FiveFingers in the Philippines
Got the above photos and following story from FiveFingers fan Kenneth, who has been rocking a pair of Classics, travelling around the world!
Hey Justin! I love your site so I just really wanted to share my story with my Five Fingers.
So here goes: In about a month, I and my friends are going to graduate from college and go on to study in medical school. To celebrate, we decided to take a trip to a a region in the Philippines (I'm a proud Filipino!) called Bicol where we dove with whalesharks, swam in the open sea, and island hopped for about 5 days together.
Needless to say, I had my Five Fingers Classics with me the whole way. (And btw, before buying my shoes, I spent about a month on your site reading reviews and user stories being convinced to get my own pair. So thank you!)
One of the best experiences I had in Bicol was when we arrived in an island that had the grotto/shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary on top of a mountain. All travellers who wanted to go there had to climb the mountain via 553 concrete steps (ala pilgrimage) that led to the shrine.
Before getting to the base of the steps, we went through a village. Quite expectedly, people gawked openly at my awesome shoes though I just brushed it off and smiled alot (and flexed my toes at them a bit. Haha). Arriving at the steps, guides urged us to take water up the mountain because it was going to be a hard climb.
Before we arrived in that island, we spent multiple days glutinously feasting on fresh seafood and coconuts so I took this as a chance to get a workout in and burn some fat. Alas, the climb was harder than I ever expected as the people I was with stopped counting steps and started resting at checkpoints. The incline started getting steeper and the steps got harder as I climbed. I silently forged on passing people and gulping down water. My legs burned, my breathing got heavier as the air got thinner, and my vision started to blur, but I continued on and before I knew it I reached a hill where I saw the base of the shrine. I was actually first up the mountain! Haha!
I went up the grassy hill and stood exhausted at the base of Ina (Filipino word for "Mother").
In a few minutes, my friends came walking up the hill to join me. I joked around with them that my freaky shoes make me run up mountains faster. Kidding aside, my VFFs really did help me out alot cause even though the shoes were wet, I never slipped on any step. Also, because the shoes conform to the feet such that nothing sticks out or flops around, it never got caught on any branch or root going up the mountain, unlike the flip-flops others were wearing. I found my quads burning but my feet were actually fine and comfortable even after so many steps. My VFFs carried me up a mountain, down the same mountain, through sandy beaches, and even helped me during a game of Ultimate Frisbee in the sand :D
All in all, awesome shoes for an an equally awesome experience. Really glad I brought them along for the things I did. Again, thanks very much for your site!
Way to put your Classics to the test! It looks like you were gifted with quite a view at the top of your climb. And no doubt you left a few people you passed along the way wondering where they could find a pair of toe shoes!
FiveFingers are, among other things, pretty fantastic shoes for travel. Sure you're going to get a lot of attention in them from foreign eyes, but perhaps that will enable you to strike up a conversation and meet some locals. You never know.
Thanks for sharing your story, Kenneth!