In the mailbag from "T" comes an account of finding a renewed ability to run painlessly across rugged terrain thanks to adopting foot-freeing KSO Vibram fivefingers:
I am writing today to let you (and everyone else) know just how much these shoes have benefitted me. I'm a U.S. Border Patrol agent stationed in the San Pedro River valley in southeastern Arizona.
I "thought" I was doing OK fitness wise when I got back from the academy, but I found running on the rocky terrain in this area to be very taxing. At one point, my knee was bothering me so much, that I had to stop running completely. Even after a month of rest, I couldn't run further than three miles before the pain fired up again. Then I read Chris McDougall's article in Men's Health Magazine. That was the turning point! I found a pair of VFF KSO's in my size and haven't looked back. I worked my way up from just wearing them around the house to wearing them a weekend at a time to clawing my running mileage back up to five miles a clip. Best part? No knee pain at all and I'm actually looking forward to increasing my mileage! I've also found the KSO's to be great when trail running through the washes or hiking along the river.
As far as the benefits, I'm in better shape obviously, but now that all those muscles I never really used before the VFF's are stronger, I'm able to go tearing across the rocky desert terrain and all it's challenges with much more stability, endurance, and confidence. I haven't rolled an ankle once since I started running in the VFF's, and when running in dim (or non-existant) light, I'm able to stay well balanced and stable when I step on the occassional "roller". Even when I'm just standing for long periods, my feet don't bark or growl at me any more. (That alone was worth the purchase price and keep in mind that while on duty I'm wearing heavy Danner boots!) Anyhow, I'm saving my nickels and dimes to get a pair of Treks as soon as possible.
The pictures represent just a small part of what we see in this part of the world. The washes can be nice and sandy like this one, but it's not unusual for them to be littered with river rocks and boulders. The scrub you see is typical, but so far the only hazard I've come across is the occasional mesquite thorn although I imagine a rattler would have no trouble biting through the KSO's. Even the roads near our home are dirt littered with 1" gravel bits, so you learn real quickly to relax when you run in the VFF's. My sincerest thanks to Vibram for these wonderful world-changers!
Keep spreading the word!
Great to hear you've had such success with VFFs and that your strengthened feet, ankles, and legs are making a booted work environment more comfortable! And definitely watch out for those rattle snakes and thorns — 3.5 mm of Vibram rubber is no match for some things!
Thanks for sharing!