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Posts Tagged ‘VFF-KSOs’

Today I went a bit crazy…  I’ve been experiencing a mad desire to get new running shoes (VFF’s, of course), so today I went out and bought two pairs!  Yikes!!
Fortunately, my significant other (the love of my life) remained calm and just let it pass.  I’m sure I’ll have to pay the piper some other day, but for now, no Mt. Etna. Phew!!
Anyhooo, I got a pair of brown KSO Treks and a pair of grey / green Bikila’s (to go with my first pair of grey / black cammo-KSO’s).
Pair of Brown KSO-Treks Bottom (sole) of KSO-Trek
Top view of KSO-Trek
Grey/Green Bikila's My "old faithfulls", Black/Grey Camo KSOs
I was so jazzed, I broke my shoe review rules and wore the Bikila’s out for an evening jog – 70 Min, about 4 miles.   Slow and easy.  My initial reactions were quite varied.  To start off, the shoes are very difficult to get on.  The are completely different from my black-grey camo’s (normal KSO’s).  Those are soft and extremely flexible.  The Bikila’s are neither.  They are stiff like normal jogging shoes.  They bend thru the sole easily, but the tops are quite firm.  They have a heel-back which goes up much farther than the KSO.  I have to really pull them to get them on.  They are size M47, which is the largest they come.  Once on, there is much less play in the heel than with my KSOs.  The Bikila’s have the “pad” effect on the bottom of the soles (see the photos).  This makes them feel much more safe (and probably durable), but it also makes it seem like you’re further away from the ground.  Oh, yeah.  One last observation – the Bikila’s reek coming out of the box.  They smell of man-made, petrochemical, funk.  I can already tell these are going to stink to high-heaven with a little sweat in them (if they stink this bad already).  The KSO-Treks, on the other hand, have a sensual swede / leather smell and touch.  They tickle your nose and your fingertips.
Out for the spin…
When moving the front of the shoe feels like a second skin.  As I started going, my heel seemed to drift away from the shoe-heel and almost felt as if there wasn’t any shoe heel.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  I take it as good for now as it means no heel blisters while I’m breaking them in (and while they’re breaking me in).
After a few minutes, the pod / pads really started to annoy me.  I guess everyone’s feet are different and there’s no perfect place to put the pads.  They don’t seem to quite match up with my toes.  The ball of the foot feels fine, but my second toe feels like it’s going to blister.  I shift around a bit as I move and although I’m vaguely aware of the pads, they stop irritating.
I’m going very slow (only on my mid-foot and the balls of my feet).  After about 15 minutes, my calves start playing up.  Again, just relax and change the stride for a while and this too passes.  I’m reminded this is my first go in the shoes and I have to take it easy.  When I first started the POSE/Chi running style, I about crippled myself by trying to run through calve pain.
At just about the 1 Hr mark, the balls of my feet really start to hurt.  This is very unusual.  It’s very much like the next day foot soreness after a real long run, but it’s intense and it’s NOW!!  I’ve only got 2 more laps to go to 4 miles, so I decide to push through it.  At the end, I feel like if I go much farther I’m going to be limping for a week.
I stop.  Stretch my calves a bit and by the time I cross the street and walk in the house the pain is completely gone.  With ANY normal shoes, I would expect some residual pain and soreness – but there is none.  I sit on the floor and do a bit of leg stretching.  My feet have NO soreness at all when I stand up.  In fact, it feels like I haven’t jogged at all.
The only thing I can imagine is the pads/pods must be lying on some pressure points in my foot which were telling me “enough for one day but otherwise, we like these shoes.”
I’ve been up and down on my feet for a couple of hours now and I’m ready to go to bed and the feet still feel good to go.
Now that I’ve broken my rules for my sticking to the test shoe during the whole test period, I guess I’ll have to decide if I should continue to mix shoes and track the distance separately.  I’m only about 40 miles in on the 2nd pair.  I’m not terribly happy with them for jogging, but they are quite comfortable for just wearing around.  Still, I don’t want to wear them walking much as this will influence my end review of the shoe wear.
Oh, well, I’ll try to be fair, but will be, will be…
In case you’re wondering, we’ve been going through an operating system upgrade at work so I’ve had a good chunk of OT, which I splurged with to get these two pairs of VFFs.  Once again, I thank God to be working and able to afford these personal items, (when I should be paying down the credit card bill).  I guess someone’s got to keep the economy ticking over – might as well be me.
One final note, the images are from Vibram’s site (or from one of the various retailers that sell VFFs) and I make no claim to them.  I’m just a proud owner of their products.
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I’m on vacation this week!!
This morning I got up and jogged another 4 miles.  No big deal, but I decided to switch to my 2nd “shoe review” pair of shoes.  This pair is made by Speedo and is called: “Men’s Seaside Water Shoe”.  I got them at Big5 for $19.99 (on sale from MSRP $24.99).

