The world-famous Vibram logo

Vibram Dazzle Fans At The Outdoor Retailer Show

Yesterday we brought to you news that Vibram FiveFingers are planning on releasing a cushioned ‘barefoot’ running shoe called the Bikila EVO. Today, we want to reveal another of Vibram’s latest innovations…

 

Introducing Vibram’s new Smart Concept Sole

If you asked Vibram to shed some light on what they think the future holds for sports footwear, you may get more than you bargained for. They may take out some shoes from a box, and literally shed some light.

Vibram Smart Concept Sole
Headlights, check!

Fitted with a remote controlled LED lighting system that allows the soles to illuminate the ground ahead, Vibram are expecting soles of future footwear to be embedded with sensors that warn the wearer of potential hazards. Interesting.

This was another of those ‘wow’ shoes recently exhibited at last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah. They claim the Smart Concept Sole was inspired by military operations, firefighting and law enforcement, and the sole includes an integrated electronic board for controlling integrated hardware, as well as a fob-sized remote control. Further down the line, you could expect to see such remote actions being controlled by smartphone apps.

The Smart Concept sole has three brightness settings plus a flashing red LED tail light. Vibram envision the sole of the future to offer much more. Sensors with warning system, gas sensors, proximity sensors, an temperature sensors to name but a few.

Guaranteed to brighten up your nightlife
Guaranteed to brighten up your nightlife

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Vibram's Smart Concept Sole - Guaranteed to brighten up your nightlife
Vibram’s Bright Idea

 

When Can I Expect To See These Dazzling Shoes?

A release date for such a sole is still a way off. The Smart Concept sole is still just a concept. While it may seem a little daft to some, take a moment to realise the benefits such a sole could have for sports such as ultra-running and night running, cycling and commuting by bike, camping, and other night-time activities. Vibram provide soles for some of the best-known shoe manufacturers in the world, so if they were to pursue this technology, it would most likely be at the request of a third part manufacturer (or at the request of my kids!!)

 

About The Author

Barefoot runner, cycling fanatic, outdoor-lover, Lee Firman is the man behind Feetus.co.uk. Click here to read more.

Torq Logo

The Torq Trail Team: 2013 (An Extraordinary Weekend)

Question: How often do you get the chance to meet with a load of like-minded people, attend a presentation by a top ultra trail runner, trial a full range of the best sport nutrition on the market, and then take guided runs through some beautiful Shropshire trails?

Answer: Not very often (unless you’re a pro runner).

Well that’s exactly what Torq (in association with FreeStak) put together for a group of trail runners this weekend.

A Trail Team is (Almost) Born

This was billed originally as an ‘Assessment Day’ to help select a small group of amateur trail runners to form the inaugural Torq Trail Team. Not only would this team proudly represent Torq at events across the country and have a healthy supply for Torq goods at their disposal – but they would also be taken for a training holiday to cover the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) circuit. Not bad eh?

Saturday: Education. Inspiration. Perspiration.

The format of the day was very relaxed. After an hour of socialising, a brief introduction from the charismatic Simon and Julie from FreeStak, we received a fantastic presentation from Torq’s nutritional guru, Ben. It’s fair to say that we all learned an awful lot from what became an interactive session covering all aspects of ‘fuelling’ on the run. Don’t hit that wall!

We were then treated to a superb session with Stuart Mills. Thought-provoking, inspirational, controversial, and more… “Run as fast as you can, when you can”, “If you’re doing core work, you’re not doing enough running”. If you’ve never stumbled across Ultra Stu’s blog before, do it today, you won’t regret it!

Inspired and wired (on gels), we donned our running gear to hit the trails across the Long Mynd. Often surrounded by low cloud, battered by a side wind, and shin-deep in snow, we were distracted by great company and beautiful views. The only competitive aspect of the run was perhaps the rush for the showers at the end.

Sunday: Long Run

Sunday’s schedule was simple. You either ran a 2-hour circuit, or a 4-hour circuit, and your reward would be a well-earned hotpot in the hostel. The typical British weather did little to put the hardy group of trail runners off on what turned out to be an unforgettable day of running.

