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    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

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:

[video:youtube:Xv4Se5ka9Pk]

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!

Golfing in FiveFinger Sprints

Jeff Erno demonstrates by video that you can golf in Vibram FiveFinger Sprints:

[video:youtube:UOcFeotkz2U]

I was wondering if anyone had tried this. It's good to see VFFs being incorporated into more and more activities.

Sidenote: I've added a YouTubes plugin to the sidebar that rotates through a number of fivefingers videos on YouTube. If you find a video that you think should be shown there, please let me know!

Walking on Clouds: SkyDiving in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

SkyDiving in Vibram Five Finger KSOs - walking on clouds
SkyDiving in Vibram Five Finger KSOs - walking on clouds

Not only can you hang glide in Vibram Five Fingers, but Bobby (@ultrajumper on twitter) snapped this photo of a friend skydiving in his black Vibram fivefinger KSOs!

Before I started swooping, I jumped barefoot, and if I still did I would definitely wear my KSOs. After introducing some skydiving friends to the FiveFingers (which I wear to strengthen my feet for ultrarunning), they went out and bought their own and now they jump in them, hence the picture from this weekend. ...

The picture was taken above Skydive Delmarva in Laurel, DE. I have a video and a still camera mounted on my helmet, so when I am out there in a group making formations (in this case we were "freeflying", or flying vertically, to make our formations), I sometimes get interesting pictures like this one. I purposefully was trying to get a close-up shot of his feet in freefall since he was wearing his KSOs and the sky was looking extra nice that day. I'm pleased with the end result. Kinda gives a new perspective on the whole "freedom" aspect of VFFs.

A fantastic photo. And if you're like me, and don't know much about skydiving, you might appreciate the explanation of "swooping" that Bobby provided:

High performance landing in skydiving is called "swooping" and basically involves initiating a hook-turn that builds up speed so you "swoop" across the ground at 60mph or so, just inches above. Sometimes needing to put a foot down as a brake, and with divots in the landing area, I am more comfortable with regular shoes for jumping just in case.

Thanks for sharing with us, Bobby! Also, see Bobby's flickr photostream!

Bulldogs and Blue Vibram Five Finger Sprints

Bulldogs and Blue Vibram Five Finger Sprints
Bulldogs and Blue Vibram Five Finger Sprints
Bulldogs and Blue Vibram Five Finger Sprints

In the mailbag from "Otiosity" comes these photos of Vibram Five Fingers Sprints in blue. They are featured alongside some bulldogs from an English Bulldog Meetup in Edmonton, Alberta that took place this past weekend on May 23.

Thanks for sending in the pics!