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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Athletic Director and Primal Lifestyle Devotee Rockin' his KSOs in Southeast Asia

Bob on vacation
Bob on vacation in Cambodia in his KSOs

Vibram Five Fingers fan, Bob, on his KSOs:

I live in Bangkok, Thailand, and my wife and I took a trip recently to Cambodia, and we walked all around the wonderful temples near Siem Reap, including Angkor Wat - one of the most beautiful historical sites in the world today! It was wonderful walking on the trails and steps and smooth stones all around and in the temples and sites. My KSO’s were light and comfortable, and very appropriate for this type of sightseeing! I receive comments every day about the KSO’s, as I spread the word about their fantastic feeling, of walking light-footed and more erect, with noticeably improved posture.

I am the Athletic Director at a big private international school in Bangkok, Thailand. I have had my VFF's for one month only, as it is hard to find them out here in SE Asia. I bought them on a trip to Singapore last month, and I have worn them almost every day - both to work and socially, and of course for exercise! Whenever I wear "regular" shoes, they feel strange, and I miss the comfort and natural feel of the VFF"S.

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The Definitive Guide to Cleaning Vibram Five Fingers a.k.a. How to Get the Smell out of your Vibrams!

A massive load of Vibram Five Fingers (Plus some Injinji socks!) ready to be thrown in the washing machine. All models of Vibram Five Fingers are machine-washable (though should only be left out to air dry).
A massive load of Vibram Five Fingers (Plus some Injinji socks!) ready to be thrown in the washing machine. All models of Vibram Five Fingers are machine-washable (though should only be left out to air dry).

Vibram Five Fingers can stink. Indeed, "VFF stank" — the "Vibram Five Fingers of Funk" — is such a pervasive problem that VFF fans so afflicted with smelly Vibram Five Fingers are often left wondering, "Are those strangers looking at me because I'm wearing five-toed shoes or because my five-toed shoes reek?"

The funkiness of Five Fingers (and how to eliminate it) was one of the first discussions on the Birthdayshoes.com forum back in June 2009, a thread that has since grown to thirteen pages of "solutions," soaks, pre-washes, and other inventive means of getting the odor out of everyone's favorite five-toed foot gloves.

In an effort to consolidate all the methodology under one roof, and with the understanding that these methods fall within the realm of self-experimentation, below you'll find a veritable compendium of information about how to clean your Vibram Five Fingers.

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An Interview with Irish Mountain Running Champion Moire O’Sullivan

Moire in Nepal
Moire on a work field trip to the Mid-West region of Nepal which was only reachable from Kathmandu after 1 plane ride, 14 hours of driving and 2 days of hiking. Though she hiked in traditional shoes, her vibram five fingers sprints were perfect for relieving the heaviness of walking shoes.

We recently interviewed Irish Mountain Running Champion Moire O’Sullivan. She loves running up and down mountains and writing about it all once she gets home. She started out mountain running in Ireland, where she became Ireland’s 2007 and 2008 Mountain Running Champion. She also won the Irish 24 hour Rogaine Championships twice with Andrew McCarthy as well as the Mourne Mountain Marathon mixed elite class. In 2009, Moire became the first person ever to complete the Wicklow Round, a hundred kilometre circuit of the Wicklow Mountains to be completed within twenty four hours. She was so moved by the experience that she wrote a book called “Mud, Sweat and Tears” detailing the personal journey she went through to complete the Wicklow Round. When not running, Moire works for international charities. As part of her work, she has travelled to some of the world’s poorest areas and worst conflict zones. She currently lives in Nepal.

How long have you been mountain running?
I started mountain running four years ago when a friend invited me along to a race. My maiden attempt at uphill running was pathetic to say the least. Within seconds, my lungs caught fire. My heart hit record speeds. After less than a minute, my thighs were ticking time bombs, ready to explode. When I eventually got to the summit, I found all mountain hell breaking loose. The wind was screeching. The rain was swirling. And whilst I was being subsumed by this Irish Hades, all the other mountain runners I was with disappeared further and further into the mist. I hated it the first time. But now that I don’t mind the pain or bad weather, I truly love the sport.