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Picking up the pace
Torq Trail Team
Standing around ‘Torqing’

The Future

Torq and FreeStak have got big plans for this concept going forward, with plans for the next few years already being formulated. It’s fair to say that interest in this Trail Team will only grow, but who knows, if you stay up to date with Torq via their Facebook page; it could be YOU in 2014…

In the meantime, why not try out some of Torq’s amazing products?

Massive Thanks To (and links to their sites):

Torq

FreeStak

Ultra Stuart Mills

Roy Belchamber (Photography)

It’s also worth checking out some of the inspirational runners who attended the Torq TreamTeam assessment: 

Adam Breckon

Ben Sears 

Kristof Nowicki

Lindley Chambers

Reuben Tabner (The Bearded Runner)

Sam Robson

 

Barefoot Shoes Inspired by Amazonian Tribes: One Moment and Iguaneye

Welcome to a quick blog post to present two relatively new, relatively similar barefoot shoes that are worth sharing.

Iguaneye

I have just stumbled across a new brand of barefoot / minimal shoes ‘Iguaneye’, based in Lyon, France. They have developed am ultra-minimalist shoe inspired by Amazonian tribes.

Here is a little more about the shoe:

“The shape of the Iguaneye has been created to perfectly conform to the contours of your feet. The anatomic form has been custom-made by Dulster Design and provides a supportive, secure and extremely comfortable fit. Unlike flip-flops, the piece that parts the toes is placed 1 cm ahead. Just like a second-skin, Iguaneyes perfectly fit all your movements and do not cause irritation.”

The advanced elastomer used for the main part is neutral, hypoallergenic, soft and very flexible. It is also 100% recyclable.”

It’s also worth adding that Iguaneye achieved their funding through Kickstarter – an online funding platform for start-ups. Well done! Here is Olivier talking us through the shoe: http://vimeo.com/54534013

Iguaneye Freshoe J-1 Barefoot Minimalist Biodegradable Running Shoes Feetus.co.uk
Iguaneye’s Ultra-Minimal Shoe

One Moment (O1M)

How many of you have heard of One Moment?

Based in Valencia, Spain – They manufacture an extremely minimal shoe that is 100% biodegradable. This shoe comes in all sorts of colours, lipstick red, lime green – very ‘Euro’. I’ve tested these out, and while they are not ideal for running in – they ARE great for general use: walking, at work, lounging… These shoes were also created from the ancient practice of latex-clad tribal feet.

One Moment O1M Barefoot Minimalist Biodegradable Running Shoes Feetus.co.uk
I Can See A Rainbow:
The One Moment Range

Iguaneye vs One Moment – Make up your own mind

  • They are both biodegrable / recyclable
  • Both inspired by Amazonian foot-dippers
  • Iguaneye costs 49 Euros (£42, $67)
  • O1M cost 10 Euros (£8, $13)
  • Iguaneye look more ‘acceptable’
  • O1M have a wider range of colours
  • Feetus will be stocking a range of O1M shoes!

I’m keen to learn what others think of the Iguaneye and One Moment shoes. Is there a place for these in the market? Would you buy them? Are Iguaneye entering the market at a too-high price point? What do you like / dislike about these shoes?

Keep up to date with us on Facebook and Twitter.

You may also want to check out:

One Moment website

Iguaneye website

Trail Runners – An Opportunity of a Lifetime

Torq Trail Running Feetus.co.uk Gels Drinks Energy
Become a Torq Trail Runner

This is an opportunity of a life-time for all you trail runners! Is it wrong to call it a trail runner’s wet dream? Perhaps, but please withhold judgement until you have read this:

TORQ is looking for runners who will join the TORQ Trail Team for 2013 and enjoy many of the benefits of a professional running team.
Anyone who is committed to running on the trails and exploring the outdoors – as well as their own limits – is encouraged to apply to be part of the team: this is not just for elite runners.
Those successful in being selected for the team will spend a year as part of the TORQ Trail Team, with many of the benefits usually only available to professional teams, including:

  • A nutritional assessment and nutrition products from TORQ Fitness
  • Team-branded kit for training and racing
  • A three day training and preparation trip running in the Alps on the UTMB course around Chamonix from Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd June 2013
  • Appearances in features in Trail Running Magazine
  • Support and advice throughout the season

The sign-up process is easy. All you have to do is fill in a simple form, here: http://bit.ly/11mCShu

Don’t forget – Feetus.co.uk goes live very soon. Keep up to date with us on Facebook and Twitter to take advantage of some fantastic competitions PLUS some exclusive discounts: Feetus on Facebook and Feetus on Twitter

Happy running!

