Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Posts Tagged ‘barefoot’

I’m a proud owner of Vibram Five Finger KSO’s

Posted by bunchgrasser on August 14, 2009

Following on my earlier post about Vibram Five Finger shoes, I finally purchased my very own pair. Ok, part of the delay was my own procrastination, but once I decided to actually buy a pair I found it very difficult to do so. I live in a suburb of Portland, Oregon which is a very outdoor-adventure kind of city, so you would think a number of local stores would stock these shoes. And you would be wrong…

The unique design of these shoes convinced me that trying them on first would be a good idea. So, I made a trip to my local REI store and learned that they didn’t have any in stock. I checked around with other stores and received the same answer. I checked the Vibram website (which did list REI as a supplier) and found only two other stores in Oregon that carried the shoe. Unfortunately one store, Foot Zone was in Bend (3.5 hours away) and the other, Kayak Shed was in Hood River (less than 2 hours away).

Well, it just so happened that we decided to spend a weekend in Hood River for some hiking on Mt Hood this past weekend. Being the opportunist that I am, I factored in a side trip to the Kayak Shed to try on Five Fingers shoes. The folks at Kayak Shed were very helpful and I found the pair that suited my needs for fit/function (black KSO’s).

I’ve worn them a few times around the house – but I’m looking forward to some outside time to see how my feet and leg muscles handle the relative lack of structure and padding. They feel absolutely wonderful on – kind of like each toe is wrapped in a mini-hammock. Also, it goes without saying that I’ve gotten some snide comments from family members on the looks. I’ve started calling them my “monkey shoes” but we’ll see what name sticks.

Stay tuned for a follow up post later on…

Posted in Cool Products | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ahhh, running barefoot…

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 13, 2009

Ok, when was the last time that you actually ran barefoot outside? For me, the answer is last week. However, prior to that I cannot recall the last time I ran barefoot because it was probably 20-30 years ago. For many of us adults, the idea of running barefoot never enters our mind. Most likely because it either seems unsafe (broken glass, rusty nail) or it seems unclean (probably is).

I’ve been very intrigued by this concept of a “barefoot movement” and the potential benefits to be gained by spending more time out of your shoes, thereby strengthening long-lost foot muscles. I’ve done quite a fair bit of reading on this topic and have been amazed by some of the success stories people have shared.

I recently purchased a couple of pairs of Nike Free 5.0’s and I have managed a few short runs (4-6 miles) in them. As I’ve mentioned before, the feeling was amazing and very different from all of my other running shoes. Actually feeling the surface underneath your feet changes something. I felt faster, lighter and more energetic when running in the Free’s.

Last week, while on my normal run (in my Free 5.0’s) I stopped off at a local soccer complex and spent some time on the soft artificial turf field running barefoot. I started with a few slow laps around to get a feel for the barefoot experience. After that I ran some midline sprints…well actually I’m not sure you could call them sprints – but I was running faster than my normal pace. The purpose wasn’t to injure myself, but to just see what it felt like. And, it felt GREAT! I went home with a feeling that I had accomplished something really cool. The next day I woke up with very sore muscles in places I’ve never experienced before. Predictable, I guess…

I’ve since healed up and I’ve been out running in my “standard” shoes (Asics) a few times, but the memory lingers. I’m not planning to switch over to the Free’s full time, or anything crazy like that. I’m constantly worried about injuring myself – so most likely I’ll try to grab a shorter run here and there in them. With the Portland Marathon coming up in early October – I’m very focused on a singular goal: to arrive on race day without any injuries.

I believe there is something very exciting, and potentially very beneficial here. I don’t think I’ll ever be running barefoot down a paved street, but if I can rehabilitate some of my foot muscles it will make me a stronger runner.

More info on barefoot running


Posted in Running | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

I’m free! Uh, Nike Free that is…

Posted by bunchgrasser on November 25, 2008

I’ve been talking about buying a pair of Nike Free running shoes for the longest time and I finally did so yesterday. My wife and I spent a couple of hours at the Nike employee store loading up on gear (free pass compliments of a friend who works at Nike) We just happen to live 5 minutes from Nike’s world HQ.

I wasn’t actually planning to buy any running shoes there because I normally run in Asics shoes exclusively. Not that I have anything against Nike shoes or any other brand for that matter, I just really like how the Asics Gel Kayano’s fit my feet. So after picking out a few clothing items in the store, I meandered over to the shoe section just to see what models they had.

nike-free1I noticed right off that the Nike Free 3.0 shoes cost just over $40, which is a pretty good price compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere. I decided to try on a pair and walk around the store for awhile. Wow – they felt like slippers. No wait, they actually felt more comfortable than my slippers. I’m not surprized since they weigh only about 6.8 oz. I had to have them – so I bought a black/yellow pair.

I’ve been wearing them around the house and they are sweet. I’ve never had a more comfortable pair of shoes. The question is…can I run in them? I’m a little nervous because my feet are not what you would call low maintenance. And yes I am worried that I may injure my foot running in a shoe with little support.

So, my plan is to wear them off/on for a week or two around the house first. Then, I’ll try some long walks around the neighborhood. If all goes well, I’ll try a short run and see how it goes. My ultimately goal is to strengthen the muscles, ligaments & tendons in my feet. However, I think it is advisable to ease into this strategy very slowly.

Wish me luck and I’ll report my observations in a later post.

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Footwear to bring out your inner gecko

Posted by bunchgrasser on April 25, 2008

BarefootingI recently discovered this “minimalist” footwear product from Vibram USA called FiveFingers. Aesthetics aside, these do seem like they would be ultra comfortable to wear around the house, backyard, campground, etc. However, I can’t quite see myself “barefoot” running, trekking or doing anything that physically punishes my feet. I’ll stick with my cushioned running shoes for those types of activities. In all fairness, I haven’t tried these yet – so I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve tested a pair.

There appear to be many who believe going barefoot is the best thing for your feet. For anyone interested in joining this movement, Fivefingers are available in several different models, suited for a range of dry and wet activities. They go for around $70-$80 online.


Posted in Cool Products, Running | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »