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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Review Fila Skele-Toes - Four Toed Shoes

The Fila Skele-Toes - toe shoes with four toes!
The Fila Skele-Toes - toe shoes with four toes!

A few weeks back we took a sneak peak at a new brand of toe shoes—as in, not Vibram Five Fingersthey're the Fila "Skele-toes." Comet Shoes hooked me up with a pair to examine, review, and share with BirthdayShoes readers, and that's what I'll be doing today.

If you're new to the concept of "toe shoes", you might benefit from a brief history on their origins. Believe it or not, they got their start almost five years ago by an Italian company called Vibram — they produced the first five toe shoes called Vibram FiveFingers and have turned traditional footwear paradigms upside down — and it's not because shoes with toes are just eye-catchingly strange, either.

"What the heck are those?" may be a good question, but perhaps the better question is "Why toe shoes?" I've explained toe shoes here, but the Cliff's notes version is this: shoes that allow your feet to function naturally—as they would barefoot—when you do things like run, walk, work out, or play—are healthy.

The mainstream thick-heeled, heavily cushioned, arch-supporting sneakers we've come to accept as "normal" are more about marketing hype than actually supporting good foot health. You don't need them at all. Worse, it's possible they're hurting you more than helping by preventing your foot from moving naturally — and affecting your entire body's biomechanics in the process. If you don't believe me, BirthdayShoes.com has hundreds of user stories from people around the world doing everything from running marathons in toe shoes to hiking, traveling, skydiving, or powerlifting. Stick around because more than just a weird novelty in footwear, toe shoes are changing footwear.

The Fila Skele-toes are not actually five-toed shoes because the Skele-toes design gives the smallest two toes one pocket for ease of entry (the "EZ-Slide"). While the Skele-toes' "four" toe design is an obvious difference to Vibram Five Fingers, the Fila Skele-toes are also different than VFFs in other more subtle ways — all toe separation aside. Actually, Fila is marketing the Skele-toes more as a lifestyle shoe than a fitness shoe.

After the jump I'll talk more about the Skele-toes design, function, and differences to Vibrams (you can't help but compare) and wrap up with a little video review action.

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Review NB Minimus Life by New Balance

The New Balance NB Minimus Life (men's version)
Two shots of the New Balance NB Minimus Life barefoot shoes being released by New Balance for Spring 2011. These are meant for casual, everyday wear or light fitness (nearest I can tell).

For Spring 2011, in addition to the NB Minimus Road and the NB Minimus Trail, New Balance is releasing a third minimalist shoe geared towards casual, everyday use with perhaps a bit of fitness (e.g. weight lifting, perhaps) functionality to boot — this third offering in the New Balance's minimalist footwear line is called the New Balance NB Minimus Life (originally the "Wellness").

I've been wearing a pair of the NB Minimus Life shoes almost exclusively since I got them about a week ago.* I'd say this was for testing purposes only (Disclaimer: New Balance sent me these to test), but truth is, I just really like these shoes. They are super comfortable, extremely easy to put on (they lack true laces), have very little sole to speak of (though the sole they have is soft/cushy and there is a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm. More on this later.), no arch support, and they have a good-sized toe box. Plus, they just look really good to me. I've worn them with shorts, jeans, workout clothes, and even khakis. For a sneaker, they're plenty versatile, and though I've only "run" to the car or back and forth here and there in them, I'd imagine you could run in them if you were so inclined even as that's not what they're expressly designed for.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to dive into some details with photos, video, and more after the jump.

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Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS - Review

Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS - Review

A few days ago, I received a pair of the new Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS toe shoes and want to share my first impressions. So far, I've only taken them out on one 2+ mile run, but can already tell they perform very much like my standard Bikilas and in some ways better. Rather than rehash all that has been said about the Bikila, which I think is the perfect hard surface barefoot running shoe (until now!), I will keep this concise by highlighting what is different about the Bikila LS.

The big differences are:

  • Speed lace system
  • Coconut active carbon upper
  • New dotted PU toe protection
  • Color choices

These changes represent improvements over the standard Bikila and I will cover each of them after the jump.

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Pregnant Runner Loves Her Vibram Five Fingers KSOs

Josephine in her KSOs
Josephine out for a spin in her Vibram Five Fingers KSOs.

As you can see from the picture above, there aren't many things that keep Josephine from going out on her daily run in Vibram Five Fingers KSOs. Pregnancy and snow didn't stop her. Here is Josephine's amazing story:

I'm almost 5 months pregnant with twin boys and run daily in my KSO's in Providence, RI. I have had them for over a year and have run in them in every season and in every weather condition that hits the East coast from blizzards, to rain storms, to oppressive heat. I am madly in love with them! I also can't say enough good things about them for running while pregnant. I have had no injuries or problems with them and don't have the "leaden feet" feeling that I remember sometimes having when I ran during my first pregnancy. I also ran daily during that pregnancy up until the day I went into labor and I don't remember feeling as light on my feet as I do now in my VFF KSO's- even with twins. They are awesome! I was a die-hard fan before I got pregnant this time and now am even more so. I definitely did not have an easy go of early pregnancy with lots of all day nausea (and puking!) due to the double dose of hormones you get with twins (which BTW, were a complete surprise and not at all what this runner, or her husband, had "planned"!!!), and running is the one thing that has kept me sane and gotten me through these initial months- running in my KSO's that is! I recommend them to all pregnant women out there and to all runners, pregnant or not!

Thanks so much!

Josephine

Thank you Josephine! Congratulations on the twins! We wish you all the best and hope to see some barefoot baby pics.

We are not advocating that pregnant women can all run while pregnant. Please check with your doctor to see what makes sense for you.

Black Vibram FiveFingers Komodo Sport Out!

Black Vibram FiveFingers Komodo Sport Out!

Short and sweet. Given the poplarity of Vibram FiveFingers when they come in black (see the Black KSO, the most popular KSO FiveFingers in existence as documented here), and just liking the black with grey highlights we're getting with the black/grey men's Komodo Sport FiveFingers, I'm happy to share that you can get black KomodoSport VFFs for men now over at CitySports!

The KomodoSports just went live on the site. They'll set you back a C-note ($100). Get'em while they last with free ground shipping (automatically applied). KomodoSports size similarly to KSOs (in theory!). And if you'd prefer the hot yellow KomodoSports for men, you can shop those here at CS; or if you're a woman looking for the blue/yellow KomodoSports they are at CS, too.

If you've never shopped at CitySports, read store reviews on them here — they're a great outfit based out of Boston, Massachusetts (with stores across the nation) — not far from the Vibram USA mothership.

Buy the Vibram Five Fingers Komodo Sport

Review Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Review Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove

Overview

As announced recently, the Merrell Barefoot shoe line has officially launched. Prior to the official launch of Merrell Barefoot, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance pair of the men's Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves ("MBTG," "Trail Gloves," or just "Merrell Barefoots," for short). Below I'll talk in detail about my experiences thus far with the Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves, as well as share a lot of up close and personal photos. But before I do, here's the review in short: Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves are presently my overall favorite mono-toed minimalist shoes. They are solid, "foot friendly" barefoot running trail shoes. They can be worn barefoot or with socks, provide reasonably good ground feel, are neutral from heel to toe, have an upsized toe box for toe splaying (pic), and actually look pretty good if you're up for wearing them for more everyday purposes.

That's the gist, anyway; more after the jump!

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