Gordon Pirie’s ‘Running Fast and Injury Free’ – A Must-Read for Aspiring Runners

Gordon Pirie’s ‘Running Fast and Injury Free’ – A Must-Read for Aspiring Runners

I first read this book back in 2009 whilst nursing a knee injury and trying to find a solution. Much of the content mirrors what Christopher McDougall covered in his bestseller Born to Run, and other subsequent running publications related to running performance.

Go Barefoot or Go Minimalist

He points out that no professional athletes compete in “overstuffed, wedge-heeled orthopaedic boots that most joggers wear”, and that “the difference between running in bare feet and in the typical jogging shoe can be up to 30 seconds a mile.” As such, Pirie always advised his trainees to wear the lightest shoe they could find. “These shoes” Pirie continues “should have the same amount of padding at the front under the toes as at the rear, with no wedged or flared heels.”

Technique

In Running Fast and Injury Free, Pirie’s advocated technique is not too dissimilar to the POSE Technique, or what is commonly regarded as the natural / barefoot style. He advises taking shorter steps (3-5 steps per second) as opposed to striding and heel-striking, which wastes energy on vertical movement of the body (Joggers ‘bobbing’ up and down). He also describes his collaboration with Adidas-founder Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler on designing running shoes.

Performance Gains

Pirie was a controversial character, and he doesn’t shy away from the odd controversial statement in this book. It is at times contradictory (“walking damages running”, then later adding he would add 4-hour walking sessions to his training. Yet ‘Running Fast and Injury Free’ is still an enjoyable read with some fantastic advice, and by taking heed of some of Pirie words you will probably cover more ground faster.

Running Barefoot Minimalist Fast and Injury Free Gordon Pirie Feetus.co.uk
Zapotek, Mimoun, and Gordon Pirie lead the way in the 1952 10,000m Final
(Also notice Sando (84) missing his left shoe!)

You can both read the book for free online, or download the PDF here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13695/Gordon-Piries-Running-Fast-and-Injury-Fre

Gordon Pirie’s Laws of Running:

  1. Running with correct technique (even in prepared bare feet), on any surface, is injury free.
  2. Running equals springing through the air, landing elastically on the forefoot with a flexed knee (thus producing quiet feet). On landing, the foot should be directly below the body. (Walking is landing on the heels with a straight leg).
  3. Any and all additions to the body damage running skill.
  4. Quality beats quantity; the speed at which you practice the most will be your best speed.
  5. Walking damages running.
  6. The correct running tempo for human beings is between three and five steps per second.
  7. Arm power is directly proportional to leg power.
  8. Good posture is critical to running. (Don’t lean forwards!).
  9. Speed kills endurance; endurance kills speed.
  10. Each individual can only execute one “Program” at any one time; an individual can be identified by his or her idiosyncrasies (i.e. “Program”). An individual can change his or her “Program” only by a determined, educational effort; each individual’s Program” degenerates unless it is controlled constantly.
  11. Static stretching exercises cause injuries!
  12. Running equals being out of breath, so breathing through the mouth is obligatory (hence the nickname “Puff Puff Pirie”).

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your thoughts and comment on this post.

Online: http://www.feetus.co.uk

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In the Running World, Science > Marketing

It never ceases to amaze me how much ‘spin’ big companies use when marketing a new product. After watching Asics’ latest video pushing their hideous ‘Gel Nimbus 14’, it left me gobsmacked.

To me, the shoe looks more suited to an astronaut. Or maybe somebody imitating an astronaut, who needs a super wedge of cushioning to simulate slow-motion bouncing in the absence of moon gravity.

