Toe Shoes Vs. The Mountain


If you live in the greater Phoenix metro area, you know what Camelback mountain is. If you’re not from the area, or you don’t pay attention to local topography, it kind of looks like this

Less snow on top, and really no grass leading up to it, but just about the same. If Paradise Valley had an evil overlord, he would most assuredly live in a fortress in camelback mountain. There’s no doubt in my mind. It’s recently become a goal of mine to wake up super early in the morning, drive to the base of camelback, and climb up it once per week. And since I apparently can’t think clearly, I’ve been wearing my Vibram 5-fingers going up. Mine look like this:

They’ve got a super awesome rubber sole, and mesh on top to keep stuff out. At first they’re weird to wear. Separating your toes like that is not something we’re used to doing, so it can be kind of uncomfortable, or at least a new sensation. It also takes about 2 weeks to break them in. If you think you’re super hardcore, can handle anything and don’t need to read directions and decide that breaking them is only going to take you 1 day, you can end up with a minor stress fracture in your foot.
Here’s how!

  1. Order Vibrams
  2. Receive Vibrams in the same manor that a child would receive candy
  3. Put Vibrams on (albeit poorly)
  4.  Try to run 6 miles.Lucky for you guys, I tested that out for you, and it does indeed work. If you’re planning on doing any running, start with a trip around the block, then the next day do two trips, next day three trips, etc, until after about 2 weeks you’re running three miles or so. That’s the proper way to do it apparently. And also a good way of rehabbing your foot after you fracture it.

    So, I’ve had these shoes for about a year now, and I’ve been experimenting with them in different facets. Running, weightlifting, Going to the beach, walking on small rocks, doing wall taps, skateboarding, drinking beer, and playing house. It works for some things better than others, but they’re just fun to wear. Also, they’re kind of like always walking an ugly dog because no matter where you go people look at you and ask you if you dressed yourself in the morning, and why your socks are so fugly.

    Anyways, I decided that I wanted to branch out and take my shoes hiking up Camelback, because that sounds rad.
    The first time I went up, I decided to go up Echo Canyon, which is the steeper side, which also has the added benefit of having large smooth boulders, which turn my toe shoes into Super Elite Ninja Warrior Shoes, and gives me +5 mountain climbing ability.
    The second time I went up, I went up the Cholla route, which more more like a traditional ‘hike’ and less like a mountain climb. In Arizona, what this means is that there are rocks the size of you fist scattered all over the trail that I assume have been sharpened by ancient Native American warriors, and placed point up to stab hikers. Typically, one would think of this trail as being easier than the other, but going from having been endowed with super toe shoe speed and fortitude, to having my shoes become what felt like light fabric between my feet and Navajo arrowheads.
    During one of these foot stabbing occurrences, I slipped off the rock that had been maiming the bottom of my left foot, and in an effort to make myself look cool, I did one of those no-I-didn’t-trip-I-just-started-jogging-for-no-reason maneuvers, and while doing this and simultaneously trying to go uphill, I smashed my right foot into a huge piece of schist. I don’t know for sure how, but my friend I was hiking with said that a rock formation suddenly jutted up underneath me. Probably due to some seismic activity from the new Kanye West and Jay -Z album dropping today.
    Instead of doing what I probably should have and checking my toes or turning around, I kept going. Yes, I kept going dear readers, because I wanted to give you an accurate account of what it was like to hike in Vibrams. You’re welcome.
    So I made Camelback my own personal Trail of Tears (too soon?), and limped all the way to the top and back down.
    Coming down on the other side with all the boulders wearing the Vibrams, I was able to harness the power of the gecko and kind of spider-man my way down. Coming down on the other side, I teetered and limped like a geriatric pirate across a minefield.

    Good news is though, all the toes on my left foot are totally fine! The bad news is that the second to last one on my right is definitely broken, and the middle one is kind of suspect at this point too…

    Once again, you’re welcome.

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