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 »

Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii

Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii
Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii
Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii
Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii
Michael and Lindsey take FiveFingers to Hawaii

It took around a year of proclaiming the merits of fivefingers before my sister and brother-in-law, Lindsey and Michael, finally caved and got matching pairs of VFF Sprints. Since then, Michael's been using his for various activities including running and kettlebells. Lindsey has been using hers primarily for yoga.

Less than a week ago, Michael and Lindsey returned from a vacation to Hawaii. Yes, I'm jealous, too. Being the pushy brother I am, I requested they document any travel use of their Vibram Five Fingers. Since they are great family (or they just don't want to hear me pester them!), Michael and Lindsey delivered the goods!

I specifically asked Michael to talk about his experience and here is what he had to say:

I recently visited Hawaii and from my wife's recommendation, I only took flip-flops (i.e. thong sandals) and VFFs. I planned to spend time at the beach and in the water, snorkel, play golf, and relax.

For some reason, I was extremely forgetful on this trip. This allowed for some interesting moments, starting with an early sunrise at Maui's dormant volcano, Haleakala. I somehow lost my fleece pants between the room and the car, so when we arrived at the volcano, I planned to freeze. Armed with my VFF's and a towel, I braved the cold and survived the sunrise, but not before trying to wear regular socks with the VFFs. Don't try this at home. Obviously, VFF sprints were not designed for warmth, so I don't recommend spending a lot of time at the top of a volcano where the winds are blowing and it's about 50 degrees.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be permitted to play golf in my VFFs. If you're not a golfer, you may not have experienced the sort of snottiness that you can find at golf courses. Many courses have a no jeans policy and require collared shirts. Some courses don't allow you to wear shorts. I was a little concerned that the VFFs wouldn't fly. Maybe Maui is relaxed, or maybe the staff was caught unawares, but I was able to get on the course with the VFFs (the couple with whom I was paired commented on the VFFs saying they had played the prior week with a local Hawaiian who played golf barefoot).

For most play, I did not even think about the fact that I was wearing the VFFs. Like most of your life wearing shoes, you only notice them when they're uncomfortable or they fail in some way, such as a rock in your shoe, a blister forming on your heels or toes, or when the shoe slips.

To my surprise, I absolutely forgot that I was wearing VFFs for the bulk of the golf game. The only time I thought about my shoes was when I was in the sand trap. Sadly, the VFF sprints are not suited for sand traps. I wound up in the sand a few times in my round of eighteen and managed to get quite a bit of sand in my shoes due to the trap. The sprints worked flawlessly on the tee, in the rough, on the fairway, and on the green. I highly recommend golfing in VFFs (but remember to put sunscreen on your feet - one of the few things I did not forget this trip).

KSO's might be better suited for golf given the fact that the open design of sprints (and probably classics) allows sand to get in the shoe. So unless you are good enough to stay out of the sand, I don't recommend sprints for your next round.

Prepare for another tale of forgetfulness. One of our days was spent taking a catamaran sailboat trip from Maui to Lanaii. I planned to wear my VFF sprints on the boat, then wear my flip-flops at the beach. You guessed it, the flip-flops didn't make the boat. The sand at the beach was blazing hot, so I couldn't go barefoot, so I was forced to try out the VFFs on the beach. When wet, just like your bare feet would, the VFF's pick up a lot of sand. You'll see from some of the pictures that the sand built up on the shoes, particularly around the toes. I was impressed, however, by how easily the VFFs came clean under the shower. I don't necessarily recommend VFFs for the beach because sand gets into the shoe, but in a pinch they perform satisfactorily on the beach. I wish I had tried snorkeling with them, but I didn't try out the sprints with fins.

Traveling to and from Hawaii (long flights; unpredictable temperatures at 30,000 feet), the sprints proved themselves to be comfortable and worked well. Although Justin had indicated that he sailed through security without being required to remove his VFFs, and even though the airport security in Atlanta, Georgia, the busiest airport in the world, let me sail through VFF-shod, I got busted on the return trip by the security in the airport in Maui.

Believe it or not, the Kahului airport security made me take of my VFFs to run them through the x-ray machine. I almost made it as the man standing in front of the walk-through contraption waved me through, but then the guard manning the conveyor belt said, "what are you wearing?" Thinking she was admiring my beautiful feet in the sprints, I happily explained the shoes. She then made me go back through the walkthrough and forced me to remove my fivefingers. She did joke about how it looked like feet passing through the x-ray machine.

So, VFFs will garner attention - perhaps too much if you're running late and want to try to speed through security without removing them. I'd say you've got a good shot at getting through, but you might have a curious security guard who'll stop you.

Great field testing, Michael, and thanks for sharing (And be sure to check out Michael's blog!).

TSA is definitely inconsistent in how they handle VFFers. I've had good luck passing through airport security unchecked while sporting my KSOs (and once in Classics), but have received mixed reports from others wearing Classics and now Sprints. It's a roll of the dice to try going VFF-"shod" through the airport checkpoint, but if you want to live dangerously, go for it!

Because there were so many photos as well as a couple of videos from Michael and Lindsey's Hawaii adventure, I threw together a video compilation and put it up on YouTube. The accompanying music is some song by the King of Hawaii. Enjoy!

[video:youtube:WI_kTmnyozo]

You might have noticed the photo in the video of Michael desperately trying to make a square peg fit in five round holes—a.k.a. trying to make regular socks work with the five-toed Sprints. I felt like this photo warranted a fivefingers-fail graphic. Kids, don't try this at home:

Now who wants to go to Hawaii and play some golf in their birthday shoes?

