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Mark Sisson does Beach Sprints in Vibram Five Fingers (video)

Mark Sisson — athlete, primal blueprint architect, health expert, and awesomely fit at 50-something blogger at MarksDailyApple.com — has informed countless numbers of people about how to have a healthier, happier lifestyle. He's also informed more people about Vibram FiveFingers than virtually anyone via his informative video on beach sprints and "indigenous people squats:"

[video:youtube:kWiE0CNpoEk]

It goes without saying that Mark is on the short list of people I'd like to complete the birthday shoes interview. And if you're looking for other barefoot alternatives (other than VFFs, that is), be sure to check out Mark's most recent post on that subject.

Shawn Shuffleboardin' in his White/Blue Vibram Five Finger Classics

Shawn Shuffleboardin' in his White/Blue Vibram Five Finger Classics

This morning I got a photo from Shawn who is showing off his Vibram Five Fingers Classics shoes while playing shuffleboard on a cruise ship. Shawn writes:

In this photo I'm wearing a pair of white blue classics. We were playing shuffleboard while on a 12 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbeans The Explorer of the Seas. While on that trip I wore fivefingers all the time (except dinner, although I could have worn my black KSO's with a suit, haha).

The black Vibram Five Fingers KSO/suit combo is one to add to the list of things to try! Shawn has also joined the facebook birthday shoes group.

Remember, if you have photos of you in your VFFs, send them in!

Vibram Five Fingers for Running Trails, Crossfit in Arizona with Ryan

Vibram Five Fingers for Running Trails, Crossfit in Arizona with Ryan
Vibram Five Fingers for Running Trails, Crossfit in Arizona with Ryan

Received this weekend in the photos mailbox, comes this note from Ryan:

Hey Justin,

Outstanding site buddy! I'm thrilled something like this exists. Here are a few shots and I just added the classics to my closet too. Here in Arizona, I often do the KSOs with socks on the trails because of all the sand. I use my classics for yoga, weights (just getting into crossfit), running on the road and more. I love the KSOs for AZ mountain trails in the pine trees and sandy wash trails around Phoenix. I just took the classics to Cali and ran beaches and wore them everywhere. I'm a huge fan.

Thanks for taking the time to create a hub for those of us that love our birthday shoes. Thanks again and I look forward to supporting your site and sending on some shots of me in my classics.

Ryan

Great to hear from you Ryan and thanks for sending in the birthday shoes shots: you have quite the VFF collection! I look forward to hearing more about your fivefinger exploits (and see more shots!) going forward!

Interview with Justine Lam on her Vibram Five Finger KSOs

Justine Lam sporting her grey green Vibram Five Fingers KSOs after a hike.
Justine Lam sporting her grey green Vibram Five Fingers KSOs after a hike.
Name:Justine Lam
URL:http://justineblam.com and http://www.koalaninja.com
Feet are:my friends!

What prompted you to get Vibram Five Fingers?

I had read about them in one of the Evol Fitness blogs, maybe Mark's Daily Apple*. I had heard about them back in 2006, but didn't know where I could try them on in a store. Finally decided to find a store in 2008 because of another article/blog and because I was starting to CrossFit. It seems like the perfect match for weightlifting activities.

What type and color Five Fingers do you have and how long have you had them?

grey and green -- KSOs

What do you do most while wearing your Five Fingers?

Hiking or CrossFit. Sometimes I wear them to work. I convinced my colleague at a media company in NYC to purchase some and often we'd be wearing them to work together. He had black KSO's.

Any unusual experiences while wearing them?

In NYC, on the subway -- multiple times people would comment on my shoes and then ask to touch them (or not ask at all) and reach for my feet and feel them.

How do Five Fingers fit in with who you are as a person?

Perfectly! It embodies my Koala Ninja personality. Super-crime fighting shoes.

Anything else you'd like to share about your Five Fingers?

I love your website and am so happy that you decided to start it. I have so many ideas brewing on how we can help share the fun of our shoes to more people.

