Category Archives: barefoot

Tales from the Kitchen: Nike Free

In the early 2000s, Nike’s Innovation Kitchen Director Tobie Hatfield and some of his colleagues cooked the world’s greatest products and technologies that gave birth to one of the Kitchen‘s best recipes, Nike Free, a footwear product that replicated barefoot training while offering the support and traction of a lightweight performance shoe.
This is the story of the advent of Nike Free.


Many thanks to Ogilvy Public Relations, especially to Marco Sindiong, for sharing this material and funny video.

My First 2-Mile Barefoot Run, 6 August 2011

When I saw the latest blog post of Sir Jovie a.k.a. Bald Runner (BR) about a race on barefoot running, my interest was sparked.

It was a post about a two-mile run or equivalent to a three-kilometer run. In my mind this was something new considering that I’ve been running since 2003 wearing running shoes most of the time. Who wouldn’t? The possibilities of getting hurt while running unprotected are just too many. If I remember right, Jinoe owner of Takbo.ph once wrote an article about barefoot running.
Anyhow, it was a opportune time to have my Vibram Five Fingers Sprint (courtesy of Vibram Five Fingers-Barefootwearinc.com given for FREE almost a year ago) model to be tested, this time in a running mode or so I thought. But to my surprise, all participants are required to run bare. “Oh, no!” It was my inner mind protesting. I have never tried running barefoot in a race, except during my childhood days when I had the luxury of playing and running with friends donning no slippers at all. That was a long, long time ago. I wonder how it would feel this time.
Barefoot running is not really new to me.  I’ve seen a runner who ran 10Ks or longer when I started racing three or four years ago.  He got used to running barefoot that his feet even rejected the feel of shoes. Man, he was really fast for his age.  I think the last time I saw him was when I ran a 21K distance in a Milo Marathon race a couple of years ago.  He even whizzed past me. 

There were more than eighty runners in yesterday’s run and to me it was indeed a testament that barefoot running is gaining a following in the Philippines, particularly in the big metro. After a short speech from the organizer himself, a short talk and barefoot running demo followed.
It felt so different to walk and run in the outdoors with no running shoes. Of course, I was afraid or a little nervous at the starting line but the excitement, anticipation, and feeling of having fun erased all doubts.
The first 500 meters during the first loop went well. However, the second half was like penitence. Runners yelled, “Ouch!, Yeoh!, Aray!” It was a bit painful because the pavement was not even and when your feet landed on small stones consider it a painful massage. I survived the first round. The next and the last loops went well too. My feet to some extent adjusted. But I was not spared from being hurt. I had four mild blisters, three on my right foot and one on my left foot. I felt a little discomfort when walking but it was no big deal  Nevertheless, I still had fun time to be able to finish my first barefoot run and finished it in less than twenty-two minutes. Not bad at all.
Congratulations to the top three finishers in both the female and male divisions and to all finishers.  For official results, see baldrunner.com.  Watch out for the next BR’s barefoot race, a five-kilometer run … soon!

Barefoot Running and the Advent of Vibram Five Fingers in the Philippines

Vest Friends Forever? Varefoot Friends Forever? Naaaah! Just kidding. VFF is just short for Vibram Five Fingers (VFF), a unique footwear design, which mimics the feeling of being barefoot.

Last year, barefoot running was already a buzz word among runners. But I, for one, ignored it as it didn’t spark my interest. It was not until I came across with McDougall’s book entitled, “Born to Run,” that I began to appreciate barefoot running as a theory.

Photo courtesy of: shodless.com

I haven’t tried wearing the VFF. At some point in time, I did check the VFF branch at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell but I never had the chance to try on a pair. If I have to be direct about it, I was not convinced how beneficial barefoot running is considering that with barefoot running, though being a good one, means running the risk of getting pricked by a sharp object and this may lead to suffering tetanus. Yikes! I know how it feels for I was once pricked by a rusty nail while running around the neighborhood with some friends during my childhood days. And I can only say one thing … it’s really, really, painful.

On a personal note, I’m a believer that the decision to getting the right pair for your feet, be it a normal running pair of shoes or using the VFF technology, at the end of day, the decision really must come from the runner himself. Why? Well, let’s not forget that each runner is different.

I’m no expert about this barefoot running theory. However, it’s impressive to note that there are various articles about barefoot running, both the good and the not so good ones.

What I can share with you, dear readers, is that I personally know a runner who used a pair of VFF during the Condura marathon race, in a multisport race like the Ironman 70.3, and ultimately during the Bataan Death March 102KM race last year.

