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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Interview with Leah Sakellarides

A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.
A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.

Leah Sakellarides is a runner, blogger (outside of BirthdayShoes), and photographer based out of Southern California.

Below is an interview with Leah that talks about her ideal minimalist shoe (and her dislike of the color pink), transitioning to natural running, and her multifarious endeavors and outdoor adventures!

Why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

I wasn’t sold on minimalist footwear at first. I’ve been a runner my whole life so I was skeptical about all the new kicks that were coming out. I first found out about VFFs when Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, started wearing and talking about all the great things about them. So with an open mind I tried the FiveFingers Sprints on at the sporting goods store when they first came out. I couldn’t imagine that they would perform well at all, but I decided to give them a shot anyway. It took a while for me to get used to them and once I did there was no going back! I felt lighter and more nimble than ever in them. Also, my regular running shoes would cause IT band pain in my knee, but all that disappeared with VFFs. Now every time I put a regular running shoe on, it just feels like I’m wearing a platform and my ankle feels like it’s going to roll. It’s just not natural.

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Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Overview

Meet the Altra Provision as described by Altra Running:

Modeled after The Instinct™ platform, The Provision™ adds a firmer midsole and a removable varus stability wedge to assist men with fallen arches, excessive overpronation and knock knees. Built for moderate and high overpronation, the Zero Drop™ platform, foot-shaped design and stability wedge combine to provide a high level of stability without the excessive bulk and weight of traditional stability shoes. Simply remove the stability wedge to convert this shoe to work for neutral and mild overpronation.

The Altra Provision (like the Altra Instinct) skirts the boundary of the minimalist running shoe category. The Provision is definitely minimal because of its zero heel-to-toe drop and anatomically correct shape (custom for women and men) resulting in a nice wide toe box for proper toe splay and the weight is a bit more than the Instinct, 9.1 oz (258 gr) without the stability wedge, 9.9 oz (281 gr) with it compared to the Instinct which is 8.8 oz (249 gr). The stack height is 20mm which includes the outsole, midsole and removable foam insole (5mm thick). The thickness does limit the amount of ground feel or prioproception however the relatively firm A-Bound™ midsole does still allow some ground feedback.

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Interview with Rob Youngren

Rob Youngren mountain unicycling the Slick Rock Trail in Moab, Utah
Rob Youngren mountain unicycling the Slick Rock Trail in Moab, Utah

Rob Youngren is an ultra-runner, unicycler, and blogger here on BirthdayShoes.com. He's based out of Alabama and has been running for twenty years. As a matter of course, he started running in lighter weight, more minimalist shoes, ultimately retraining his foot strike (to midfoot) long before the revival of "minimalist running."

Rob brings an incredibly unique perspective to the BirthdayShoes blogger-crew — one some will find at odds with some minimalist dogma (e.g. Rob is a believer in arch support and cushioned shoes for high mileage runners). His contrary views are born of loggin some 50,000 miles of running, so when I hear his opinion, I usually listen up.

So below is an interview with Rob that talks about his story, where all this is going, his own footwear experiences, and more. It's a fascinating read, so sit back and read on!

Hey Rob! So tell us: why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

The summarized version: I was experiencing lower leg issues and decided I needed to try a different approach so gradually transitioned to running in much more low profile, light weight trail shoes. I also changed the way I ran because I was a wicked heel striker, now I’m a fairly efficient midfoot striker. I do still wear arch supports however.

Wait, what? Arch supports? What's the story?

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20% Off SeeYa, Spyridon LS, Speed FiveFingers

20% Off SeeYa, Spyridon LS, Speed FiveFingers

ATTENTION: This sale has ended!

If you're looking for more recent sales, check the BirthdayShoes Store here for previous sales sent to bdayshoes email subscribers. Consider subscribing by email to get future updates, too (You only get about one email a week that updates on recent posts. This enters you into future giveaway contests, too.).

You can also check out past blog posts on BirthdayShoes tagged as a "sale" here (Note: while virtually all sales are sent to email subscribers while only some of them actually make it to the blog).


