The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

You're out on a run. Your nose is getting stuffy, so you lean to the side for a quick farmer's blow. It's cold out, but you didn't realize how cold until you go to wipe your nose with the back of your glove to clear off any additional moisture -- only to find that it's already frozen around the edge of your nostril in mere seconds.

Welcome to the inaugural Asheville Marathon, held on the grounds of the beautiful Biltmore estate. "Well," I thought dramatically at around mile 20, "At least I'll die somewhere majestic."

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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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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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