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!

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Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Better get those feet on the pedals!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Is that a bit of leafy toe-jam there? No clue how this photo was taken!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
A lot easier to surmount boulders with your mountain bike without hard-soled MTB shoes (or just regular sneakers)!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
Nothing like the varied feel of rocky terrain under your VFFed feet!
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
And in the event you need to cross a creek, just go right in ...
Mountain Biking in Austin in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs
... Soggy Vibrams still work fine!

Lou continues to put his KSOs (and photography skills!) to good use: this time with a friend along to help snap some great fivefinger KSO action shots! Here's Lou describing the ride:

I went mountain biking through the Austin bike trails again. This time around I brought a buddy with me who had just purchased some black KSO's. He was eager to wear them and try them out on the trails. At one point we found a nice area to take the bikes off the trail and down to the creek. I took that opportunity to take a few shots of our little excursion. He loved the shoes and how they performed on the bike and when walking through the creek and trails. We had no problems carrying the bikes on our backs and climbing the rocks with our wet KSOs. I took the bike off the path and through some brush. My toes snagged some leaves from my little off road fun. One picture is of my buddy showing off his new KSO's as he rode past me. We all had a great time. I look forward to more bike trails and hiking in my KSO's.

Great photos, Lou, and thanks for proving that KSOs can be used for mountain biking (just watch out for stumps or small boulders!).

Juergs puts his new KSO Trek fivefingers to the test

Juergs has been training in fivefingers since 2006 when he got his first pair of VFF Classics. Since then, he'd picked up some blue camouflage KSOs. Most recently, Juergs grabbed some of the new fivefinger KSO Treks to use them for his first (pseudo)barefoot ultra — a race he's running this Sunday! Good luck on your race!

Since the Treks are so new, I asked if Juergs would share a few words about how the Treks were performing in his training and he graciously accepted. Below are his photos and running reports:

First impressions of the KSO Treks

First, I got my size 43 on Friday 18th from Summit Hut:

Ah the pristine soles of a brand new pair of Vibram fivefinger KSO Treks.

13 mile trail run 9/20/09

I will be doing a 50K Ultra Trail Race on October 4th and this is the main reason for purchasing the KSO Treks. I have pre-run most of the course and around mile 20 spirits get low from all the stone bruising. I have been running Barefoot since 2006 so the pain is nothing new.

The course features rolling hills, flat stretches, and a killer hill. Almost 300’ of elevation gain in less than 1/2 mile will reduce most folks to walking. We see this hill again on the way back, and the climb is even harder. The course is 60% dirt trails, 30% rocky horse trails, 5% grass, 5% pavement. I believe this is the perfect testing grounds for the Treks.

Top Two things I noticed:

  • 1:00 min to 1:30 mins faster per mile at the same heart rate in the Treks vs the KSO’s
  • Less stone bruising in the Treks vs the KSO’s

Here is GPS data on the run

Pictures after the run:

A thirteen mile trail run and these Treks look great. And how about those injinji socks!

As expected, the KSO Trek soles shrugged off the run like it was nothing.

6 mile run without Injinji socks 9/22/09

I wanted to test out the Treks without my Injinji socks. This trail is a lollypop loop with easy hills, dirt trails, creek crossings, and one knee high stream crossing. This run is for speed at aerobic levels.

I know with my VFF Classics & KSO’s I get a hot spot just before my big toe due to the internal seam. This is no longer an issue with the Treks. I still feel more comfortable with my Injinji socks and find that the Treks are easier to put on with Injinji socks.

The Kangaroo leather does not hold water. They may feel wet to the touch but you won’t be able to squeeze water out of them.

Here is GPS data on the run.

The Treks after some serious stream crossings:

Here we see the KSO Treks after some stream crossing — they've been soaked, but aren't soaking wet.

Another look at wet KSO Treks.

Concluding thoughts on the new fivefingers KSO Treks

After 5 days and 24 miles of testing my new Treks, I donated my trail runners because I know they will now collect cobwebs.

Best of luck on your run Sunday, Juergs!

For more photos of Juergs' VFFed feet (and cool socks), see his Picasa album!

Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics

Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
VFF Classics enjoying the good life on Lake Tahoe!
Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
Nothing like a good belly scratch for your pug compliments of Vibram-clad toes.
Lake Tahoe and Mark's fivefinger Classics
VFF Classics in the water: not a problem (But mind they won't float)!

