Archive for the ‘New Beginnings!’ Category

A quick trip to the lake…

I decided to test out the water worthiness of my VFF’s on a quick trip to a local lake here in Raleigh last Sunday with the dogs. Our dog Sophie, a large Pomeranian, LOVES the water. The last few times we had gone to the lake we were unable to let Sophie swim because neither my husband or I, had on proper attire, or more importantly proper shoes. We had heard you could swim in your VFFs and we wanted to test this out to see if it were true. We didn’t exactly swim, more like waded into the water to throw tennis balls to the ever rambunctious Sophie. The VFFs held up fine. Ryan wore his KSO’s and I wore my sprints. I have to say they were a little uncomfortable on the very rocky train that led down to the lake, but once the ground evened out a bit we were fine. My sprints gather quite a bit of dirt, rocks, and silt from the lake, which were a pain to get out later. All around I give it a grade A for swimming. This definitely makes me more excited to try them out at the Warrior Dash in August.

Puppies enjoying day at the lake

something smells part 2

Having had my 3 pairs of VFF’s a few months now, I have come to one conclusion. Machine washing alone does NOT get all of the stink out, especially when it come to my Bikilas.
Following my own advice I hopped up on birthdayshoes.com, my Bible for everything VFF. I tried first one of the suggestions of leaving oxyclean soaking on the shoes for 30 minutes before putting in them in the washer. This worked for a while, at lease with my treksports and sprints, but my Bikilas were still getting really ripe.

I decided to be brave and try one of the most ridiculous sounding suggestions on the site, soaking my VFFs in efferdent, a denture cleaner. I got a big old cat little tub and filled it up most of the way with warm water. I put a tablet inside each shoe and let it soak for about 30 minutes. After soaking (yes they smelled minty fresh by the way) I popped them in the washing machine. To my surprise, when they came out they were stank free!!!!

I highly recommend this method to anyone who has had some ripe smelling Vibrams!

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My hubby is a VFF convert.

My husband Ryan, had been teasing me extensively anytime I wore my “toe shoes”, saying I was just wearing them for the attention. He had noticed people coming up to me asking about my shoes constantly. I kept trying to explain to him how comfortable the shoes really were, but he just didn’t get it. He was half-way through “Born to Run” and hadn’t gotten to any of the juicy parts about how the shoe industry is duping us all.

Vibram FiveFingers KSO - Men's

On our way to the mountains of Asheville, NC, I needed to stop and pick up a new pair of running shoes, my Kinvaras had worn out since the marathon and hadn’t worked up into decent mileage yet in my bikilas. We went to Omega Sports here in Raleigh. They are fabulous by the way for you barefoot running fans here in NC. Several of the store employees run barefoot and in VFF’s and are experts into getting you into the right minimalist shoe. We had a BOGO coupon, so I had Ryan just try on a pair of VFFs, while I tried on my NB minimus. When he got the Vibrams KSOs on you could see his face just light up. He walked around in them a bit in the store, then tried them out on their treadmill. I could see he was hooked! We got him a pair, right then and there, and he wanted to wear them on the trip right away.

Since finishing the “Born to Run” book, and getting his KSO’s. He finally tells me now that he gets it. He wears them every chance he gets, and has become a master at converting his thick shoed wearing buddies to VFFs. He carried a copy of the “Born to Run” book wear ever he goes, like a preacher with his bible, sharing the “good news” about running barefoot and in Vibram five fingers.

the joys, and slight discomfort, of learning to run barefoot

image from drawntorun.com

The first moment I got my Bikilas, all I wanted to do was head for the door and run. I had read enough books ie “Barefoot Running” and “Chi Running”, and websites ie birthdayshoes.com, to know better. Most people recommend walking around in your VFF’s for the first week or so to become acclimated to no cushioning. I noticed that just walking around in them that first week made my calves hurt.

The 2nd week the run started. I only ran 1/4 mile the first time and got up to 1/2 mile by the end of my first week. The real challenge was not pushing myself too hard or too fast. I’m a marathon runner, so a 1/4 mile run for me is a walk in the park. I did notice some slight cramping in my calves and arches, so I listened to my body and took it easy. I think this is the best advice I could give someone learning to run barefoot, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you sore during the run, stop and take a walk break, if the pain continues, head home. Too many people go out too fast and too soon, and end up with injuries.

The 3rd week and for the rest of the month, I was up to a mile, in my Bikilas. I have continued to progress this past month up to 2 miles. I have also added a pair of Treksports to my collection, which I plan to wear during the Warrior Dash in August. I would ideally like to be up to 4 miles by then. I still have days where I’m too sore to run my allotted time.

