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I interrupt my regular blog programming for a special shoe review:
I was given this shoe to review with the understanding that I would put it through its paces (which I have) and give an honest review (which I will). I had gone in to the store with the understanding that I’d be trying the Xeroshoes Prio, which is a runner style, and I really, really wanted that shoe to work for me; less toe spring and cushion than Lems, which I feel ready for.
Unfortunately, when I got the length I needed, which required going to a men’s shoe, the fit was too sloppy for my narrow foot. The woman’s version, while narrower, wasn’t long enough in my size. The toe box shape is slightly sloped and the second toe hit the end, a recipe for nail loss. I do think the Prio will work well for those without such difficult to fit feet as mine. (Lems Primal are currently my go to for running shoes. Read that review here.)
While I was there, I tried the Lena, assuming the fit would be the same, and to my surprise, this shoe worked in my size. Also – it was a pretty good looking shoe – I got the black with red accents, the shoe also comes in blue and natural – super summer colours. The toe box seems higher at the second toe than the Prio and my toenail no longer hit the end of the shoe. So I walked out with a pair of Lena shoes to try.
This is a very minimal, flexible shoe – the upper is canvas and the fit is not snug, which I love. You might think a shoe that allows space all around the foot would result in friction blisters but for some reason, this is not the case. I abhor feeling constricted in shoes (or anything), so I adore this aspect of the shoe. I did get some debris in the shoe because of the space around the top, but I just slipped them off and dumped it out. I wore the shoes without socks to test for rubbing and also because this is almost always how I wear my shoes, I prefer going sock-less so a shoe has to work for me in this manner.
The laces are quite long and I double knotted them, but even with the laces tied, I can slip my foot out of the shoe when I take them off – and yet my foot does not slip out accidentally. I have no idea how they did that, but it’s brilliant!
I have done several small walks and one 10km walk wearing these shoes, I also used them to drive home from a long trip – 7 hours in the car. All of my walking was on city pavement. I had occasion to wear them in nature but the ground was so muddy and wet that I opted to use rainboots. These shoes are meant for casual day wear however, so I feel that reviewing them as a hiking shoe is unfair. Even a 10km walk on pavement is probably more than this shoe was designed for, but they performed just fine. NOTE: If your foot is not ready for a very minimal shoe on hard surfaces, I would not recommend this shoe for that purpose until you have transitioned appropriately. However, for a shoe to run out and grocery shop, wear for short distances, at work would be fine and a good way to start to feel if you are ready. Sometimes you don’t know what the state of your foot is until you push the envelop. The trick is to not push it to the point of injury and set yourself back in your transition training, so err on the side of caution here; injured feet are no joke.
Extremely light weight
You can bend the heel down and use as a slide for quick trips to the recycling bin.
The style is great – this is not a “weird” looking minimal shoe.
Toe cap will extend the life of the shoe for sure especially if you have those toenails that always make holes in your socks.
You can add a thicker sole if need be! There’s plenty of room. Also room for Correct Toes toe spacers and orthotics if you wear them.
No rubbing or blisters resulted even after a 10km walk – no breaking in required.
Not restrictive in any way
Not constrictive in any way
Washable with soap and water
Very minimal – no support or cushioning – a positive if you are ready!
Made in China
The system that is supposed to tighten the straps around the heel is limited, but was not an issue for me and the lacing system is pretty cool.
I have not had the shoes long enough to know if the life of the upper:sole will last (will separation occur?) but I suspect the sole will last a long time.
Expensive: $80 US online, $114 CAD at Cool East Market (I find this expensive for a canvas shoe, but it’s worth it if they last several years).
Very minimal – no support or cushioning – a negative if you aren’t ready!
Overall I am super happy with this shoe and expect to get a LOT of wear out of them. I am recommending them to my clients. Thank you Cool East Market for the opportunity and for being a (the only?) minimal shoe store in the city of Toronto!
Get your shoes here: Cool East Market in Canada, or online at Xeroshoes for US readers. Buy your shoes from Cool East if you are in Canada and you won’t have to worry about duty and dollar conversion. Cool East also offers free shipping over $55 in both US and Canada!
(These are NOT an affiliate links, I get no kickbacks or gains from this post.)
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