  • Rene Zandbergen, Product Manager at Asics, claims in the video that this ‘Guidance Line’ on the sole of the shoe will guide your foot whilst running. …What? …How?
  • He adds that the shoe “fits like a glove”. No, I think he should be referring to Vibram FiveFingers when he makes that comment.
  • He continues: “…the shoe helps you run more efficiently”. Bullshit.

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOSDAXE1h1M&feature=player_embedded

With spiel like this, it’s not surprising that a staggering 80% of runners get injured each year. How many of us have suffered with ‘runners knee’, ‘shin splints’ and ‘plantar fasciitis’? How often do people have the best intentions of ‘getting in to running’, only to get injured and conclude “Running isn’t meant for me”. With the amount of money invested in technology and biomedical science, surely we can develop runningwear that can prevent running injuries?

Science > Marketing

That’s why I am a massive fan of VivoBarefoot. Rather than plough all their capital in to creating and marketing gimmicks such as a ‘guidance line’, they instead invest in research and training. They make the effort to educate the customer, teaching us the essentials about best running technique. They offer science over opinion.

Good Running Form

http://www.feetus.co.uk goes live next month, where I will be offering advice on running technique and sharing my experiences of running barefoot and with minimalist shoes. For now though, here are the five basic principles of good running technique.

  1. Strike with your forefoot, followed by a heel plant.
  2. Your cadence should quicken to around 180bpm, meaning you take faster, shorter steps.
  3. Your foot should strike just below your centre of gravity, or slightly in front.
  4. Your upper-body should remain relaxed.
  5. Keep your head straight. Keep your eyes at horizon level.

We’ll also be selling the very best barefoot and minimalist running shoes from the likes of Vibram FiveFingers, VivoBarefoot, Saucony, Merrell, Xero Shoes, and more!

Keep up to date:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FeetusOnline

Twitter: https://twitter.com/feetusonline

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/feetus/

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Torq Logo

An Army Marches on its Stomach

An Army Marches on its Stomach

Famous words by Napoleon Bonaparte. And it’s completely true.

How many of us have ‘hit the wall’ or ‘bonked’ on a long run? If you have, I’m sure you will have vowed never to hit that wall again!

I remember one time heading out on the bike with a plan of cycling a straightforward out-and-back across the Cleveland Way. It was one of those perfect days for cycling – sunny, warm, no wind (very rare on the North York Moors!) and so I got carried away, and decided to keep on riding. Of course, the extra distance I was covering only meant I had that same extra distance to cover on the way back.

Cutting a long story short: I was ill-equipped. The food and drink I was carrying was insufficient. I became seriously fatigued, weak, and disorientated. I took a break by a trail in Guisborough Forest, and then opted to curl up in a ball, feeling sorry for myself. I was ‘rescued’ (haha!) by a couple out walking, who kindly donated a Cadbury’s Boost. That gave me enough energy to continue cycling until I found myself with enough phone signal to call my wife for a lift. #Embarrassing!

Try hitting the wall

I learned my lesson the hard way. It might sound crazy but I would recommend everyone to hit the wall during a training run. You’ll certainly earn some wisdom points for it, and will hopefully never make that mistake again during a race!

What causes bonking?

In short, you bonk due to low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), effectively running out of fuel for your body and your brain.

How to avoid hitting the wall

Simplistically: Eat properly for exercise, and eat at regular intervals. Find out which foods suit you best – which are easiest to consume, to digest, and what you enjoy most.

Fuel-up at feetus.co.uk

Variety is the spice of life, right? We’re proud to be stocking a top range of sports nutrition from different brands, offering energy gels, bars, and drinks in some top flavours.

  • Torq – My weapon of choice. All ingredients are derived from natural sources, meaning next-to-no chance of getting a stomach upset when it matters!
  • GU – A bestseller in America. A great range of flavours!
  • RunningFood – Relative newcomers to the market with big potential. Chia seed based drink and delicious flapjack.

Why not order a few to see which you like best?

And finally… The moral of the story

Always fuel when out running, cycling, or any form of endurance sport, and refuel sufficiently. Failing this: play dead and ask for a Boost!

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