Posts Tagged ‘minimalist shoes’

New shoes, New terrain!

Hubby surprised me with my 3rd pair of VFFs, and effectively cut me off for the rest of the year at the same time. I had wanted a pair of Treksports to run in for my upcoming Warrior Dash, see: . The Treksports are made specifically with trail running and hiking in mind see: They have a great tread on the bottom that gives you more traction for climbing and navigating rough surfaces. The sole of the shoe is also a bit thicker than your standard sole, which gives you less barefoot feel, but in my opinion a little less of that is needed on the trails.

I have never been much of a trail runner. I always felt clumsy in regular shoes, my sense of balance seemed to be off.  The minute I stepped onto the trails with my new Treksports, that all changed! I thought being able to feel the ground under my feet with all its rocks and roots would be a bad thing, but it actually gave me my sense of balance back. I felt nimble and excuse the corny term, but one with nature. I had a new sense of my surroundings. Yes, I still had to be careful where i stepped, a sharp rock can hurt. Stubbing your toe on a tree root isn’t fun ether. I was able to bounce around my new surroundings like a kid.

My Vffs have given me a new respect for trail running. I try to incorporate a trail run in at least 2 days a week to my running schedule. So, far I have made it up to 2 miles in my Treksports. I have to be at 3.2 miles by august, a goal I know I can meet in my new shoes!

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport - Women's


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

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, 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:

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!, just release this preview of this great shoe.

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

barefoot running haters!!

so with all the information out there on how great barefoot running is so great its was just a matter of time before this site came up :

They have very umm “informative” articles such as: Definitive evidence that barefoot running really does make you blind and Why I have turned my comments off (apparently he gets a lot of hate mail). He accuses the barefoot community of not having any science to back up our thinking, and yet his website does the same thing. Opinions are one thing, but at least try to back it up with some evidence. I understand the right to free speech, so I will agree to disagree with his statements. 

The Naked Tour, part 2

"Me and Scott Jurek"So after getting lost in the woods for a bit,  (see part 1). I was not particularly in a good mood to say the least. Me and hubby got changed into some fresh clothes and started walking over to Lipinski Hall, where the talk about “Born to Run” was going to take place.

Chris Mcdougall’s speech was a basic synopsis of the book with a few jokes thrown in. Then his running coach from the book stood up to speak, he had an interesting take on how to raise a child to enjoy barefoot running. I was especially touched when he got teary eyed talking about his daughter

By far the best speaker of the night was Scott Jurek. For those of you who do not know, Scott Jurek, is an Ultra running champion.  He showed us slides on all of the beautiful places he has raced.  He had raced an ultra in the Alps, spanning 3 countries in one run. The most challenging race had been a  race in France, where he ran the same 1 mile loop of road for 24 hours straight and won! His last speaking point of the night really touched my heart, because I believe it not only speaks about racing but life as well. Mr. Jurek has had some tough spots he has had to get himself through during races, like during the Badwater ultra marathon in Death Valley, where temperatures can reach over 130 degrees, and the race is 135 miles long! He told us his “secrets” to getting out of tough situations:

1. If something goes wrong, let yourself have the negative emotion. example: you run out of water on a run, let yourself get angry. Be cathartic about it and release the negative emotion.

2. Only allow yourself a few minutes in the emotion, and then start planning a way through your problem. example: you ran out of water, maybe you can refill your bottle in a stream a mile up ahead.

3. If the problems seems to big, break it down into smaller pieces that are easier to deal with. example: you have 20 miles to run for race training, break it up in your head into 4, 5 mile chunks, and only imagine yourself getting through that one chunk, aka take things one day at a time.

4. If you feel you must stop, run for a bit more,,, then reassess the situation, if your gut is still telling you to stop,,, STOP!

I have been using these principles in my own life over the past week or so, after I found out my husband might have a serious illness, while going to school full-time and working full-time, and dealing with my own recovery from skin cancer. I let myself have the emotions a need to have, but just for a minute. I plan out the day ahead and how I will maneuver the obstacles in my life. Remember to take things one day at a time, don’t think too far ahead. Most important, take time to just stop everything, if i need to.

Thank you Scott, for your inspiration and motivation, it touched me more than you’ll ever know!

The Naked Tour, Part 1

I have some mixed emotions concerning what happened this weekend in Asheville.  Listening to Chris Mcdougall and Scott Jurek speak was wonderful, but what happened on the trail run made me extremely disappointed.

I was super amped to see Chris Mcdougall speak this weekend, but the thing I was really looking forward to was the barefoot trail run. According to videos on the website, we would be instructed by Chris Mcdougall and Scott Jurek. When we got there I noticed that the author of “Chi Running” was at the event. It turns out he was the one running the barefoot seminar, not Chris Mcdougall, BIG let down, since im NOT a huge fan of his book, but that’s for another episode. The instructions he gave were very vague: go slow, run on your forefoot and lean into your stride.  That was it!  Chris Mcdougall then, got up and instructed us to follow him and the other ultra marathoners on a trail run, half-joking about if we get lost to follow the sunset to find out way home. The trail wasn’t marked and since me and hubby were new to the barefoot trail running experience we easily got lost and had to use his Iphone to find our way back to campus. When we finally got there, no one seemed to be concerned that we had just been lost on a 10 mile trail in the middle of the woods in Asheville. With no trail markers, and several forks in the road, we would have been lost for quite a while with out hubby’s GPS. NOT a good way to start our vacation.