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!

Gardening in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Jason Gardening in KSOs
Jason Gardening in his KSOs

Jason sent us the following message about his search for the perfect gardening shoe:

I've finally found the perfect gardening shoe! I am an avid gardener and have spent years trying to find a shoe that was able to meet the demands of gardening. I tried tennis shoes but they are just too hot and cumbersome. My flip flops are freeing but my toes get all dirty and they cut into my feet when squatting. I've experimented with Crocs, which had worked the best, but once they are wet they start squeaking and squawking and your foot starts slipping and sliding and are just no fun. Especially gardening where you are bound to get your feet wet more times than none. Then I discovered Vibram Five Fingers and it was a match made in heaven. I decided on the KSOs because I am gardening after all and keeping stuff out is important. They keep my feet clean and don't mind getting wet. I have even found that I'm not accidentally breaking plants when I'm walking in my garden beds because I can FEEL where I'm placing my feet. My Vibrams are invigorating and have actually enhanced my gardening experience. Vibram Five Fingers don't have to be just for running and hiking. They are a good fit for any activity.

Thanks,
Jason in Louisiana

Glad to see you have found a match with your black KSOs and thanks for the sending us your story.

New Balance Minimus Running Shoes Marketing Videos [breaking]

Screen captures of the New Balance Minimus Trail "barefoot running shoe" set to be released in 2011 by NB. The video these shots were pulled from features ultramarathoner Anton Krupicka.
Screen captures of the New Balance Minimus Trail "barefoot running shoe" set to be released in 2011 by NB. The video these shots were pulled from features ultramarathoner Anton Krupicka.

Two New Balance Minimus (available Spring 2011) marketing videos have appeared on youtube. The videos feature two versions of the upcoming, Vibram-soled "barefoot running shoes" from New Balance, the Minimus Trail and the Minimus Road.

The first video features ultramarathon runner Anton Krupicka talking about why he runs and why he likes a minimalist approach to running. As marketing videos go, it's a pleasure to watch — and we get some great sneak peaks at the upcoming Minimus Trail (We'd previously had to guess at what the New Balance Minimus Trail looked like!).

Here are the videos:

Read the rest of this post »

KSOs on Killer Hill!

Millikan at Morgan's Little Miami Triathlon
Millikan running up the final 50 yards of Killer Hill and other race pics.

Millikan recently wore his Vibram Five Fingers KSOs in the what is billed as the oldest triathlon in the continental United States. With two man teams and canoes it is certainly one of the most unique triathlons. Sounds like fun! Here is a description of the race from Millikan:

Here are a few photo's of me wearing VFF KSOs as I prepared for the start of Morgan's Little Miami Triathlon located at Fort Ancient State Park, Oregonia, Ohio in June, 2010. It is a two-person team race comprised of a 6 mile canoe, 5.5 mile run, and an 18 mile bike race with over 1,000 teams. Morgan's is the largest triathlon of it's type and the oldest triathlon in the continental United States being modeled one year after the first Iron Man Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii in 1979.

My six-month old KSOs performed flawlessly in the canoe then run segments. I wish I could have used them for the bicycle segment but I was forced to switch to my road bike shoes. A key race feature and KSO test was running up the half-mile Killer Hill from the river trail to the bike transition area with the final 50 yards on wooden steps as seen in the photo. I believe very few have ran the complete hill.

Other than the lightening and rain storm at the race start, it was a great event. I especially enjoyed the quick transition time that my VFFs allowed from the canoe to the run. No worrying about changing into running shoes or wearing plastic baggies over my shoes in the canoe.

Note: Fort Ancient State Park is beautiful and features 18,000 feet of earthen walls built 2,000 years ago by Native Americas as well as the famous serpent mounds.

Six miles of canoeing then Killer Hill sounds pretty killer! Thanks for sending us your story, Millikan.

