Happy 4th Birthday, BirthdayShoes!

Happy 4th Birthday, BirthdayShoes!

Happy Birthday, BirthdayShoes.com!

Well, it's a belated "Happy Birthday" at this point—BirthdayShoes.com was registered on April 16, 2009, and had it's first post the next day on April 17.

What's happened since then? Well, a lot. By the numbers:

  • 125+ reviews written
  • Over 700 blog posts
  • Nearly 69,000 forum posts in some 7,600 topics (by 3,500+ members, 130 of which have at least 100 posts to their name
  • 3,500+ twitter followers @bdayshoes and nearly 2,700 tweets
  • 6,800+ email subscribers!
  • 7,300+ facebook fans
  • 3.86+ million unique visitors

The success of this site has hinged on the support of a great community of minimalist shoe and barefoot enthusiasts—readers like you. Thank you for your continued support!

And so BirthdayShoes carries on!

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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Trail Running Spain in Spyridon FiveFingers

Trail Running Spain in Spyridon FiveFingers
Lord of the Rings trail on the outskirts of Alhama Spain, Sierra Nevada range in the background.

BirthdayShoes reader Ray recently took a trip to Alhama, Spain. Ray decided to spend his week there running and hiking remote trails with a guide and a dog as his companions.

What follows are some more amazing photos of Ray running the trails in southern Spain. His footwear of choice were the FiveFingers Spyridon LS, which his guide was a little concerned about (but ultimately may be a convert!). Read on!

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Teva Zilch Minimalist Sandals for Toddlers/Kids Review

Teva Zilch Minimalist Sandals for Toddlers/Kids Review

Buying footwear for your growing babies, toddlers, little boys/girls, or kids would be simple if there weren't so many shoes out there that were clunky, narrow, heavy, stiff, or high-heeled.

Outside of the moc-like slippers worn by infants, crawlers, and light walkers, there aren't a ton of great options out there as a child's foot grows—particularly, it seems, in the "in between" stages of ages of 3 to 4.

This really hit home recently when my oldest daughter Avi's 3-year-old sized Merrell Barefoots started wearing out (the uppers, mostly). My instant reaction was simply to pick up another pair of the same shoes in a slightly larger size. Unfortunately, it seems that her precious Flux Gloves are no longer being produced and I couldn't find any in her size, anywhere.

So I needed a replacement that fit her fast. Commence frantic Googling.

But I wasn't having a lot of luck. That is, until a search led me to find that Teva had created a Zilch sandal that sized down to a little kids or toddlers 10* and that they were only a little over $30 from Amazon (They're the "Teva Zilch Sport Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid)." I didn't delay, grabbed the smallest size I could (10), hoped for the best, and paid for next day shipping.

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