Mark (aka "hobbitfoot" on the forums) sent in the above three photos of his fivefinger Classics-clad feet on "their first vacation" to South Lake Tahoe, California. Mark's comments on the trip are great, so I'll let him take it from here:

Took my VFF Classics out to South Lake Tahoe, California for their first vacation. I was finally able to break them in, adding to the overall comfort, surpassing the blister stage. The Classics worked exceptionally well in (in order of pictures) boating, dog belly scratching, and in the water. I did not have much fear of losing them, as it's a fairly tight fit, even with the Elastic strap loose.

Sand getting inside the Classics from the beach is a tad uncomfy, but a rinse in the water fixed that. There was no dryer, but they air dryed indoors over night. I received no strange looks or approaches, only slight embarrassment from the fiancee and future mother in law. The pug certainly didn't mind them at all.

Good to hear your VFFs had a great time. No doubt your pug is their biggest fan! Thanks, Mark!

Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail

Martin's Flows and Spider-bites on the Inka Trail
Martin got a nasty spider-bite causing his right ankle to swell up while hiking the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu (in his grey fivefinger Flows!)

In the mailbag comes the above photo from Martin, who recently took his VFF Flows to Machu Picchu — no minor feat as it took convincing the guides that he'd be okay without ankle support*. It's not often we see the elusive fivefinger Flows. And if you're wondering why Martin's right ankle looks so swollen, well wonder no further:

I bring your attention to my right foot, which if you haven't noticed got a lot bigger than my left on the final day's trek into Machu Picchu. They think I got bitten by a spider. Tourists were so enthralled by my Vibram Five Fingers they didn't even notice my grotesquely, morbidly obese right ankle as they snapped away in glee at my shoes, even at one point making me stand on one foot so they could take pictures of the bottom of my feet. The ankle got a few inches bigger than this before the swelling started to go down. The Inka Trail itself was pretty fun wearing the FiveFinger Flows. My tour guide was actually not going to let me do the hike thinking I would sprain my ankle or something. I told him to give me a chance, and ended up being one of the fastest people. The porters were also highly intrigued by my footwear and I had a lot of curious people ask me how they felt on the hike. Everything was awesome, except downhill in the rain was very tricky. I had to slow down considerably for that so I wouldn't slip, as my feet became quite slippery!

Glad your foot and ankle have recovered. That must have been quite a bite to cause that sort of inflammation! And who would have thought you could camouflage it just by wearing fivefingers! Just one more use for VFFs!

Thanks Martin!

* The more I hear about needing "ankle support" and "arch support," the more I just laugh at how silly people can be. It's as though we'd all be incapable of doing anything but for fancy, constricting and "supportive" shoes or boots! And of course, "studies" need to be done to prove that barefoot running/walking/hiking is safe. Just silly.

Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers

Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
VFFs enable you to gingerly hike about without stomping all the vegetation!
Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
It's not often mentioned, but VFFs are easy to haul when being given a break.
Piz Vacations in Canada in his black KSO Vibram FiveFingers
Click on this image and note how Piz is digging his toes into the wet sand!

The above photos are of "Piz" showing off his black KSO Vibram fivefingers on his two week vacation in Canada. And based on what Piz had to say about the trip, it sounds like his KSOs were a big hit:

Just returned from 2 week vacation in Canada and my first experience with VFFs.....I have to say that they are the funnest, most versatile and conversation-starting "shoes" I've ever worn! Whether it was hiking Niagara Falls, walking thru Old Montreal or trekking the Bay of Fundy, my VFFs were perfectly suited for whatever I wanted to do. After the initial adjustment/feeling of not wearing traditional shoes, I sat back and smiled as tourists/family/friends did the double-take and asked me what I was wearing. Looking forward to the new Vibram catalog and Christmas or birthday. I'm SOLD on my Five Fingers. Thanks guys.....


There are a lot of good reasons to wear fivefingers — the ones most focused upon revolve around the health benefits and comfort. However, the more I wear mine, the more I love how they are simply great conversation-starters.

Thanks for sharing, Piz!

Introducing the Five Fingers Performa Jane, and a better look at the Five Fingers Bikila sole, and more on the Five Fingers Speed

05.06.10 - The Vibram Five Fingers Bikila is out!

(All of which is now old news to the forum members)

Below are some exciting updates on upcoming models of Vibram fivefingers slated to be available in early 2010 (Though the word is that the fivefingers Speed will only be available in Europe!).

