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Posts Tagged ‘Vibram Five Fingers’

Does the Military allow Minimalist Running Shoes for PT?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

army-platoonI began my trail running days in the sandhills of Ft. Bragg, NC and have been running off road ever since.  I also began deteriorating my knees by jumping out of airplanes at Ft. Bragg, NC, which has lead me to only running in minimalist shoes today.  Since minimalist running has kept me trail running with less pain I wondered if others in the military, specifically those who are Airborne qualified and have some of the same knee issues as I do, had begun minimalist running.

I know the largest organization in the United States is slow to change, but I found that some soldiers were finding ways around the regulations to wear Vibram Five Fingers and other minimalist running shoes while others were being told flat out that they could not PT (physical training) wearing them.  FM 20-21 states that soldiers must wear white ankle socks with no logos while conducting PT.  The first loophole some soldiers point to is that the FM doesn’t state that soldiers must wear socks, just that if they do, the socks must cover their ankles and have no logo.  Since most commanders will not honor loopholes, some soldiers have been wearing Injinji socks which fit in Vibram FiveFingers to cover their ankles.  Another part of PT regulation states that soldiers may not wear athletic shoes that are “trendy” or “faddish.”  For this reason many base commanders have banned Vibram FiveFingers and other minimalist running shoes completely.  I somewhat understand the reasoning because sometimes if you give soldiers an inch they will take a mile; and being in the correct uniform is important for building unit cohesion.  However, making a regulation based on “trendiness” may be constraining soldiers who legitimately need to wear minimalist running shoes to avoid injury.  According to the Army Times, even Lt. Cmdr. John Mahoney, a Navy doctor and physical therapist says, “Vibram FiveFingers are the best thing out there for rehabilitating lower extremity injuries.”

In a typical flip floppy manner, the Army has also banned minimalist running shoes on the PT test because they believe the shoes may be “unfair.”  So if they are deemed unfair then they must help soldiers run better in training, right?!  Then why not let soldiers wear them?  This may be a case in which the military must make a blanket policy to cover the well-being of the whole instead of allowing Commanders make their own SOPs (standard operating procedures).  The same Army Times article quotes Dr. Steven Pribut, a podiatrist and sports medicine expert in Washington, DC, who specializes in working with runners saying, “I’m seeing a lot more injuries from people wearing them.  It’s not a problem with the shoes themselves; it’s mostly a function of people doing too much too soon.”  Military personnel are definitely susceptible to over doing it because they are all taught to push their bodies to the limit and to ignore pain.  It looks like the Army is pulling the trigger and making a blanket ban on Vibram FiveFingers and other minimalist shoes in a policy released through BirthdayShoes.com today.  The new policy amends the current policy which states that Commanders “may authorize the wear of commercial running shoes,” as it goes on to say, “Commercial running shoes do not include minimalist shoes, lightweight track/road running flats, racing spikes, toe shoes, or shoes that simulate barefoot running.”  This is coming from the same organization that makes it’s soldiers run and walk 10s of miles in combat boots.  Oh well, there you have it, Army personal are now not authorized to wear minimalist running shoes during PT.

I believe because of the rapid growth in popularity of minimalist running the Army is making a rash decision without doing their research.  They even have a Marine study that was done 6 months ago which studied fitting recruits with motion control, stability, or support running shoes would have an effect on injuries.  The study assigned a control group, of 432 Men and 257 Women, with only stability running shoes.  They then formed an experimental group, of 408 Men and 314 Women, who were fitted with the correct running shoe based on plantar shape.  The study said the incidence of injury after the 12 weeks of basic training had no difference between the two groups.  If types of traditional running shoes don’t increase injuries, then why do they believe minimalist running shoes will?  I understand that soldiers are the military’s greatest assets, but banning something that may decrease injuries is absurd.  Maybe the military should start by developing an “Army issued” minimalist running shoe based on their doctors’ recommendations.  This would most likely increase the available fighting force while allowing soldiers to train as their body needs them too.  The Army ruined my knees, the least they can do is try to prevent that from happening to the rest of the Men and Women serving our county.  I guess for now, just like everything else in the military, you simply have to play the game, whether you agree or not.  Thank you all for your continued service.

Christmas Gifts for Trail Runners

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

santa-runningCyber Monday is going to be as hot as it sounds, so we’re here to make life easier.  No more pushing users, crashing virtual shopping carts, or waiting in long pageview load lines this holiday season.  Here are three gift ideas for your favorite Trail Runner.  Or your boss, who is probably also a trail runner.  Like a boss.

