Win a pair of Vibram FiveFinger® KSO!

I woke up to scaffolding outside the front of the house and ladders peeking over the roof at the back of the house. This did not please me much so I escaped to the gym. I immediately felt better when, just as I sat down on the rowing machine, the extended version of ‘Uncertain Smile’ by The The came on my iPod (I love love love love love Jools Holland’s plinky plonky piano solo at the end).

(A slightly tenuous link here but, incidentally, did anyone hear the interview with Sinéad O’Connor on 6Music the other day? I’ve obviously never heard her speak before as I had no idea that she sings like an angel, but speaks like a pikey. In case you’re wondering what the tenuous link is, during the interview, they played The The’s ‘Kingdom of Rain’ on which O’Connor sang the female vocals.)

After The The, came Elastica. I was definitely cheering up now and after the rowing machine, I went on the cross-trainer and had planned to do Audiofuel’s ‘Thru the Gears’ on the treadmill after but just as I was getting to the end of my cross-trainer workout, Ghostpoet’s ‘Finished I Ain’t’ came on and dammit, I wanted to hear the end of that song, which left me with a dilemma; do I carry on the cross-trainer for a bit while Ghostpoet finishes his song or go and walk on the treadmill for a bit while he finishes? I chose the latter option and walked for a couple of minutes on the treadmill until ‘Finished I Ain’t’ became the less catchy ‘I’m Finished Now So You Can Get On With Your Thru The Gears Workout’.

Speaking of dilemmas, I received an email the other day offering me a pair of these beauties.


These are Vibram FiveFingers KSOs (KSO stands for Keep Stuff Out – you’ll read why in a minute) and don’t they look fab? My dilemma, however, was that I have a porch full of running shoes, including numerous ‘barefoot’ shoes, most of which remain unworn. So do I greedily grab a pair for myself, knowing they’d probably not get much use, or say ‘thanks but no thanks’? I don’t like to say no to things (except to the text from my friend Tracey the other day when she asked me if I wanted to see England play indoors for free this afternoon. Football? No thanks.) but then I thought to myself, ha! I can earn karma points by saying I didn’t want to take them knowing they’d languish unloved and unused but I’m sure I could find a good home for them by having a giveaway on my blog.

So, eventually, I’ve got round to telling you about the competition. Well, you already know what the prize is, so here’s the official blurb:

Over the last few years the Vibram FiveFingers KSO model has become the most popular style due to its unbeatable comfort and versatility. The KSO features a thin, abrasion-resistant stretch polyamide and breathable upper that wraps your entire fore foot to ‘Keep Stuff Out’. A single hook and loop closure helps secure the fit while the non- marking 3.5mm Vibram TC1 performance rubber ensure excellent grip, whatever your activity.

The Vibram FiveFingers KSO is the perfect choice of footwear for an all-round active healthy lifestyle whether you love climbing, trekking, running, canyoneering, yoga, kayaking, canoeing or surfing, or all of the above for men and women alike.

For more information visit

For your chance to win, just email me (with ‘VFF Comp’ as the subject) at with the answer to the question below, your shoe size and address, and a winner will be drawn at random after the closing date:

What does KSO stand for?

A. Kippers Smell Off
B. Keep Stuff Out
C. Kites Surf Overhead


Competition closes midnight Saturday 2 March 2013.

My evening at the Vibram FiveFingers Clinic, Runners Need, Holborn

As you know, last week Vibram FiveFingers® started running a fortnight-long series of drop-in clinics in London welcoming runners of all abilities to come in and find out a bit more about minimalist running.

On Monday, I went along to the one at Runners Need in Holborn. On arrival, I was greeted by fitness journalist and guru Julia Buckley, Running Bug founder and all round top bloke John Griffiths (both of whom I’ve known online for a few years and so was delighted to meet), Women’s Running Magazine Online Editor Carys Matthews, and a couple of cute Italian men (aka the Vibram experts).

First up was a presentation by Coach Corrado Giambalvo who went through the past, present and future of Vibram and also taught us how to pronounce Vibram properly – it’s ‘vee-bram’, not ‘vie-bram’ (ha, you didn’t know that, did you?) Also appealing to the trivia-geek side of me, was the snippet of information that the name Vibram came from the founder, Vitale Bramani.

After the theory, we had the practical. Coach Corrado asked us to take off our shoes and socks. What? No one told me the clinic was going to involve getting my feet out in public. Still, being the brave, carefree and reckless soul I am, I took off my checkerboard Vans (you’ll see them on the floor in the video in a mo, they get shown more than I do) and went through the warm up exercises that were demonstrated.

You too can play at home with the video Julia took (I’m the uncoordinated one inappropriately dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with a picture of a lion saying ‘woof’, standing at the back looking scared).

(Video © Julia Buckley, originally published on her Fitness Rocks website)

I was fine with the exercises where we rocked onto the sides of our feet and onto our heels and stuff but then we had to start moving our arms and legs in unison. NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WERE GOING TO BE GROUP ACTIVITIES AND I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE MY ARMS AND LEGS AT THE SAME TIME IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!

Of course, I did it wrong and the coach dude had to stop me and correct me (very nicely, of course). I willed it to be over and it was eventually, then it started again. I wondered if I could go and hide behind Julia who was still videoing it (although, thinking about it now, Julia’s tiny and I probably would have been better off hiding behind John, who was photographing everything) but decided not to draw attention to myself and so I tried to join in and not look like I’d rather be in the pub where the only kind of active group participation thingy is to get a round in when it’s your turn.

Exercises over, we were asked if we wanted to go for a run. Unfortunately, I had to decline as I was meeting a friend in the pub but Coach Corrado asked me if I wanted to try some Vibram FiveFingers® on and so I said yes and I eventually managed to get them on my feet (with a lot of help) and wow, they were really comfy. These are the ones I tried on (I think).


All in all, it was a fab, informative, informal and friendly evening and I recommend it to anyone who can get to one. There are three left (although it looks like only one of the dates is holding a clinic):

Weds 8th August – 6.30pm
Sweaty Betty- Kings Road
Run only

Thurs 9th August – 6.30pm
Altimus- Holland Park
Clinic & run

Friday 10th August – 7.30am
Sweaty Betty- Kensington
Run only

And if you need any other incentive to go, at the end I got a goodie bag containing a step-by-step guide to running in Vibram FiveFingers, a lanyard, a foot-shaped keyring, a shoe-shaped keyring and a shoe-shaped memory stick.


If you can’t be arsed to get yourself down to the clinic, but fancy giving minimalist running a go, don’t forget about the competition I’m hosting to win a pair of Vibram FiveFingers® (ends 31 August).