Helping Orangutans in Borneo wearing Vibram Five Fingers
Barefoot stories

Helping Orangutans in Borneo!

Another Barefoot Story!  We were thrilled when we got the opportunity to chat with Jamie Wedderburn from Norfolk. Not only did he tell us about the amazing work being done for our fellow planet citizens, the Orangutan, but we also heard about Jamie’s love for Vibram FiveFingers and how they helped him during a trip to the rain forests of Borneo! Jamie’s big summer adventure! . . . making a difference Passionate about animal welfare Jamie and his wife Suzanne were already very conscious of the plight of the Orangutan in Borneo and keen to see if in any way, even a small way, they could help.So, after some research they discovered a way they could do just that with an organisation that had glowing reviews and a clearly robust and ethical approach. The Great Projects is an organisation that runs unique wildlife conservation projects and tours to help endangered species around the world. They also work hand in hand with The BOS Foundation, Borneo Orangutan Survival, who help to re home and rehabilitate Orangutans in Borneo. “Every little bit helps as they say, and we wanted to do our part. We decided to go out to Borneo and volunteer for 2 weeks” Orangutans in Borneo In recent years the plight of many animals across the world has been highlighted, including the Bornean Orangutan who are being displaced as their natural environment is being changed. This has led to a loss of their habitat which means the Orangutan have nowhere to go.There are three species of Orangutans in the world, all can be found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra and all are critically endangered. A recent study estimated that over 100,000 Orangutans have been killed in just the past 17 years.Charities like BOS take steps to rescue and rehabilitate these animals. They go as far as purchasing huge swathes of the forest so they can release the rehabilitated Orangutans back into the wild. They treat the Orangutans for illnesses and injuries, providing a future for these animals that might not be possible without intervention. “The work is so fantastic and we wanted to contribute to that which is why we went out there” You wore wellies though right? “So I wore my Vibrams in Borneo, every day . . . well except for one day when we trekked through a rainforest renown for being overrun with leeches . . . I didn’t fall over once!” All the volunteers were very active and engaged in demanding physical work in hot, humid conditions and over rough terrain. Whilst Jamie was wearing his Vibrams his fellow volunteers where wearing the standard Wellies or thick chunky hiking boots. At the end of the day his fellow volunteers were desperate to get their hot and sweaty footwear off. “I felt great. My Vibrams offered the protection I needed whilst working in the jungle. And even when they got wet, because of the way fit, they didn’t rub and didn’t cause issues” Jamie’s journey into Vibram’s Throughout his career Jamie had spent a lot of time wearing heavy restrictive leather boots. Firstly in the RAF and latterly in the Police Force. He would have to wear them for everything, every day, whether sitting in the office or hiking for 20 miles. Jamie became increasingly aware of how uncomfortable these boots were; restrictive, heavy, inflexible, his toes were being squashed. Inevitably he found himself suffering associated pain. But there was no alternative. “I couldn’t wait to get them off at the end of the day. I used to love taking these boots off and the release that I had and that feeling, that ‘ahhhh’ moment, these feet are finally free” Barefoot shoes As a result of this discomfort Jamie started to look for alternative footwear that would help his feet. He read about the benefits of going barefoot and barefoot footwear which lead him to Vibram Five Fingers, looking into the science and benefits behind a healthy posture and healthy footwear. “I’d read the science and I liked the thought behind how it could benefit you. That your toes are free all the time and the benefits to posture and strength” Of course, there are other shoes on the market with similar approaches. Although none have the toe pockets unique to Vibram FiveFingers which provide the ability for the toes to move independently providing all the balance and grip that’s essential to barefoot travel. “I tried other footwear but was never as comfortable as I am wearing my Vibram FiveFingers because your foot can be itself and do what it was designed to do whilst in a shoe” Do they take getting used to? Transitioning to the shoe wasn’t so much of a challenge as an adjustment for Jamie. Commonly you walk differently and run differently in Vibram shoes. You ‘heel strike’ less, instead landing towards the mid and fore foot. You are also using your muscles in a different way than you’ve been accustomed to. “There is a transition period but the benefits once you have transitioned are fantastic” Jamie soon noticed less knee pain and ankle pain. His strengthened joints and a more natural walking gait noticeably reduced stress on the body. Jamie has now been wearing his Vibrams, when not at work, for about 7 years. With a number of different pairs, for training, for yoga, weight training in the gym and trail running. All offering the minimal natural feel, without restricting the natural movement of the foot and still offering the protection he needs. “Once you get used to how they feel on your feet, its almost like they’re not there but you’re given protection from the elements, stones, surfaces etc” So how to your work boots feel now? “It’s a hateful relationship” says Jamie who is either barefoot or in Vibrams when not at work. The first half an hour of each day, when I’m putting my work boots on, I’m aware that I’m having to change the way I walk. I have to go back to moving the way the boots are designed for” So what would you say about Vibrams? Jamie’s journey with footwear, such as it is, means that not only is he an unintentional advocate for Vibram FiveFingers but that he has a wealth of experiences and reasons why looking at these shoes beyond the surface and grasping the benefits is really worth it.• Strengthens your feet, there are so many muscles in your feet that go unused• Strengthens your ankles• Improves your gait• Improves your posture• The feeling of freedom “I say to people, don’t knock them before you’ve tried them, whilst they might look unusual, once you’re wearing them and understand how they can benefit you in so many ways you won’t think of them in a negative way” “Everyone likes to walk on the beach, or on their plush carpet at home barefoot. The beauty of Vibrams is that you can be barefoot all the time” What’s your next adventure? James and his wife are looking at a number of suitable locations for their next adventure. Maybe Costa Rica or perhaps Peru, taking in the Inca or the Salcantay trail and hiking up to Machu Picchu. “We’ll hike up to Machu Picchu. We’d like to see that as one of the wonders of the world before it becomes inaccessible. I will wear my Vibrams to hike the Salcantay trail, they’ll be great for that; lightweight and comfortable on a long hike over 6 or 7 days” The Great Project and the BOS foundation The Great Project is an organisation that run a volunteer program of award-winning wildlife conservation projects and signature tours designed to provide truly unique and life-changing experiences for wildlife lovers around the globe who wish to volunteer abroad and make a difference.The BOS Foundation, Bornean Orangutan Survival, engage supporters and donors from around the world with the plight of the Bornean Orangutan. From acquiring protected forests into which rehabilitated Orangutans can be released, to aiding the team working to rescue Orangutans from human conflict or those sold into the illegal pet trade, from the dedicated babysitters nurturing the orphans through forest school, to the enrichment team and veterinary staff, for all of this and more, funds are desperately needed! The BOS foundation runs a great programme of intervention and works with the Great Project to coordinate volunteers eager to make a difference. Take a look at some of our shoes ideal for trekking The V-Trail 2.0 offers the latest and greatest features to conquer trails with ease, including both lamination around the toes to prevent seam splitting and improved extra resistant polyester fabric upper material which is more water repellent than the previous version.      The V-Trek is a great tool for walking, hiking and trekking, with a nice stylish urban flare as well. The Flexible outsole featuring Megagrip provides the premium outdoor formula for grip in both wet and dry conditions.
Is road running safe?

