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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Saucony Kinvara 2 Running Shoes Review

Saucony Kinvara 2 Running Shoes Review

We understand that the Saucony Kinvara 2™ has been out for quite a while and as of this writing the Kinvara 3™ has just recently hit the stores. Actually, due to the release of the Kinvara 3, you can pick up the Kinvara 2 on the cheap right now.

So why a Kinvara 2 review if it's old news? For one, the Kinvara 2 has been a popular shoe for minimalist-minded runners ever since it's release (and not unlike the original Kinvara), so reviewing it is a way to make sure BirthdayShoes readers are kept in the know of what's hot (or not).

Two, as this will be the first Kinvara review for BirthdayShoes, it serves the (future) purpose of comparing the Kinvara 2 to the Kinvara 3 as well as possible future shoes in the same line. Plus I’d just happened to be using the Kinvara 2 quite a bit over the past several weeks.

So allow me to jump right in ... after the jump!

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Say Yes in Vibram FiveFingers

Say Yes in Vibram FiveFingers

If you're going to pop the question and propose to your significant other, what better time and place to do it than after a beautiful hike to an incredible overlook? If she says "no," well I suppose the hike down could be a challenge, but if she says yes you've got the world before you.

Stephen decided to do just that — hike up to a beautiful overlook in Virginia called Mcafee's Knob. He did it with his now fiancé and the both of them (as well as the photographer) were sporting their FiveFingers (Sprints and Trek Sports for him and her, respectively).

I asked Stephen to share a bit about the ordeal and here's what he had to say:

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Adidas Sued for Barefoot Running Claims

Adidas Sued for Barefoot Running Claims

Adidas can now join Vibram as another toe shoe manufacturer being sued for barefoot-related marketing claims.

Reuters reports plaintiff Joseph Rocco believes he was "duped" into buying his $90 pair of Adidas Adipure Trainers (reviewed here) based on claims the Adipures would "increase training efficiency" and decrease "risk of injury."

What happened to Rocco? Seems he suffered compound fractures after training in the toe shoes. Yes, you read that right — not stress fractures but compound fractures (where the bone sticks through the skin).

Anyone ever had that happen to them in FiveFingers, Skele-Toes, or other minimalist shoes? If it's happened to you, would you blame the shoes?

I really, really want to know just how Rocco managed to get a compound fracture while wearing Adipures. Furthermore, I want to know just how his reliance on Adidas' marketing claims (or lack of warnings) directly caused that fracture. How hard must you be running in a pair of minimalist shoes for this to happen to your foot? Would a wedge of foam prevent a fracture if you're running this hard? Oh the questions this case begs ...

You'll recall that Vibram is being sued in class action lawsuit over barefoot running claims and the FTC laid the smackdown on Skechers over Shape-Ups claims. Where does individual responsibility come to bear on these sorts of cases? Is this just another example of the U.S. legal system gone awry?

Questions and more questions. Anyone care to opine?

Source: Reuters

School Says No Skele-Toes Shoes Allowed

School Says No Skele-Toes Shoes Allowed

A couple weeks back Louisiana school Vermilion Parish set before it's school board an important question concerning kids' footwear — should toe shoes (Fila Skele-toes apparently being the primary culprit) be allowed in schools?

A local Vermilion, LA. newspaper reported the following regarding the potential ban:

The Vermilion Parish School Board is expected to include Skele-Toe shoes as a type of shoe not to be worn in area public schools. The board will vote on the shoe at Thursday's 6 p.m. school board meeting.

The issue would have been decided on June 22, 2012 (At the time of this publishing, I've yet to confirm the decision as it doesn't seem the minutes to this meeting have been published).

A schoolwide ban on toe shoes at Vermilion Parish would affect some eleven elementary schools, three middle schools, and five high schools. That's a lot of kids forbidden from wearing Fila, Skele-toes, Vibram FiveFingers, etc.*

Apparently, the issue in question regarding toe shoes is safety. More (emphasis added):

Brad Prudomme, supervisor for child welfare for the school board, brought up the issue of the Skele-Toe shoes to the school board during a committee meeting this past Monday.

