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!

New Balance MT101 Review

New Balance MT101 Review

An uptight yuppie of the 1980s, I always envied the laid back hippie lifestyle, but the closest I ever got to living it was an occasional trip to Whole Foods. Lately though, bored with running through the concrete jungle, I heard the call of nature and got into trail running. I first started trail running in the Five Finger Trek Sports but the material on my Five Fingers Trek Sports ripped along the toe, I decided to return them for a refund and search out other options. My inner hippie was an easy target for the New Balance MT101 trail shoe, designed with the help of ultra marathoner Anton Krupicka. So, I ordered a pair.

The MT101 is an updated version of the popular MT100. All of the changes were made to the upper and involve updated styling and function. Justin looked at my pics and said they reminded him of a bug. Well, what is more natural than bugs? The styling changes hit the sweet spot for me and I really enjoy wearing them casually. While the comfortable green mesh upper is at home on desert and mountain trails, its styling would also be welcome at any sit-in, vegan pot luck dinner, or Greatful Dead concert. Though not seen while wearing the MT101, I really dig the paisley pattern on the insole.

But what kind of trail shoe is it? And why is a shoe like this up for consideration in the minimalist running community? Find out after the jump.

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Dentists, Harleys and Vibram Five Fingers

Joy at the Hi-Tec Dental Rally.
Joy at the Hi-Tec Dental Rally.

Joy wore her Vibram Five Fingers to a rather unique Dental Convention and sent us her story:

Recently, our dental laboratory, Dental South, traveled to Knoxville, TN for the 3rd annual Hi-Tec Dental Rally that takes place at Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson. This story is a bit different than your normal VFF story considering I was surrounded by mostly bikers, I was able to walk around both in my Classics and my Bikilas with no problems - all of my fellow bikers thought they were the coolest things they had ever seen! I went to concerts, and trekked all across the 8 acre Harley Davidson shop with lots of stares and inquiries, then hopped on for a ride! Several folks were eager to try them before we packed up and came home... and it was great being known as "the girl with the toe shoes"!

Thanks, Joy! Cool conference. We can always hope for steel toed Five Fingers!

Backpacking with Vibram Five Fingers Flow Treks

Richard Relaxing
Richard Relaxing

Guest post by Richard Mandelbaum

I recently used my Vibram Five Fingers for an overnight backpacking trip and thought I would write up a little review of my experience for those of you who might be considering using your VFFs that way. There have been several hiking reviews recently on this site, all of which I read and appreciate, and hope to add to that with some detail of what worked for me, some limitations, and some of my thoughts.

Read Richard's review after the jump!

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Transatlantic Cruising Five Fingers Style

Bill jogging
Bill jogging on the Promenade deck.

Bill decided to get a little marathon training in wearing his Vibram Five Fingers KSOs while cruising the Atlantic. Here's what he shared with us:

I thought I would share some pictures my wife took of me in my KSOs on our cruise on the Norwegian Sun from Dover, England to Port Canaveral, Florida from 10/4 -10/16/2010. The pictures were taken on 10/9, which would have been near the Canary Islands. I am a 69 year old runner from Folsom, California training for this year's California International Marathon. I bought my KSOs about three months ago and more recently got a pair of Bikilas. I am gradually increasing my mileage up to five miles, but I still do my long runs in Nike Free 5.0 and Free Run Plus. The pictures were taken on the Promenade Deck, which wraps around the ship and has designated walking and jogging lanes. Over the years I have gradually transitioned from Nike Air Pegasus (which are really strange now) to lighter shoes with less support, Nike Free and now Five Fingers. The biggest change for me is fewer niggling injuries. Two years ago, an MRI showed I had a torn meniscus cartilage on my left knee and I was scheduled for surgery. By the time of the surgery, I felt my knee had healed and cancelled. The problem reoccurred a year ago and once again I cancelled surgery the day before. Best decision I ever made and I have been injury free and able to step up to marathon training for the past 6 months. I believe it all has to do with going to less supportive shoes, more upper leg and calf strength training, and my Yoga practice. Perhaps, next year I will be running my first marathon in the 70 - 75 age group in Five Fingers.

Bill

Thanks for sharing your story Bill! Good luck on staying injury free. Hopefully, the minimal running shoes will help.

Philippines Vibram Five Fingers Fan Club

Philippines Vibram Five Fingers Fan Club
Philippines Vibram Five Fingers Fan Club

JB, from the Minila, sent us an update on the Philippines Five Fingers running club that has grown quickly over the last year as Vibrams have become more readily available there. Here is what he shared with us:

Hi I'm JB! I'm from Manila, Philippines. I've been following this site ever since I started using Vibram Five Fingers last year. I have about 6 pairs now. I just bought the Sport Treks and I'm eagerly waiting for the 2011 VFFs to arrive!

I wrote so I could share the local Vibram Five Fingers scene here in my country. Last September 5, some 30+ VFFers from here came together at one of the favorite running spots in the city to have a get-together morning run and to mingle and share experiences and stories about our VFFs. Just last year Five Fingers were a very rare thing around here, with one or two other people I found having them; and we had to buy them over there in the US. Early this year as we found one another, we started runs together. Last April 2010 there were only 3 of us on our first run, the second one in July we were about 10 runners, and this September there were more than 30 of us! A local store that carries Vibram Five Fingers opened this year which helped tremendously to spread the word on the shoes. :) With our growth in numbers, it's pretty evident that a lot of people are learning about the benefits of running in Five Fingers, or even just wearing them casually.

A shout out from Pinoy VFFers! We'll chime back soon :)

Thanks, JB, that is a cool pic! Please keep us up to date on the group.

Orlando Area Barefoot Run to Benefit Cancer Center

Orlando Area Barefoot Run to Benefit Cancer Center

Top Online Retailer of Vibram Five Fingers, TravelCountry.com, will be sponsoring the first annual TravelCountry.com Barefoot Fun Run in Altamonte Springs, FL. It will take place on Saturday, November 13, 2010, at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, FL. The proceeds from the event will be going to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, Florida.

You can sign up for the race at www.barefootfunrun.com.

Click here (PDF) to read the press release about the event.