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!

Vibram FiveFingers KSO vs. Bikila - Concerns, Nuances, and Quality Control {mailbag}

I get a lot of questions emailed my way about Vibram Five Fingers. Which model to get, this model or that model, sizing nuances, and any number of other random queries come my way. So in the interest of answering some of the more common questions, I'll be posting some emails I receive as well as my responses in the hope that others might benefit from the exchange. Finally, if anyone has anything to add to my response, or wants to take me to task for my response, please do so in the comments!

Hi Justin, Awesome site, love all the info. I am researching the Vibram's as I am new to running but love being bare foot. I am kinda leaning toward the KSO's to get me started, but have read a lot about seams tears, straps breaking and soles wearing out in about six months. So I thought I would ask the expert straight up! How long has your KSOs lasted, I would want to use them for everyday use as well as running/walking. Have you had any quality issues with them or any other Vibram five finger products. What is your take on the Bikila's are the they a better shoe all around? Sorry for so many questions, I just want to make the right choice for the money being spent. Again way awesome website! Cheers, Aaron

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Freedom’s Run Gets Kids Moving In the Right Direction

The Freedom’s Run Race Director, Mark Cucuzzella MD, asked us to pass along a press release about a fun run for kids sponsored by Terra Plana products, Vivo Barefoot footwear (See our posts on the Vivo Barefoot Oak, Vivo Barefoot Aqua, and Vivo Barefoot Evo running shoe). It looks like a really cool, fun event and there are even free shoes being given out. If you are in the Shepherdstown, WV area October 2, 2010, don't miss this one!!

Click "Read the rest" to see the press release.

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Review: Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2

Review: Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2

Vibram Five Fingers got me back into running after I had pretty much given up on it because of back and knee pain. Forefoot strike running in Five Fingers solved those problems and I was on my way. Running in Five Fingers is a blast. The ground feel and freedom is unmatched. However, as I logged more miles and did longer runs I began to develop nagging achilles tendonitis. This led me to search for other "barefoot running shoes" that would allow me to maintain my forefoot strike and perhaps be easier on my achilles. I first tried the Saucony Grid Type A4s and found that running in them really lessens the stress on my achilles. Also, I am able to consistently land on my forefoot and get good ground feel with the A4s. Then, after Edward Edmonds mentioned the Nike Air Zoom Streak XC 2 in his Q&A on marathon training, I wanted to see how they suited my needs. So, after running in them a few times, here are my thoughts.

The Streak XC 2 is a very minimal racing flat with a low heel-to-toe drop and a whisper of an upper. Advanced Nike technology cushions and protects the foot with a firm but springy sole. Bottomline, I love the upper, which feels like it is not there! However, for me, the sole is just a little too thick, especially at midfoot, to maintain my forefoot strike.

My detailed review is after the jump.

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