User Stories

Not as Tough a Mudder in Vibram Five Fingers Flows!

Andréa Maria Cecil (Follow her on twitter @andreacecil) recently participated in a Tough Mudder race at Bear Creek Mountain Resort near Allentown, Pa. She shared this narrative about her experience with us:

Andréa scales this wall with ease in her VFF Flows.
(Photo courtesy of Anthony J. Topper)

Andréa Maria Cecil (Follow her on twitter @andreacecil) recently participated in a Tough Mudder race at Bear Creek Mountain Resort near Allentown, Pa. She shared this narrative about her experience with us:

By Andréa Maria Cecil

All I could hear was my own breathing as I ran down the narrow, shady trail lined with small trees and dead leaves.

Beneath my feet were rocks of all sizes — mossy, wet, jagged. Tree roots, rogue branches and mud filled the spaces between, adhering only to the chaos of nature.

I hopped, skipped and jumped along the path, my elbows rising to shoulder-level each time, constantly scanning the ground for my next step.

Suddenly, from behind, I heard a man yell out,“How are those shoes working out for you?”

I turned my head 90 degrees to the left as I continued running to ensure the question was being directed at me; I gave a thumbs up with my left hand.

Indeed, my pair of Vibram Five Fingers Flows held up impeccably during the Sunday, May 2, inaugural Tough Mudder at Bear Creek Mountain Resort near Allentown, Pennsylvania. The event, billed as “the toughest one day endurance race on the planet,” was designed by British special forces. My Flows traveled over gravel, unforgiving rocks and snow; through cold, muddy water; atop rope; on a plank; over 10 foot wooden walls; and dug through their fair share of mud.

I stepped on countless rocks; it hurt. But it was either run over those rocks or walk gingerly, and this wasn’t the time for walking. Thus, I surmised my feet would be bruised by the evening as my fellow teammates kept asking, “How are your shoes on the gravel?”

At least I wasn’t the guy who was competing barefoot. I was one of at least a half dozen people wearing Vibram Five Fingers; others donned Sprints, KSOs and KSO Treks. I don’t know about them, but my VFFs still got a lot of finger pointing — in a place where more than one man was competing in a race while wearing a thong.

There were waivers involved and a lot of clean up, but Andréa had a great time, and need we say? She is one tough…uh…cookie!
(Photos courtesy of Andréa Maria Cecil)

Days later, still no bruises. Although, my feet definitely feel like they got a workout; I put the springs God gave me to the test.

Nine months ago, I wouldn’t have considered wearing Five Fingers during a challenge like the Tough Mudder. That’s when I was just beginning my journey with “monkey feet.”

Now, I can’t think of much I wouldn’t do in them.

Thanks Andréa, for sharing your tales of adventure!

By Britt

Hailing from College Station, Texas (Home to Texas A&M!), I grew up running cross country. Believe it or not, I gave Justin the name for this site back in early 2009 but I didn't jump on the toe shoes bandwagon until a year later. I am also really into quadcopters and drones and have a blog called

14 replies on “Not as Tough a Mudder in Vibram Five Fingers Flows!”

I did it in my KSOs…they were awesome! especially when i saw people struggling with waterlogged sneakers after getting out of the lake.

Thanks for sharing – pretty motivational. I just got my Bikila’s thru a birthdayshoes link (CitySports Boston) and I am transitioning right now with the ultimate goal of doing the Nov Tough Mudder in Englishtown, NJ in them. But alas, no thong. Don’t need that kind of attention.

Although usually a strength athlete (powerlifting and weightlifting) I’ve decided to run the October Tough Mudder. I googled Vibram Tough Mudder to see if anyone was using them for it. Alas. Good. I will too. Thanks for the report.

I ran a Warrior Dash in mine and my toes kept slipping out as soon as I went through muddy water. Besides that they were great.

I’m an enormous fan of my Vibram KSO’s and wear them virtually every where for every workout be it running or crossfit, (actually wearing them right now) I am entering the Tough Mudder as well and the only thing I’m worried about is the “Fire Walker” obstacle. Did anyone have any trouble with this, (singeing or melting)?

ran in my NB Minimuses at the Squaw Valley Tough Mudder today, and it was brutal…
No problems with traction or staying wet, but the entire course was sharp rocks. Feel like my feet were beaten… Sat down at one point to empty gravel out of them, and another Minimus wearer and a Five Fingers wearer sat down with me to do the same. I asked, and they were equally miserable.

Of course, YMMV. I love my Minimuses for the track or street or park… But never again broken surfaces.

I’m going to be doing Tough Mudder in the UK (May 2012) and was wondering how my Vibrams would do. I mostly run properly barefoot these days but as tough as I pretend to be be, doing TM barefoot is not an option I choose. After reading your post I’m convinced that my Vibrams are the way forward and I’m not going to sell out and wear ‘proper’ running shoes.
Thanks for the info.

Awesome read! Makes me even more amped to try the Mudder after I get to my first command. Questions though about your VFF’s–

What ONE feature did you enjoy about them while doing the Mudder? Was there a feature you thought was lacking in your pair, or could have been added/ improved?

These shoes used in the Tough Mudder race – are these the trek version with the more agressive sole or were they the standard flows with the soother sole. Looking to buy a barefoot shoe for the winter as the soother sole version is still about but no longer in production.

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