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 »

Vibram FiveFingers Sighted in NYC

Vibram FiveFingers Sighted in NYC

Kevin (koffekev on the forums) was recently gallivanting around New York City with his niece when he happened upon a fellow VFFer named Richard (pictured above). Kevin wrote about the experience:

Hi Justin.

I met Richard on Mott St. as I was walking out of Gimme Coffee. I just said "hey, do you mind if I take a pic of your five fingers?" Before he realized I was wearing the same KSO's he asked if I liked his prosthetic feet? When he noticed I was wearing the same thing he mentioned that they were far less expensive here than in his native Australia. I invited him to check out B-day shoes so hopefully he will introduce himself. ...

In the Times Square area I noticed a group of tourists pointing and giggling. I asked if they liked them and a young woman said "yes, very much" in very broken english.

Waiting at a busy cross walk a man crouched down to try to read the Vibram stitched on my foot. I had a quick conversation with him. He seemed interested when I told him it felt as if I were barefoot but when I suggested he google five fingers he replied curtly and condescendingly that he would. I just laughed and waved him off.

Thanks, Kevin!

Inspired by Kevin's experience meeting people in the Big Apple, I'd like to offer up the following definition for Vibram fivefingers:

Vibram fivefingers [noun] — a rubber-toed foot in the door for sparking conversations with complete strangers (and making new friends).

Am I right?

If any of you have a "VFF sighting" or chance-meeting with another VFFer, tell us about it! We even have a forum topic about fivefingers sightings in the wild.

Hiking Eastern Newfoundland in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

Hiking Eastern Newfoundland in Vibram Five Fingers Sprints

I received the above photo of Alain, which was taken on a hike in Easter Newfoundland, Canada. I asked Alain about his experiences with hiking and his Vibram fivefinger Sprints, wondering in particular how well the open-topped Sprint functioned in grittier environments. Here's what Alain had to say:

I’ve done quite a few hikes in my fivefingers and so far have not experienced many problems. This particular hike in Newfoundland was totally problem-free as I was hiking on giant rocks and large pebbles the whole time. I’ve done some portaging on canoe trips in my home province of Manitoba. As these were mostly on sandy trails, I got a bunch of little rocks inside my FF. In these situations, I’d have prefered the KSO’s I think.

I’ve been running in them for a few months now, on dirt trails, rocky trails, sidewalks and paved roads and have had no problems whatsoever.

Thanks for sharing, Alain!

Frank Forencich on Paying Attention (Via barefooting)

Frank Forencich, writer, philosopher, human advocate, and founder of Exuberant Animal (website | blog | book), has a fantastic post today about barefooting as meditation. He starts the post off talking about Mick Dodge a.k.a. the Barefoot Sensei (photo inset):

If you ever have the chance to hike the mountains and river valleys of the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest, you just might run into a charismatic movement teacher by the name of Mick Dodge. Mick has been barefooting for almost 20 years and is a passionate advocate for the practice. Not only does Mick walk the walk, he also spreads the word wherever he goes, talking the talk in coffee shops, university bookstores, campgrounds and parks. He tells a story of personal transformation through barefooting and teaches people how to get back into their bodies. People call him “The Barefoot Sensei” and for good reason. Mick has found a way to reinvigorate human life and experience, by way of the foot.

When The Barefoot Sensei gives presentations on the virtues of barefooting, he often begins with a simple question: “What’s the first thing that happens when you take your shoes off?”

People grope for an answer, searching their memory banks for the last time they actually went barefoot, suspicious that this might be some sort of trick question. But before they can get their words in order, Sensei answers for them: ”You start paying attention!”

Frank goes on to discuss how barefooting focuses attention out of necessity. Paying attention* through barefooting means being aware of the ground beneath your feet, to avoid sharp rocks, to take purposeful steps, to adjust your weight when the earth gives way. It's likely this forced focus that corrects a barefoot runner's form—Christopher McDougall said as much about running in his fivefingers, "they keep you honest."

The rest of Frank's post is very much worth reading. If you don't have the time to read it now, just open the link in a new window and set it aside to read later. And if you enjoy Frank's insights, you'd likely benefit from reading his book Exuberant Animal, which is a series of essays that are, at their base, about getting in touch with your humanity.

