Toe Shoes in Galapagos!

Toe Shoes in Galapagos!

Got the following note from Fred who recently went on a school trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands—talk about an amazing school trip! Seems Fred and a few of his friends were all wearing toe shoes—both Vibram FiveFingers and those other toe shoes from Fila ...

Anyway, here's Fred's account of how his Bikilas fared on the journey:

While on an amazing school trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands I sported my Bikilas for many different activities.

Hiking, walking on beaches, wading through streams in the cloud forest of Ecuador, walking across lava fields, boating, sunbathing, etc. Two other members of my group wore Komodosports and KSO's (and another with Fila Skeletoes).

My Bikilas worked great for everything and kept most of the sand out. I especially liked how versatile they were for all the different surfaces we encountered in the Galapagos. They handled lava, sand, dirt, water, rocks, and everything mother nature could throw my way while both protecting the soles of my feet and also allowing me the great proprioception to really feel the ground underneath my feet. The breathable, quick drying fabric was great, too, because we had a few wet landings when disembarking for hikes on the islands.

A longtime follower and fan of BirthdayShoes,

Fred

Thanks for sharing, Fred! And let me know if you find any other photos from others on the trip!

Earth Runners Circadian Review

Earth Runners Circadian Review

I love huaraches. I've raced in the bare minimum clothes and bare minimum shoes you could have without being naked. I wore them for my first marathon. Heck, huaraches have even started to take over as my default CrossFit shoe on days where any running is involved. Clearly I'm a fan.

Other people obviously are, too, as more and more huaraches makers keep popping up. This is likely due to the relative ease of producing huaraches when compared to traditional shoes. Despite the simplicity of these types of shoes, there's plenty of variation in terms of quality, style, fit, and philosophy.

One of the more unique of these -- especially in the philosophy department -- are Earth Runners. I've been curious about their offerings and was fortunate enough to get a review pair of the upcoming Circadian model to test out.

Check them out after the jump!

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Lem Primal 2 Review--A Fantastic, Casual Barefoot Shoe

Lem Primal 2 Review--A Fantastic, Casual Barefoot Shoe

Lems not only recently released their "barefoot shoe boot" ? a.k.a. the Lem Boulder boot (reviewed here) ? they also updated their original shoe, the Primal Origins with the "Primal 2."

You can read my original review of the Primal Origins* here or check out Tim's review here! If you're wondering, "What changed?" I'll speak to that below, as well.

The TL;DR though is simple enough: the Primal 2 is a fantastic, casual barefoot shoe that you can wear for all day comfort thanks to a super-flexible sole and lightweight build married to healthy-foot design?zero drop from heel to toe with no arch support and generously sized toe box! You can get them for $95.

Full review of the Primal 2 after the jump!

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Topo Athletic M-RR: First Look

Topo Athletic M-RR: First Look

I'm a big fan of FiveFingers and minimalist shoes generally. I love that there are so many new shoe companies out there catering to this crowd, along with many better-known companies producing minimalist options. That said, I think I've about had my fill of designers trying to get too clever in an effort to tap into that same FiveFingers magic. A minimalist shoe doesn't have to have an in-your-face gimmick to be effective and successful. (On the flip side I'm also a big time lover of huaraches, but I don't think we need to have a new huaraches company start up every week. But that's another story.)

As Vibram USA president and CEO, Tony Post was in the thick of the minimalist explosion. Then last Summer he left the company, which we soon found out was because he had his eye on something new: his own shoe company. In December, Post revealed Topo Athletic. He offered us a tease of what the company had in store and a month later we finally got a clearer look.

[Drum roll please]

Oh. another split-toe shoe? Hm.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little let down. I think it was the anticipation of the reveal. But after Zem, B2R, and others having already adopted the tabi style -- what's left? Read on and see.

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LEM Boulder Boot Review

LEM Boulder Boot Review

Lems Shoes (the barefoot shoe company formerly known as Lemming formerly known as Stem Footwear) recently dropped their new boot for Spring 2013—the Boulder (see Meet Lems Boulder, the Barefoot Shoe Boot for the original release announcement).

Lems founder Andrew shot me over a pair to try out and review for BirthdayShoes, so I've been wearing them the last few weeks. What follows is my full review of what amounts to being one of the most minimal boot-style barefoot shoes yet (I'll note a few other contenders for that title, too). Let's dive in!

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Kickstart Earthbaked Plus/Minus 90 Minimalist Shoes

Kickstart Earthbaked Plus/Minus 90 Minimalist Shoes

Wanted to give readers a heads up on a new minimalist shoe concept that might pique your interest.

Steve Boynton, a designer based out of Provo, Utah, has designed a wool-based, biodegradable shoe design he's calling the PlusMinus (or the Earthbaked +/- 90). It's a neat concept. In the words of Steve, the shoes feature:

  • Minimal barefoot loafer design with an upper made of 100% wool.
  • Earth friendly materials: Wool is biodegradable, moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and breathable which makes it perform great against the skin.
  • Freedom for your feet on rest days, at work, or at home.

Steve has launched a Kickstarter campaign to get these novel shoes off ... or on the ground.

I emailed a bit with Steve about his concept and learned that the shoes are meant to be worn barefoot, they feature a natural rubber sole with no midsole or sole. With the 3mm layer of wool wtitched to the inside of the sole and the 3mm of rubber outsole, they only have a 6mm stack height. So they're pretty minimal.

Steve estimates that a pair will last 3 to 6 months with everywhere, everyday wear. In my experience wearing hyper-minimalist, soft-soled shoes like those made by Soft Star Shoes, so long as you're not a heavy walker (and have acclimating to a lighter step via wearing minmialist shoes for awhile), I could see these easily lasting that long with a 3mm rubber outsole. The design of the PlusMinus reminds me a bit of Soft Stars, actually. I'd be curious to try them out.

Due to their natural components of the Earthbaked PlusMinus design, Steve suggests when you're done with them you can just bury them in your backyard and let them biodegrade naturally. Cool concept, no?

Here are a few more stock photos of the shoes:

If you're interested in seeing the PlusMinus come to market, head over to Steve's Kickstarter campaign. You can hook up a single pair for $25 you can get a pair shipped to you when they're manufactured.

As of 5/9/2013 and about three days into the campaign, Steve has raised almost $6K towards his $40K goal.

Care to kickstart a new shoe? You know what to do.

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