Latest Vibram Five Fingers Reviews 7/19/09

After last week's huge Wired.com reviews and articles, this week has been fairly quiet. Anyway, here are your latest Vibram five fingers reviews:

  • Vibram FiveFingers Run #1 and Run#2 from CaveWomanRunner:

    I did my speed intervals at a nearby schoolyard. I felt like a little kid, sprinting barefoot through the grass. At first I was worried about the bumps and holes in the yard, but I actually felt more in balance and stronger with the Vibrams. I could measure the ground more easily and felt more aware of changes and obstacles. With my puppies running next to me, I felt like I, too, had paws to feel the earth beneath me. Simply put, it was freeing.

  • Thin-soled Running Shoes* on Outside.com:

    It took me a while to get used to the VFF's simian appearance, but soon I began wearing them everywhere—walking my dog, going to the store, hiking nearby trails—much to the amusement of my fellow pedestrians. I still couldn't manage to run more than a few blocks in them, but I soon felt the actual bones, tendons, and ticklish soft spots under my arch getting stronger.

    *Though not quite a full-on review of VFFs, I thought the mention was good enough to include the article link here!

Previous week's reviews:

Barefoot Ted Bares all on the new Vibram Five Finger KSO Treks

Above, a photo shot of Barefoot Ted as he runs in the Vibram fivefinger Treks (Zoom added for a better view!)

If you've been eagerly hoping for more information on one of the new Vibram Five Finger models—one of which is the fivefinger Trek—you're in luck. Barefoot Ted has posted two great photos of the VFF Treks along with a review of the Treks over on his blog. Here's a teaser of Ted's review (You'll have to head over to his blog for the rest!):

When I first put these shoes on, I knew that I had finally felt the most comfortable VFF yet. The kangaroo skin's soft side is INSIDE the shoe...so your foot is encased in smoothness. Under 6 ounces. Rugged. Breathable. Thank you Gawd!

These are the shoes that I am going to use for this year's Leadville 100 mile trail race. As many of you know, I have done trail ultras in FiveFinger Classics, Sprints and KSOs, but this seems destined to be my favorite 100 mile trail shoe. Thank you Vibram!

Like I said, you'll have to go to BFT's blog for the rest (and one more photo!)!

You might recall that Barefoot Ted is a Vibram fivefingers tester and had previously commented on how he had been enjoying his Treks on longer trail runs:

Have you ever run 100 miles through the mountains in a pair of VFFs? I have. It gets tough...especially at night when you are tired on rocky ground.

The people at Vibram are thinking deeply about what they are doing...trying to preserve the flexibility and feel that is necessary for tapping into the incredible system of movement we have inherited from our ancestors while at the same time facilitating a more comfortable ride...just like all great indigenous hunter/gathering footwear does...less is more...but enough is good...and in certain terrains, this shoe will be a great solution.

In a nutshell, it seems the fivefinger Treks are basically a leather-clad, insulated, more aggressively-soled version of the fivefinger KSO.

Many of you would like to know how the leathered Treks react to sweaty feet (not to mention the loss of machine washability!) and I am trying to find out more and you can rest assured I'll post anything else I learn just as soon as possible.

Thank you Ted for publishing this info!

Be sure to check out: barefootted.com

The original photo of the Treks from voycontigo.de

Patrick heads to Parks and Libraries in Five Finger KSOs

Patrick heads to Parks and Libraries in Five Finger KSOs
Patrick heads to Parks and Libraries in Five Finger KSOs
Patrick heads to Parks and Libraries in Five Finger KSOs

Patrick (linuxracr on the forums) from Dallas posted the above photos taken at various places including the Napa Valley, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (outside Fredricksburg, Texas), and at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Patrick has also used his VFFs for martial arts noting that, "I myself am a martial artist (Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu), and have used my Vibram FF KSO for this. They work great! Just make sure your surface will not give you TOO much grip."

Welcome to birthday shoes, Patrick!

Tripp Tests out his Classic Vibram Five Fingers on a Trail

Tripp Tests out his Classic Vibram Five Fingers on a Trail

Tripp, a new VFFer out in Austin, Texas, wrote in about his first week walking about on a trail in his Classic Vibram Five Fingers:

Hi,

I just got my VFF Classics on Monday after lots of research from sites like yours. (Thanks!) After a couple of dry runs in "civilization" (ie the streets of LA), I thought I should take them out for a real workout on Mt. Laguna in the Cleveland National Forest outside San Diego.

Rocky terrain mixed with loose, sandy soil on the trail were no problem. (The big red ants, though, had me re-thinking the decision to not to get the KSOs!) But the shoes (and my feet) felt great all day.

Next up, some short runs on the golf course back home, more POSE training, and eventually a 5K.

Stay tuned.

Tripp from Austin

Keep us posted, Tripp!

Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)

Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)
Cody Climbs at Clayton beach off Chuckanut drive (in Five Finger Sprints)

Got a couple photos in the mailbag from Cody. Cody was climbing at Clayton Beach, Washington. Sorry if I got a little carried away on the title of this post, but it's not often I get to employ that much alliteration, to say nothing of a street named Chuckanut Drive.

Anyway, here's Cody on his Vibram fivefinger Sprints:

so i recently purchased a pair of sprints at my local running store (turned out to be the only other retailer in washington state). my purchase was on a whim, but im glad i did it, they are amazing. in fact i am going hiking to a place called oyster dome shortly after posting this. ...

here are some pics of me climbing some rocks while hiking to a beach, these were taken at clayton beach off of chuckanut drive in washington.

One fun part of fivefingers is that they are great impromptu climbing shoes — trees, rock walls, a bit of bouldering — that kinda thing.

Thanks for sharing Cody and have fun on your hike!