Ronald Declarador, an ultramarathoner and a triathlete, together with other celebrity athletes and multisport coaches, recently graced the VFF media launch where he shared his experiences wearing the unique footwear. In terms of performance, he improved by an hour. Wearing the VFF taught him to be more aware of the road, especially, with each step that he makes. Now, dear readers, do you see yourself running a full marathon wearing only a VFF? What do you think? What if Barefoot Ted visits the Philippines?

Having a little chit chat with Ronald about his VFF KSO (Photo courtesy of Running Pinoy)

Barefoot Revolution Hits Philippines

This year, the barefoot revolution reaches local shores, aiming to change the lifestyle of the active Filipino one foot at a time. Barefootwear, Inc., the company that distributes the ingenious footwear in the country, recently held a sports-themed media launch at the Metropolitan Club, Rockwell Makati.

With Team Endure triathletes, from L-R: Let aka Running Mom, Ronald D., yours truly, Z, Marvin aka Nuttybunny, and Pio

The event gathered athletes, sports fanatics, celebrities and select health, sports, and fashion media personalities. Gracing the event were celebrity athletes Lorraine Lapus of the Philippine Surfing Academy, Corey Wills of Pulse Yoga, former Olympian Eric Buhain, multisport coach and athlete Joseph Pagulayan, ultramarathoner Ronald Declarador, and Frisbee star Reema Chanco who all profess to VFF’s many advantages. They related their experiences with the very unique footwear, proving the versatility of this new product.

The launch also included the Kettlebell demonstration by the Philippine Kettlebell Club, headed by Nico D’haenen and Running demos by the TRIMAC coaches, headed by Jay Valencia. The activities demonstrated the many benefits of the VFF such as better flexibility, stronger muscles, and improved posture among others. Guests were able to try first hand barefooting while engaging in these activities.

With only just a few months of being available in the country, expect more from Vibram Five Fingers as it continues to break new grounds. As Barefootwear Inc.’s Marketing Manager Cherry Ermita puts it, “The Filipino will never walk the same way again.”

Barefoot Running, Footwear History, and the Advent of VFF

The past years have certainly brought many revolutionary changes to the world. A prime example is the way people use shoes. For thousands of years, people have grown accustomed to wearing closed footwear.

When Vibram founder Vitale Bramani invented the first rubber soles for mountaineering boots in 1935, it was the beginning of a revolution. More than 70 years later, Vibram is still known around the world as the undisputed leader in soling technology for a wide range of quality performance footwear. Today, Vibram manufactures more than 34 million soles annually for more than 1,000 premium footwear brands worldwide such as Nike, Merrell, Ferragamo, Gucci, Cole Haan and Prada, to name a few.

The year 2006 marked the barefoot revolution as Vibram finally unveiled VIBRAM FIVE FINGERS, a unique footwear design that mimics the feeling of being barefoot. It allowed people to experience the sensation and freedom of going barefoot with the protection and sure-footed grip of a Vibram sole. Made by abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide fabric and Vibram TC-1 performance rubber weighing 5.3oz. each, VFF immediately took the world by storm, catching especially the eyes and feet of athletes and sports aficionados. This led to being awarded as one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2007. To date, the barefoot revolution has invaded Europe, North America, Australia and very recently, Asia.

Below is just but one of the many VFF models. I personally chose the VFF W1132 Sprint model because of its bright color. Many regard VFF Sprint as the most versatile footwear due to its adjustable hook-and-loop closures crosses over the instep and around the heel to ensure a secure fit. VFF Sprint is used for light trekking, climbing, canyoneering, running, fitness training, martial arts, yoga, pilates, sailing, kayaking, surfing, and travel.

Photo source: sportsandalbeach.com

Other models include Speed, Classic, KSO also known as Keep Stuff Out, and Bikila. Next to Sprint model, I would recommend for those who are into barefoot running to try Bikila, which is designed for a more efficient forefoot strike and specifically made for barefoot running. Also worthy of note is KSO, which features a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch nylon and breathable mesh upper that wraps the entire forefoot to “keep stuff out“.

I would like to thank Juan Carlos Abad and Cherry Ermita, both from Big Toe, for the warm welcome as well as to Kim Faner for the invite. Trying on a pair of VFF was totally a new experience for me. But to go home with it for FREE was totally awesome. Ah, the best things in life are free indeed. Thank you Vibram Five Fingers!

For inquiries, call (02) 513.1449 or email marketing@barefootwearinc.com. You may also visit the official website at http://www.barefootwearinc.com/. The VFF store is located at Level R1 Bridgeway in PowerPlant Mall, Rockwell.