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!

Fantastic Father-in-law Favors Five Fingers!

Mike and his father-in-law
Mike and his father-in-law on the left in their blue Bikilas after running the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon, and on the right, Mike runs in a pair of red and white Bikilas while his father-in-law strides along in his KSOs.

Mike is a lucky guy to have a hip father-in-law who encouraged him to try running in Vibram Five Fingers. He shared his story with us:

I started running this spring due to my Father in Law's influence and it's been a great experience. He introduced me to running and what would be my Five Finger addiction. I was surprised to learn a little shop in our little city sold VFF's, so I went down and bought my first pair of Treks. Not long after, I was running in those AND a new pair of Sprints! My FIL had a pair of KSOs and we were off running. When I heard the Bikila's finally were released in Boston, thanks to Birthday Shoes' quick reporting, I asked a forum member if he would be willing to buy me a pair and ship them off, and with the kind people who frequent your website, he did! Not long after that when City Sports had a limited release I bought a blue pair also, and one pair for my FIL.

I ran my first half marathon with him at the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon in our Bikila's and it went great! We spotted a few more pairs of Bikila's and a few other VFF's and we both actually had conversations with other runners inquiring about our VFF's during the run. It was AWESOME! We now have lined up 5 Halfs each month from September to January '11. Thanks for putting out such a great site full of good information and members, and thanks Marty (my FIL) for the inspiration!

Thanks for telling us about your extra cool father-in-law and good luck on knocking out those next 5 half marathons in your Five Fingers.

New Women's Vibram Five Fingers Sprint Colorway Available at CitySports!

Light Grey-Blue Sprint
Women's Light Grey-Blue Vibram Five Fingers Sprint

We've just learned that a new Light Grey-Blue (The color combination is called Colorway) Vibram Five Fingers Sprint for women has been released and is, surprise, available for purchase from CitySports!

The Sprint is one of the original Vibram models and has the signature open-top with a single strap. Also, like it's strapless cousin the Classic, the Sprint has no midsole (The KSO has a 2mm midsole), so it's the most minimalist Vibram that is suitable for outdoor wear. In this summer heat, open-topped Vibrams are the way to go!

Historically, the Sprint has been the preferred model for women and I'm glad to see this cool (sorta icy!) new color.

The sizes available (as of right now) are 36 - 42 and they sell for 80 bucks! Remember: you can get free shipping on these by using the coupon code BIRTHDAY. Go to City Sports!

Official Vibram Five Fingers Bikila Microsite: You Are the Technology dot com

Vibram has just (via an 8AM press release today, July 26, 2010) launched a Vibram Five Fingers Bikila micro-site at the domain YouAreTheTechnology.com! I didn't make that link active for a reason:

Before you go madly rushing off to YouAreTheTechnology.com, let me tell you just a wee bit more!

I'll be "brief:" it's an awesomely provocative website: bold, brazen, edgy, and bare. For you office dwellers: it's NSFW (Hence, the warning). I'll show what I mean via a screencap of what you'll find at YouAreTheTechnology.com after the jump!

Note: The screencap is also NSFW, but at least a little smaller, so office dwellers proceed with caution!

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Mizuno Wave Universe 3 Racing Flats Initial Review

Wave Universe 3
Mizuno Wave Universe 3 racing flat.

Guest Post by Lindsey

Racing Flats as a Minimalist Alternative

I'm no marathoner (far from it!), but lately I've been looking for the best alternative to Vibram Five Fingers. I've been running in VFFs for several months now and throw in a little barefoot running as well.

Since I have to wear a conventional looking shoe for my upcoming military training, I needed to find something that would suit my needs. I wanted a shoe that was light, flexible, and as minimalistic as possible. I had long considered the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 flat, but its price tag made me consider other options first. So instead, I decided that perhaps cross country (XC) flats would be a good substitute as I could find them cheaper than the Mizunos. I tried the Saucony Shay XC 2 first as it met all the basic requirements. Unfortunately, I had to send them back twice for the proper size (they run small), and once I did get the proper size, I disliked the molded sole around the arch, and the general narrow fit of the shoe. I can imagine the Saucony Shay XC 2 as a great trail shoe, one that excels in its purpose, but the aggressive tread and fit of the shoe made it inappropriate for my needs.

I also purchased a pair of Saucony Kinvara on a whim. Unfortunately, these are more like reduced running shoes than actual minimalist shoes. They do promote more of a midfoot strike as advertised, but I didn't really enjoy running in them. I think they might be a decent transition shoe (akin to the Nike Free, perhaps), but they are somewhat stiff and way more shoe than I want to run in. I believe that their cushioning might be beneficial for me as a marching shoe. I found if I took the insole out, the shoe felt much flatter, more neutral, and more along the lines of what it should have been in the first place. I will be playing around with these more to see if they will fill the role of a marching/drill shoe while I am in training. Unfortunately, they just don't suit my needs as a running shoe. Nevermind the fact that that they're fluorescent pink. Yikes!

Enter the Mizuno Wave Universe 3

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"Merrell Barefoot" Shoes partner with Vibram, slated for Spring 2011

...and a special message from Vibram Five Fingers to counterfeiters!

Footwear Plus Magazine coverFirst the "select footwear" partnership with Merrell ... (or jump to the "message")

Vibram has partnered with Merrell to launch "Merrell Barefoot," a collection of "six minimalist styles for men and women" for Spring 2011 according to a July 2010 article titled Sole Mates written by Greg Dutter for Footwear Plus Magazine (Click "Current issue," page 42: also here).

According to the article, the partnership plays off of the two brands being "long-term partners in creating some of the outdoor market's top-selling shoes" with Merrell's aim being "to build on what Vibram is creating [around barefoot technology] for a Merrell audience that's potentially a little different," according to Merrell's general manager, Jim Zwiers.

That said, don't expect Merrell Barefoot to look like Vibram Five Fingers — these are slated to be mono-toed "shoes." Per the article:

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The New Fall 2010 Vibram Five Fingers Models and Colors - KSO Remix, Smartwool Classics, More!

The New Fall 2010 Vibram Five Fingers Models and Colors - KSO Remix, Smartwool Classics, More!

Major Update! City Sports just got the KSO Remix and Smartwool Classics in! Read more.

Birthday Shoes is happy to introduce The Shoe Mart as a new site sponsor and simultaneously give you a preview of the new Vibram Five Fingers 2010 Fall line-up.

The Shoe Mart is based out of Norwalk, Connecticut, and has been selling shoes since 1956. They carry the full line of Vibram Five Fingers (Depending on inventory), offer free shipping, and ship internationally and accept Paypal! As always, all stores listed on BirthdayShoes.com are checked out — you can be confident you are getting the real thing and not fake five fingers.

So without further ado here is a photo gallery of the Fall 2010 Vibram Five Fingers line-up.

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