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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Vivo Barefoot Oak Review - Business Casual Barefoot Shoes

Vivo Barefoot Oak Review - Business Casual Barefoot Shoes

I have liked the stylish, Wallaby-esque look of the Vivo Barefoot pretty much from the first day I saw them some three years ago.

For that matter, I got my first pair of Oaks back in 2010 and did a "first look" on them here. Fast-forward and I picked up two other pairs of Oaks thanks to some great sales on some discontinued versions. Most recently, Vivo was gracious enough to comp me a pair (it's a special buy three get one free program — no, not really) so I could do an official review — on a colorway that was still available*!

So that's what I'm going to do today — review the stylish, business-casual-passable Vivo Barefoot Oaks. They're a dressier leather "barefoot shoe" that feature a simple design, roomy toe box, no arch support, a flexible sole, and a great amount of ground feel. Not only do my feet love them but my wife does, too. That's the short of it.

For the full-fledged review, read on (and see on!) for a full review with about forty photos of these puppies!

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ToeSox Ultralite Crew & Ankle Socks Review

ToeSox Ultralite Crew & Ankle Socks Review

Introduction

Let’s talk about socks. When it comes to wearing them with Vibrams, some people love them and some people hate them. I’m in the “love” camp, and always wear socks when running. I find it keeps me from getting blisters when I’m running more than 5 miles or so and it keeps my shoes from getting smelly too fast. Just about the only time I don’t wear socks with Vibrams is if I’m doing a short gym/weight workout.

Currently there aren’t many manufacturers catering to the toe sock crowd. A quick search on Zappos brings up Injinji and Smartwool and apparently Fila also makes toed socks for their Skele-toes lineup. One last manufacturer that has been around for several years, but that I had only recently heard of, is ToeSox.

ToeSox makes a variety of products; their lineup includes socks with and without toes (think “fingerless” gloves) as well as socks with sticky dots on the bottom to provide grip when doing yoga. Interestingly, they even make a 5-toed sandal! Unfortunately I can’t tell from the website if it has a zero-drop heel.

In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Ultralite Crew and Ankle cut socks that are meant to be used with running, cycling and climbing shoes. The Ultralite series is the thinnest of ToeSox’s offerings, as they also make Light Weight (meant for general all-around use) and Medium Weight socks (intended for hiking and trails).

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Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove First Look [Exclusive!]

Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove First Look [Exclusive!]

If you came here looking for a first-look at the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove, well, I've got some bad news. It's come to my attention that the shoes seen here on 9/5/2012 were pre-production samples that should not have seen the light of day (to the public anyway). Merrell reached out and asked (very politely) to have the photos and the accompanying mini-review, taken down. Their concern is from a legal standpoint — likely out of a need to protect trade secrets.

We live in a time when counterfeits run rampant and are shipped around the world to unsuspecting Internet buyers. Technology is growing at a mind-boggling pace and information is shared globally with a few clicks of the mouse. Thus, the only true way to protect intellectual property is to keep things secret — literally telling no one.

That's not easy in the day of the Internet. Since Merrell asked nicely here to take things down — and will send final production pairs in a week or two to be shared here first, exclusively on BirthdayShoes — I decided to pull this post for the time being. It wasn't an easy decision, but it's the right one.

We don't always pull first looks even when it might upset manufacturers. In fact, pulling anything is the exception — we've frequently broken news on upcoming minimalist shoes models (before it was intended to be made public (e.g. here, here, and here among many other examples). What more, the identity of tipsters is kept private by default. It's absolutely important to keep this community a safe place of exchange — if that's ever in doubt please let me know.

And stay tuned! Be sure not to miss when we officially show off the Merrell Barefoot Vapor Gloves by subscribing!

2013 True Linkswear Shoe Sneak Peak

2013 True Linkswear Shoe Sneak Peak

Fans of the site may know by now about the availability of barefoot/minimal golf shoes. We've highlighted a couple of recent barefoot options from TRUE linkswear (tour and phx) and more recently Vivobarefoot (hybrid). One of the great things about the 2012 release from TRUE linkswear, was that the updated sole, while cleated for golf, still allows you to wear them off the course. If you're a minimalist and a golfer, I have to believe you've already tried out this brand. However, the comfortable fit and minimal feel make these a great option even for non golfers out there looking for another comfortable work or casual minimal shoe option.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone about TRUE, because I recently spotted what might be the new 2013 models. I was able to grab some screenshots from a golf channel video, so read on for the screenshots and details.

