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 »

Bormio Vibram FiveFingers Out!

Bormio Vibram FiveFingers Out!

The wait is over: zip-up toe boots — a.k.a. Bormio Vibram FiveFingers — are available for purchase at Travel Country! What more, if you "click through" and buy today through September 30, 2011 (midnight), you're eligible for a bonus bit of BirthdayShoes swag (see below for how this works but the gist is you have to click to TravelCountry via one of the links below and then send me your order number)!

I've reviewed the Bormio FiveFingers at length thanks to having had a pair to play with over the past few months. Here's my conclusion:

The Bormio FiveFingers are clearly aimed at a very niche fan of toe shoes who want to go almost-barefoot outside the gym, maybe in the workforce, and definitely in more casual atmospheres. Is that you? Want to wear VFFs that are a bit more sophisticated, push the boundaries of fashion, and encourage even more questions from curious onlookers? Want to boldly go where few have ventured outside the realms of Milan, Italy? Then, the Bormio is for you. It's also for you if you want a warmer option of toe shoes for cooler climates. I like mine well enough and outside of wearing them a good deal lately for this review, will be wearing them more as Fall (and then Winter) arrive.

They aren't cheap though — MSRP is $160, so prepare to drop a coin or two if you want a pair. And as for sizing, I'd put the fit as close to the KSO Trek, if not a hair roomier. My versions are pre-production, so sizing might vary for the final product. I'd expect to stay in a size 43 though (which is what I wear across the entire line).

a few photos from the review

Travel Country has the Bormio FiveFingers in both black and brown for $159.95 in sizes 40-47 (men's). And yeah, they ship free. Like I noted about sizing, I'm the same size Bormio as KSO Trek, Trek LS, Speed, etc. Though I'd say the Bormio (and other Trek varietal Vibrams) all size a little larger (exception: TrekSport) than VFFs that are Bikila-soled (Bikila, Bikila LS, Speed). Here is the full sizing chart for the Bormio straight from VibramFiveFingers.com (click to enlarge):

If you're going to drop the $160 on a pair of Bormio FiveFingers, I also recommend picking up one or two pairs of the Injinji Performance toe socks. They cost $10/pair which ain't cheap, but having one or two pairs on hand (er ... nevermind) is useful. There are two versions of the Injinji Performance that I recommend for the Bormio both of which are ankle height or higher — the mini crew or the crew. Either one works with Bormio VFFs, it's just that the crew will extend past the top of the Bormio ankle whereas the mini will rise to the top of the Bormio and no higher. These Injinjis are the new "micro liner" style toe socks and they are much, much better/more comfortable than the originals, which I honestly didn't care much for wearing (See Britt's review of the no-show Injinji performance toe socks). You can pick up mini Injinji performance/micro crews here and full height performance Injinji crews here.

If you missed this the first time around, the Trek LS FiveFingers are out, too. You can grab them at Travel Country for $139.95 and round out your Fall toe shoe collection while you're at it.

A pair of boot cut jeans (cut further on the sides) worn with the Trek LS Vibrams makes for a rugged, toe shod look, don't you think?
A pair of boot cut jeans (cut further on the sides) worn with the Trek LS Vibrams makes for a rugged, toe shod look, don't you think?

Limited Time Bonus!

If you buy a pair of FiveFingers Trek LS or Bormio FiveFingers from TravelCountry today (August 26) through end of September (Sept. 30) by clicking through from one of these links on this post, I will send you one of the classic BirthdayShoes stickers plus a yet-to-be-released new version of the BirthdayShoes sticker that is literally nothing more than the BirthdayShoes "5/foot" logo (sneak peak). Here's how to claim your sticker:

  • Click through to buy the Trek LS or Bormio from TravelCountry using one of the above links (Trek LS link | Bormio link).
  • Make a purchase!
  • Drop me an email (send to: justin at birthdayshoes.com) with your TravelCountry.com order number (It's a seven digit number) and your mailing address.
  • As soon as I see your order ship, I'll throw your two stickers in an envelope and drop them in the mail the next day!

I know a couple stickers isn't much, but your orders help support this community and what better way to say "thanks" than via vinyl stickers?

So go pick up a pair of Bormio or Trek LS now! And once you get them on your feet, start letting me know what you think!

P.S. I'll be switching out the classic BDS stickers with the new versions in the next week or so!

Adidas Toe Shoes? Meet the AdiPure Trainer Barefoot Shoe

Coming Novemeber 2011 is the Adidas AdiPure Trainer, a five-toed shoe clearly taking aim at Vibram as it will be coming to market at a price of $90 at large-scale distribution via retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, and The Sports Authority
Coming Novemeber 2011 is the Adidas AdiPure Trainer, a five-toed shoe clearly taking aim at Vibram as it will be coming to market at a price of $90 at large-scale distribution via retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, and The Sports Authority.

