this was a cool unique way of showing our VFF support and wanted to share our story!

Way to both support your love of toe shoes and have comfortable feet in lieu of ramming those toes in patent leather shoes! Looking good you two — thanks for sharing!

Teva Zilch Barefoot/Minimalist Sandals

Teva Zilch Barefoot Minimalist Sandals - The design is cool, futuristic even
Teva Zilch Barefoot Minimalist Sandals - The design is cool, futuristic even

Before switching completely to minimalist footwear nearly a year ago and running daily in homemade 4mm-thick huaraches, I was a fan of Teva sandals. Now just the thought of stomping around in those thickly soled sandals makes my feet ache. Fortunately, Teva is coming around and meeting me somewhere in the middle with their release of the Teva Zilch sandals. While I love my huaraches, I'm still willing to experiment so I purchased a pair of Zilch sandals to see how they perform as running sandals.

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Vibram FiveFingers Speed For Sale in the U.S.!

From left to right, the Vibram FiveFingers Speed in white/blue (women's), teal/white (women's), and black/white (men's).
From left to right, the Vibram FiveFingers Speed in white/blue (women's), teal/white (women's), and black/white (men's).

The FiveFingers Speed is Available Now!

Hallelujah! It's finally here!

The Vibram FiveFingers Speed a.k.a. the retro-styled, laced-up, limited-release Vibram toe shoes are finally available for purchase in the United States!

CitySports has them here for $99.95 (with free shipping)!

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