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Run Free Barefoot Tattoo

Run Free Barefoot Tattoo

I got the photo above from Michael, a reader from Quebec, Canada, who underwent a pretty impressive lifestyle and diet change losing over a hundred pounds of weight over the past couple years. It's fantastic to hear these kinds of stories of people completely changing their lives:

I got a little overweight in the last 10 years in fact I never played any sports except a little baseball when I was young.

In fall of 2010, surrounded by fast food and eating unhealthy, I decided it was time to change. I was fed-up wearing XL tshirts and size 48 jeans! I turned to diet and cut out all fast food, sugar, carbs! I ate only fish, veggies, and white meats!

At the time I was working out in a gym and decided to start running on the treadmill. I always hated to run because it would make my shins burn real bad. Keep in mind I believe I weighed almost 300 lbs (That's kind of large for a guy who is 5'6).

Anyhow I first started running on the treadmill with shoes and slowly week after week I lost weight. My mother works at McGill University — and works with a marathon runner. He trains with the McGill running team, so I asked if he could give me some pointers! He told me he ran barefoot on the track, so I investigated barefoot running and found so much info on the web about barefoot and minimalist running that I decided to give it a try!

[I got my first pair of Bikilas in late 2010 and in] January 2011 I decided to weigh myself for the first time ever! 243 lbs! I continued my hardcore eating regime fueled by Cytomax and protein shakes! Early spring I started clicking in the kilometers outside! All summer I ran, I ran, I ran! Fall came and I ran. I still had my gym pass but who wants to run on a treadmill after running in fresh air? When Winter rolled around I continued my run back in the gym.

[Then] January 1, 2012... 140lbs!

I've tried to run with shoes but it just doesn't work out (I've tried all kinds!).

Five fingers may have saved my life [so] I wanted to get a tattoo that will remind me of the pain sweat and tears it took me to reverse 10 years of damage! Ive been a huge fan of your site and read many articles and out helped me very much in my journey so I decided to permanently put the logo on me! Thanks for all the great reviews and articles!

Way to go, Michael! I think you're owed all the credit for your efforts here — and I'm honored to see the birthdayshoes logo associated with your success.

Thanks for sharing!

Coast to Coast in Minimalist and Toe Shoes

Coast to Coast in Minimalist and Toe Shoes

I got the nice note below from David who recently went coast to coast with his girlfriend — both in their minimalist footwear (Vivos and Vibrams). David's a long-time reader but first time submitter and I wanted to share his photo above and his note:

Hi Justin,

I've been reading Birthday Shoes for a few years now. I first came across it while I was working at a local REI. I saw a pair of Vibrams for the first time and started doing some research - three years later I still check in to see new reviews, personal stories and of course...find killer deals. (I think I'll be indulging in a little Labor Day special).

About two months ago you had a link to a sale on Bikila's. At the time I had one pair of VFFs - KomodoSports that were wearing out quickly - so I picked up a pair of Bikila's for under $50! And a couple weeks later you were advertising a Vivo Barefoot sale on LLS - I got myself a pair of the Aqua Lite's (which are great) and a pair of Evo's for my girlfriend (her first minimalist-minded shoe) in preparation for our journey across the US (New Jersey to California). The Aqua Lite's were supposed to be my road trip shoes but once we hit the red rock deserts in Utah, I threw on my Bikila's because I didn't want to trash my new Vivo's.

We managed to snap a couple of pictures in our new kicks as a way to say thanks for sharing these great shoes with us.

Cheers!

Thanks, David! I'm happy to hear the site has been steering you in the right direction (and saving some moola in the process).

For anyone else who wants to stay on top of deals — you could do a lot worse than the Labor Day sales going on right now and consider becoming an email subscriber for more sales as they come along.

If you have a story or cool photo you'd like to see on the blog here, please drop me a line!