Prudomme said this shoe is becoming more and more popular with students wearing them to school. Recently, Vermilion principals voted against Skele-Toe shoes.

Prudomme explained to the board that the shoes, which look like a rubber foot, are becoming a problem in schools and principals are concerned with the safety issue of the shoe. He showed a picture of the shoe to the board members.

Okay, I've held out long enough — on the face, this seems a bit ridiculous. Without knowing about Vermilion Parish Schools' dress code, I think it's fairly "safe" to say that the safety concerns around wearing toe shoes are no greater than wearing regular shoes, sneakers, or sandals. If you can run a marathon in the shoes, powerlift hundreds of pounds in them, or hike all over the world in them, well, I think it's safe to say that they're protective enough.

If it's a dress code issue, well, that's another story.

And really, my hunch is that this is more about some higher-ups taking issue with shoes that are different, and in being different, can be distracting. But is that really a good reason to ban them? I don't think so.

Any teachers out there have an opinion on this? Let's hear it!

Source: Vermilion Today

* It's funny that toe shoes have gotten so popular that there are numerous brands available today.

Vibram FiveFingers Inventor Robert Fliri Talks Ultra-minimal FiveFingers Prototype for 2013

Robert Fliri holds up a prototype ultra-minimal Vibram FiveFingers (a reboot of the original Classic?) being worked on for a 2013 release (so it seems!).
Robert Fliri holds up a prototype ultra-minimal Vibram FiveFingers (a reboot of the original Classic?) being worked on for a 2013 release (so it seems!).

I've recently received some scuttlebutt surrounding a new Vibram FiveFingers style for 2013 (not the dressy leather Capri toe shoes we saw last week).

All the information has come by way of Robert Fliri. If you're a fan of five toed shoes, you should know who Fliri is. He's the Italian designer/inventor who conceptualized what became Vibram FiveFingers — check out this 2006 interview with him to read up on some of the fascinating history surrounding FiveFingers.

You've already peeped the photos above. Those are screencaptures from an impromptu video interview shot recently in Milan, Italy. What are we seeing here? Obviously it's a new Vibram FiveFingers design featuring a strapless, laceless upper. The sole design looks new, too. Meanwhile, is anyone else reminded of one of the original FiveFingers colorways — incidentally, the colorway of my first pair of Vibrams — grey with orange highlights and a black rubber sole?

Is what we are seeing here a reboot of the original Vibram FiveFingers Classic — an ultra-minimal toe shoe design for 2013?

I don't actually know what model it is we're looking at. I've heard rumored names that sound like a Classic reboot, but I've also heard rumors it'll be called something wholly new. The name is irrelevant — what's interesting is just what this model may do. And for that, you're going to have to jump to the interview!

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Handstands in Toe Shoes Around the World

Here we see Ben doing a handstand in Moraira, Spain.  Note his Speed FiveFingers!
Here we see Ben doing a handstand in Moraira, Spain. Note his Speed FiveFingers!

Below is a note I received in the mailbag from a New Zealander named Ben who recently took a whirlwind worldwide tour for five weeks in March. What more, his shoes of choice were Vibram FiveFingers Speeds, and perhaps the coolest aspect of his trip was how he opted to have snapshots of himself doing handstands taken at some of the sights along his way ‐ donning his fived toed retro sneakers (the Speeds), of course! Here's Ben:

Hey Justin,

My name’s Ben, I just wanted to write in and share some experiences and pictures with you and your readers.

I work for Barefoot Inc., the New Zealand supplier of Vibram FiveFingers, and in March took five weeks away visiting friends and family and seeing the world a little. I took with me a pair of Speeds as they’re my day to day shoe. The twist is, I’m not very photogenic and I’m not a fan of posing for pictures with, “touristy thing A” in the background. But I am a student of the local circus school, so I did handstands instead.

I present to you my 2012 handstand tour of the world.

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