The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running:  If you want SeriousRunning.com in print then this is the book to get.  Nancy Hobbs tells you everything you need to know about trail running.  Nancy is an original trail runners who has been an ambassador to the sport for many years.  She is the Executive Director of the American Trail Running Association, a writer for both Running Times and Examiner.com, and a chairperson for the Mountain Ultra Trail Council.  She knows what she’s talking about in this book.  Learn from an expert.  trail-running-fuel-belt

Fuel Belt:  Keep your trail runner running by giving them a fuel belt.  In the belt they can carry water, GU, and toilet paper.  The toilet paper is more for comfort than fuel though.  This one is tight fitting and has space for 4 water bottles along with two pockets.  Perfect for any runner traveling more than 10 miles and not too bulky for those 25 milers.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-kso-trekVibram Five Fingers:  These are the hip, new ‘Tickle me Elmo’ for the running community this Christmas.  They are sometimes difficult to find in retail stores but they are here on the Internet.  So powerful.  If your trail runner hasn’t tried running in Vibram Five Fingers yet I guaranteed they have thought about it.  If you want to get them the gift that they want but would never buy themselves, then this is it.

We hope this helps.  We based this list on items that we currently don’t own but would love to have.  Hear that Grandma?  We’ll keep supplying you with ideas this holiday season as we survey how much we really don’t have.  Window shopping is fun!

New Women’s Vibram Five Fingers Minimalist Running Shoes

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I went to Outdoor Retailer this year and got some good information about the new and the old models of Vibram FiveFingers coming out.  Here is some information from Vibram themselves that may help you make your decision about which one is best for you:

New Women’s FiveFingers Jaya(MSRP $85.00) The Vibram FingeFingers Jaya fosters grace and power in a minimalist design.  Created specifically for the modern fitness enthusiast, the stretch nylon upper and padded collar comfortable secure the foot during exercise.  The athletic upper provides coverage that will secure the Jaya on the foot.  The 5.5 mm EVA sole makes the Jaya one of the lightest models in our collection.  Strategically placed Vibram TC1 performance rubber pads provide grip and durability to this unique sole design.  The Jaya can be worn for a variety of indoor and outdoor fitness activities requiring balance, agility, and power.  These shoes are great for fitness and after sport.

New Women’s Five Fingers Jaya LR(MSPR $100) Sleek leather overlays and feminine topline differentiate the Vibram FiveFingers Jaya LR.  Don’t be fooled, this new model for Spring 2011 will stand up to high reps and grueling intervals – all in a foot-flattering design.  The 5.5mm EVA sole makes the Jaya LR one of the lightest models in our collection.  Strategically placed Vibram TC1 performance rubber pads provide grip and durability to this unique sole design.  The Jaya LR can be worn for a variety of indoor and outdoor fitness activities requiring balance, agility, and power.  These shoes are great for fitness and after sport.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-treksportWomen’s FiveFingers Treksport ($99.95) Building on the success of versatility of the KSO and KSO Trek, Vibram FiveFingers presents the TrekSport.  Our TrekSport offers a 4mm EVA midsole for plating and protection and a lightly cleated 4mm Vibram performance rubber outsole for added traction on a variety of surfaces.  The Coconut Active Carbon upper offers natural breathability and abrasion resistance for maximum performance during your outdoor and athletic pursuits.  This shoes is good for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, and fitness.

Women’s FiveFingers KSO Trek($125.00) The Women’s KSO Trek is more rugged version of our popular KSO.  The vibram-five-fingers-womens-kso-trekkangaroo leather upper and sock liner are soft against the foot, yet strong and tear resistant, with outstanding breathability.  A 4mm EVA midsole offers plating protection from stone bruising, and lightly cleated 4mm Vibram performance rubber outsole delivers improved traction on trails and over more rugged terrain.  These shoes are great for light trekking, running, climbing/bouldering, and fitness.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-flowWomen’s FiveFingers Flow($90.00) The FiveFingers Flow was specifically designed for use in water or in cooler temperatures.  A 2mm Neoprene upper and EVA footbed provide thermal insulation and protection.  The sole features razor siped IdroGrip performance rubber for added slip resistance over a variety of surfaces.  While more slip resistant, the IdroGrip rubber is a marking compound.  These shoes are great for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, and water sports.