The sale

I've been spending a good bit of time hunting around the past few days for sales on Vibram FiveFingers. You can do this kinda research via the BirthdayShoes "store." Anyway, apart from REI's current sale and the ability to use a 20% off coupon there (for members), there are some very exciting Memorial Day sales opportunities this week whereby you can grab Vibrams at 20% off (or more) MSRP.

If you were hoping to gnab a pair of the Spring-released, ultralight SeeYa FiveFingers on sale — or — the new trail-ready Spyridon LS FiveFingers, well, it seems that you've got your shot. You can grab the FiveFingers SeeYas for $80 (reg. $100!) or the Spyridon LS VFFs for $96 (reg. $120!) for right at $80 with free shipping! They've also got all the new Speed FiveFingers colorways for only $80 (also 20% off) shipped free, too (Men's & Women's, respectively). This sale will last through 5/24.

Not into the new-fangled toe shoes (Spyris or SeeYas) or the new Speed colorways, here's the best deal in town on the original black and white Speed FiveFingers. You can hook up a pair at this other retailer for a mere $60 (Sizes 40 - 44 available)! That is an absurdly good deal—40% off the $100 MSRP (way back when I had to buy them from the U.K. a year prior to the U.S. release I paid 3X as much!). No clue how long that sale will last.

I love the Speeds for their comfort and style. Really, of all the FiveFingers I own, the Speeds are the most-commented-on and most-positively received FiveFingers — this is by non-toe shoe wearers, mind you. They breath well with their mesh upper making them a nice casual "sneaker" for the summer or go run in them at the drop of a hat.

I'll wrap it up — get your sale on and good luck!


Oh nooes! This sale has ended!

If you're looking for more recent sales, check the BirthdayShoes Store here for previous sales sent to bdayshoes email subscribers. Consider subscribing by email to get future updates, too (You only get about one email a week that updates on recent posts. This enters you into future giveaway contests, too.).

You can also check out past blog posts on BirthdayShoes tagged as a "sale" here (Note: while virtually all sales are sent to email subscribers while only some of them actually make it to the blog).

Skechers Forks Over Forty Million for Shape-Ups Deceptive Advertising Claims

Skechers Forks Over Forty Million for Shape-Ups Deceptive Advertising Claims

If there's one website you don't want a vanity URL on (e.g. facebook.com/birthdayshoes) — it's the FTC's. Hop over to www.ftc.gov/skechers and you'll find the following message:

Did you buy Skechers Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners, or Tone-ups shoes?

You may be eligible for a refund.

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, charged Skechers with making unfounded claims that its Shape-ups and other "toning shoes" would help people lose weight and tone their buttocks, legs, and abdominal muscles.

To settle the case, Skechers USA has agreed to pay $40 million to provide refunds to people who bought Skechers toning shoes.

Ouch!

Yep, it seems that Skechers was next in the FTC's line after Reebok's $25 million penalty over their EasyTone claims delivered back in September of 2011.

You can read all about the FTC's slapdown on Skechers here. For a particularly snarky quote from that FTC post, check this:

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Unshoes Pah Tempe Review

The Unshoes Pah Tempe is a minimalist sandal that utilizes a unique webbing design to secure the ultra thin Vibram rubber sole to your foot.
The Unshoes Pah Tempe is a minimalist sandal that utilizes a unique webbing design to secure the ultra thin Vibram rubber sole to your foot.

If you've been around ultra-minimalist running and walking for a while you've probably seen more than a few sandal or huarache varieties. They are mostly the same; very thin Vibram rubber outsole that is shaped like the outline of your foot and then some sort of lacing system that involves a long cord that is worked all round the sandal bed and your foot to secure it in place. Moreover, most of the huaraches available these days typically involve a strap that runs between your big toe and its neighbor.

Enter the Unshoes Pah Tempe, a minimalist sandal that avoids the big toe thong attachment point, invoking the spirit of Chacos or Tevas but without the heftier soles. Today I'll be reviewing the Unshoes Pah Tempe — read on!

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