Meet Lems Boulder, the "Barefoot Shoe" Boot

Meet Lems Boulder, the "Barefoot Shoe" Boot

I got good news from Andrew Rademacher, founder of upstart minimalist/barefoot shoe manufacturer Lems Shoes* ("Light. Easy. Minimal.") — the first batch of the much-anticipated Lems Shoes Boulder Boot are now available for order! I say "first batch" because it's only the first few hundred pairs of production (more to come, of course, within a few weeks).

The release of the Boulder boot marks the first of a new line of Lems hitting the market in 2013! What's so exciting about the Boulder? Aside from it being a "barefoot shoe boot" that is super lightweight, zero drop, minimally and flexibly soled, and a boot, well, what else is there to say? If you've had a pair of Andrew's barefoot shoes, you're expectations are likely through the roof for these boots. We've reviewed the first offering from Lems that hit back in 2011 — the Primal (see reviews here and here) and had nothing but good things to say.

Andrew has a pair of Boulders coming my way, so I hope to share more about it soon, but if you're eager to snatch up a pair without further adieu and want to know the scoop, read on!

UPDATE: I got the boots! If you want to jump straight to my full review of the Lems Boulder boot, go here!


The official Boulder Boot specs from Lems!

Read the rest of this post »

Lynn's Half-Marathon in Vibram Five Finger KSOs

Vibram Five Fingers fan Lynn photoed above runs the Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon.  Lynn's transition to Vibrams took four months.
Vibram Five Fingers fan Lynn photoed above runs the Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon. Lynn's transition to Vibrams took four months.

Lynn emailed in about hitting a personal record (PR) on the recent Rock'N'Roll Chicago half-marathon, the first he's completed wearing his Vibram blue camo fivefinger KSOs. Lynn said:

This was my fifth ½ marathon this year and the first in my VFF’s. This was also my PR for this distance. The time for the other four ½ marathons (all in shod) were: 1:52, 1:51, 1:54, 1:57 (run the day after the 1:54 ½ marathon). I ran this one in 1:47 which beat my previous PR for this distance by more than a minute.

This photo was taken around mile 3 which was in the Chicago loop. The last half of the race takes place along the lakefront. The bibs indicate the starting corral you were assigned. I was assigned the 4th corral. The guy behind me was assigned the 3rd corral and I beat him by over 10 minutes (not that I checked).

My DW doesn’t think it’s the VFF’s. She thinks it’s my conditioning. I think my conditioning is because I’ve been converting over to running in the VFF’s for the last four months.

Congratulations on reaching a new PR, and I think I'm going to take your side — it's gotta be the improved running technique afforded by the near-barefoot running of VFFs!

Thanks for sharing!

Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers

Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers
Shawn's Gone Fishing in Black KSO Five Fingers

The above photos were taken by Shawn, who has used his fivefinger KSOs not only to fish atop lake rocks, but also for camping, hiking, canoeing and portage, and running. Here's what Shawn had to say:

Justin, Your site prompted me to order KSO's a few weeks ago. I've used them to run a 5k and do a landscape project at home as well as everyday wear. The attachments are photos from a five day canoe trip to Quetico. I can no longer imagine wearing regular shoes to hike, portage and just walk around campsites. Oh yeah, fishing off of rocks is a great use too! Cheers, Shawn

Ah nothing like the quiet relaxation of fishing. Looks like you're making good use of your birthday shoes, Shawn! Glad you are enjoying them!

Chris McDougall interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Wearing black Fivefinger KSOs?

Be sure and check out my interview with Christopher McDougall!

In it, Chris talks about denying your nature, the sports shoe industry, getting to barefoot, cross-pollinating ideas, and more!

Last night Born to Run author Christopher McDougall was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. The interview, which went on for a hearty six minutes, gave Christopher the opportunity to talk not only about some of the themes within his bestselling book but also about the plight of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.

It seems the Mexican government is not only paving new roads down into the Copper Canyons, but also standing idly by as this infrastructure is used by Mexican drug cartels to plant crops and further their drug trade.

It is tragic that the Tarahumara — a non-violent people who only fled to the perilously uninhabitable Copper Canyons to escape the conquistadors some 500 years ago — are now finding the Mexican government/Mexican drug cartels at their doorstep, ready to finish the job the Spanish started 400 years ago. Kudos to McDougall for talking about this plight in his interview.

In a moment of levity at the end of the interview, Jon Stewart sums up McDougall's book as simultaneously taking on the Mexican drug cartels and the American sneaker cartels. Is Stewart so wrong? Here is the exchange:

McDougall: The shoes are the root of the problem. Without the shoes you can run painlessly and joyfully forever.

Stewart: So the amazing thing is that this book basically takes on the Mexican drug cartels and the American sneaker cartels.

McDougall: That's it!

Here's the video:

Christopher McDougall on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Christopher McDougall on the Daily ShowNow, in addition to a great interview that will assuredly make Born to Run even more popular, it seems that Christopher McDougall was sporting black KSO fivefingers in the interview! Just look at this screencap and note how his downward pointing foot is curved — regular shoes don't look like that — like jet black feet*!

Truth be told, I was tipped off to this VFF sighting through the official Vibram FiveFingers facebook page — the black KSOs just blend in so well it's hard to notice them unawares! Of course, Jon Stewart also failed to notice McDougall's unconventional footwear, but then again, the all black KSOs blend well with slacks — particularly in "dress mode."

