Hello dear friends!
I have a confession to make: if I could be barefoot everywhere, all the time, I would do it. There’s nothing like feeling the solid earth beneath my bare skin, and letting my toes be free. Plus, there are tons of benefits to being barefoot. However, going sans shoes is frowned upon in most establishments, and obviously presents some public health concerns. So, the search for the least shoe-y shoe begins.
Being in the primal health community, I hear a lot of discussion about intelligent and minimalist footwear, and how we can change shoe design to better support our bodies’ natural movement. There are plenty of advocates for those rubber foot-shaped things (aka Vibrams), and even a few who are digging the new Kevlar sock contraptions…but for me, I’d rather keep my dork status on the down-low. I like my shoes to look like shoes, just not necessarily feel like the over-puffed, heavy, restrictive foot binders that I grew up with.
Luckily, my friends, that middle ground has finally been found! Let’s talk about LEMS shoes for a sec, okay?
First up, a shout-out to a local company, homegrown right here in Boulder, Colorado (woot!), and these local roots were one of the main reasons I wanted to check out their goods. I’m a CO girl, and adore my state’s mix of outdoor living, sustainability, and simplicity, and LEMS captures this vibe oh-so-well.
In case you’re wondering, like I was, LEMS stands for “live easy and minimal,” which is a pretty great mantra for not only shoes, but life in general. When I was perusing their website, their Primal2 shoe caught my eye. I mean, that’s my jam, right? I’m a Primal Health Coach, after all! Plus, it came in my fave color- teal! Let’s just say, it was love at first sight.
I’m a big believer in promoting well-made, simple, and healthy products, so I want to give you all a rundown of my experience with LEMS so far. I’ve had them for about two weeks now, and yes, I’m still smitten! But let’s back up to the beginning…
I may or may not have been obsessively stalking my shipment tracking number, and my first date with my new shoes was more than I could have hoped for. I was initially a little unsure about sizing, since I tend to ride the line between a 9.5-10, so I was crossing all my fingers and toes that these would fit. I decided to size up slightly (thanks for the tip, Audrey!), and I’m so happy I did.
I lifted these gorgeous, colorful shoes out of the box and was immediately surprised at how light they were. These were definitely not gonna hold me down! And hey, they included an extra pair of laces in the matching teal color- it’s seriously party time now.
As I slipped them on, they felt spacious and soft, and didn’t cram my toes like most shoes do. There are a lot of things that I love, like good bacon and the smell of freshly cut grass, and roomy toe-boxes are also on that list. My toes could breathe, and spread naturally as I walked- it honestly felt like wearing a really nice slipper, which for us work-at-home types, slippers are hard to beat.
I woke up and smiled when I spied my new LEMS sitting pretty on my table. After I rolled out of bed, I decided that our second date would be a round of errand-running, and while it may not sound very romantic, walking around on those hard floors is a good litmus test for functionality and comfort. I was reminded of the time, many years ago, when I took one of my dates on a hike up Mount Sanitas in Boulder, to see if she had what it takes to keep up with me…haha…but that’s a story for another day.
As I traversed the land of Target, Sprouts, and the post office, I was at first a little self-conscious of how little material seemed to be between me and those rock-hard tiles. I also noticed that the insole wasn’t smooth, but had lots of tiny bumps in it, like a mini reflexology session for my feet. Surprisingly, that didn’t bother me at all, and I cruised around the stores on my awesome little foot-clouds.
Needless to say, the second date was a hit. I was already planning a third, and we all know that third dates are when things start getting serious…
I feel like this is the appropriate time to say that, if you haven’t already acclimated your feet to minimalist shoes, it’s best that you start slowly. If you’ve been cramming your tootsies into those big fluffy boats for many years, make the transition to minimalist shoes an hour or two at a time, with breaks in between. Thankfully, I knew this ahead of time, so I didn’t experience any soreness, but I’ve heard stories, yo.
The weather in Colorado was unusually warm (70’s and sunny in March? Yes please!), so I decided I would take my pup, River, for a walk while wearing my LEMS. This would give me a chance to test them out at a faster pace, with some hills and a bit of uneven terrain. I laced up my teal beauties and headed out through the neighborhood and onto a local trail. While walking at a good clip, I noticed a teensy amount of slippage, but after a few minutes of increased blood flow to my feet, that went away. However, I do prefer my shoes to be a tad on the roomy side, so I would rather have a little bit of wiggle than none at all!
After the walk, I took my shoes off to inspect my feet, River panting like a maniac in the background. No rub marks, no blisters, no unusual swelling, nada! Plus, my feet weren’t sweaty or uncomfortable either, thanks to the mesh uppers, and for any of us whose feet get hot and swollen in the summer, that feature is a godsend.
Yep, the magic is still there. I wore these to my usual writing haunt, the local library, and got complimented on them…twice!
I’m a big fan of practicality, and my wardrobe tends to reflect the minimalist, simple aesthetic. To be honest, having bright teal and yellow tennies was a bit of a departure for me, so I wanted to see what they’d look like with some of my typical outfits. It was time for a little fashion show. I apologize if you didn’t get the invite- tickets were rare. Okay, okay, there was only one ticket, and River claimed it. Sorry.
Outfit 1: a pair of jeans and a gray t-shirt. Verdict: the LEMS gave a serious pop of color that made me feel cool, while still avoiding the soccer-mom-in-a-grocery-store vibe. Win-win.
Outfit 2: black athletic tights and a light gray hoodie. Verdict: the LEMS go perfectly with any sporty style, and they made me look like I actually went to the gym. Neat-o!
Outfit 3: black tie-waist jersey dress. Verdict: Not so bad after all. Casual, neutral-colored dresses are still doable with these shoes, and they’re much more comfy than the typical strappy sandal or wedge. Hooray!
Still kicking it with my LEMS, a few hours a day. We’ve decided to take our relationship to the next level, and make a long-term commitment to each other. It may seem like we’re moving a little too fast, but hey, I’m not judging your relationships, so don’t judge mine.
I see people checking out my shoes wherever I go, which is an interesting turn of events in my life. Typically, there’s nothing particularly stare-worthy about my clothing, but these may just launch me into minor celeb status.
The sweeping conclusion of my experience with the Primal2 shoes? Two thumbs up! I think these are great for people who want to transition to a minimalist shoe without having to look at each of their individual toes, and who want a nice middle ground between athletic performance and casual comfort. The light, slipper-like feel and the textured insole may take a little getting used to, but these kicks are certainly worth a try. They’ve earned a permanent spot in my (very small, curated) shoe collection, and that says something!
Thanks, LEMS shoes! I can’t wait to try your Boulder Boot next (wink, wink…)
And friends, until next time,
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~