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Something's Missing on these Vibram Five Finger Classics ...

Something's Missing on these Vibram Five Finger Classics ...

Can you spot it?

Yep, the elastic tightener on these Vibram Five Finger Classics has been removed!

Tina had posted on the forum about how she finds her five finger Classics much more comfortable now that she's removed the elastic bands. I asked "Toe Girl" Tina to send me a picture of her five fingers mod, and she kindly obliged. Her's what she had to say:

I found that [the elastic] would dig into the top of my foot if I wore [my Classics] for a long time and I never had to tighten the elastic to keep them on so I cut them out. I think it makes the Classics MUCH more comfortable. They stay on naturally because of the pattern of rubber in the back. I don't know if it would work for everybody, but it definitely works for me.

I only wear my Classics at the most loose setting these days as I typically reserve more strenuous activity for my Vibram KSOs. I'd wager that doing such a modification almost requires that you have two pairs of fivefingers (One for heavy activity and another for light use). Of course, if you don't run, sprint, or do other activities in your Classics that involve a lot of leg pumping, this mod might be for you!

Anyone else cut the elastic out of their VFF Classics?

Has anyone tried replacing the elastic with something like a shoestring (This was another idea I had to eliminate the binding effect of the elastic while still providing a secure fit)?

Thanks for sharing, Tina!

Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics

Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics
Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics
Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics
Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics
Kevin's KSO Vibram Five Fingers and a Pregnant Lori gets Comfy in Classics

In the mailbag from Kevin (KoffeeKev in the birthday shoes / five fingers forum) comes a few photos of black KSO Vibram five fingers, grey KSOs and Injinji socks, as well as a couple shots of Kevin's pregnant sister-in-law Lori, who is wearing the lilac five finger Classics. Here's what Kevin had to say about the shots:

[My sister-in-law] Lori loves her shoes and wanted a pair from the first time she saw mine ... so I finally bought her a pair. Bob is my wife's brother and Lori is his wife ... She really does love them.

The wearing out of my black kso's is all over. The straps are deteriorating near the loops on the sides. The velcro is starting to fall apart. The soles behind my outer toes (pinky and ring) are worn smooth. This is all good because the shoes get thinner and more comfortable with each passing day. I will be disappointed when they finally blow through. The new kso's seem much more rigid and thick. I don't know if it's my imagination or someting to do with the gray rubber compound. We'll see as they break in.

I think I bought the first pair about this time last year and the kso's a couple of months later. I wore them all through the winter, not to work but just about everywhere else. The only weather I didn't take them out in was wet snow and puddles and long outdoor outings. I'm not a winter sportsman so it wasn't a problem. I did get caught a couple of times with soaked, frozen feet. Not fun.

Kevin also posted in the forum that both of his black KSOs weigh a full ounce less than when he bought them due to the lost rubber from wear-and-tear.

My wife is about 32 weeks pregnant and has had a bit of foot swelling, so I've been trying to figure out if VFFs would be a good way to make her feet more comfortable (And thus be the tipping point to get her to finally get some!). Thus, I asked Kevin if Lori had experienced any of the same, but she hadn't (You're lucky, Lori!). My worry on the Classics and swollen feet would be that the elastic would feel tight and uncomfortable.

Any other pregnant VFFers out there care to opine on swelling feet and Vibrams?

"Improv'ing" your health with Kilts, and Five Comedians in Vibram Five Fingers

"Improv'ing" your health with Kilts, and Five Comedians in Vibram Five Fingers

In the mailbag (I have two more photo updates lined up, by the way!) comes this note from Rocco Privetera:

Click the image of a Kilted Rocco Privetera to see the full version! Will open in a new tab or window.

Hi – my name is Rocco Privetera, and I’m a comic/improviser/tech from NYC. I originally bought a pair of vibrams (standard black) due to some bad foot and lower back pain – a doctor suggested ‘spending some time barefoot’ each week – in Manhattan?? Thus the Vibrams. Now, between my three pair (bought two additional kso’s – black and brown) and some Soft Star sorta-moccasins [*](check them out as well – awesome barefoot shoes), I’m pretty much barefoot all the time. Results? No foot pain, no back pain, callus gone, etc. The place where I work is very hip and has no problem with me wearing them, although I get a lot questions on the subway and ‘gorilla feet’ comments). I find the KSO’s in a matching pant color works fine for business wear.

One pic is me before going out to an improv show in my kilt plus black KSO’s – I wear toe socks as they match the kilt better then just the shoes – and then my improv group, who all decided to wear their Vibrams for one show. By coincidence, we had 5 different shoes!


