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    Xero Shoes - Barefoot Running Sandals

KSOs on Killer Hill!

Millikan at Morgan's Little Miami Triathlon
Millikan running up the final 50 yards of Killer Hill and other race pics.

Millikan recently wore his Vibram Five Fingers KSOs in the what is billed as the oldest triathlon in the continental United States. With two man teams and canoes it is certainly one of the most unique triathlons. Sounds like fun! Here is a description of the race from Millikan:

Here are a few photo's of me wearing VFF KSOs as I prepared for the start of Morgan's Little Miami Triathlon located at Fort Ancient State Park, Oregonia, Ohio in June, 2010. It is a two-person team race comprised of a 6 mile canoe, 5.5 mile run, and an 18 mile bike race with over 1,000 teams. Morgan's is the largest triathlon of it's type and the oldest triathlon in the continental United States being modeled one year after the first Iron Man Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii in 1979.

My six-month old KSOs performed flawlessly in the canoe then run segments. I wish I could have used them for the bicycle segment but I was forced to switch to my road bike shoes. A key race feature and KSO test was running up the half-mile Killer Hill from the river trail to the bike transition area with the final 50 yards on wooden steps as seen in the photo. I believe very few have ran the complete hill.

Other than the lightening and rain storm at the race start, it was a great event. I especially enjoyed the quick transition time that my VFFs allowed from the canoe to the run. No worrying about changing into running shoes or wearing plastic baggies over my shoes in the canoe.

Note: Fort Ancient State Park is beautiful and features 18,000 feet of earthen walls built 2,000 years ago by Native Americas as well as the famous serpent mounds.

Six miles of canoeing then Killer Hill sounds pretty killer! Thanks for sending us your story, Millikan.

Skydiving and Running in Vibram Five Fingers Bikilas

Jeremy Skydiving

Jeremy, sent us this cool pic of him skydiving in his Bikilas which he mostly uses for running. Here is what he had to say:

The jump was fun. I’ve done it a couple times in the past.

I’ve been running in Five Fingers for about a year now. Originally, I had a pair of KSO treks. Ran about 50 miles in them, then I left those out, and my golden retriever ate them. Then I got a pair of regular KSOs. I put 600 – 700 miles on those before they started falling apart. I got the Bikilas the first day they came out, but haven’t run too far in them; the summer heat here in Houston kills me.

There two things I like better about the Bikilas are: 1.) They don’t give me blisters at the seams on long runs like the KSOs sometimes did. 2.) They seem to have a little better traction. The KSOs were easier to get on, seemed to breathe better, dry out faster, and felt a little better overall.


Thanks, Jeremy! Looks like there will be a dip in the temps this week in Houston. It may be time to take to the road in those Bikilas!

Choosing between Orthotics and Bikilas

Joe finishing in his Bikilas
Joe finishing in his Bikilas at North Olympic Discovery Half-Marathon

Joe, a Vibram Five Fingers fan, sent us his story of choosing barefoot running in Bikilas over orthotics. Although, we don't recommend going against a doctor's advice, the recent popularity of barefoot running has produced many differing opinions on what works. Here is what worked for Joe:

Last summer I made a decision to take the exact opposite of my doctor's advice. My podiatrist had recommended that I wear shoes with custom orthotics from dawn to dusk. There were just two problems: the first was that the orthotics didn't stand up to daily use plus soccer twice a week, and second my feet hurt worse with them. It got to the point that the only time my feet felt good was when I was walking barefoot around the house. So, I picked up a pair of KSO's and this spring I was able to start running again.

In June I ran the North Olympic Discovery Half-Marathon in Port Angeles, Washington wearing a pair of grey and red Bikila's I got from City Sports. Our local MLS team, the Seattle Sounders FC, won the night before so I decided to wear my Sounders jersey during the race. It proved to be an interesting expiriment... what would garner more comments? The V5F Bikilas or the Sounders jersey? Well, in the end they turned out to be pretty even, although the Bikilas started more conversations. Oh, and how was the race? Well the half-marathon course at the NODM runs through a wooded trail for the most part with the last five miles running next to Puget Sound. Its a beautiful place to go for a run, and I made it three minutes off of my personal best... which was a bit disapointing but it give me something to work towards next time.


