Lems Shoes: Live Easy and Minimal Every Day

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by BRAD MANISCALCO

Lems Shoes: Live Easy and Minimal Every Day

[I]n our society, our feet have evolved to our toes being squeezed together, thus compromising natural gait and balance.
As a collegiate athlete and National Champion Pole Vaulter, Andrew Rademacher was always in search of comfortable athletic shoes. For some reason, the footwear he was exposed to often seemed ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Andrew began to notice that most footwear did not mimic the shape of the foot and that while our foot and toe span is wide, most shoes are narrow. The realization led Andrew to begin researching footwear and the human foot.

He came to the conclusion that many common foot ailments — including bunions, hammer toes, and plantar fasciitis — came from narrow footwear.

The human foot is designed to allow the toes to spread apart in order to increase balance and stride. Yet in our society, our feet have evolved to our toes being squeezed together, thus compromising natural gait and balance.

The Great Shoe Search

It only seemed like common sense that shoes should fit the natural shape of the foot while simultaneously eliminating the elevated heel that has become so popular. In doing so, Andrew believed the foot would be able to move more freely without any constraint or restriction. After years of searching, Andrew still had no luck finding the shoe he was looking for, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

In 2008, with no prior experience in shoemaking, he began to teach himself shoe design. He got a job at a local shoe store fitting and selling shoes while in his spare time, dissecting and analyzing shoes by cutting them in half and studying how they were constructed.

He quickly realized that shoe companies often ignored many aspects including a wide toe box and a zero drop outsole that he felt were mandatory in proper fitting footwear. Quite the contrary, in fact: they would often introduce gimmicks they claimed to benefit the foot, like gel soles and air pumps, but were more times than not simply marketing tactics.

How a shoe should be made

Lems Shoes Is Born

Andrew decided it was time a company actually studied the foot to determine how a shoe should be made and how it could benefit the human body in the most optimal way. With that, Lems Shoes was born with the goal of developing a shoe that would mimic the natural shape of the foot. After dozens of prototypes, hours of research, and constant dedication to proper mechanics, Lems Shoes was finally in business in September of 2011.

Lems (Live Easy and Minimal) aims to develop natural footwear that optimizes the natural way in which the foot functions with maximum comfort.

Although there are other barefoot shoe companies out there, very few of them have branched out from athletic footwear. With the development of a boat shoe, hiking boot, and dress shoe, Lems Shoes allows barefoot enthusiasts shoe options for any scenario in which they may find themselves. Lems strives to take the barefoot approach to all different facets of life.
Whether it be summertime on a boat (Lems Mariners), on a multi-day hike (Boulder Boots), or the workplace (Nine2Five and the Sweet Jane), we are constantly designing samples for different types of footwear that has never utilized the natural shape of the foot. This is where we believe we stand out and separate ourselves from the pack.

Andrew prides himself on constantly testing out the latest footwear innovations and can often be spotted running and working out in two different shoes in order to determine the shape and fit of each. Additionally, his home is often covered in empty Zappos boxes and shoes that Andrew has studied to continue his research and Lems Shoes product development.

With the help of Dr. Ray McClanahan and his invention of CorrectToes, a spacer that spreads the toes to their natural and correct position, Andrew and Lems Shoes preaches to their audience that returning the feet to their natural shape eliminates foot problems and prevents new ones from arising.

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