You have to think while your running and consciously change your running pattern. If you land on your heel, in VFF’s, you can cause some serious damage. If you feel like you are not running in proper form, the best thing to do is to take off your VFFs and run completely barefoot for a minute or too. Your body will automatically run in proper form barefoot, so this is a way of reminding your body what to do. Once you feel you have it down, you can then put your VFFs back on and run properly.

Anyone interested in barefoot running, this is a great link to try: http://birthdayshoes.com/how-to-transition-to-running-in-vibram-five-fingers

Where not to wear your vibrams!

While I absolutely LOVE my vibrams, and if I had my way would wear them everywhere, they have been some situations ive been happy to have regular shoes for:

1. in the rain: your feet will get super wet and soggy and it takes forever for the vibrams to air dry.

2. Any place that has heavy machinery, would NOT want something dropped on my feet with only vibrams on.

3. unfortunately at my job, im a petnurse, and do not want to have dog and cat urine and feces on them. I think this goes for regular docs and nurses too, same situation, diff fluids.

4. Job interview, unless I  knew VFFs were apart of the work uniform.

5. I probably would not wear them to a funeral, just wouldn’t feel they would be appropriate.

luckily there are quite a few options out there for these situations including:

New Balance 10

new balance minimus , just got these for running while I transition into my VFF’s full time.

Women's Hattori

Saucony Hattori, zero drop shoe, definitely on my list for work shoes and running shoes, will still help me keep my fore foot strike.

A new minimalist shoe is coming to town Fall 2011 from a shoe company built for bare feet - Stem Footwear.

and stem foot wear! birthdayshoes.com, just release this preview of this great shoe.

so many options! looks like many shoe companies are willing to help out the barefooted!

Hi my name is Elissa and I’m addicted to VFF’s

Happy news! my 2nd pair of vibram five fingers came in last week. I knew I would be running like crazy in my bikilas, and i love the way they look, but i wanted a more casual shoe for everyday use. After searching the birthdayshoes.com website and doing my research, i opted for the sprints; and the sprints did NOT disappoint!

The soles of the sprints are actually thinner than my regular bikilias so you get more of a barefoot feel. The sprints were actually one of the first VFF shoes produced, so they have the standard Vibram knife cut bottom. They have an open top, which is cooler for the summer, and ends up making them look more like a sandal. I got my sprints in blue/aqua, and they tend to be a little less “noticeable” than my hot pink and orange bikilas. The toe pods felt a little tighter on these than in my bikila, but after a 5 days break in period they feel pretty comfortable. The straps also took some playing with to get the right level of comfort while keeping the shoes firmly on my foot.

I have felt comfortable enough in them to wear them to school, on my walks, and even to the doctor’s office in the past week. I think they are going to be my “go to, everyday” shoe. Did I mention they look super cute with capris!!?!

Next shoes on my shopping agenda: either the komodo sports or KSO treks for my race Warrior Dash in august.

hmm.. something smells

The past few weeks have put a major dent in my plan to train to run barefoot and in my Vff’s due to my skin cancer surgery. I’m not allowed to do much but sit around and watch TV. After day 4 of watching TV and reading books, I had cabin fever and had to get outside. I went for a walk on the nature trail behind my house. As a side note I was amazed at how great my bikilas felt on a rocky, sandy trail. A few bits of grit had gotten in my bikilas so when I got home I naturally took them off and shook them out and set them on the floor. I didn’t have my VFFs off for 2 seconds when I caught whiff of a horrible smell. My Vibrams were RANK!!! I had never washed my five fingers before, so I immediately went to the net for answers, here is what I found:

According to the official website, vibramfivefingers.com “Vibram FiveFingers® footwear is machine washable. Use gentle, warm water cycle with liquid or powdered detergent. Hang to air dry. Make sure to keep the KSO Trek, Performa and MOC away from direct sunlight or heat source while drying as leather can shrink.” Machine washing is great and convenient, but make sure you wash you five fingers with other pieces of clothing to prevent them from bouncing around the washer too much and getting damaged. You also want to make sure that your VFF velcro closures are fastened, to prevent you from having to untangle them from your laundry.

The most comprehensive article about cleaning your VFFs is on birthdayshoes.com. The cover everything from using denture tablets to clean your stinky five fingers, to presoaking them to presoaking them in oxyclean. Luckily my Vffs are fairly new and havent gotten that bad yet, but if yours have check out the site at : http://birthdayshoes.com/the-definitive-guide-to-cleaning-vibram-five-fingers-a-k-a-how-to-get-the-smell-out-of-your-vibrams

Luckily for us, most of the new Vibram models have an antimicrobial guard called Aegis, which helps keep bad-smelling bacteria and other microbes off your shoes to keep them smelling nice longer!