Check out more Women’s Vibram FiveFingers.

Or check out some Men’s Vibram FiveFingers styles.

Women’s Minimalist Running Shoes: Vibram Five Fingers

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

After days of going over Men’s Vibram FiveFingers, it’s the Women’s turn now.  Vibram had their new collection of minimalist running shoes along with their old favorites at Outdoor Retailer this year.  They told me all about them and here’s what they said:

New Vibram Women’s FiveFingers KomodoSport: (MSRP $100) With today’s athlete in mind, Vibram FiveFingers has raised the intensity with Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport.  This aggressive multisport design inherits what we love about the KSO with functional improvements that appeal to the most active fitness enthusiast.  For the first time ever, Vibram introduces a stitch-free, seamless 2mm footbed to reduce friction.  Heel and instep hook-and-loop closures help secure the stretch nylon upper to the contours of your foot-just like a second skin.  The KomodoSport wouldn’t be complete without a 4 mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole which provides the grip and protection you need for a variety of cross training activities.  These shoes are good for running and fitness.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-kso1Vibram Women’s FiveFingers KSO($85.00) Over the last two years, the KSO has become the most popular model for women due to its comfort and versatility.  A thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper wraps your entire forefoot to “Keep Stuff Out,” and a single hook-and-loop closure helps secure the fit.  A non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole is razor-siped for a sure grip, and a 2mm EVA insole enhances plating protection and comfort.  These shoes are good for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sport, water sports, yoga and pilates.

Vibram Women’s FiveFingers Sprint: ($80.00) The lightweight and open design of the Sprint has made the is model a long-time vibram-five-fingers-womens-sprintfavorite.  Adjustable hook-and-loop closures across the instep and around the heel deliver a comfortable, secure fit.  A thin stretch nylon fabric comfortably follow the contour of the foot.  And a flexible, non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC-1 performance rubber sole is razor-siped for improved flexibility and slip resistance.  These shoes are good for climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sport, water sports, yoga and pilates.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-classicVibram Women’s FiveFingers Classic: ($75.00)From day one, the FiveFingers Classic has drawn the attention and praise of the press and active barefoot enthusiasts alike.  Available for women and men, our original FiveFingers design takes a more casual and minimalist approach to barefooting.  The upper features a thin stretch nylon fabric that fits low on the foot.  Our non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber soles are razor siped for improved flexibility and slip resistance  over a  variety of terrain.  These shoes are good for fitness, running, after sport, yoga and pilates.

vibram-five-fingers-womens-bikilaVibram Women’s FiveFingers Bikila($99.95) Unlike any running shoe on the market today, the Bikila was the first model designed specifically for a more natural, healthier, and more efficient forefoot strike.  While many have been running in their Vibram FiveFiners for years, the Bikila is Vibram’s first model designed specifically for near barefoot running.  Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickets under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form.  A more athletic padded collar and topline, a single hook and loop closure, a 3M reflective surfaces, and tear resistant TPU toe protection finish off this breakthrough design.  These shoes are great for running and fitness.

New Vibram Women’s FiveFingers Bikila LS(MSRP $100) Following in the footsteps of the original Vibram FiveFingers Bikila, the new Bikila LS offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate the wider foot or higher instep.  It shares the same revolutionary platform as the Bikila, featuring a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickets under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design.  This combination provides superior plating protection and distributes forefoot impact without compromising essential ground feedback.  The bIkila LS upper is constructed of Coconut Active Carbon for natural breathability.  An athletic padded collar and topline, 3M reflective surfaces, and abrasion resistant PU toe protection add to Bikila LS road worthy design.  The defining feature of the Bikila LA is its closed quick lace system assuring a custom fit for a wider range of foot types.  These shoes are great for fitness and running.

Check out more Women’s Vibram FiveFingers.

Or check out some of the Men’s Vibram FiveFingers styles.