Introducing the 2010 Vibram Five Fingers Performa Jane

The women's fivefingers Performa Jane coming in 2010 is a styled and strapped version of the (available now!) Vibram fivefingers Performa.

A few astute VFF fans probably already noticed the Performa Jane—you could have spotted it at the tail-end of RawFoodWorld's interview with Vibram President Tony Post (Go here and fast-forward to around 7:25 in the video). The women's only, single-strapped Performa Jane is aptly named as it's nearest shoe counterpart is the "Mary Jane." It looks as though the Performa Jane is another (indoor specific) option for Pilates and Yoga. The Jane, like the now-available standard Performa, has the seven-part, ultra-minimal podded sole and will be made out of leather.

In addition to the purplish color above, it looks like the Performa Jane will also be available in black!

Let's take a good look at the upcoming fivefingers Bikila sole

Above is pictured the sole of the upcoming 2010 fivefingers Bikila. Note that the arch portion is EVA.

We first got a good look at the upcoming Vibram fivefingers Bikila a couple months back. I know of at least a few runners (ahem Alan!) who are already dying to get their hands on a pair of these runnning-specific VFFs. Today, we get to see a closer look at the new Vibram sole design of the Bikila (and that of the Speed).

Here there are a few things worth pointing out:

  • The sole is 4mm of "podded" Vibram TC-1 rubber (Comparison point: standard VFF thickness is 3mm razor siped). It looks as though these mini-platforms are connected by thinner rubber (the light grey part). This jointed design looks like it is intended to provide a bit more grip on the road while still preserving foot flexibility.
  • The arch portion is EVA. The intention here seems to be to reduce weight. It reminds me of the KSO Trek's sole in that the arch section is the most slender as it pertains to the rubber.
  • There is 3mm of polyurethane insole that is most thick at the ball of the foot. Note that this is different from the KSO Trek, which has 4mm of EVA midsole.

Of course, as the fivefingers Bikila won't be ready until early 2010, we've still got awhile to speculate as to how it will perform. Clearly, Vibram has put a lot of thought into creating a running-specific VFF that strikes a balance between enabling the foot to run naturally while still providing some amount of protection. It will be exciting to see how this balance plays out!

And finally, an update on the European-release only fivefingers Speed

The 2010 European-release only fivefingers Speed sports a mesh upper and laces, which would be a boon for individuals with high insteps.

We first saw a leaked photo of the Euro-only fivefingers Speed back in late July. At the time, reception was mixed—laces being the most noteworthy departure from the more standard VFF velcro-strap system, the Speeds looked a bit different.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the stock photo above actually shows how a laced-up fivefingers could look, dare I say it, stylish. Yes, it's grown on me a lot since I saw that first photo and I now think the Speed looks cool.

Setting aesthetics aside, there is also a compelling case to be made for the fivefingers Speed's laced design. One of the difficulties Vibram has had to overcome in designing fivefingers has been to create a standard "foot" shape that can work for all the variations in feet—thickness of toes, variations in arch heights, curve of toes/toe length, width of feet, etc. For the average foot, VFFs can be sized and fitted within a certain tolerance so the wearer is comfortable. But for those individuals on the fringe of the "foot bell curve," sizing and fit starts breaking down*.

In particular, there are a number of VFFers who struggle with either high insteps or high arches. These issues can make fitting into enclosed-style VFFs difficult: there's only so much the mesh design can stretch to accommodate feet on the fringes.

Really, it's this foot issue that makes laces a great solution: they enable you to customize the tightness and fit of the upper to your foot. In other words, a compelling case could be made for laced VFFs.

Alas, as the Speed is a 2010 Euro-only release, I don't know if I'll be able to get my feet in a pair. Then again, this community is big enough maybe I can get a hook-up from across the Atlantic!

Exciting stuff in 2010

It's clear Vibram continues to respond to community feedback to try and provide new and innovative barefoot-like solutions for the minimalist footwear and barefooting community, and these new additions to the line-up, the Bikila, Speed, and Performa Jane, all look like compelling new VFFs. For now, we'll all just have to enjoy the recently released KSO Trek, Moc, and Performa!

Finally, if you want a sneak peak at a bit more, check out this forum thread! Hat tip to Corin, Ryan, and Mieke for all passing on information leading to the above post!

* Check out the current BirthdayShoes wiki entry on sizing and fit!