I Missed It

It’s been on my mind recently—a big anniversary of sorts coming up. Only, as these things go, I thought about it and forgot it. What’s the big deal? Well, yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of I launched BirthdayShoes on April…

It’s been on my mind recently—a big anniversary of sorts coming up.

Only, as these things go, I thought about it and forgot it.

What’s the big deal? Well, yesterday marked the 10 year anniversary of

I launched BirthdayShoes on April 17, 2009. Here is a look back at the lead-up — something I sent to my siblings as I deliberated on what domain to register and just what angle to take:

As I think I’ve mentioned to you guys, I’m hellbent on creating a site dedicated to vibram five fingers. It could be a total flop, who knows, but it’d be kinda fun to build it and see what happens. I was honed in on the domain with the intention of shifting from the notion that “barefeet are better than shod feet” to “it’s hard to be barefoot around town” to “five fingers allow you to practically barefoot around town” — then I realized, this was entirely too complicated and I’d be better off just going straight the point, which is FIVE FINGERS ARE COOL AND YOU SHOULD GET SOME! Start there, and explain why later — and the why is all post-hoc justification anyway. So now I’m leaning to the domain name …

I registered on April 16, 2009. Then, on April 17, 2009, I made a grand announcement over a chat with my big brother:

BirthdayShoes’ first “real” article came on April 19, 2009, with “The Painful truth about Sneakers.” and was folllowed up two days later with my original review of the FiveFingers KSO.

Ten years is a long time. Over that time, a lot has happened:

  • BirthdayShoes over 6 million users have made their way here,
  • reading from the site’s 800 posts …
  • … and over 300 shoe reviews.

And boy have I had a lot of shoes come my way.

Like so many things in life, I never would have predicted all the strange and great ways BirthdayShoes has affected my life. From the people I’ve met to even the work opportunities it’s sent my way, my fear about whether this site might be a “total flop” has never been realized.

What About the Future?

What does the future have in store? Plans are still underway to update this site’s aging (painful! I’m sorry!) design and pump some fresh blood into this site. Thank you all for supporting BirthdayShoes. Special thanks to all the reviewers over the years and especially Jarvis, who has really kept the train chugging along.

… And for the few of you who have been here from the beginning, thanks for sticking with it.

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

8 replies on “I Missed It”

Well, as they say, times fun when you’re having flies! um…. er, wait…
Anyway, ive been your follower for I don’t know how long, but long enough to have been totally converted to VFF. And I mean totally now.
All the way back to the Bormio days (my dress up shoes :-), and before in fact!
Every style, every purpose, every color, every season, to where today I have 25 pair in rotation, and wouldn’t part with any of them.

BTW, the arthritis in my right toes has gone away, So There Too.

You have been a most appreciated resource, and I thank you greatly for the work you have done over the decade. (Luv the sticker too!)

I hope it has been a loving labor writing it, as much as it has joyous journey reading it!


al haller
Rockwall Texas

Well done, Justin! My barefoot/minimalist shoe journey started around the same time as yours, and I think I found you not long after you launched this site. I’m glad to see you’re still at it. Thanks for all the good work!

Hey Justin, sorry to contact you in this way but I’m not sure if you’re receiving my emails. Could you send me a private message? I’d love to talk to you about writing for and helping out with birthday shoes.


What a milestone! I can’t believe it has been ten years!

So, the big question is…how many shoe reviews have we done on the site!?

Easily 100, I’m sure!

Best shoe site, ever!

Congratulations on ten years! Was a pleasure to help contribute in a small way those many years ago. I still run relatively minimal most of the time and in huaraches when the weather permits. Thank you for the opportunity and best of fortunes in the future.

Congrats, Justin! Glad you’re still rocking the website. I’ve been following off and on since 10 years. I still own and use a lot of old VFFs (KSOs, Bikilas, Classics, etc). You remember my world record for juggling an entire triathlon and Joggling a marathon in VFFs? (My backwards Joggling marathon wasn’t in VFFs ) 🙂 All the best to you and your site… Triathlon Juggling Joe

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