What distance race do you prefer to run?
I like any race that involves running around mountains for hours upon end. It could be a mountain marathon where you cover less than 30 kilometres but it can take anything up to eight hours because you’re carrying a tent, sleeping bag and enough food for 48 hours. Or Nepal’s 71km Annapurna trail race where the 2050 metres of climb up 3080 steps to Ulleri meant to take me over 12 hours to get to the finish. Or it could be a 24 hour Rogaine where the distance you cover is up to you, the only prerequisite is that you visit as many check-points in the mountains and get back home before the 24 hours pass.

Moire comments on the 24 hour 100km Wicklow Round and much more after the jump.

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Unboxing the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila (in Blue/Yellow)

A close-up shot of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila - the new barefoot running shoe from Vibram - showing off the front and back toe design on the sky blue, yellow, and grey Bikilas!
A close-up shot of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila - the new barefoot running shoe from Vibram - showing off the front and back toe design on the sky blue, yellow, and grey Bikilas!

A few weeks back I got the chance to share with you my first impressions on the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila. At the time, as the Bikila wasn't even officially "out" yet, and the pair I had was part of the Boston Marathon Expo / All-Star Barefoot Running mini-release and didn't even come in a box.

But the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out now! — at least for blocks of a few hours here and there as retailers put them on the shelves (Like yesterday when we finally saw women's Five Fingers Bikilas at CitySports — as well as the final men's color!), only to see them fly off those shelves in quick order. Both Travel Country and City Sports saw their online inventory disappear in rapid-fire succession, selling out of most sizes in hours.

The Bikila is presently the Vibram Five Fingers of choice — particularly for runners interested in minimalist or barefoot running — and as I recently got a pair — in an actual box — in the sky blue and yellow color combination, I decided to take a bunch of photos and do a "proper" video unboxing. So without further ado, after the jump you'll find a video unboxing of the sky blue/yellow Vibram Five Fingers Bikila complete with a slew of photos for your viewing pleasure!

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Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas (Womens, Mens, New colors) in Stock at CitySports!

The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in the grey and bright green (tween the toes) color combination for women.
The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila in the grey and bright green (tween the toes) color combination for women.

Update! CitySports was restocked again today (5/18/2010) across all colors for both men and women.

I've got great news (at long last!) for everyone in the Vibram Five Fingers nation! CitySports just got a bunch of Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas for both men and women! You can grab them here (while supplies last! Which won't be long if history is any guide!):

The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila inventory above is expected to go live on the CitySports website today around 4:00pm EST though that is only an estimate.

The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is the new running-specific "barefoot shoe" by Vibram that features a totally revamped sole design; a virtually seamless inner Dri-Lex sock liner; an Achilles notch at the rear (making the VFFs cup the heel rather than applying pressure at the tendon); reflective material at key points; TPU toe (top) protection; and is the most refined (outdoor-use) Vibram Five Fingers to hit the market yet. It sizes—in theory, as VFF sizing is always tricky—like the KSOs. That said, with the new larger ankle opening and heel/strap methodology, the fit will feel a bit different than other models of Vibram Five Fingers.

Be sure to see my initial review, photos, and detailed description of the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila here. Also, I anticipate posting an unboxing with a slew of photos of the sky blue, yellow, and grey Vibram Bikilas (including video) in the next day or so — just as soon as YouTube starts cooperating!

Note: Last week, an email alert was sent to BirthdayShoes subscribers regarding men's Bikila inventory that was available for purchase at Travel Country. That inventory sold out within hours of it going online. Though I do not anticipate posting to the blog here every time a retailer gets new inventory in, I am considering creating a special email list for those who would like to be notified about new inventory shipments at participating retailers. The goal here would be to help people find retailers with Vibram Five Fingers in stock. If this would be of interest to you, please let me know by way of commenting below!

Australian Wombat Bowls in Japan Wearing Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

Alex in his VFF Sprints.
Wombat, Alex, prepares to bowl in Tokyo.

Uh..perhaps we should explain. Australian Vibram Five Fingers fan, Alex, is a bowler for the Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club. He recently gave his Sprints a try on the cricket field. (Alex was previously seen on BirthdayShoes running in Japan wearing his Sprints.)

See a photo of Alex bowling and read what he has to say about wearing VFFs to play cricket after the jump.

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