Thanks Rocco**! It's great to hear not only about eliminating your foot and back pain problems, but also that your doctor made such a sensible suggestion to go barefoot more often.

These photos make for a couple of five fingers firsts. For one, this is the first time I've seen the combination of fivefingers and a kilt. Black KSOs with black socks matched to a black kilt works quite well!

Two, I think this is the first time I've seen five sets of five fingers in one place. Thanks for sending the improv group shot!

A great shot of brown kso five fingers, black kso five fingers, grey sprints, black classics, and blue kso fivefingers

* If you're curious about the Soft Star "sorta-moccasins" (as I was), you can check them out here.

** Rocco's blog, which features some of his improv videos, is at privetera.com.

Black KSO Vibram Five Fingers in "Dress Mode" [modification]

Black KSO Vibram Five Fingers in "Dress Mode" [modification]

Tim Butterfield, who recently joined the Birthday Shoes Forums, has created a "dress mode" by modding his black KSO Vibram Five Fingers. Tim explains:

For the dress mode, I made a simple modification. I took a fine black Sharpie marker to the yellow logo on the top, the side, and to the top of the yellow padding in the back. The shiny logo thread of the top logo doesn't blend entirely, but it is much less noticeable than before. The side logo has a slight gloss, but almost disappears. The black on the top of the yellow padding fades over time, but is still an improvement and is partially hidden by the back strap anyway. ...

In the one picture, I am wearing some black Injinji performance crew socks. Though wearable, they are a tight fit. For a few hours it is fine. But, after a full day, they get uncomfortable. I'm going to check out some Feelmax toe socks to see if they are a thinner. Still, they do seem to be dress mode capable. And, in the rare case than anyone does notice and mention them, I wear them for health reasons. ;)

Tim's "dressy" KSOs are one of two pairs he owns. His other pair, which I can only assume he considers casual, are blue camo classics (as he noted in the forums).

Are "dress mode" modded fivefingers enough to meet business casual standards? Maybe so. And like Tim, you can always say you're wearing them for health reasons!

The Black KSO fivefingers modded to dress mode by Tim Butterfield
Tim originally posted these photos to his flickr page here.

Christopher McDougall on his book "Born to Run"

Christopher McDougall Born to Run
Christopher McDougall's Born to Run(reviewed 7/7/09)

There's a bit of a buzz going around about Christopher McDougall's recently published book Born to Run. The book has only been out for a month and already has over thirty amazon reviews, almost all of which give the book five stars (out of five). You might remember McDougall's from his Telegraph article on the "painful truth" about sneakers. Therein, McDougall suggests that the chronic injuries plaguing runners come from the overengineered-but-biomechanically-backward modern trainers or running shoes marketed by shoe giants like Nike.

On Amazon there is a brief interview with McDougall. You can watch it here:


Here's McDougall's revelation transcribed from the video:

The key secret hit me like a thunderbolt. It was so simple, yet such a jolt. It was this: everything I’d been taught about running was wrong. We treat running in the modern world the same way we treat childbirth—it’s going to hurt, and requires special exercises and equipment, and the best you can hope for is to get it over with quickly with minimal damage.

Then I meet the Tarahumara, and they’re having a blast. They remember what it’s like to love running, and it lets them blaze through the canyons like dolphins rocketing through waves. For them, running isn’t work. It isn’t a punishment for eating. It’s fine art, like it was for our ancestors. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle—behold, the Running Man.

The Tarahumara have a saying: “Children run before they can walk.” Watch any four-year-old—they do everything at full speed, and it’s all about fun. That’s the most important thing I picked up from my time in the Copper Canyons, the understanding that running can be fast and fun and spontaneous, and when it is, you feel like you can go forever. But all of that begins with your feet. Strange as it sounds, the Tarahumara taught me to change my relationship with the ground. Instead of hammering down on my heels, the way I’d been taught all my life, I learned to run lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. The day I mastered it was the last day I was ever injured.

I'm reminded of how sometimes when walking about in my Five Fingers I get a sudden urge to run. Perhaps the enhanced feedback my feet get from being effectively barefoot triggers some primal instinct to take off rather than just walk.

Also on the video is a brief video by McDougall where he demonstrates running in some very basic-looking sandals — they are called huaraches. Towards the end, though he doesn't talk about them, you see him putting on some grey fivefinger Sprints!

I haven't had the time to read anything lately, but I've added Born to Run to my Amazon wish list and hope to pick up a copy soon. If you've read it, please comment below and let me know what you thought about the book! Update I finished reading Born to Run and it was fantastic! Read my full review here!