Finally, the Barefoot Sensei is currently doing a 1,000 mile journey to deliver "the antidote to modern living." You can follow Mick Dodge's journey at his blog.

* The simple axiom "Pay attention" is a theme of another book I've recently finished reading called Constructive Living, which is about focusing attention on what you are doing, as the things you are doing now are the only things you can control (This relates to Morita Therapy).

Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints

Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints
Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints
Maria Hikes the North Cascade Mountains in her VFF Sprints

click any image to enlarge!

Maria Coryell-Martin sent in the above photos taken on her recent, two-night backpack in the North Cascade Mountains, which she completed wearing her Vibram fivefinger Sprints (and injinji socks). Maria wrote about her experience on her site, Expeditionary Artist, describing it thusly:

This past week I completed my first backpack wearing only my Vibram FiveFingers Sprint toe shoes on my feet along with a pair of Injinji toe socks. I’ve worn FiveFingers for a couple of years ago and am delighted by how they’ve strengthened my feet. My sweetie Darin Reid and I left Stehekin at the head of Lake Chelan (1200 ft.) in the North Cascade Mountains and completed a two night backpack for 21 miles, climbing up to 7400 ft. My feet felt remarkably good as I scrambled over and around logs in burned regions of the hillside, traversed boulder fields, and crossed snow patches. My shoes did show some extra wear, particularly between the toes from the debris and abrasion, but it did not affect their performance. For up the mountains and down, I had no blisters, no knee pain, and the delight of the world beneath my feet!

Seeing Maria's photos and reading about her experience makes me want to drop everything and get outside. Hiking is a truly humanizing experience. How much more fantastic is it when you get to feel the diversity of the ground beneath your feet!

Be sure to check out Maria's site where you can find some beautiful examples of her artwork such as her watercolor paintings of the North Cascades!.

Thanks for sharing, Maria!

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 7/12/09

And another week of Vibram fivefingers reviews:

  • Vibram FiveFingers KSO and Classic Running Shoes at Wired.com:

    Running in FiveFingers is much like running barefoot, except without the mincing "Ow-ow-ow!" moments as you hit a patch of gravel or sun-baked asphalt. You have to use the same stride (and the same, probably atrophied, calf and arch muscles) as you do when running with naked feet. The end result is good: By forcing me into a more efficient stride, the VFFs helped subtract nearly a minute from my admittedly slow per-mile pace.

  • Vibram Five-Fingers Shoes and “Barefoot” Running at Rambling outside the Box:

    If you’re going to be a “barefoot runner,” you are naturally tempted to forego socks altogether with your Five-Fingers. I’ve now experimented quite a bit with and without socks. My current preference is to use socks only for hotter temperatures and runs of more than an hour or so. I don’t bother with socks for runs of an hour or less. The primary issue is that I start to develop hot spots after my feet start to sweat significantly. Socks help reduce the chafing and wick away the sweat. I don’t seem to need very much sock; I use very thin Injinji “liner” socks made from bamboo fiber, and I’ve had good luck up to the maximum run of about 12–13 miles I’ve tried so far. I

  • Vibram Five Fingers Shoes at Finding stuff to do in Nebraska:

    I did, however, find that running in the grass, or on uneven terrain is much more fun in these shoes. Running on pavement is almost boring when you have all that extra dexterity and balance in your shoe! I also plan on wearing these for our weekly Ultimate Frisbee session on Monday, as my current shoes tend to roll sideways when I try and change direction too fast.

  • Taking the plunge with Vibram Five Fingers by Drew Price: This is sort of a review in the making, with some updates on VFF experiences. It also gives mention to other barefooting alternatives.
  • Going “Barefoot” In Vibram Five Fingers at SmarterFitter:

    They’re very comfortable to walk in, but my feet became tired over the course of the walk. This morning, the outside of my left foot feels tired, like I’ve been using weird muscles. Calves were also differently tired. But otherwise they felt good, and there was no chaffing or rubbing between my toes. I like that they’re very light. I like them.

It's fun to see Wired.com talk about VFFs (They also have an article on running barefoot or with VFFs that accompanied their review). As always, let me know if I missed any!