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!

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 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.