Is there anything in the world better than opening a package and being greeted to the smell of new shoes? I can certainly think of worse things if I let my imagination get away from me. Awaiting me were a beautiful and fantastically bright (red!!!) pair of shoes. Lems. I knew nothing of Lems and knew very little about minimal shoes. These beauties changed all of that. It turns out, the founder, Andrew Rademacher, didn’t have a background in shoes either…. but as a sales clerk in a shoe store he was propelled by his personal discomfort in running shoes and his passion for the human foot to create a flat, flexible shoe which (most importantly) mirrored the shape of the foot.
I took my ruby-red slippers out for an easy test run of about 3 miles and noticed a difference right away from the cushioned shoes I typically run in. There is quite a difference in feel with a thinner sole and zero drop and if you are not a minimalist runner, it is something you want to get used to before throwing on a new pair of kicks and completing a marathon.
These shoes have a zero drop platform, which means that the heel is not elevated and encourages the foot to strike on the mid foot or forefoot. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about feet, but I know that while watching a video of my running at past shoe fittings (and numerous race photos) I have a pretty mean heel strike in the cushy shoes I typically run in. Lems claims that the zero drop platform not only encourages a healthier foot strike, but is also more beneficial to the spine and lower back health.
Lems also offers shoes beyond running for those seeking shoes for a minimalist lifestyle. Shoes are available for everyday casual wear, hiking and the 9-5 life might even help those hoping to have a minimal shoe while on the job.
Lems believes “less is more” and you won’t find any extra material, gimmicks or extra fluff. I did find that I had to become accustomed to being able to “feel” the ground below me. It isn’t so dramatic that I’d be hopping and crying through a patch of gravel, but there is no mistake that the terrain with all its qualities is not as masked as with a pair of cushioned shoes. Perhaps all this time I have been on a pair of stilts before?
The only real con I can think of might not really be much of a con at all, just a slight inconvenience. The sizing is a little weird to me, but maybe I’m the weird one and just haven’t seen this before…. but instead of looking for a 10.5 shoe in womens shoes, the size chart recommends a size 43 (or at least, I am guessing 43 and there are no half sizing and a 43 is for a womens 11).
However, I’d like to add to the whole “sizing” topic that in every running shoe I have ever tried before Lems required that I special order a EE width in womens (that makes me a “double wide”) or figure out my sizing with the shoes in the mens department. Lems offer a roomy toe box and there is absolutely no crowding whatsoever. This alone is a huge bonus for me! My wide little piggies are free to roam.
I’d like to add that the shoes are 100% vegan, which might not matter to many, but is a high selling point to me.
If flexible, flat, foot shaped, feather light, attractive and comfortable footwear is what you are looking for, then you really have to look no further than the Lems Store Locator and go try on a pair at one of several Portland area shoe stores!