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Hike only w/Vibram 5 Finger shoes
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Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Hike only w/Vibram 5 Finger shoes on 02/11/2010 18:11:39 MST Print View

Have any High Sierra or any other long thru-hikers used Vibram 5 Finger shoes for their primary hiking shoe?

Check out their KSO Trek, which looks like it might do the job (I want to know):

Interesting read below, I definitely want to read the recommended book, Born To Run

[BEGIN QUOTE -- goto link to see video and embedded links]

Barefoot Running According to Daniel Lieberman

February 8, 2010 · By Dr. Snell

Harvard anthropologist and barefoot runner, Daniel Lieberman, recently had his study on barefoot running published in Nature. You may have caught the story on NPR, along with the companion piece on OPB about how the news was received here in Portland, ground zero for running shoes. You can get the skinny on a 6 minute video interview with the author, posted on the Nature site. That video contains a few great force plate visuals, showing how the difference in foot fall changes the force distribution through the foot. Those of you who are coaches, doctors or dedicated runners might like to bookmark Lieberman’s Harvard website, which is all inclusive and has slow motion video of Kenyan runners who have never worn shoes. It might be worth noting that the study and Lieberman’s website are partially funded by Vibram USA, makers of the Vibram Five Fingers shoes you’ll see me sporting in today’s video.

I have had the Vibram five Fingers for a couple of years, and have worn them intermittently for running, more frequently for gym workouts. Despite what most people intuitively think, the shoes and barefoot running in general, result in less overall impact force than when running with thick, cushy, motion control shoes. Lieberman’s findings in the study help to prove this and include:

* The fossil record suggests that humans not only evolved as endurance runners, but that they evolved to run long distance landing on the forward part of the foot.
* The vast majority of runners wearing thick running shoes land on their heels
* Barefoot runners typically run on their forefoot
* The peak force generated in a barefoot runner with forefoot impact is 3 times less than that generated by a shod (shoe wearing) runner landing on the heel.
* This reduction in force may have public health implications by reducing number of running-related injuries. Future studies need to see if this is true.
* Since the advent of motion control running shoes in the ’70s, running related injury prevalence has not declined.

For those of you who want to learn a bit more about this stuff but prefer a good adventure story to dry science, you might want to check out Born To Run, by Chris McDougall. It’s written by a journalist who had chronic running related injuries that didn’t respond well to treatment. Frustrated, he learned of forefoot striking styles of running, changed his stride and went to the deserts of Northern Mexico to learn how to run better from the indigenous Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyon. The book culminates in an ultra-marathon race between several of the top ultra-marathoners from the US pitted against the Tarahumara, clad in their homemade leather sandals.

Good reading!

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Born to Run... on 02/11/2010 19:53:52 MST Print View

This was a great book. I think the author is an excellent story teller, but it seems that a lot of what he tells is just that a story. It is a very inspiring book with some data and research to back up what is being said, but the running story (pun intended) sometimes seems a bit contrived. It definitely made me want to run.

Wayne Caldwell
(Outdoorsman33) - F
Here comes the pain train...unless on 02/13/2010 08:23:18 MST Print View

I've done a good bit of running in the kso version of the shoes (up to about 7 or 8 milers) and they definitely give a good workout and bring into action muscle you don't even realize you have in your feet and legs. I would try a short day hike or two before you get serious with them. On rocks they offer no protection and you would really have to spend some time with them getting your feet calloused and used to them in order to ever consider using them for hiking. That said I want to enjoy hiking and backpacking and depending on the terrain I am not sure I would in those shoes. For kayaking and canoe trips I'm not sure they could be beat though. Just one simple mans take. I would atleast buy a pair and try them out since I really do enjoy them just not sure I'd want them to be my main shoe for long excursions.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Vibrams on 02/16/2010 09:47:45 MST Print View

I've used both the Neoprene and KSO's for long-distance hiking, and I can't say enough good things about them.

The KSO's are truly three-season hikers, but I'd spend some time doing weekend hikes before I used them for a long-distance hike.

For winter (or any hike that involved wet or cold feet for any length of time), I'd switch to the Neoprene versions. Cold feet are the death of comfortable hiking, IMO.

Also, get a good pair of woolen toe socks and even the light liner sock. I usually wear the liner socks during fall and spring with the KSO's and only go "nekked" during high summer.

During winter, I wear the woolen "tundra" toe socks and keep the liners in reserve in case it gets really cold or my woolen socks get too wet to dry out overnight.

Finally, learn to live with greenbriar between your toes. :-) It's actually feels pretty good to be carrying around a bit of the forest with you.