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I Made The Switch to Minimalist Shoes - I'll Never Go Back!

Like most people, I didn't think much about my feet or what footwear I wore day in and day out. I wore standard dress shoes that squeezed my toes together during the work week, and a pair of rugged hiking boots for the most part on the weekends. The hiking boots had tons of ankle support and a bullet proof rock plate, but were painful to take off after a day of hiking, and I would never even imagine driving to and from the trail in them. But this was normal, right?

For me, I thought so. Sacrifice some foot discomfort for fashionable kicks. With that being said, a career change earlier this year led me to Lems Shoes as I made the move from Cleveland, Ohio to Boulder, Colorado.

Switching to minimalist shoes

On day one, I walked into the office with my ordinary dress shoes and soon after was given a pair of Lems Boulder Boots and Primal 2 shoes. Without hesitation, I removed my leather dress shoes and slipped on the Lems Boulder Boots. My first impression of the Boulder Boot can be described no less than pure bliss and amazement as to how incredibly light and comfortable they are. They feel like slippers but look like boots. Needless to say, I was instantly in love with my Lems.

Lems Shoes Men's Brown Leather Boulder Boot

I literally have only worn Lems for the past six months straight. The Nine2Five dress shoes for special events where I have to be a bit more formal, and Primal 2 and Boulder Boots for every and anything else. With that being said, lets dive into what it is that I love so much about my Lems and why I haven't worn any other shoes since I tried on my first pair six months ago.

Lems Boulder Boot, Minimalist Hiking Boots

Connected Feel
When wearing any of the Origin Series of Lems Shoes (Boulder Boot, Primal 2, Mariner, and Nine2Five) you can feel what is beneath your feet. Whether you're walking on a paved road, gravel, a dirt path, or loose rock, you can feel what that surface is and identify it with your feet. This connection allows your feet and your brain to better communicate and work together as though you're walking barefoot. It's a rewarding and gratifying experience feeling what's beneath your feet while walking or hiking in Lems. Compare this to my previous experiences of  hiking in heavy duty boots of stomping over any terrain with little to no sensation, to now feeling even the most minuet of surface changes.

Lems Shoes Primal 2

Low Heel Drop
Upon my start at Lems, I immersed myself in learning as much as I could about minimalist style footwear. From medical articles and videos to blogs on user experiences, it became very clear to me that traditional shoes simply are not healthy or made for the human foot to function and walk properly. One of my favorite articles, Why Shoes Make "Normal" Gait Impossible by Podiatrist Dr. William A. Rossi highlights the flaws in modern footwear and their effects on our gait and body.

Generally speaking, most shoes have a heel on them making the heel higher off of the ground than the forefoot. Minimalist shoes typically will have a drop of 4mm or less, where as standard shoes will typically have 14-24mm or greater in heel drop. This uneven heel drop causes your legs and back to attempt to align in an unnatural position, creating back pain, an unnatural heel strike and even shortening tendons in your legs in some cases.

Zero Drop Shoes vs Traditional Shoes

The reason for this backward design is simple, this is how the design has been since the 19th century and footwear designers have maintained this tradition of fashion over function and creating a shoe that makes your foot look smaller and  your appearance taller.

Lems Zero Drop Diagram

Natural Shape / Wide Toe Box
As stated above, most shoes are made to make the foot look smaller. In turn, the toe box of these shoes are more narrow than should be in the toe area, squeezing your toes together and deforming the foots natural shape. This can cause some pretty serious problems from bunions to hammer toes and a whole other array of foot ailments. Next time you're around an infant take a look at their feet. Their toes are the widest part of their foot. It's only after wearing narrow toe box shoes for years does your foot become deformed. But don't worry, you can reverse some of these effects with a simple yet effective product called Correct Toes. Correct Toes help splay or spread your toes back out to their natural form and all of the Lems Origin Series shoes have a wide enough toe box to accommodate wearing Correct Toes.

Correct Toes with Injinji Socks

Lightweight
The Boulder Boots weigh in at a mere 9.9 ounces or the equivalent weight of nine grapes! A couple of ounces may not seem like much at first, however if you average 10,000 steps per day this adds up quickly and fatigue often results.

Lems Lightweight Boulder Boot

Packability
Due to the minimalist flexibility of Lems, you can roll up any of the Origin Series shoes or boots into the size of a coffee mug or squish them flat at the bottom of your bag. Pair this space efficiency with their lightweight feature and Lems Shoes make great footwear to travel and backpack with.  

Lems Flexible Minimalist Boulder Boot

Comfort
Combine the features of an ultra lightweight shoe or boot with a wide toe box and flexible sole, and you have footwear that feels as comfortable as your favorite slippers. If you haven't yet, give Lems a try, but be warned you may never want to take them off.
- Kyle Schindler

Lems Black Minimalist Boulder Boot

Additional Articles

Three important insights from the Natural Running Center

Lems works with some of the foremost natural foot-form doctors in the world. One of those is family physician and runner Dr. Mark Cucuzzella. He has provided some superior insights for Lems’ minimalist shoe designs.

How we made the Primal 2 a versatile and vegan-friendly shoe

Lems new Primal 2 is the evolution of a product line 10 years in the making. With our standard zero-drop platform and weighing in at an airy 6.9 ounces, this lightweight companion is not only super versatile, but also a shoe that is vegan friendly.