Is road running safe?

Thanks to barefoot running coach and Vibram FiveFingers fan Paul Mumford for this month’s blog. All about the perils of running in the countryside. How many of these hazards have you come across?I’ve spent many years and covered many miles running in Vibram FiveFingers. I can often be found running around the country lanes near my home but that can sometimes prove difficult. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many hazards for the road runner. You need to be ready for anything! Traffic ... those pesky, and sometimes distracted, car drivers! I live and work in rural Essex. That means spending lots of time barefoot running on roads where there are no pavements. I remember as a child being told that it’s better to walk or run on the right hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. This can sometimes be a safer bet and I’m always ready to dive into the nearest bush whenever necessary. However it seems no amount of reflective or fluorescent apparel is enough to alert some oncoming motorists to my presence. I could be 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, covered in fairy lights and still not get noticed!. It’s even worse if I dare to time my training around school kicking out time or rush hour. Taking out a few runners seems to be a competitive sport for some motorists! Pedestrians Oh, and don’t even think a pavement is going to be any safer. If I’m using a pavement that’s occupied by even a few other people I need to be prepared for anything. While I appreciate that barefoot runners can be stealthily quiet on our feet even a polite 'excuse me' or subtle cough often appears insufficient. Instead, pedestrians seem to take great delight in suddenly walking very slowly right in front of me, stopping at a moment’s notice, or changing direction without indicating first. As for those bystanders who do notice me, the odd word of encouragement can be nice but there’s only so many times in one run ,before calls of ‘have you forgotten your shoes’, goes from funny to irritating. Horses! and their offerings Horses are a real problem for the rural runner, or rather the stuff that comes out of their bottoms.   When I owned a dog I used to take a small bag out with me. Then, whenever he had a call of nature I could clean it up rather than leaving it on the ground for others to enjoy. Why then is it OK for horse owners to allow their animals to do it anywhere? Please have a thought for the weary runner who is struggling to make it through his 18th mile. Focus and attention starting to suffer, not noticing that large deposit right in front of … oh, too late. Dogs and their enthusiastic welcome Early Sunday mornings running through the forest near my home is one of my favourite times of the week. That peace and tranquillity, being one with nature. Unfortunately, the journey there means navigating a few roads and often coming across the odd dog walker. If the dog is on a lead I’m usually safe but the road to the forest rarely sees a car at the busiest of times, so often there are dogs on the loose, ready for action. Even the most intelligent of canine can turn into a disorientated mess when he or she confronts a runner. We’re like the catnip of the dog world. If I’m lucky they might head straight for me armed with a mouthful of enthusiastic slobber. If I’m unlucky they’re armed with half a tonne of wet mud from the forest as well. But I'm not put off! Don’t get me wrong, I love running and doing it in my Vibram FiveFingers makes it a double pleasure. However, have sympathy for the rural road runner. It’s not as safe as you might think. Best shoes for running? Road Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Run Running Shoe.  V-Run shoe features an 8-mm thick sole and provides the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on pavement. It’s also a solid option for runners who are used to traditional running shoes and want to transition to barefoot running shoes. Your feet stay cool and dry, thanks to the polyester Lycra stretch mesh fabric. Designed to be worn barefoot, but can also accommodate toe socks when running in colder weather. Find out moreTrail Running - Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail Runner. If you plan on hitting the trails in barefoot running shoes, you need a shoe that offers the right amount of protection from rocks and other debris. The Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail barefoot running shoe delivers in that area, and also provides enough ground feel for a minimalist running experience. It features an extended rock protection mesh under the sole that helps reduce the shock when you run over stones or roots. With padding around the heel, toe bumpers at the end of the toes and an aggressive tread design, these shoes are sure to keep your feet comfortable and protected on the trails. Find out more
Vibram Fivefingers V-Trail 2.0
V-Trail 2.0

The New Vibram Fivefingers V-Trail 2.0

The New Vibram Fivefinger V-Trail 2.0 coming soon to Barefoot Junkie. New for 2019 the V-Trail 2.0 shares the same great sole pattern and structure as the great V-Trail and has a new redesigned more water repellent (not waterproof) upper. More details very soon about this new addition to the Vibram Fivefingers Range