There has been a lot of confusion about Stems Footwear vs Leming Footwear vs Lems Shoes. I know it is confusing but they are all the same. Several things caused the company to have to re-brand twice but now everything is set at Lems Shoes. I have been wearing the shoes since they first came out. Below is a video showing some of the differences.
The "Water Is Life Run" takes place every year on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. This is the 3rd time I have ran it and there is something special about the race. Part of it is the history and the location of which the race takes place and part of it is the people who run in it. This race is a hotbed for minimalist enthusiast. Several of the runners go completely barefooted and more than half run in some type of minimalist shoes or minimalist sandals.
The whole event starts out the night before where they have a pasta dinner. The three times I have done this race we have gotten up there too late to enjoy the pasta. Most of the runners camp out at the starting line. This year it rained and my tent had a hole in it so I had drops of water hitting my sleeping bag. They have been getting a lot of rain up there this year which made it a lot easier to run the course because it is pretty sandy. On top of that the flowers on the course were really beautiful. Everyone gets up bright and early and the Ultra 30 mile race starts at 6:00am sharp. An hour later the 10 mile race starts which turned out to be 11.3 miles according to two people's GPS watches. The 4 mile race starts at around 8am. After the run you can feast on a traditional Hopi meal. It is always delicious. On top of all that you get a shirt at the run. It blows any other race I have ever seen out of the water as far as how much your are fed and given.
I was able to have pretty extensive conversations with runners who either run barefooted or in minimalist sandals. Some of them have been running that ways since around the year 2000 well before Born To Run came out or all this hit main stream. They felt it was good but a couple of them actually contributed ideas of how to improve certain shoes or sandals and then in some ways wished they would have partnered or came out with their own designs because when this whole thing blew up it became pretty lucrative for those who were positioned correctly. Pretty much all these people I talked to were in the same mindset that the movement reached critical mass and isn't talked about as much because most people are aware of the arguments for and against minimalist footwear. The most interesting piece of information was what one of the Navajo runners told me. He was in good shape to run over 30 miles and had actually won the Hopi run in the past. When he switched to wearing Tarahumara huarache sandals he could only run a mile or two and he started to think "no way" is the possible. It took 2 years of running in the sandals to be able to run 30 miles in them. I was really surprised to hear that it took him that long.
Pictures can't do the event justice and even if I had more pictures of the runners and scenery you basically have to experience it for yourself.
Minimalist hiking boots are in some ways the next iteration of the minimalist footwear movement. As I have said before, your typical hiking boot is inflexible and I feel they are a lot of times worse for you than your main stream raised heal running shoes. Here is an excellent review of the Lems Men's Boulder Boot.
Stem Footwear turned was renamed Lemming Footwear and now it is Lems Shoes. I know it sound confusing but there were a lot of reasons for the changes but now everything is heading in the right direction. BirthdayShoes.com did a great review of the Lems Primal 2. You can get them here.
This is an interesting account of one man's visit down to copper canyon down in Mexico to visit the legendary Tarahumara people.
There is a new barefoot running movie. It looks pretty interesting with a lot of cool shots and it looks like they are running in some pretty cool locations. Some people have commented that you don't need a book or a movie to start running barefooted. That your body already knows how to do it and you just need to start slow and work into it easily. I agree in some ways but disagree in other ways. Some people still tend to over stride when they are going barefooted because they have been so used to running in shoes with elevated heals. Here is the trailer for the movie.
The Vibram FiveFingers KSO have been out for a long time now but it is good to see a more recent review from someone who isn't necessarily in the minimalist footwear community. For more information on minimalist footwear check out http://www.barefootfootwear.com/
The foot can endure a lot of pressure if you train properly. When I watch this video I'm amazed at what this athlete can do with nothing on his feet.
The answer is yes. In most mixed martial arts leagues you are required to be barefoot. Sometimes they allow a compression sleeve around your foot to get better grip. Here is a video compilation of head kick knockouts!
We all know there are so many laws that you are probably breaking 5 of them a day without even knowing about it. So is driving barefoot illegal? The answer is yes in a lot of states. We live in a world where there are rules just to have rules. A lot of them don't make any sense. Often times in these states you can drive in high heels but you can't drive barefooted. Also a lot of times stores don't want you coming in with no shoes on. Why? Do they think their floor will get to many skin cells on it or is it some kind of OSHA law / rule? Here is one man admittedly breaking the law in New Jersey. He is ripping the system and driving chimp feet style.