As you might recall, McDougall described running in VFFs via this previous YouTube interview; however, via an even more recent podcast from Brandon's Marathon, we learned that McDougall now runs predominantly if not totally barefoot. If you've not got time to wade through the podcast, you can also read what McDougall had to say about his "busted toe" experience and his transition to barefooting in a Q&A over at Zen and the Barefoot Joggler here.

So it's good to see he's still getting some use out of his VFFs!

In the event any of you readers can put me in touch with Mr. McDougall, I'd love to get him to do a birthday shoes interview!

Other posts about Christopher McDougall and Born to Run:

* Maybe I should add "Mr. Deed's Feet" to the alternative names for fivefingers list.

Colin takes two weeks to "mill around" France barefoot or in Vibrams (Classics)

click any image for a larger, uncropped version!

Colin emailed me about his recent "two weeks of barefoot bliss" as he was "milling around" on a camping holiday in France.

Here's a bit from Colin's post:

We had a fantastic time, but more importantly, it was two whole weeks for me barefoot, or nearly barefoot, and it felt fantastic. I tried my hardest NOT to wear any shoes whenever possible and succeeded. In fact, today is the first day in 16 days in which I've had to put on a pair of shoes and socks (for work) and I must say I can't wait to get them off.

I spent most of the time barefoot whilst milling around the campsites and driving. I wore my Vibrams when out and about sight seeing (because barefoot isn't always appropriate) and cycling and I wore my cheap aging flipflops when the grass outside the tent was wet - my wife would go nuts if I even contemplated walking into the tent with muddy or wet feet/Vibrams.

All in all it was fantastic, and great fun to see the looks on people's faces as I wondered around barefoot or in my Vibrams. The French kids loved the Vibrams, though surprisingly the Dutch kids didn't seem to fussed.

Those two photos really show off an amazing view — just beautiful! Anyone want to send a blogger to France? For barefooting and Vibram testing purposes, of course!

Colin has also written previously about his VFFs (including reviews and thoughts on sizing) on his personal blog, which you can check out here, here, and here!

Alternative Names for Vibram Five Fingers

(Update 10/07/09: See the alternative names for VFFs wiki entry here!)

Vibram FiveFingers wearers and gawkers alike all have come up with a slew of alternative names for "VFFs." I chalk this up to the unique footwear niche of fivefingers — they aren't quite shoes nor are they socks, and since they look like feet, well what on earth are they?

So here's an attempt to have the "definitive guide" to alternative names for Vibram fivefingers. If I am missing anything on this list, do comment below as I will update this post. From the obvious to the silly, here goes nothing:

Category

Alternatives to "Fivefingers"

Similar names (those resembling "Vibram fivefingers" or that employ the "Vee-brum" name):
  • Vibram five toes
  • Vibrams
  • Vibes

Acronym-based names:
  • VFFs
  • V5s
  • V5Fs

Descriptive names (those based on trying to understand VFFs via descriptive or analogous words):
  • toe shoes
  • foot gloves
  • barefoot shoes
  • sock-shoes
  • water shoes (or kayak shoes)
  • ballerina shoes
  • freakish slippers

Names based on animals:
  • ape feet
  • gorilla feet
  • monkey feet
  • frog feet
  • gecko feet
  • cat feet

Names based on characters:
  • ninja shoes
  • pirate shoes
  • caveman shoes
  • Spider-man shoes
  • Aqua man shoes
  • muppet feet
  • hobbit feet

Names pulled from pop culture (TV in both cases):
??? names:
  • happy feet
  • second skins
  • claws
  • skinnies
  • foot condoms

Finally, there's this site's namesake — birthday shoes! Any I'm missing? What do you call your fivefingers? What about others? Let me know!

Hat tip to "kakez" for creating a forum thread to get the ball rolling on this naming task!

Ben finishes first half-marathon in VFF KSOs

Ben finishes first half-marathon in VFF KSOs

A shot taken by Ben's wife mid-race — click for a larger version!

I first heard from Ben back in May with regard to his question about how people are walking barefoot and then again after he submitted a shot with POSE running founder Nicholas Romanov.

As you might recall, Ben was planning on running the NYC half-marathon in his Vibram Five Finger KSOs. Well, just this weekend, Ben completed the half marathon and posted a detail account of the race at his blog — even despite a recent bone bruise. Here's a snippet from Ben where he describes persevering through the last few miles of the race:

There were some DJ's in tents every five to ten blocks or so who blasted some great tunes that lifted my spirits. I remember hearing Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman" and then the beginning chords to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" a few blocks later. It seemingly took forever to get to mile 10, and then there were no signs for a long time. I figured the next sign I'd see was mile 12, and then I'd only have 1.1 miles to go. Sorry, Benny Boy, the next sign was mile 11. Ugh. Needless to say, it was slow going the rest of the way, and I just tried to keep up with the people ahead of me. When I saw the sign for 800 meters, I felt great. But after what seemed like 5 minutes there was the sign for 400 meters, I think I swore out loud. It's like time slowed in the last mile or something. I finally saw the finish line and made one last sprint to finish my first half marathon in strong fashion. Ahhhhh!

Must have felt good to cross that finish line. Congratulations, Ben! And thanks for sharing!