My feet have not been too cooperative this year so footwear has been on my mind. Why do most technical footwear offerings have to be so tight, rigid, and restrictive? As I age I find that my feet no longer tolerate such restrictions and now I have a shelf full of high-end cycling shoes, mountaineering boots, and climbing boots that are unwearable. Check out all the “related posts” below, and realize that though I loved those boots years ago, they are excruciating now. I long for an ice climbing boot that doesn’t constrict swollen, cold toes, and a cycling shoe with a sole the actual size of a foot’s sole. Stiffness doesn’t bother me, any old “drop” will do, and they can be padded or not, I don’t really care, as long as they fit my feet. These footwear models are not forthcoming, so in the meantime my own soles ache.
If you’re not catching the reference, not only do my feet hurt but so does my very soul. Footwear that doesn’t work means that a lot of sports are not working for me right now. At nearly age 40 I’ve no designs on wicked scary routes, winning any races (or even DOING any races), or setting speed records, so a few degrees of efficiency matter not a whit to me. I just want to be comfortable doing the fun stuff I like to do for fun, and I’m not, because the damn shoes are too painful.
So I was pretty stoked to tear into the Lems box that just arrived and find that, for once, someone actually made a shoe that is shaped like a foot. True, these are casual designs, more on the “lifestyle” side of things, but heck, credit where credit is due. My toes have room to roam in both styles that I tried, the Primal 2 Frost and the Sweet Jane Cordovan. Both are comfortable right out of the box, and very cute.
So, these are supposed to be minimalist shoes, and as I’m not a big minimalist/barefoot proponent, if I were to have a complaint it would be that I would prefer a little more heel padding. But since they are casual shoes I’m fine with it. They seem great for travel, as they roll right up and tuck away into the depths of your bag when you don’t need them. They look stylish and feel great, once you sort of get used to the lack of padding (it’s easier to take in the Sweet Jane, because that style of shoe rarely has padding anyway).
Sizing is slightly unusual, as there are no half sizes and the Euro sizes seem to correlate with one US size smaller than standard (i.e. size 41 correlates with US size 9), so order up one Euro size.
I love the fit, and I fantasize that Lems will one day endeavor to forget about the whole “minimalist” idea and make technical ice climbing wear that actually fits people’s feet. I contend that it’s really all that matters. If the shoe fits your foot, then you’re gold.