December 28, 2010

VFF TrekSports at Home

Last week I ran in Arizona in my TrekSports, today I ran at home. I ran on the semi-hard packed snow trails around my neighbourhood, across the frozen creek, and on the slightly snow-covered asphalt path in the next neighbourhood. It was about -7C.

The grip of the TrekSports is PHENOMENAL on snow. It felt like my feet had teeth that bit into the snow. I had no trouble with traction on any of today's snow, from hard-packed, to soft-packed, to loose fluffy snow. I walked some pretty steep uphill and downhill too and had no grip troubles.

I had decent traction on the frozen creek, too. Because the sun was shining, the smooth ice was a little tacky where it wasn't covered in snow.

It took about 1 km for my toes to warm up. Until then, my feet were a little uncomfortable. Once I and my feet warmed up, the run was very comfortable.

When I finished the run, my feet were wet but I don't know if it was from melted snow or sweaty feet. Either way, they weren't cold even after walking the last 10 minutes of my run.

I think I need to run the trails more, my feet felt a little weaker than usual but I haven't had much opportunity to run the trails since the snow fell. I'm looking forward to more of it now. I'm hoping for more (relatively) warm winter weather.

December 27, 2010

VFF TrekSports in Arizona

I recently returned from a vacation in Arizona. I was very fortunate to have received my new Vibram FiveFingers TrekSports just before I left. The trip was a wonderful opportunity to test them out.

I find the upper of the TrekSports, made of coconut fibre, more snug than the original Treks, made of kangaroo leather. The coconut fibre is quite stretchy while the kangaroo leather doesn't stretch at all but has cutouts in it with stretchy elastic near the topline to make the shoes easier to get on. My foot doesn't slide around inside the TrekSports at all because of the extra snugness and stretch in the material. Which is a big plus because I do tend to get blisters on my big toes wearing the Treks because my toes slip around inside the toe pockets. I was a little concerned that I couldn't wear the TrekSports with socks but this turned out to not be a problem at all. They are quite comfortable with Injinji socks on.

I took a stroll in the desert in Tucson and was surprised at how well the sole of the TrekSports performed. I stepped on some pretty sharp and pointy cactus spines and nothing went through the sole. I even looked down once to find a piece of dead cactus stuck to the side of the shoe near my arch and I didn't feel it.

The grip is phenomenal on rocky terrain. My feet didn't slip at all on any of the desert surfaces I walked; either flat, downhill, or uphill.

The new padded heel cup is really comfortable. I think this is a great addition to this shoe compared to the original KSO.

I'm looking forward to comparing the TrekSports to my other VFFs. I'll be writing a full review for Living Barefoot in the next month or so. Until then, here are some pics of them in the desert.

December 7, 2010

Barefoot Runners Society 'Stomp of Approval'

If you haven't already noticed the new addition to the right side of the blog, I was just approved for the Barefoot Runners Society's (BRS)'Stomp of Approval'.

If you don't know about the BRS , it is a great site with lots of barefoot and minimalist running information, tips, blogs, forums, and much more. It's also a site where BRS Chapters across the U.S. and internationally are organized. I joined the International and Canada Chapters.

I highly recommend checking them out. Here's the current link:

(BTW, the tab for the 'Stomp Roll' or blogroll of other BRS-approved sites is located near the bottom of the page, in a row of tabs, just above current forum information.)

December 6, 2010

Long Review - Vivo Barefoot Brooklyn Boots

The long review for the Vivo Barefoot Brooklyn boots has been posted on the Living Barefoot site.

Here's the link:

I love the Brooklyns. This is the first winter that I have footwear that don't hurt my back when I walk, are comfortable, AND are warm. Mostly I was missing the warm part. Like I say in the review, most minimalist footwear have either too thin a sole, too little insulation, or both to keep my feet warm in -20C. Here in Alberta, it's -20C A LOT.

Although I mention in the review that the Brooklyns don't grip well on ice, I don't have a single pair of minimalist footwear that does. Now I think the challenge to the industry will be to design a pair of comfortable, minimalist footwear that is good for -20C and can grip on ice. I think it's a tall order.

CMAJ Articles on Barefoot Running

The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published two articles about barefoot running. The articles look at both sides of the issues and basically conclude that there is no research currently available that says running with high-heeled cushioned shoes or running with a barefoot style is beneficial or detrimental and agree that more research is needed.

Here are the articles (with links):

The rise of barefoot running

Low-tech running shoes in high demand

My favorite quote out of the two articles is one by Dr. Daniel Lieberman, "The key thing is not being barefoot, but using a barefoot style, and not colliding into the ground with your heels.”