Going “barefoot” Vibram FiveFingers


Canoeing is an interesting sport, well here in South Africa in particular. We take fibre-glass kayaks down rapids most sane people would only go down in whitewater boats. And then we throw the kayak on our shoulders and we run. Up mountains. Over weirs. Through thorny ground. Over slippery rocks.

Yes, us South Africans are a little nuts. We sure have fun though.

Doing the Berg River Marathon recently (as well as the Swartlands race on the same stretch of river a few weeks before) I hooked up with Alex and Roger from Vibram Five Fingers and tried out a pair of their “shoes” for the race.

One word.


The thing with river racing is that you need to feel your peddles in order to steer properly. But you also need to be able to run over slippery rocks and even more slippery tree trunks. Bring in the super flexible KSO

and super grippy KSO TrekSport and I was ready for anything!

These are perfect for paddling. You can feel your peddles as if you are barefoot. Running the portages I couldn’t notice the hard and sharp stones through the rubberized soles, and I could really grip with my toes. Overall a totally positive experience! The added bonus was that my feet were warm in the cold morning starts, but never got too hot when the sun did start to shine and it warmed up. They are also machine-washable, so no dirty shoes either!

I am going to take them out for a proper run soon (no kayak on my shoulder) and I will let you know how that goes!


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