Thank you, Justine!

A great shot of Justine pre-hike wearing her b-day shoes next to two boot-shod friends
Here is a great shot of Justine pre-hike wearing her b-day shoes next to two boot-shod friends. An additional photo of Justine can be found here!

I met Justine via twitter only to learn that we had a great deal in common — from the obvious mutual interest in birthday shoes, to evolutionary applications for diet and lifestyle, to having similar political persuasions — Justine was eCampaign Director for the Ron Paul Presidential campaign, which set all sorts of insane records for online fundraising (My paltry attempts to aid Paul's campaign were limited to a few t-shirt designs). It's great to have her interview on birthday shoes and I look forward to hearing more of her VFF ideas that she's got brewing!

*Incidentally, it was MDA that first clued me into Five Fingers. Mark's youtube beach sprinting video has likely informed more people about birthday shoes than anything out there!

How thin is the Vibram Five Fingers material? [FAQ]

By pinching the fabric of the KSO Vibram Five Fingers, I can demonstrate just how thin it is.
By pinching the fabric of the KSO Vibram Five Fingers, I can demonstrate just how thin it is.

A common question I've received is: how thin is the material on your Vibram Five Fingers? Or do your Vibram Five Fingers make your feet hot?

The material is very thin. Per the FAQ on Vibram FiveFingers dot com:

The upper is made with a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric.

But since "thin" is a pretty vague term and photos of VFFs are never in cross-section, it's difficult, if not impossible, to get an appreciation for the thin-ness of the "polyamide fabric" (just a synthetic fabric). However, above is a photo of my KSOs where I'm pinching the two types of material. If you can mentally divide that width in half, you'll get a decent appreciation for how thin the fabric is and as you can tell, it's pretty thin!

One note, the fabric beneath the velcro strap at the top is much thicker, which is great b/c it provides cushioning and protection against the tightened strap.

If you're still uncertain about the fabric thin-ness, I've got one more way to explain it. Last night, I was hanging out with Nathan on his porch. I was wearing my KSOs. At some point, I was bitten not once, but twice on my left foot by a mosquito! I couldn't believe it at first because I had the KSOs on, but sure enough, when I took them off, I had a mosquito bite on my little toe and another on my mid, upper-foot where the meshed fabric of the KSOs is!

Thus, put simply, the fabric on Vibram FiveFingers is so thin that a mosquito can still suck your blood through it. In short, even though the fabric is good at keeping stuff out and good for keeping your feet cool and protected, it's not so good at stopping mosquitoes.

Go figure. It's a trade off.

Note: This response applies to Classics, Sprints, and KSOs, but not Flows, which use neoprene fabric.

Heel-striking in Shoes. A side-by-side video comparison of how you run shoeless and shod.

A follow-up from The Painful Truth about Sneakers comes a video that demonstrate the difference in running techniques naturally employed by someone who either is running barefoot or running with shoes on. Check it out:

[video:youtube:9itkEkcQ8WM]

Anyone who has run in their birthday shoes will tell you that heel-striking is not an option when you don't have the plush padding that modern sneakers provide — it's just too jarring and painful. Rather, you seek the ground out with the front part of your foot. From a biomechanical standpoint, this makes an immense amount of sense as every joint from your toes to you pelvis represents a means of compression and shock absorption. Examining the joints in your foot, you've got three per toe, which connect via your arched, shock absorbing foot to one big joint at the ankle. If you heel-strike, which is what happens naturally when you wear tennis shoes, you effectively cut out all of these mechanical shock absorbers.

Obviously, one huge benefit of wearing Vibram FiveFingers over your traditional footwear is that running in your birthday shoes forces you to land on your midfoot and employ all of the shock absorbers that your foot was built to use.

Two more videos on this topic can be found at YouTube here and here (Only watch the first four minutes of this one as it becomes an advertisement after that). And for all you runners, be sure to check out Chris Barbers' new blog, SeriousRunning.com!

(H/T MarksDailyApple for the first vid!)

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