Skydiving and Running in Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas

Jeremy Skydiving

Jeremy, sent us this cool pic of him skydiving in his Bikilas which he mostly uses for running. Here is what he had to say:

The jump was fun. I?ve done it a couple times in the past.

I?ve been running in Five Fingers for about a year now. Originally, I had a pair of KSO treks. Ran about 50 miles in them, then I left those out, and my golden retriever ate them. Then I got a pair of regular KSOs. I put 600 ? 700 miles on those before they started falling apart. I got the Bikilas the first day they came out, but haven?t run too far in them; the summer heat here in Houston kills me.

There two things I like better about the Bikilas are: 1.) They don?t give me blisters at the seams on long runs like the KSOs sometimes did. 2.) They seem to have a little better traction. The KSOs were easier to get on, seemed to breathe better, dry out faster, and felt a little better overall.

Jeremy

Thanks, Jeremy! Looks like there will be a dip in the temps this week in Houston. It may be time to take to the road in those Bikilas!

Choosing between Orthotics and Bikilas

Joe finishing in his Bikilas
Joe finishing in his Bikilas at North Olympic Discovery Half-Marathon

Joe, a Vibram Five Fingers fan, sent us his story of choosing barefoot running in Bikilas over orthotics. Although, we don't recommend going against a doctor's advice, the recent popularity of barefoot running has produced many differing opinions on what works. Here is what worked for Joe:

Last summer I made a decision to take the exact opposite of my doctor's advice. My podiatrist had recommended that I wear shoes with custom orthotics from dawn to dusk. There were just two problems: the first was that the orthotics didn't stand up to daily use plus soccer twice a week, and second my feet hurt worse with them. It got to the point that the only time my feet felt good was when I was walking barefoot around the house. So, I picked up a pair of KSO's and this spring I was able to start running again.

In June I ran the North Olympic Discovery Half-Marathon in Port Angeles, Washington wearing a pair of grey and red Bikila's I got from City Sports. Our local MLS team, the Seattle Sounders FC, won the night before so I decided to wear my Sounders jersey during the race. It proved to be an interesting expiriment... what would garner more comments? The V5F Bikilas or the Sounders jersey? Well, in the end they turned out to be pretty even, although the Bikilas started more conversations. Oh, and how was the race? Well the half-marathon course at the NODM runs through a wooded trail for the most part with the last five miles running next to Puget Sound. Its a beautiful place to go for a run, and I made it three minutes off of my personal best... which was a bit disapointing but it give me something to work towards next time.

Cheers,
Joe

Joe, glad to hear barefoot running in Vibram Five Fingers is working for you and thanks for the story.

Hiking the Sierra Nevada in KSO Treks

Ted and his KSO Treks
Ted on a hike wearing his KSO Treks.

Ted, a veteran hiker and Five Fingers fan, seems to have found relief from Morton's Neuroma by wearing KSO Treks while hiking and sent us his story:

Eleven years ago I became addicted to hiking the high mountains of Southern California and the Sierra Nevada. After a few weeks of long and steep weekend hikes, I began to feel an intense burning sensation in both of my forefeet. I had developed Morton's Neuroma, an inflammation of the nerves that run between the metatarsal heads in the toes.

Wearing really wide shoes somewhat helped but did not eliminate the problem. A week of rest usually made the inflammation disappear, but after an hour or two of uphill hiking it would always reappear.

Once sufficiently inflamed, even standing in enclosed shoes was extremely painful. Only thong sandals or going barefoot would sometimes alleviate the pain. At other times the pain would persist after I'd finished hiking and was trying to get to sleep.

For ten years my ability to hike was constrained by this problem. Then last October I donned my first pair of FiveFingers, the KSO Trek. Since then I have completed dozens of hikes in the mountains and the desert, many on trails with a mile of elevation gain and loss. I have never in this period experienced a return of this symptom, nor had any other significant foot problem. I have also almost completely avoided wearing regular shoes.

Ted

Ted, great to hear that the KSO Treks worked for you and please send us some pictures from your hikes so we can add them to this post.