Leming Ancestral Footwear is a relatively new player in the minimalist footwear landscape but they are already well recognized in most barefooting and minimalist circles. The company started as Stem Footwear, and they just changed the name to Leming Ancestral Footwear, as of March 1st, 2012. It was founded by Pennsylvania native, and accomplished athlete, Andrew Rademacher who, after being frustrated with traditional footwear, decided to design what he calls: “the shoe that has been missing from humankind”. I’ve had the chance to wear a pair of Leming shoes (Earth Brown) for the last couple of weeks and I must admit, I’ve been positively impressed with these shoes from the moment I got them delivered in the mail. From the packaging to the manufacturing quality, I can see that Andrew has put a lot of energy into designing a good product. Here are my impressions in more detail: Style and Features At first glance, these shoes look like walking sneakers and they are proven to be fairly versatile and easy to wear with different outfits, from running shorts and a t-shirt, to chino slacks or jeans and a button-down shirt. They feature a wide toe box with plenty of room to stretch your toes and allow them to move comfortably and naturally inside the shoes. The lace-up style makes them easy to adjust to virtually any foot shape and width. Right away, as soon as you pick them up, you will notice that, at only 6.3 oz (178 gr), these are potentially the lightest sneakers you’ve ever seen. They are also extremely flexible thanks to their air-infused rubber soles that allow them to bend and twist in every possible direction you want. The outside sole is less than ¼” (6mm) thick, and they feature very thin permanent insoles. The Lemings also come with removable insoles for added cushioning when needed. The uppers are made of soft and breathable mesh, which allows for good ventilation and sweat evaporation. Quality The Lemings are manufactured entirely of man-made materials and the company has an “Eco-Rule of 50%”; which means they strive for less than 50% consumption in their manufacturing and distribution practises, compared to other footwear manufacturers. I noticed that both the material and the craftsmanship are of good quality. The shoes look and feel well-finished and durable. The Lemings are easy to clean and maintain as they are machine or hand washable and they dry within a couple of hours in a well-ventilated area, or even faster in the sun. Cost & Availability They have a suggested retail price of US$89.99 and they are available online via the manufacturer’s web site: www.stemfootear.com or from retailers in the United States. Fit / Comfort Unlike any other minimalist shoes I’ve tried so far, I’m happy to report that the Lemings fit me perfectly right out of the box. It is truly the first pair of footwear I own which has not needed a breaking-in period to feel the way they should. The soft and supple finishes inside the shoes make them perfect for wearing without socks. At my office, I let a couple of my co-workers try them on so they could also give me their opinion and these were their comments in their own words: “Gosh! This is like wearing socks!” and “Wow, they feel like nothing on your feet!” The wide toe-box truly allows your toes to move freely and comfortably. Personally, I like the fact that they have laces, since this gives me the option to fit them more snug to my feet if I know I will be going for a long walk or leave them a bit looser so I can kick them off and put them back on in a split second if I’m just hanging out or sitting at my desk in the office. Barefoot Feel / Movement I must admit, part of why I love being and walking barefooted so much is because I love to feel the textures with my feet. Even though, wearing any type of footwear will muffle that feel, I’m happy to report that the Lemings provide a surprisingly good feel for the terrain; this also, despite their soles are not the thinnest, as far as minimalist footwear goes. Because of their highly flexible soles and overall construction, these shoes also provide a good range of movement, allowing your feet to perform more naturally and comfortably. Final Words Well-priced, extremely comfortable, great-looking, good quality. The Lemings are a stylish choice for those who are looking to have the comfort and benefits of minimalist footwear. They are also an excellent option as backup footwear for barefooters who, like me, need something to throw on when barefooting is simply not an option. Finally, I would definitely recommend these shoes to anyone who wants to start a transition from regular shoes to barefooting.