Joe, glad to hear barefoot running in Vibram Five Fingers is working for you and thanks for the story.

Hiking the Sierra Nevada in KSO Treks

Ted and his KSO Treks
Ted on a hike wearing his KSO Treks.

Ted, a veteran hiker and Five Fingers fan, seems to have found relief from Morton's Neuroma by wearing KSO Treks while hiking and sent us his story:

Eleven years ago I became addicted to hiking the high mountains of Southern California and the Sierra Nevada. After a few weeks of long and steep weekend hikes, I began to feel an intense burning sensation in both of my forefeet. I had developed Morton's Neuroma, an inflammation of the nerves that run between the metatarsal heads in the toes.

Wearing really wide shoes somewhat helped but did not eliminate the problem. A week of rest usually made the inflammation disappear, but after an hour or two of uphill hiking it would always reappear.

Once sufficiently inflamed, even standing in enclosed shoes was extremely painful. Only thong sandals or going barefoot would sometimes alleviate the pain. At other times the pain would persist after I'd finished hiking and was trying to get to sleep.

For ten years my ability to hike was constrained by this problem. Then last October I donned my first pair of FiveFingers, the KSO Trek. Since then I have completed dozens of hikes in the mountains and the desert, many on trails with a mile of elevation gain and loss. I have never in this period experienced a return of this symptom, nor had any other significant foot problem. I have also almost completely avoided wearing regular shoes.


Ted, great to hear that the KSO Treks worked for you and please send us some pictures from your hikes so we can add them to this post.

Sprint Triathlon in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Sprint Triathlon in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Jason doing the East Fork Sprint Triathlon in his brown KSOs.

Jason, a Vibram Five Fingers fan, recently ran in the East Fork Sprint Triathlon in his brown KSOs and sent us this report:

I have enjoyed your site for a while now and love to see all the different things that people do in their Five Fingers, I have a brown pair of KSOs and wear them constantly. This past weekend I raced in them doing a Sprint distance Triathlon, it was great. This race was 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run in that order. The swim was in East Fork Lake in OH and the bike and run were through the rather hilly park including one steep hill coming up from water level to the high ground. I got lots of shouts from the crowd about my shoes and other racers actually talked to me about them during the race.

I wanted so bad to swim in them but the race event people said that it wasn't allowed, so that meant barefoot swim and leaving them at the transition point. The KSOs did fine in the cycling for me I didn't use any straps on the pedals or anything like that, this was my first race so I just wanted to finish and in a decent time. I did figure out one trick on the cycling, after a few miles I would shift my foot to different positions on the pedals, i.e when I really had to pedal hard I would use either the balls of my feet or use the heel and when I was just pacing I would rest mid foot..Overall it was an awesome experience and the KSOs made it so much better. I am planning on another tri event race in Oct, where instead of swimming we canoe, and the run is a trail run, and you can bet my KSO will be getting me around on that one to, unless of course I start collecting other models.

The whole experience was amazing and doing it is KSOs just made it that much better. At the end of the race, my wife even suggested we get Classics for our upcoming anniversary gifts to each other. I think I converted her as well. If I keep with racing, I am going to have to try some Bikilas. So far my KSOs have done days at Disney, hiking trips, hunting trips, crossfit, and now a triathlon. The amazing thing is over a year in them and they look new still.

Jason, thanks for the race report. Over a year and they still look new, that's great! Perhaps you read our Definitive Guide to Cleaning Vibram Five Fingers. :)

Welcome Yahoo Readers!

We experienced a spike in traffic today that appears related to a Yahoo! Shine article entitled, Baring It All: The Barefoot Running Trend. However you have found your way to Birthday Shoes, welcome to our site!

Here is a quick list of heavy hitting content related to barefoot running and Vibram Five Fingers:

Also, check out the section labeled "about those toe shoes ..." in the column to your right for detailed information on each of the Vibram Five Fingers models.

Thanks for visiting!