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!

New Women's Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport Available at CitySports!

New Women's Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport Available at CitySports!

We've just learned that the new Five Fingers Trek Sport for women has been released and is available for purchase from City Sports! Not only that, but it is available in both colors: Champagne (pictured above) and Black (note the strap is likely more gray than black as in the picture).

The Trek Sport is a cross between a KSO and a KSO Trek. It combines the functionality of a fabric upper with the ruggedness of the Trek sole, which, up until now, has only been available on the KSO Trek. The upper is made of super comfortable and breathable Coconut Active Carbon material. This is an excellent choice for comfort, yet tough enough to take to the trails! Also, check out the "close up" review of the Five Fingers Trek Sport last week if you want to see what you get with his new model.

If you're looking to pick up the women's Vibram Trek Sport here are the links:

They sell for $99.99, which is over the free shipping threshold at City Sports!

Go to City Sports!

The 2011 Vibram Five Fingers Komodo Sport, Bikila LS (Laces!), and Jaya

The 2011 Vibram Five Fingers new toe shoes: Kids KSOs, Jaya, Jaya LR, Komodo Sport and Bikila LS!
The 2011 Vibram Five Fingers new toe shoes: Kids KSOs, Jaya, Jaya LR, Komodo Sport and Bikila LS!

Last week was the 2011 Outdoor Retailer conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Word has it—from various sources who scoured the booths—that the whole place was buzzing with talk about minimalist footwear. We recently heard about Merrell Barefoot and the New Balance Minimus (plus the aptly named Skin ... I mean, Inov-8 EvoSkin) — apparently other big names may also be working on their entries into the minimalist footwear fray. Stay tuned.

What's particularly exciting for us Vibram Five Fingers fans is that Vibram was showing off their 2011 line; specifically, the new fitness-oriented Vibram Five Fingers Komodo Sport; the larger-foot-friendly Five Fingers Bikila LS (It's got laces!); and the women's only lightweight fitness toe shoes, the Five Fingers Jaya and Jaya LR (Jaya with some leather).

Though Vibram wasn't letting anyone take photos at their booth at OR, I'm excited to share with everyone a sneak peak we're getting here at Birthday Shoes of this 2011 line-up. I've gotten my feet into some of the new 2011 models — sales samples / pre-production versions (also the women's models!). By extension, this week, I'll be posting tons of photos of these new 2011 models as well as some initial thoughts on them. As each goes up, you will be able to click through below to an information page (For now, you can click the other images to see big stock photos).

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The Boilermaker, Bikilas and Beer...a winning combination

The Boilermaker, Bikilas and Beer...a winning combination

Ryan runs in Vibram Five Fingers and says they, "simply made running fun again." He sent us a recap of his recent participation in "the nation’s biggest 15K road race."

Race Recap

This past weekend I took part in the nation’s biggest 15K road race - The Boilermaker - which is held in my hometown of Utica, NY. It was my 4th time running but my 1st time competing in Vibram Five Fingers. I’ve been practically living in my pair of KSOs since I purchased them in May of 2009 (well, at least when there wasn’t a foot of snow on the ground) and started my training for the 15K in them over the winter.

While I loved running in the KSOs, I was fortunate to snag a new pair of Bikilas in May. This changed everything. The Bikilas were even more comfortable than the KSOs and training was a blast in them. They provided a minimal layer of padding to help with the repeated impact of the pavement over 15K while still giving me the barefoot feel and flexibility.

This year’s Boilermaker was the largest in history with over 13,000 runners and an enormous post-race party at the Saranac Brewery (I can’t think of another road race where you get a free beer immediately after running it). The amount of spectators was also amazing and they really kept you going throughout the different sections of the course with water, music, and yes, even vuvuzelas.

I also noticed some other fellow VFF runners while at the starting gate as well as a one runner who was completely barefoot. The race itself was perfect this year from the temperature to a ton of volunteers who made sure the weekend’s events were memorable for both the runners and the spectators. It’s a weekend where our community really comes together and makes you proud to be a participant. As I crossed the finish I also broken my own personal best time, finishing in 1:20:08.

Lots of the discussion around barefoot running (and running in VFFs) has to do with running form and injury prevention. While these are all great benefits to leaving your sneakers behind, that’s not why I love them. For me, the tactile experience and flexibility simply made running fun again for me. It made me want to challenge myself, work hills, run for time and most importantly get out there and put some miles on. This was the first year I can remember enjoying my training regiment and consequently worked harder up to the race.

Combine that preparedness with the spectacle that is the Boilermaker and you have the perfect combination of competition and celebration. I can’t wait for the next 15K!

Thanks for sending us your story Ryan! Good luck on next year's race.

Close Up Review: Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport

Close Up Review: Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport
Vibram Five Fingers Black Trek Sports

Why Trek Sports?

Being the new kid (geriatric new kid, that is!) on the Birthday Shoes block, I only own two pair of Vibram Five Fingers, the Classics and Bikilas. My Classics don't get a lot of wear except as an occasional flip flop alternative (Justin's preferred use of Classic Vibrams) and my Bikilas are my "go to" running shoe. Though I dig the barefoot feel they give me, the Bikilas hurt my sensitive feet on the rocky trails around here—at least that was the excuse to convince my wife I needed another pair!

Since I don't own any "KSO type" Five Fingers, I only know what I have seen on the internet. I pictured the black KSOs as the alpha male, ninja, gorilla foot model. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. But, when I saw the Vibram marketing photos of the Trek Sports, they looked so cool and sleek. I manned up and ordered a pair (via CitySports). I ordered a size 41, the same as my others. They arrived quickly and in good order from CitySports shipped free using my "BIRTHDAY" shipping code.

I expected the Trek Sports to be somewhat bulky, but in fact, they weigh almost exactly the same as my Bikilas. And they are sleek, though perhaps not as sleek as in the Vibram marketing photo. I think they must stuff them with tissue paper or something. Also, mine arrived with a silver strap, which is different from the black one in Vibram's pic. Perhaps a little less Ninja, but now I can wear them to church with grey slacks!

My review and a zoomable flash movie after the jump!

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Women's Vibram Five Fingers Bikila Review

Women's Vibram Five Fingers Bikila Review

Guest Post by Lindsey

Adding to the Collection

The Bikila has already gotten a fair amount of attention from Birthday Shoes, but when asked to give a woman's perspective on this new model, I was happy to oblige. I am by no means an experienced runner. I usually average about three miles on my regular runs, with my "long" (relative term!) runs going just over four. I am sure there are many more experienced female runners reading this entry right now. But I am happy to say that with the help of the VFFs I own (Sprints, KSOs, and Bikilas) and some barefoot training, that mileage is steadily increasing, and my enjoyment of the sport is growing as well. So take this review for what it's worth and here we go!

I have been running in Vibram Five Fingers exclusively since the beginning of May (and occasionally since November 2009). When I heard about the release of the new Bikila, I was intrigued. Part of me loved the look and idea behind this shoe, while the other part of me was a bit confused as to its seemingly increased bulk. But bottom line was, I was looking for a shoe that would help me transition back onto harder surfaces like pavement and concrete. I had run on tracks with my Sprints for awhile, but feared harder surfaces because of bad experiences in regular running shoes. I thought of the crippling shin splints I used to suffer, and knowing to take things easy in VFFs, I thought perhaps the Bikilas might be more forgiving on concrete. I took the plunge. I bought my pair of Bikilas (W40, white/green) in the beginning of June from Sheels. I had to call my local store, and of course since they were sold out, I eventually went through a Sheels in Nevada to finally obtain the Bikilas.

First Impressions

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