I finally got to partake in Tough Mudder this past Saturday (03/12/2011) and what a blast it was. If you've never heard of it, go here http://toughmudder.com/
It was a 12+ mile offroad course full of mud, countless obstacles, mud, hills, and lots more mud. All I've got to say is that I am soooo happy that I wore my KSOs.
There were so many complaints from fellow mudders about heavy, waterlogged, blister-inducing shoes. I have never seen so many shoes just discarded on the side of the course. By mile 8-10, there were areas that became shoe graveyards from so many people giving up on their traditional shoes. Many of the racers had to tie their shoes to the point of cutting of circulation to attempt to "keep stuff out" and keep shoes on but with my VFFs, I had no problems. The water drained from the shoes within a few strides, and the velcro fastener kept stuff out. Sure I still got some dirt in them but it was expected and not bothersome. Let me just say, I did not get a single "hot spot," much less blister anywhere on my feet during the day. This has never happened to me before. I was definitely glad I paired the KSOs with some Injinji crew sport socks for the race. It was the first time I'd ever worn them so I was gambling but it definitely paid off. The socks did make it so I retained more water, but they paid off with less friction.
I lost count of the compliments, comments, and jealous (yet usually humorous) remarks that I received during the event. It was especially hilarious when I saw one runner in particular who had discarded his shoes and socks around mile 5. When I ran beside him, I asked how his feet were feeling now that he was literally running barefoot. He boldly began to say (before looking at my feet) "Better than yours!" But before he could finish, he looked down and saw my feet and with a sigh just said "Oh! never mind."
The only disadvantage I think I had with the KSOs, was the lack of traction on the extremely slippery/ muddy portions of the trail. When trying to run up a steep, muddy hill, it would've been nice to have some tread like on some TrekSports or Komodos, but hey, what are friends are for if not to lend a helping hand to pull you up that last 2-3 feet of hill. Another thing I found was that if I was running down a long muddy hill, it was near impossible to stop. I had to yell ahead a couple times so I didn't run into anyone. There was one point where I was literally skiing down this muddy mountain of a hill. It added to the fun though.
It was great to see other VFFs as well. I saw some Bikilas, Komodos, TrekSports, but the most common were the good ol' KSOs. There may have been 1 in every 100+ had on VFFs...probably less than that unfortunately and there were several thousand runners. About 2 hours before my wave started, I got to talking with someone wearing Skeletoes. He said it was the first time he'd ever worn them and that he'd never worn any minimalist shoe before much less a toe shoe. I did the best I could to basically warn him that he would probably get some nasty blisters for this being his first time...a 12 mile trail run...yikes. I let him know I trained in mine for 4 months and still get the occasional blister on the pinky toe. I think he decided to switch to some tennis shoes, I'm not sure.
Anyway, now that I've rambled for a while, I think I'll finish up. I just wanted to let everyone know that wearing VFFs for this event was the best decision I made. If anybody else was there or at another Tough Mudder or similar event, feel free to comment.