Product Details (as stated on the Speedo site):
Mesh and jersey upper for ultimate ventilation.
Quick adjust bungee lace with toggle closure.
Durable TPR outsole for maximum traction.
Soft removable EVA insole.
Import.
Initial Impressions:  I tried the shoe on for about a half hour yesterday and it almost blistered my right foot.  The shoe has drawstring laces and at the center of the foot, on the inside of the shoe, there is a patch of raw, psuedo-leather which will chafe the heck out of bare skin (at least it did mine!)  By the end of the half hour, I couldn’t wait to tear them off.
These are definitely “shoes”.  Unlike the Ahnu Delta Water Shoe, these have a top, sides and back which feel like a canvas-ie shoe.  I’d say they even feel “padded”.
Slipping them on and off is not a big deal because they come with grip loops at the tongue and heel.  You just loosen the laces and give them a good tug.
Having learned my lesson with the pre-wear session yesterday, today I wore socks for my jog.  What a world of difference!  No chaffing at all.
Now as for jogging in them – I pulled the laces pretty snug to make sure there was a minimal amount of slippage.  There was none to speak of.  The soles are extremely flexible and soft.  I’d say they feel like a very soft pencil eraser type of rubber.  In terms of jogging, I’d say they feel like the soft rubber of an old-fashioned dessert boot (crepe soles).  They have “ssh-ssh” sound when you jog, instead of the normal “slap-slap” of running shoes.  They almost make you feel like you’re running lighter than you actually are.
Ok, now the not so good news…  After barely four miles, the bottoms are already starting to wear.  The bottoms have a real “aggressive” knobbing pattern on them, which I suppose gives them good traction.  Well, the knobs on the outer edges of both shoes already look about halfway worn down.  The wear pattern goes all the way thru the mid-ball of the shoes.  I will be shocked if these soles last 100 miles, let alone the 140-150 of the Ahnu’s.  Just to put this in perspective, the industry standard for “real” running shoes is to replace them every 300-400 miles due to loss of the shock-absorption in the cushioning materials.
Time will tell…
On other related matters:
Here’s a link to a review of Vibram FiveFingers in Wired Magazine:  Shoes for Nerds
Here’s a link to a “Nature” article with information about endurance running and how it may have affected our evolutionary development.
Here’s a link to a site that discusses the biomechanics of running by Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman (PhD).  To see / hear the Barefoot Professor discuss barefoot running.
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Ok, so today I’ve moved a couple of photos off of my cell phone, over to my PC and now I’ve uploaded them into my Blog…
The photos are me in my “Change Can Happen” T-Shirt and my new Vibram FiveFingers – KSOs (Keep Stuff Out) shoes.  They feel like you’re wearing expensive driving gloves on your feet.  Sooooo Cool!!!
Kevin supporting

Kevin supporting “Change Can Happen”

My VFF-KSOs

Vibram FiveFingers-Keep Stuff Out (KSO)

Next are some photos of the great meals Hil has been making for us since we started on our Fat-Smash diet.  Very vegan, but still delicious and surprisingly filling.
Tonight's dinner: Baked Bell Peppers stuffed with rice pilaf and salad

Tonight’s dinner: Baked Bell Peppers stuffed with rice pilaf and salad

Avacado, Pinto Beans, Peas and Bok Choy

Avacado, Pinto Beans, Peas and Bok Choy

And finally, a photo of Mom, my sister (Carm), Sarah, Hil and my nephew (Sean Jr.)
Mom, Carm, Sarah, Hil and Sean Jr.

Mom, Carm, Sarah, Hil and Sean Jr.

