• minimalist sandals!

    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)

Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)
Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)

Got a couple photos in the mailbag from Cody. Cody was climbing at Clayton Beach, Washington. Sorry if I got a little carried away on the title of this post, but it's not often I get to employ that much alliteration, to say nothing of a street named Chuckanut Drive.

Anyway, here's Cody on his Vibram fivefinger Sprints:

so i recently purchased a pair of sprints at my local running store (turned out to be the only other retailer in washington state). my purchase was on a whim, but im glad i did it, they are amazing. in fact i am going hiking to a place called oyster dome shortly after posting this. ...

here are some pics of me climbing some rocks while hiking to a beach, these were taken at clayton beach off of chuckanut drive in washington.

One fun part of fivefingers is that they are great impromptu climbing shoes — trees, rock walls, a bit of bouldering — that kinda thing.

Thanks for sharing Cody and have fun on your hike!

Vibram FiveFingers Sighted in NYC

Vibram FiveFingers Sighted in NYC

Kevin (koffekev on the forums) was recently gallivanting around New York City with his niece when he happened upon a fellow VFFer named Richard (pictured above). Kevin wrote about the experience:

Hi Justin.

I met Richard on Mott St. as I was walking out of Gimme Coffee. I just said "hey, do you mind if I take a pic of your five fingers?" Before he realized I was wearing the same KSO's he asked if I liked his prosthetic feet? When he noticed I was wearing the same thing he mentioned that they were far less expensive here than in his native Australia. I invited him to check out B-day shoes so hopefully he will introduce himself. ...

In the Times Square area I noticed a group of tourists pointing and giggling. I asked if they liked them and a young woman said "yes, very much" in very broken english.

Waiting at a busy cross walk a man crouched down to try to read the Vibram stitched on my foot. I had a quick conversation with him. He seemed interested when I told him it felt as if I were barefoot but when I suggested he google five fingers he replied curtly and condescendingly that he would. I just laughed and waved him off.

Thanks, Kevin!

Inspired by Kevin's experience meeting people in the Big Apple, I'd like to offer up the following definition for Vibram fivefingers:

Vibram fivefingers [noun] — a rubber-toed foot in the door for sparking conversations with complete strangers (and making new friends).

Am I right?

If any of you have a "VFF sighting" or chance-meeting with another VFFer, tell us about it! We even have a forum topic about fivefingers sightings in the wild.

Hiking Eastern Newfoundland in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

Hiking Eastern Newfoundland in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

I received the above photo of Alain, which was taken on a hike in Easter Newfoundland, Canada. I asked Alain about his experiences with hiking and his Vibram fivefinger Sprints, wondering in particular how well the open-topped Sprint functioned in grittier environments. Here's what Alain had to say:

I’ve done quite a few hikes in my fivefingers and so far have not experienced many problems. This particular hike in Newfoundland was totally problem-free as I was hiking on giant rocks and large pebbles the whole time. I’ve done some portaging on canoe trips in my home province of Manitoba. As these were mostly on sandy trails, I got a bunch of little rocks inside my FF. In these situations, I’d have prefered the KSO’s I think.

I’ve been running in them for a few months now, on dirt trails, rocky trails, sidewalks and paved roads and have had no problems whatsoever.

Thanks for sharing, Alain!

Frank Forencich on Paying Attention (Via barefooting)

Frank Forencich, writer, philosopher, human advocate, and founder of Exuberant Animal (website | blog | book), has a fantastic post today about barefooting as meditation. He starts the post off talking about Mick Dodge a.k.a. the Barefoot Sensei (photo inset):

If you ever have the chance to hike the mountains and river valleys of the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest, you just might run into a charismatic movement teacher by the name of Mick Dodge. Mick has been barefooting for almost 20 years and is a passionate advocate for the practice. Not only does Mick walk the walk, he also spreads the word wherever he goes, talking the talk in coffee shops, university bookstores, campgrounds and parks. He tells a story of personal transformation through barefooting and teaches people how to get back into their bodies. People call him “The Barefoot Sensei” and for good reason. Mick has found a way to reinvigorate human life and experience, by way of the foot.

When The Barefoot Sensei gives presentations on the virtues of barefooting, he often begins with a simple question: “What’s the first thing that happens when you take your shoes off?”

People grope for an answer, searching their memory banks for the last time they actually went barefoot, suspicious that this might be some sort of trick question. But before they can get their words in order, Sensei answers for them: ”You start paying attention!”

Frank goes on to discuss how barefooting focuses attention out of necessity. Paying attention* through barefooting means being aware of the ground beneath your feet, to avoid sharp rocks, to take purposeful steps, to adjust your weight when the earth gives way. It's likely this forced focus that corrects a barefoot runner's form—Christopher McDougall said as much about running in his fivefingers, "they keep you honest."

The rest of Frank's post is very much worth reading. If you don't have the time to read it now, just open the link in a new window and set it aside to read later. And if you enjoy Frank's insights, you'd likely benefit from reading his book Exuberant Animal, which is a series of essays that are, at their base, about getting in touch with your humanity.

Finally, the Barefoot Sensei is currently doing a 1,000 mile journey to deliver "the antidote to modern living." You can follow Mick Dodge's journey at his blog.

* The simple axiom "Pay attention" is a theme of another book I've recently finished reading called Constructive Living, which is about focusing attention on what you are doing, as the things you are doing now are the only things you can control (This relates to Morita Therapy).

Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints

Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints
Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints
Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints

click any image to enlarge!

Maria Coryell-Martin sent in the above photos taken on her recent, two-night backpack in the North Cascade Mountains, which she completed wearing her Vibram fivefinger Sprints (and injinji socks). Maria wrote about her experience on her site, Expeditionary Artist, describing it thusly:

This past week I completed my first backpack wearing only my Vibram FiveFingers Sprint toe shoes on my feet along with a pair of Injinji toe socks. I’ve worn FiveFingers for a couple of years ago and am delighted by how they’ve strengthened my feet. My sweetie Darin Reid and I left Stehekin at the head of Lake Chelan (1200 ft.) in the North Cascade Mountains and completed a two night backpack for 21 miles, climbing up to 7400 ft. My feet felt remarkably good as I scrambled over and around logs in burned regions of the hillside, traversed boulder fields, and crossed snow patches. My shoes did show some extra wear, particularly between the toes from the debris and abrasion, but it did not affect their performance. For up the mountains and down, I had no blisters, no knee pain, and the delight of the world beneath my feet!

Seeing Maria's photos and reading about her experience makes me want to drop everything and get outside. Hiking is a truly humanizing experience. How much more fantastic is it when you get to feel the diversity of the ground beneath your feet!

Be sure to check out Maria's site where you can find some beautiful examples of her artwork such as her watercolor paintings of the North Cascades!.

Thanks for sharing, Maria!