Men’s Vibram Five Fingers Minimalist Running Shoes

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

I went to Outdoor Retailer a couple of weeks ago and checked out the Vibram Five Fingers booth.  Although they didn’t allow me to take any pictures (must be some top secret technology they’ve developed) I was able to get the run down of their new FiveFingers minimalist running shoes and some more information on their older models too.  Check them out:

New Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS (MSRP $100.00) Following in the footsteps of the original Vibram FiveFingers Bikila, the new Bikila LS offers a closed speed lace system to accommodate a wider foot or higher instep.  It shares the same revolutionary platform as the Bikila, featuring a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4 mm anatomical pod outsole design.  This combination provides superior plating protection and distributes forefoot impact without compromising essential ground feedback.  The Bikila LS upper is constructed of Coconut Active Carbon for natural breathability.  An athletic padded collar and topline, 3M reflective surfaces, and abrasion resistant PU toe protection add to Bikila LS road worthy design.  The defining feature of the Bikila LS is its closed quick lace system assuring a custom fit for a wider range of foot type.  These shoes are made for running and fitness.

vibram-fivefingers-mens-treksportMen’s Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport($99.95) Building on the success and versatility of the KSO and KSO Trek, Vibram FiveFingers presents the TreakSport.  The TrekSport offers a 4mm EVA midsole for plating protection and a lightly cleated 4mm Vibram performance rubber outsole for added traction on a variety of surfaces.  The Coconut Active Carbon upper offers natural breathability and abrasion resistance for maximum performance during your outdoor and athletic pursuits.  These are shoes are made for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, and fitness.

Men’s Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek($125.00) The Men’s KSO Trek is a more rugged version of our popular KSO.  The vibram-fivefingers-mens-kso-trekkangaroo leather upper and sock liner are soft against the foot, yet strong and tear resistant, with outstanding breathability.  A 4 mm EVA midsole offers plating protection from stone bruising, and a lightly cleated 4mm Vibram performance rubber outsole delivers improved traction on trails and over more rugged terrain.  The Vibrams are good for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, and fitness.

vibram-fivefingers-mens-flowMen’s Vibram FiveFingers Flow($90.00) The FiveFingers Flow was specifically designed for use in water or in cooler temperatures.  A 2mm Neoprene upper and EVA footbed provide thermal insulation and protection.  The outsole features razor siped IdroGrip performance rubber for added slip resistance over a variety of surfaces.  While more slip resistant, the IdroGrip rubber is a marking compound.  These are good for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, and water sports.

Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Classicvibram-fivefingers-mens-classic($75.00) From day one the FiveFingers Classic has drawn the attention and praise of the press and active barefoot enthusiasts alike.  Available for men and women, our original FiveFingers design takes a more casual and minimalist approach to barefooting.  The upper features a thin stretch nylon fabric that fits low on the foot.  Our non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber soles are razor-siped for improved flexibly and slip resistance over a variety of terrain.  These are good for barefoot runners, fitness, yoga and pilates.

Check out more Vibram FiveFingers Men’s Styles.

Or check out some of the Women’s Vibram FiveFingers.

Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Minimalist Running Shoes

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

At Outdoor Retailer this year Vibram had a lot of action at their booth.  Probably because of the surge in popularity that they have seen lately.  The reps from Vibram wouldn’t let me take any pictures (must be some top secret stuff), but they did show me all of the new styles along with the old ones and gave me some information to take home with me.

Vibram Five Fingers is a revolutionary footwear design that allows our anatomy to work naturally and move more freely.  According to Vibram, Five Fingers is footwear that can actually help make the foot healthier, that can strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improve range of motion and increase sensory reception import to balance and agility.  Vibrams make running safer and healthier, bnew-picturey encouraging forefoot strike and a more natural running form that creates less impact on the knees, hips and lower back.  After running for many years and being injured, Vibram has my attention.  Whether you are trail running, road running, or cross-training, Vibram Five Fingers has a style for you.  Here are the styles that Vibram has in store for Men to go running in:

NEW Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Komoto Sport (pictured left): (MSRP $100) Vibram FiveFingers has raised the intensity with the Vibram FiveFingers KomodoSport.  This aggressive multisport design inherits what we love about the KSO with functional improvements that appeal to the most active fitness enthusiast.  For the first time ever, Vibram introduces a stitch-free, seamless 2 mm footbed to reduce friction.  Heel and instep hook-and-loop closures help secure the stretch nylon upper to the contours of your foot-just like a second skin.  The KomodoSport wouldn’t be complete without a 4mm Vibram 4mm TC1 performance rubber outsole which provides the grip and protection needed for a variety of cross training activities.  These shoes are great for running and fitness.Vibram Five Fingers KSO Men's

Men’s Vibram FiveFingers KSO: ($85.00) Over the past two years, the KSO has become the most popular model for men due to its comfort and versatility.  A thin, abrasion-resistant, stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper wraps your entire forefoot to “Keep Stuff Out,” and a single hook-and-loop closure helps secure a fit.  A non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber outsole is razor-siped for a sure grip, and a 2mm EVA insole enhances plating protection and comfort.  These shoes are great for light trekking, climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sports, water sports, yoga and pilates.

