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!

Black KSOs on Buzzards Rock Trail

Buzzard Rock Trail
The entrance to Buzzard Rock Trail in Baltimore County, Md.

Aaron recently broke away from the daily grind and got some time to himself in the Patapsco Valley State Park on Buzzards Rock Trail. It was just him and his black KSOs and here is his story:

by Aaron

My first real trail experience in VFF’s is about to begin.

I was very excited to get out on the trail for many reasons. First, I had not had a real hike in a few years. I kept wanting to, but with a wife and baby (he will be two August 23rd), I have found that a full day to tromp around in the woods is a tall order. I teach special education & work part time at an outdoor store. So between two jobs, taking care of Eli and trying to avoid housework, I have my hands pretty full.

I finally decided the time had come to get outside. I slapped on my black KSO’s, jumped in the car, put the top down*, and headed to Buzzards Rock Trail.

I was grinning ear to ear as I stepped on the cool soft dirt trail. I was connected to the environment in a very deep way. All of the sights, sounds, and smells I had been away from for so long were right there where I left them.

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New Balance Minimus "Barefoot Shoe" line slated for Spring 2011

New Balance has released some macro photos of one of their upcoming shoes for their new line called the Minimus.  The New Balance Minimus line is intended to cater to needs within the growing minimalist footwear / "Barefoot shoe" movement.
New Balance has released some macro photos of one of their upcoming shoes for their new line called the Minimus. The New Balance Minimus line is intended to cater to needs within the growing minimalist footwear / "Barefoot shoe" movement.

New Balance recently reached out to the minimalist running blogging community with news of their upcoming, Spring 2011 (March) new shoe line called the New Balance Minimus by way of sending off some macro photos of a pair of Minimus shoes. New Balance reached out to Birthday Shoes, specifically, and above, you can see a photo-stitched rendition of the three main photos NB sent to the blogosphere — but in this case they are mashed together so as to make sense of them. Also, after a bit of persistence, I was able to get them to send me two more photos (the ones at the bottom) that you won't find anywhere else. Note the orange outline is pure speculation on my part and if I had to guess, I'd say this is the Minimus Trail!

A heavy first look at what we know about the New Balance Minimus as well as a full photo gallery after the jump!

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Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport, Blue Bikila Released for Sale!

The Black and Charcoal Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport, the non-leather cousin of the KSO Trek, and the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in a nice royal blue and silver/grey.
The Black and Charcoal Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport, the non-leather cousin of the KSO Trek, and the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in a nice royal blue and silver/grey.

It's been six long months since we first saw the Vibram Five Fingers Trek Sport — and the blue and grey Vibram Five Fingers Bikila showcased at the winter Outdoor Retailer — at last they are here. Yep, it's time to pick up "just one more" pair of VFFs*! And if you just got the KSO Remix or the Smartwool Classics (Released last week) or the Colorway Sprints for women released Monday, I've got two words for ya: Ramen Noodles**.

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Why I Chose $99 Red Bikilas over a $1,000,000 Red Ferrari to Solve my Mid Life Crisis.

Running in my Bikilas
Running in my Bikilas
Me running in red/grey Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas. (All photos by Kent)

The Birth of Birthday Shoes

Over a year ago, when Justin mentioned to me that he was starting a blog about Vibram Five Fingers and minimalist footwear, I thought it was interesting, but after looking at a pair of VFFs, I didn't really think they would catch on (wrong!). We ended up tossing around ideas for a domain name and I came up with BirthdayShoes.com as a play on "Birthday Suit". He liked it! Then, Justin went off to build his blog and I wasn't involved in Birthday Shoes at that point.

I occasionally peeked in at the site and a year quickly flew by. Then, a few months ago we were talking how Birthday Shoes had really taken off and how Justin was overloaded with other work duties and we agreed that I would help out with the blog. He even sent me some Classics so I could feel like part of the club. Now, after seeing how passionate folks are about their Five Fingers and wearing mine for a few months, I can see that the phenomena of VFFs is here to stay.

What follows is how I went from skeptic to regular Five Fingers runner...

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Women’s Vibram Five Fingers KSO Review

Rachel in her KSOs
Rachel wearing her KSOs on a recent trip to Spain (Picture taken by Rachel's friend, Jodi Campbell)

Guest Post by Rachel

The women's aqua Vibram Five Fingers KSOs a hit? ...
... or a case of "fit" or miss?

I never thought I would own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSOs. I started out with the Sprints, planned to get a pair of KSO Treks eventually, and contemplated the Classic for dressier use. The KSOs struck me as redundant and I worried about getting my feet into them. I have high arches and tall, muscular feet, and I rarely can find closed-top shoes like clogs that fit. I also don’t like bright colors on my feet; indeed most of my wardrobe overall is earthtoned with a few spots of color.

Yet here I am, happily wearing a pair of bright aqua KSO Vibram Five Fingers - with the camouflage pattern on the soles no less.

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