Monthly Archives: July 2013

Lems Shoes Sweet Jane Sneak Peek

After reviewing minimal footwear for four years now, I’ve noticed that there are VERY few office appropriate, women’s specific, truly minimalist casual shoes on the market. I am, therefore, extremely excited to share this Lems Shoes Sweet Jane sneak peek with my readers. These are a beautiful addition to the minimalist market with tons of flare and are as comfortable as they are fashionable. Lems Shoes provided two pairs, one in Cordovan and the other in Caramel, for review which are both currently available on the Lems Shoes website.

Cordovan

Caramel

Other than their fabulous look, which I adore, I also enjoy their comfortable fit. Like all Lems footwear, they are anatomically shaped with a roomy and wide toe box. I like the high-quality leather they’ve used in the upper and the colour-accented suede along the vamp and strap, which sewn on one side and attached with Velcro on the other for customizable size adjusting. The outsole is quite flexible but with a little less ground feel than the Lems Shoes Primal 2.

The Sweet Jane comes with an optionable insole, which I choose not to wear for the extra roomy feel. The footbed is more than comfortable enough to go without and wide enough that I haven’t noticed the stitching underfoot that lays anyway.

If you already own a pair of Lems Shoes and are looking to buy the new Sweet Jane, the sizing could use some explaining. I found that while the size 40 Primal 2 fits me the best, the Sweet Jane size 39 fits me the best (you may notice in the photography, which was taken with size 40s in both the Cordovan and the Caramel, there is some bowing of the shoe at the ankle; the size 39s do not have this and fit well all around).

The full Lems Shoes Sweet Jane review will be posted in a few weeks.

To purchase a pair of the new Sweet Janes, you can check out the Lems Shoes website.

Lems Shoes Sweet Jane

Vibram FiveFingers Entrada Review

My Favourite New VFFs
Vibram FiveFingers (VFF) has added a whole lot of models to their line-up of toe shoes recently and it looks like they’ll be continuing that trend in the near future. The new women’s casual model, Entrada, is a reboot of their original Classic and uses the same outsole as the recently reviewed Alitza. I must admit that the Entrada is my favourite new VFF and I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying wearing them walking the dogs, doing errands, and looking fashionable (that’s right, these are my fancy VFFs of choice).

Quick Details
Price: $75 USD
Width: Narrow to Extra Wide
Sole Thickness: 3.5 mm + 2 mm EVA midsole
Drop: 0 mm
Weight: 2 5/8 ounces or 76 grams
Insole: None included
Sizing: 34–42; Full sizes only; Fits same as VFF KSO
Category: Casual

Comfort & Fit
I love everything about the comfort and fit of the Entradas. These slipper-like toe shoes fit my wide feet perfectly and all the toe pockets feel like the perfect length. Because the upper is made of a stretchy mesh, I have no doubt that this model will fit pretty much any width of foot from narrow to extra wide, even if you have a high instep or low. The elastic collar does not dig anywhere around my feet and ankles. The footbed is soft and has just the right amount of cushioning for my liking.

Barefoot Feel & Function
With a total thickness of 5.5 mm and a super flexible outsole, the Entrada has fantastic ground feel. I can feel any sized rock that doesn’t manage to get stuck between the grips (which is pretty small but doable if you walk on fine pebbles). The shoes easily bend around ground contours and my feet are free to move and function naturally with every step.

Unlike the Alitzas, the cup of the heel does not bother me at all; I’m somewhat confused and pleasantly surprised by this because these two model use the same outsole. In the Alitzas, I feel like the flat part of the heel is not large enough and I’m often landing on the curve, which is quite distracting to me. I don’t find this to be the case with the Entradas so I prefer to wear them both in terms of comfort as well as barefoot feel and function.

The grip pattern of the rubber outsole provides ample traction on wet or dry man-made surfaces as well as hard natural surfaces, again, either wet or dry. As these are casual shoes, they are not designed for muddy or slippery conditions.

Weighing under 80 grams, they feel more like socks than shoes.

Upper Qualities
The Entrada uppers are made of a stretchy polyester mesh with a colour-accented, thin, synthetic overlay that provides some structure to the shape of the shoe as well as design added as dots to the toe pockets. There is ample breathability as the mesh is quite holey, making them an excellent warm weather, casual shoe. There is no break-in period required for this shoe as they were comfortable right out of the box. They are easily machine washed in cold water and air dried. Like most VFFs, they will get smelly if worn without socks, so machine washing is a definitely a plus.

Sole Qualities
Just like the Alitzas, the Entrada outsole is made of a 3.5 mm TC-1 Vibram performance rubber and the midsole is 2 mm EVA. The footbed is anti-microbial drilex sockliner. The total sole stack height should be about 5.5 mm and is incredibly flexible. The Alitzas have no arch support designed into the shoe but the outsole mildly hugs the foot arch but provides no actual support.

Overall Quality
Although the quality of the materials appears excellent, the quality of manufacturing could use some improvement. There are visible glue marks along the edges of the toe pockets of both shoes of the review pair and one of the toe pockets is even separating from the outsole already. This model is definitely not designed for rugged wear, therefore, I highly recommend gentle, casual wear only.

Style
The Entradas are a women-specific, casual, minimal toe shoe with an elegant design. They are currently available in five colour-ways, including cream/black/grey, purple/violet, orange/white, purple/black, and a ubiquitous all black. I like the colour-accents and their simplistic style. These are the shoes I’ve been wearing this summer for walking the dogs, errands around town, and with some of my fancier outfits.

Uses
As mentioned above, these should be used for gentle, casual wear only. They are not designed for rugged use like hiking or running. As suggested on the VFF website, you could probably wear them in a light fitness class as they do stay well-attached to the feet and provide good grip, but they may wear out faster with such use.

Value
At $75 USD, they are the lowest priced VFFs and competitively priced in the minimalist, casual market. If you can find a pair with few manufacturing faults, this is a good price for a pair of casual, gentle use, minimal shoes with great comfort and ground feel.

Summary
The Entrada is one of two replacement models for the original VFF Classic. It has an updated outsole with superior grip and flexibility as well as a wholly redesigned upper with new materials and more mesh for improved breathability while maintaining the open upper and slipper-like feel. The new colour-accented design is a little more modern looking and stylish, and comes in five colour options. Compared to the Alitza, I find them more comfortable with their open upper design and I believe will fit a wider range of foot shapes and sizes because of this. They are extremely comfortable with great ground feel allowing my feet to move naturally. If you already love VFFs, these are an excellent shoe to add to your casual-wear shoe closet and if you’ve never tried VFFs before, this is a great model to start with and give them a try.

For more information about the Entrada and other spring/summer 2013 models by VFF, you can check out their website at VibramFivefingers.com.