vibram-five-fingers-sprint-mensMen’s Vibram FiveFingers Sprint: ($80.00) The lightweight and open design of the Sprint has made this model a long-time favorite.  Adjustable hook-and-loop closures across the instep and around the heel deliver a comfortable, secure fit.  A thin stretch nylon fabric comfortably follows the contour of the foot.  And a flexible, non-marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber sole is razor-siped for improved flexibility and slip resistance.  These shoes are great for climbing/bouldering, running, fitness, after sport, water sports, yoga and vibram-five-fingers-bikila-menspilates.

Men’s Vibram FiveFingers Bikila: ($99.95) Unlike any running shoes on the market today, the Bikila was their first model designed specifically for a more natural, healthier, and more efficient forefoot strike.  While many folks have been running in their Vibram FiveFingers for years, the Bikila is their first model designed specifically for a more natural running experience.  Built on an entirely new platform, the Bikila features a Dri-Lex covered 3 mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4 mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form.  A more athletic padded collar and topline, a single hook and loop closure, 3M reflective surfaces, and tear resistant TPU toe protection finish off this breakthrough design.  These shoes are good for running and fitness.

Check out more Vibram FiveFingers Men’s styles.

Or check out some of the Women’s Vibram FiveFingers styles.

Vibram Five Fingers Running

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

vibram-five-fingers-running

First, I saw a lot of talk about Vibram Five Fingers on the Internet.  That’s understandable, I’m on the Internet a lot.  But now I’ve started seeing them around town and at running clubs.  As soon as people see someone wearing the Vibram Five Fingers they want to know everything about them.  All of the runners that have started wearing Vibram Five Fingers say they take some getting used to but they love running in them and are pain free.  I honestly think that is Vibram Five Finger’s marketing strategy, they are so strange that everyone wants to strike a conversation about them.  Then usually the wearer says they have never felt better running.  What better marketing can you get?  One runner yesterday said, “That’s it.  I’m buying a pair tomorrow.”  Not knowing this person to necessarily be a man of action I asked, “Tomorrow?  Really?”  His responded, “Well the stores will probably be closed by the time we are done with our run, don’t you think?”  I think that’s an immediate sale for Vibram Five Fingers!

Personally if I were Vibram I would take it one step further and include some information about the product that the buyers can read.  That way when wearers are “marketing” they can speak more intelligently on the subject.  I often find myself explaining more about the concept of the Vibram Five Fingers, being developed for runners to run how humans were build to run, to inquiers because I have more knowledge on the subject from reading and research on the Internet than the actual wearers do.  This is what Vibram Five Fingers says about their product:

“The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

“That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, play, and for fun. Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.”  There are many different styles to choose from depending on what activity you plan to use them for.  Trail running I hope.

The science makes sense, but my question is, ‘What does it do to your body in the long run (pun-intended)?’  Sure the pain goes away now but there haven’t been people running in these over a long-term to find out what possible side-effects that may occur in the long-run (again, pun-intended).  It is going to be interesting to see how far this craze will go and if it will last.  Until then, check out birthdayshoes.com to hear more stories about Vibram Five Fingers to decide for yourself if you want to join the party.  Or you can just wear some around town so people will talk to you.  You’re so popular.

Vibram Five Fingers Review

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Yes, I’m writing about something I have not tried yet.  Sometimes our job is to start conversations, spread information, and increase awareness.  I mean it is the Internet and all.  I’m Chris Barber and I just found the Internet.

vibram-five-fingers

So I’ve heard a lot of talk about Vibram Five Fingers this past week and I thought it was something I should share with you.  One of the places I saw people talking about the Vibram Five Fingers was in our Running Forum. Here was the answer that was given:

“They’re just about as ugly as your feet — though more colorful!

As far as running in them, there are a lot of people doing it. For example, see this interview with a runner who’s done 2 50Ks and 2 marathons in his FiveFingers.

There are also many types of Vibram Five Fingers depending on what type of activity you plan to use them for.  More info on styles.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that your feet were designed by 10s of thousands of years of evolution to handle the pressures of walking and running around the earth without wearing padded shoes. In other words, most sneakers are messing with mother nature’s plan for your feet — to be unshod and free.  More on this here.  And more on VFFs generally.”