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Memorial Day Weekend —  Three days off to relax!
At church, Father Joe said his last 1200pm Mass for us.  He has finished his masters degree in Berkeley and is heading back to Malaysia.  Hil and I will miss him.  His sermons were always about Love.  Love for God and love for each other.  His final sermon was about fear of change and the unknown.  We were both struck by how this was an intensely personal statement about himself couched in a message of reassurance for the rest of us.
James went to mass with us.  It was his first time in a couple of years.
Saturday, I went to the movies with James.  We went to see “The Prince of Persia“.  It was a summer action movie about a poor child who is adopted by a King and who then goes forwards and then back thru time to save the kingdom.  Very entertaining.  I look forward to it coming out in DVD so I can see it again.
Yesterday, 30 May 2010, I finished reading “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance“, by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (2002).  I had seen the book in the used bookstore several times, but never picked it up because my past experience is these books always end up being self-serving autobiographies.  Then, about six weeks ago, I saw the book on a list of the 100 greatest business books ever written.  This piqued my curiosity and I decided to pick it up the next time I saw it.  I ended up looking for it several times (and places) before I finally found it.  Anyway, I found it this week and dove in.
I have to admit I was both correct – it is self-serving – and I don’t care because it is both very well written and offered me some thoughtful moments.  I must admit any book which can make me consider a point vis-a-vis conditions within SSA, is a book I will review positively.  I will offer a few quotes:
“Successful institutions almost always develop strong cultures that reinforce those elements that make the institution great.  They reflect the environment from which they emerged.  When that environment shifts, it is very hard for the culture to change.  In fact, it becomes an enormous impediment to the institution’s ability to adapt.”
“The truth is that no large enterprise can work without bureaucracy.  Bureaucrats, or staff people, provide coordination among disparate line organizations; establish and enforce corporate-wide strategies that allow the enterprise to avoid duplication, confusion, and conflict; and provide highly specialized skills that cannot be duplicated because of cost or simply the shortage of available resources.”
“I’ve never been certain that I can abstract from my experiences a handful of lessons that others can apply to their own situations.”
“A successful, focused enterprise is one that has developed a deep understanding of its customers’  needs, its competitive environment, and its economic realities.”
“Execution —  getting the task done, making it happen — is the most unappreciated skill of an effective business leader.”
“Great institutions are not managed; they are led.  They are not administered; they are driven to ever-increasing levels of accomplishment by individuals who are passionate about winning.”
“Most of all, personal leadership is about passion.”
“Thus, what every CEO has to do is decide what is going to be uniquely local (decentralized) and what is going to be common in his or her enterprise.”
“Great institutions balance common shared activities with highly localized, unique activities.”
Ok.  Having said how good the writing was and having listed a few quotes, what did I find “wrong” with the work?  To start off with there is an assumption that value in big organizations comes from systems and procedures.  Gerstner downplays this assumption by repeatedly discussing all of the great individuals he worked with.  But in the end, it is the big customer which must implement the technology (internet) before the value can reach the individual customer.  I’m not sure I agree with this.  Anybody can buy a shoe at a store – on-line or in bricks and mortar.  We don’t need the internet for that.  Knowledge, though, that is different.  The more widely we can make knowledge (facts and opinions, but not lies) accessible, the greater all societies will be.  It is the PC and the internet which are driving this phenomena, not the ability to buy shoes or jeans.  I’m not dismissing the value of on-line shopping for businesses or individuals, I’m just trying to establish where I place real value.
Of course, the process of posting to the internet does not differentiate between facts, opinions and lies – but that is another discussion.  The fact that buying and selling shoes and jeans is what ultimately pays to keep the internet up and running is also something for another day.
Ultimately, the most interesting part of the book is the infrequent mentioning of research and implementation.  Where a product cannot be driven to market in a timely manner, it needs to be leveraged by “selling” the use to others who will drive the product to market.  Essentially, this and the effort to make IBM a system integrator and service supplier are the key ideas for any company based on true intelligence / knowledge.  “We know how things work together.  We make some (most) of the parts (especially the big, expensive parts,) and what we don’t make we can help you buy and put together.  You pay some for what we make, but you pay most for what we know.”  [That is me, not Mr. Gerstner being quoted.]
I have to agree, this is a true growth industry and one that a large multinational corporation can make a lot of money from.
Today I went to REI and (finally) got myself a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (KSO).  They are SOOOOOO cool!!!  I wore them home from the store and they are extremely comfortable.  The biggest downside is the price: $85.  So, this is probably the only pair I’ll ever own.  But in the meantime, they are COOL!  Black and gray with cammo bottoms.
I will continue my current test pair, but I can’t wait to start logging some miles in the KSO’s.
Incidentally, last night I ran 240 minutes – about 7ish miles.  My feet feel good and my Achilles are a little tender but not bad.  Otherwise, I feel great!  And there was virtually no wear on the Delta Water Socks (the test pair).
Also today, I picked up and watched “Paper Chase“.  It’s a movie about a first year law student at Harvard.  I first saw it when I was in my 20s and I’ve wanted to get it for ages.  I couldn’t wait to get home and watch it.  Review: Even after all these years, it’s still EXCELLENT!!  John Houseman rocks as Professor Kingsfield.  He got an Oscar for his performance.
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