See "update" section below!

Everyone is getting on the barefoot bandwagon these days. What more, given the burdgeoning success of Vibram FiveFingers — the original toe shoes — not to mention the uber-economical-(though-functionally-inferior) Fila Skeletoes, which brought mass distribution and mass marketing to the toe shoe market mix, is it surprising that finally a big shoe manufacturer decided to run with toe shoes in lieu of releasing yet-another-Nike-Free (cough Reebok RealFlex, Skechers GoRun cough)?

It's almost like "barefoot shoes" are a recognized segment of the footwear market these days. What gives?

More photos, video, more after the jump!

Read the rest of this post »

True Linkswear Minimalist Golf Shoes Review

Photos of the TRUE Linkswear golf shoes, barefoot-minded footwear for golfers who want to "feel the course" through their feet.
Photos of the TRUE Linkswear golf shoes, barefoot-minded footwear for golfers who want to "feel the course" through their feet.

Overview

The TRUE Linkswear Tour is a zero drop golf shoe with a very thin 2.5 mm sole and good ground feel even with 4 mm lugs and stability bars. The foam insert, some toe spring, and a stiff leather toe cap detract a little from a ?barefoot? experience, but the wide toe box, sole flexibility, and lack of arch support really do create a very comfortable minimal shoe. Other minimal options may provide better barefoot feel, but lack some of the features that make the TRUEs great golf shoes.

Overall TRUE Linkswear Tours have a great balance of traction, flexibility, and barefoot feel, combined with complete waterproofing in a minimal design specifically built to hold up to round after round of golf. As far as golf shoes go, the TRUE linkswear shoes are the closest ?barefoot experience? you can get.

Read the rest of this post »

Trek LS FiveFingers Out!

Trek LS FiveFingers Out!

The Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS (Men's) Vibram FiveFingers are available for sale!

The all-leather, laced up and retro-casually styled Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS is now available for purchase at CitySports!

Additionally, this means that we have a Trek LS giveaway contest winner (I will be contacting the winner directly by email. I'll also be contacting the 10 randomly selected sticker winners by email, too!).

More about the Trek LS (like sizing) after the jump!).

Read the rest of this post »

Minimalist Shoes from Skechers? Or is the GoRun Yet Another Nike Free or Reebok RealFlex?

Christian Burke, an ultrarunner from California, has been tapped by Skechers to promote their upcoming entry into the (wannabe?) barefoot shoes/minimalist footwear category, the Skechers GoRun.
Christian Burke, an ultrarunner from California, has been tapped by Skechers to promote their upcoming entry into the (wannabe?) barefoot shoes/minimalist footwear category, the Skechers GoRun.

In what will come as no surprise to anyone (Who's paying attention) is a new "minimalistic" shoe from Skechers — the Skechers GoRun.

UPDATE with a quote from "Design Guy" in comments — Design Guy is apparently from Skechers, and spent 15 months designing (and testing) the GoRun. See below.

That Skechers would introduce a new shoe that rides the coattails of the barefoot/natural running movement was likely a foregone conclusion given the popularity of the Nike Free line and the recently released Reebok RealFlex, which you'll recall "perfected" natural running.

And we all know that Skechers is ever the innovative shoe manufacturer. Just take the Skechers Shape-ups, for example. Here, Skechers basically copied imitated the oddly not-barefoot-yet-marketed-that-way, super-soled rocker shoes from MBT, marketed them to the masses*, and encouraged countless individuals to buy into the notion that footwear can magically make you fit. Mind, Skechers is being sued by one woman who claims the Shape-Ups "catastrophically" injured her.

All snarkiness aside, what is the Skechers GoRun? Is it a minimalist shoe? What's the deal with bald guys and barefoot shoes? Speculate on the answers to these questionad and more with a bit of marketing magic after the jump!

Read the rest of this post »

Spring 2012 Vibram FiveFingers

Spring 2012 Vibram FiveFingers

Thanks to some sleuthing FiveFingers fans — big hat tip to forum members Dirk, MCvet, and mikez and a few others who tipped me off to this information — I've gotten my hands on some "stock" imagery of the Spring 2012 Vibram FiveFingers line-up as well as details on what the new models are bringing to the FiveFingers line. What follows is a breakdown of all the new models as well as a round-up of other new color combinations on tap (more FiveFingers for kids!).

Important disclaimer! Like anything grounded in the future, plans change and no one has a crystal ball, so while what we've found below may be in the pipeline, it's all subject to change. To that end, if you hear of anything that has changed or if anything below is being reported in error, please let us know!

Read the rest of this post »